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Full text of "Ezekiel Wilson Mundy; a book of loving remembrance"

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BCIIKELIY 

LIBRARY 




^^uX'OfMu^ 



Ezekiel Wilson Mundy 




A Book of Loving Remembrance 



By 

His Friends 



** Wbo has not leaniod, in boon of faith, 
The truth to floth and aonae unlmovB; 
That Life is ever lord of Death, 

And LoTe can nerer loae ita own." 



S)rracu8e Public Library 

1917 




LIBRARY 
SCHOOL 



y 



6If 



04^^ 




THE CONTRIBUTORS 

The authors of this collection of tributes and 

reminiscences are 

Salem Hyde, a member of the Board of Trustees 
of the Library since 1905. 

Rev. Charles Edward Smith, D.D., of Pre- 
donia, a classmate of Dr. Mundy at the 
University of Rochester, and his successor 
in the pastorate of the First Baptist Church 
in Syracuse in 1875. 

Rev. William H. Casey, late of Union Springs, 
where he was for many years, and until his 
death, January 17, 1917, rector of Grace 
Episcopal Church. He was a graduate of 
Trinity College, Cambridge. 

Rev. C. J. Shrimpton of Athol, Mass. He 
and Ezekiel Mundy were boys together in 
Newark, New Jersey. 

Rush Rhees, D.D., LL.D., President of the 
University of Rochester, at whose hands Dr. 
Mundy received the degree of Doctor of 
Literature in 1910. 

Paul M. Paine, Librarian of the Syracuse 
Public Library. 

3 



3(1 A-^^^tcl^ 



CONTENTS 

PAGB 

The Contributors .... 3 

The Mundy Family .... 9 

EzEEiEL Mundy as a Boy, by C. /. Shrimp- 
ton . • .11 

Prom a Classmate, by Charles Edward 
Smith ...... 15 

Personal Recollections, hy William H. 

Casey . -19 

Dr. Mundy and his Alma Mater, by 
Rush Rhees ..... 30 

Dr. Mundy as a Librarian, by SaUm 
Hyde ...... 31 

The Life Immortal, by William H. Casey 4 1 

Resolutions of the Trustees of the 
Syracuse Public Library 49 

CoHCLVSio^, Paul M. Paine, 52 



Ezekiel Wilson Mundy 



10 THE MUNDY FAMILY 

Lotiise Matilda, bom 1837 ; Caroline Virginia, 
bom 1842, and Ezekiel Wilson, the second 
eldest, who was bom June 16, 1833, in a tenant 
house on the farm of his grandfather Ezekiel. 

For much of the good influence which 
characterized Ezekiel W. Mundy's early days 
he always credited the Oak Tree School 
House and its teacher, Bethune Dunkin. He 
was a remarkable school teacher, the nephew 
of Sir William Dunkin, Lord Chief Justice 
of India. The father of Bethune was taken 
prisoner by the Yankees during the Revolution 
and was brought to Boston where he married 
the daughter of a first-dass Boston family. 
Their son, Bethune, taught school near Metu- 
chen for fifty years. 

Ezekiel W. Mundy married Emily Kendall, 
January 15, 1873. She is the daughter of 
the late Horace and Emily King Kendall. 



EZEKIEL MUNDY AS A BOY 

REV. C. J. SHRIMPTON 

My friendship with Mr. Mundy dates 
from the time we were boys seventeen or 
eighteen years of age. We were first brought 
together as members of the same church in 
Newark, N. J. 

Mundy was in the habit of writing a list 
of the boys who entered the church, and hand- 
ing a copy to the last recruit, with his name 
at the bottom of the list. This was done 
without his being requested to do it, but sim- 
ply in obedience to the principle of order 
which governed his whole life. I remember 
distinctly that when he handed me the list 
with my name appended, there were between 
twenty and thirty names enrolled. 

There were duties that fell to each one of us 

in the conduct of the church's work, and by 

consulting the lists Mundy had given us, 

we knew when each one's turn came to serve. 

The pastor of the church of which we 

II 



12 EZEKIEL MUNDY AS A BOY 

were members was one of the most remark- 
able men I have ever known. He had a 
most uncommon ability in securing the 
attention and confidence of young people. 
As Mtmdy once said of him, "He knew how 
a boy felt." This explains the gathering 
around him of such a large circle of young 
people, for there were as many girls as there 
were boys. 

The intimacy thus formed between Mr. 
Mimdy and me has not only lasted through 
this long period but has steadily grown in 
depth and affection. With more or less 
regularity we have visited each other and 
maintained a constant correspondence. 

When we reached manhood we both 
determined to enter the Christian ministry. 
He went to Rochester and took a full college 
course in the University in that city. I have 
heard it said repeatedly that he was one 
of the best scholars ever graduated from 
Rochester University. 

