Well it's official. Even though there was no mention in the email received from the NYG&B yesterday, it looked like business as usual, the collection is gone.
The email I received yesterday from the G&B said: "Latest News from the NYG&B Society - July, 2008" (not one whisper of this big book give away was mentioned.)
Here is a partial quote from the news announcement today in the New York Times, from the New York Public Library (NYPL.)
The (NYPL) library’s extensive genealogical collection has just been enormously enhanced by the gift of 75,000 volumes, 30,000 manuscripts and 22,000 reels of microfilm from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Faced with a dwindling endowment, the members-only G & B, as it is known, sold its four-story building on East 58th Street in Midtown Manhattan last year for $24 million. It bought an office condominium in Midtown where it will now focus on grant-giving, tours, lectures and other means of encouraging genealogical research. One of the first grants was about $1 million to the library for a four-person staff to process and catalog the G & B collection within two years.
Sam Roberts at the New York Times reports the above tale of woe in today's newspaper at:
Looks like the present total membership of the G&B of 15 members, made an unrecoverable decision. If you are a former member and donated your time, money, effort, books and manuscripts to the G&B because you thought that they would be there forever, guess what? When you voted your rights away and became former members it was all over.
The statements that we were told about moving the society to new quarters to be able to keep the collection available to all former members, well would you consider those as untruths? . You will never be able to roam through the open stacks of your old friends. At the NYPL you must fill out a call slip of the book you want and wait for a runner to bring it to you. You will never again have the pleasure of finding the rarity treasure sitting on the shelf right near the item you were interested in.
I can't begin to tell you how many times in my career I have located a book I would never have known existed, that was sitting right near one that I was pulling off the shelf.
Apparently much of the former dedicated staff at the G&B will now be fired. We were told that they would all have jobs in the new headquarters. I doubt it.
Upstate New York Genealogy blog reported in previous postings about this event.
July 16th, 2007 we urged all current members to attend the NYG&B election meeting. (There used to be a great many members, now there are only 15,)
July 20th we reported on the shameful election at the NYG&B.
July 22nd my frustration level was slightly elevated when I suggested a possible name change for the NYG&B.
In September we told you that the G&B book collection would be leaving.
Many of those previous postings garnered a great many comments from you readers and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for commenting and sharing your opinions. I mean that sincerely, whether you agreed or disagreed with me.
So for me and many others that I know it is "So Long G&B, I loved you so..."
I will not be participating in the new structured "Walk about" society. I doubt many others will either.
The 15 member board no longer have to worry about those heavy books.
Oh and by the way, in one of my previous reports when I mentioned the lovely collection of historical paintings and founders portraits that the NYG&B owned, well the 15 members are going to be giving those away also. Good bye old friends
Upstate New York Genealogy
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