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December 1961

In recognition of the centennial, Connecticut social activist Dr. Emily M. Pierson ’07 gave the college “The Controversial Book Shelf,” a collection of material concerning controversial contemporary issues. An ardent suffragist and, after the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, a progressive socialist, Dr. Pierson commented at the time of the gift, “I don’t think I would bother with this gift except that I have noticed that the mountain of ignorance and prejudice over which the world must struggle year by year is a grave menace to peace, even to the very existence of the world.”

The book shelf, a collection of books and pamphlets acquired over the years by Dr. Pierson and housed in the basement of Rockefeller Hall, was a gesture of gratitude, Dr. Pierson said, to another radical, Matthew Vassar. “Vassar taught me one thing,” she was quoted in The Miscellany News as saying, “not to be afraid of honest investigation, wherever it might lead.”

The Years