Letter to Dr. Charles F. Himes from President Reed
Relaying the Status of Denny Memorial Hall, 1897

Dr. Charles F. Himes,
Carlisle , Pa


          The spacious and elegant structure recently erected by Dickinson for the accommodation of the large and yearly increasing classes of the College, and for the housing of the Literary Societies of the College, is now completed.
          For six months, indeed, the portions designed to serve as recitation rooms and offices have been in daily use to the great comfort and convenience of all.
          The upper floor, however, that on which are located the splendid halls for the Literary Societies of the College, namely the Union Philosophical, the Belles Lettres Society and the Harmon Literary  (Ladies Society) was left unfinished.  You will be pleased to know that this also has been finished.
        These halls, memorial in character, were rendered possible through the generosity of Miss Eliza E. Smith of Lancaster, who contributed for the purpose the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars.
         The hall of the Union Philosophical Society occupies the south end of the third story of the building, and the hall of the Belles Lettres Literary Society the north end.  In the centre is a fine long room for the use of the ladies and for other college purposes.
          The hall of the Union Philosophical Society is designated as the "A. Herr Smith Memorial Hall," in memory of the late Hon. a. Herr Smith, formerly a member of the society.
           The hall of the Belles Lettres Literary society is in memory of Miss Eliza E. Smith, sister of the late Hon. A. Herr Smith and the generous donor of the Ten Thousand Dollars already mentioned.  Each of these halls is 53 by 31 feet in area.  The height in the centre is about 18 feet.
            Around each of the halls are three platforms and in the centre is a space in the form of a parallelogram 19 by 29 feet, in which are to be placed tables for the use of debaters, while the chairs of the President and Secretaries are placed on elevated platforms at the west end of each hall.  Each hall can accommodate at least three hundred persons.  It is probable that there is not another college in the country possessed of finer accommodations for the housing of its literary societies.
           In two weeks they will be ready for furnishing and occupancy.  The members of the societies are eager to move from the cramped, insufficient rooms in which for so many years they have been quartered.  The need for change is urgent.
           After careful estimate, it is found that not less than $1,200 will be required for carpeting, seating and properly furnishing these elegant and commodious rooms.  This is a sum of course entirely beyond the ability of the undergraduate members of the societies, many of whom are dependent upon their own resources for the prosecution of their college work.
            After consultation, it has been decided in joint committee together with the President, to lay the matter before the generous alumni of the college, with urgent request to each one to contribute as his ability will allow, toward the raising of the sum needed for equipping the halls and for the payment of the small amount yet due on the original cost of the structure.
             If the response shall be sufficiently prompt and generous, during the coming Commencement week, the halls, together with the remaining portions of the structure, will be formally and appropriately dedicated to the ends for which they were designed.  To accomplish this result, all debt in any form upon any portion of the building must first be provided for.
             Among the alumni living are many hundreds who in other days were members of ne or the other of these time honored and most useful organizations, while there are hundred more who, if not once members, have perfect knowledge of the great part played by these Societies in the life of the College.
              To these, therefore, we make our urgent appeal, confident that among the sturdy and successful sons of Dickinson are hundreds who will promptly and generously respond.
               The cut on the first page of this communication will convey a tolerably fair idea of the general contour of the building and locations of the halls, although it does not give adequate representation of the real beauty and convenience of the structure.
               Parties contributing can, if they  prefer, indicate on the enclosed subscription card, the particular hall towards whose equipment their subscriptions are to go, in which case their wishes will be be carefully carried out.  Undesignated subscriptions will be placed in a general equipment fund, the proceeds of which will be equally divided between the societies.
               The need for prompt action is very great.  There is no time to lose.  Subscriptions may be in cash or payable on or before June 1st, 1897.  Some can give more than others but all can give something.
               We need, however, a number of large subscriptions, some of $100 each, others of $50, $25, and others ranging rom $25 to $10, $5 and to $1.
               Our hope, dear sir, is that you as an honored alumnus will be among the first to respond.
               If, for any reason, you shall find yourself unable to contribute, let us have  word from you, acknowledging reception of this note.
               We desire also to express the hope that you will arrange to visit the college on the occasion of the forthcoming Commencement, at which we hope to be able to dedicate the building and halls with appropriate services.
               N. B. --address all communications and make all checks payable to the President of the College, Dr. George Edward Reed, who for convenience will act as Treasurer of the Equipment Fund.

                                                                   Fraternally Yours:---
                                                                                                    GEORGE EDWARD REED,
                                                                                                                             President of the College.

                                                                                                   EUGENE E. GILL,
                                                                                                   WILLIAM A. JORDAN
                                                                                                   HARRY I. HUBER,
                                                                                                          Committee representing U.P. Society

                                                                                                   ISAAC T. PARKS
                                                                                                   JOSEPH McKEEHAN,
                                                                                                   CHARLES S. DAVIDSON,
                                                                                                          Committee representing B.L. Society9