His acquaintance with literature was un- 
commonly wide and accurate, and though he 
made not the least boast or even allusion to 
his attainments, no one could be in his com- 
pany for any length of time without learning 
how well-stored his mind was. 



EZEKIEL MUNDY AS A BOY 13 

It was inevitable that abilities of so high 
an order should be suitably recx)gnized and 
the degree of Doctor of Literature was 
conferred upon him, both by Alma Mater 
and also by Syracuse University. More 
than once he visited Europe, and few men 
could derive the profit that he did from the 
spectacle of the older civiUzations. 

And this brings me to think of his longest 
task in life. If he had had his eye upon the 
position of librarian, he could not have 
guided his course with clearer purpose to that 
important task. 

He was gifted with a remarkably even tem- 
per. In all the long period of our close inti- 
macy I never saw him irritated. With a quiet 
and firm mind he held to his own views with- 
out arousing opposition, and thus he was 
ready to come into contact with all sorts and 
conditions of people as the head of an impor* 
tant public institution. 

From the very outset of his connection with 
the Library, when it was in the High School 
building, his culture and his judgment made 
themselves felt. All the people of Syracuse 
know with what a firm and competent and 
gracious hand he guided the growth and 
progress and efficiency of the Public Library. 



14 EZEKIEL MUNDY AS A BOY 

But my mind does not rest upon the great 
public utility of Dr. Mtmdy's life so much as 
because he was my dearest and most faithful 
and intimate friend. 

The world is poorer since he left. I miss 
his cahn, clear mind, his steady, quiet judg- 
ment upon all the many occasions upon which 
I was wont to consult him. 



PROM A CLASSMATE 

REV. CHARLES EDWARD SMITH 

My acquaintance with Dr. Mtindy began 
in September, 1856, when we both entered 
college as freshmen in the University of 
Rochester. Looking my class over for an 
agreeable room-mate I decided that Ezekiel 
Wilson Mundy was the most attractive man. 
He accepted my proposal and we lived to- 
gether for two years, when an advantageous 
offer to enable me to earn my expenses took 
me to another home. Still we were together 
parts of almost every day; we belonged to 
the same Greek letter fraternity, and we con- 
tinued in the most intimate relations till 
the end of our theological course five years 
later. 

When we graduated and he began his life- 
work in Syracuse as pastor of the First Bap- 
tist church, I settled elsewhere, but was 
frequently in Syracuse, and in 1875 succeeded 
him as pastor of the same church, and for 

15 



i6 FROM A CLASSMATE 

ten years more we were residents of the same 
dty, and in frequent and happy association 
with each other. Then our ways parted 
again, but not to prevent occasional meetings, 
sometimes extended to weeks, and a life- 
long correspondence, the last letter from him 
reaching me not a great while before his 
death. No two brothers could have been 
more fondly attached to each other, nor could 
have endeavored to keep in touch with each 
other more solicitously than we have done. 
It will be seen that I have had every needed 
opportunity to know, understand, and appre- 
ciate Dr. Mundy, and it is a pleasure for so 
old a friend to pay tribute to his worth. 
We have loved each other in spite of great 
differences of temperament, mental bias, and 
belief. As students we were almost never 
both on the same side of any question; of 
course I disapproved his change of sentiment 
when he organized his Independent Church, 
and it was at almost our last interview that 
he said, with tears in his eyes, that he did 
not want to hurt my feelings by escpressing 
his disagreement with me on some religious 
questions. He was radical and I was conser- 
vative; novelties and difficulties interested 
him, while I clung to settled opinions and old 



PROM A CLASSMATE 17 

truths; but great as were our differences and 
tendencies we loved and appreciated each 
other highly. 

The reason, at least on my side, is not far 
to seek. I had the highest respect for his 
intellectual ability, as indeed all who have 
known him well must have had. As a stu- 
dent he commanded the respect of his fellow- 
students at every recitation, and the faculty 
regarded him as one of the most brilliant 
men of his class. No professor ever said an 
tmcomplimentary word to him but once, 
and then Mundy left the room, and the pro- 
fessor made the amende honorable by apologiz- 
ing. His culture, acquaintance with books, 
and literary ability are attested by his long 
and great success as a librarian. 

But the great charm of his character and 
that which has given him his greatest influence 
over others, was his delightful social qualities. 
He was the most lovable of men. In college 
there was no man who drew friends to himself 
and was always met with pleasure and hailed 
as a good fellow like * ' Zeke Mundy. ' ' I doubt 
if there is one whose hold upon college friend- 
ships has been so strong as his. I was with 
him once when he was building the edifice 
for the Independent Church, and a lady 



i8 PROM A CLASSMATE 

said to me, "We are building a new church to 
worship Mr. Mundy in. " I did not take her 
words literally, but they did truly express the 
large part which his social attractiveness 
had in that enterprise. 

