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Two Millionth Volume Celebration

Speaker: Mario Vargas Llosa, Distinguished Writer in Residence, School of Languages and Linguistics, on "The Paradise of Books"

From the Program:

The libraries of Georgetown University trace their foundation to 1796, when for the first time books were marked "for the use of the College." In the following century the stock of the College library was combed to provide nuclei of appropriate volumes for new and separate libraries when the medical and law faculties were established. Today the Joseph Mark Lauinger Memorial Library, the John Vinton Dahlgren Library, and the Edward Bennet Williams Law Library provide the intellectual resources and access to information demanded by a student population numbering nearly 12,000.

The libraries' two millionth printed item (reproduced above), a broadside printed in New York, appropriately dates from 1789, the year Georgetown University was founded. The broadside announces, with reverberations that linger to our day, the proclamation of the first Thanksgiving Day by a chief executive of the United States of America. Washington's choice of the fourth Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving, recognizing that it "is the Duty of all Nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty GOD, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his Protection and Favor," established not only the date we celebrate today, but the essential link between God's will and the fruits of man's rational government of his own affairs.

The George Washington Thanksgiving broadside is the gift of Mr. Marshall B. Coyne, LHD '90.

May 4, 1994