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funds that you scramble to get and the income from the endowment.
Well, it was a pretty bleak picture and you either said to yourself,
well I think I'll get out of this one, or you say to yourself, “Well,
the Library is so essential to the future of the city, and all the
institutions in the city that maybe a really big effort should be
made.” So, as I retired from Time Inc. I agreed to become chairman
with one condition. And that is that I have something to do with
picking a new president. Parenthetically I'd gotten rid of the
previous occupant of that slot.
That was Couper?
Couper, yes. Salomon said, Dick Salomon kept shaking his
head and saying, “My life,” Dick Salomon's life, “would have been so
much easier if he'd done that three years before.” So we, we had a
search committee and the search committee hired, you know, one of
these firms, search firms and we saw a number of characters.
Adequate, but not sparkling, not the kind of people who would take a
newly defunct organization and make it into a very lively and vibrant
one. To show you how bad the place was, when I looked at the main
building at Forty-second and Fifth Avenue, I didn't know it was made
of marble because it was so brown that it hadn't ever been cleaned
that I could find. What once had been the exhibit hall had been
chopped up, and with Masonite board made into offices for personnel
and accounting; this beautiful room in the center of the building.
Horrible. The branches were all run down, so on and so. Anyway-back
to the search committee. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, another
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