Thursday, December 11, 2008

More on MassHort Book Sales

The Boston Globe has an update to yesterday's post on the sale of books from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. There are, in fact, 27 MassHort books in today's Sotheby's sale, in 25 separate lots.

MassHort board chair Betsy Ridge Madsen said of the sales "Obviously, we're very sad to have to do this. They're beautiful books, but we see this as the only way to go forward to clean up our debt." She added, according to the Globe, that "the books were rarely used by the society's 8,000 members and that duplicates of all but three are owned by Harvard University. She said the money would be used to maintain the society's lectures, plant sales, and its library in Wellesley, where it still stores more than 500 rare books and a collection of more than 12,000 volumes." "We did a member survey, in which we asked members what was most meaningful about their membership, and the rare books were their lowest priority," Madsen concluded.

If that's the case, then I don't disagree that the books should find better homes, although I regret strongly that an important collection is being broken up piecemeal like this.