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pollock How do you instill the love for odd old books on dusty shelves, packed in warehouses, sitting forlorn on shelves that have not been perused for decades?

How does one feel about the wholesale purging of libraries at institutions, either private or public, with the excuse that the copyright laws have changed, storage is expensive, new buildings cost too much and after all you can just “google” it can’t you?

Should every librarian worth their salt be up in arms for this massive undertaking of purging books from their libraries? In my opinion, yes! I am surprised how many people working in libraries do not love books at all. For them, it is just another job. No matter, there is a gigantic movement underway to attempt to “re-write” the history of mankind in all its faculties by purging “unworthy books“.

Someone has made a choice for you, the criteria for inclusion has changed. You do not need to know about this or that after all. The information was on a microfiche nobody has looked at for years, or on an LP no one has listened to either, full of speeches by remarkable men and women, or live poets claiming a seat in the Valhalla of eternal destiny by reciting their own poetry!

Well the only way, in my opinion, is to share some of that research with you by a very curious person like myself. Of course, you can also home school your children this way.

Here is an example of what I think. Recently acquired was an old volume about Oxford Lectures dating from 1980 for a paltry sum. A quick glance made me acquire the odd volume. Were they all erudite men attending the upper class schools a 100 years or more ago? Yes, they were erudite have a look!

img502The faded standard library cloth volume above and the index below which made me very curious.

img495What would an Englishman, a Baronet and an Honorary Member of the Berlin Juridical Society have discussed and written in those days?

img496Not a legal scholar myself, I was fascinated by the wide range of subjects, and surmised that the writer was no ordinary nine to five man. I wanted to read the chapter on the Alpine Club Library. The London based Alpine Club being the oldest Mountaineering Club in the United Kingdom founded in 1857 and probably the oldest one in the world at that. Read about the Alpine Club here.

I decided to share the article on the Alpine Library (Chapter XI) with you below. I did some more on line research, and realized the article in Chapter XII would have been more interesting to share once you read that Sir Pollock with his brother were involved and instrumental in helping the re-birth of English historical fencing together with A. Hutton! Read the wiki on Hutton here.

Sir Frederick Pollock (1845-1937) was educated at Eton and Trinity Colleges in Cambridge, UK. He was a legal scholar of importance, and author of several books that helped to modernize English law. He was also the founder and editor of the Law Quarterly Review(1885-1919), and appointed to numerous honorary appointments. He taught law at the University of Oxford from 1883-1903.

Now look back at the index of the book above, would you not want to know all about the English Manor from this very studious man? I certainly would. A new chapter in history would open up right in front of your eyes, what a treat it would have been then. For now, here is the article on the Alpine Club Library for those librarians who do not like books, read on.

img497img498img499img501Now, I will hunt for that rare volume with the plates! If you really read the article you know what I am referring to. For good measure, those who think about mountaineering in the Himalayas or the Andes, forget it for now! Those men Pollock talked about in his lecture went right here to Switzerland or the French Alps to walk or to climb. I would love to lay my hands on that ladder that made it to the top, what a trophy that one is.

swit montblanc swit zermatt swit-chamonix swit-gorge de schoellenen-3075With rope and a pick axe they went! Don’t fret! In due course, I will share the articles on the English Manor, and if anyone is interested the chapter on the sword. (attr: book and stereo views from our own collection: Photo of Sir Pollock from Wikipedia). Had I not had this book in my hands how would I have known how to connect the dots? Below is a three minute YouTube video put out by the Austrian Alpine Club UK.

DATE October 30, 2013: We just received word from the Alpine Club in United Kingdom, they are the oldest mountaineering club in the world. They are in the process of digitizing their journals from their archives. This is really good news for all the armchair mountaineers among us!