For a number of years we have always 
gone to college commencements together, as 
neither of us wanted to face the crowd of 
strangers alone. I was with him when he 
received his degree of Doctor of Literature 
at Rochester, and as he stood among the 
Dons with his cap and gown, I thought that 
none of them deserved the distinction more 
than he. It was an honor which Syracuse 
had paid him some time before, but which 
scholars had awarded him much earlier. We 
who knew him well will always think of him 
as ''a gentleman and a scholar," but the 
best thing still in our hearts to recall is that 
'*to know him was to love him. " 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF AN 

OLD FRIEND 

REV. WILLIAM H. CASEY 

Everyone who knew Ezekiel Mundy for as 
many years as I have done and with anything 
like the same intimacy, must feel with me 
that something has gone out of our lives 
which cannot fail to make them henceforth 
sensibly and visibly poorer than they were: 
and probably all of us have asked ourselves 
what is the reason of this tmmistakable im- 
poverishment. A partial explanation of it may 
be f otmd in our profound belief that through 
and through Ezekiel Mundy was a gentle- 
man; not such a gentleman as is described 
by Aristotle, but such an one as is partially 
portrayed in the 15th Psalm which, in order 
to make my meaning clear, I here cite with- 
out any abbreviation or apology : 

Lord, who shall sojourn in thy holy tab- 
ernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh 

19 



20 PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 

righteously. And' epeaketh truth in his 
heart. He that slandereth not with his 
tongue. Nor doeth evil to his friend. Nor 
taJceth up a reproach against his neighbour. 
In whose eyes a reprobate is despised; But he 
honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that 
sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 
He that putteth not out his money to usury. 
Nor taJceth reward against the innocent. 
He that doeth these things shall never be 
moved. 

But even this definition, good as it is, is in- 
complete and needs, when we are thinking 
of Ezekiel Mundy, to be supplemented by 
the following citation from St. Paul's letter 
to his friends in Corinth. A gentleman, we 
are there given to understand, is a man who 
" stiff ereth long and is kind; who envieth not; 
who doth not vaunt himself, and is not 
puffed up; who doth not behave himself 
unseemly, who seeketh not his own, thinketh 
no evil ; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth 
in the truth ; beareth all things ; believeth all 
things, hopeth all things, endureth all 
things." Such an one I verily believe 
Ezekiel Mtmdy to have been; and I venture 
to think that among those who knew him well 
there cannot be one man, no, nor one woman 
either, who will not say, "Here, indeed, is 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 21 

a veritable picture of the friend whom I have 
loved and lost awhile." 

But in all this I am wandering far beyond 
the definition of his position as a churchman. 
That I shall be able to do this to the satis- 
faction of those whose relations with him were 
almost wholly ecclesiastical I have not the 
slightest expectation, if for no other reason, 
than for this one; because it is impossible to 
paint a man who resolutely refuses to sit for 
his picture. It is scarcdy necessary to say 
that he was a man of more than commonly 
deep religious principle, or that his religion 
was of that simple practical kind which St. 
James describes in the first chapter of his 
Epistle, — a religion as little differentiated by 
the mysticism which has often been attri- 
buted to him as the Ten Commandments or 
the Sermon on the Motmt. 

With regard to churchmanship, he used to 
say that he was "a very weak brother," which 
in my judgment he certainly was not ; and in 
order to give to this point-blank denial weight 
which it could not otherwise possess, I may 
perhaps be permitted to say what would other- 
wise be a gross impertinence, namely, that I 
am to the Great Manor bom and was taught 
what the term ' ' churchmanship ' ' really means 



22 PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 

by my old tutors, Harold Brown, Joseph 
Barbour Lightfoot, and Samuel Wilberforce. 
No, — ^he was "a weak brother" only in his 
own eyes and in those of his clerical brethren 
who until the day before yesterday were 
clergymen in some one or other of the Pro- 
testant churches, and had not yet learned to 
see the church of their adoption in dry light 
and true perspective. It is true that he some- 
times described himself as a Low Church- 
man, but to that statement also, even though 
it came from himself, I must demur, unless 
it be so illegitimately stretched as to include 
Stanley, Maurice, and Jowett, in which case 
some other term should be employed. 

Towards the cult of advanced Ritualism, 
his attitude was one of amiable stand-aloof- 
ness not unmixed with wonderment. To 
him, as to Pusey, religion was far too personal 
a thing to need any of the adjuncts of ejctemal 
beauty. His life was simplicity itself, and his 
personal habits of such a nature that he need- 
ed no change in externals to symbolize the 
change which he would like to have seen 
in the dogmatic teaching of the Church. His 
warfare was not of this world; if he could 
get men to take his view of the Church, he was 
content; and he left it to others to fight 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 23 

for the symbolic recognition of their views, 
well knowing that the symbols themselves 
were worthless so long as the beliefs were 
wanting. In order to make any mis-trans- 
lation of these words impossible, I deem it 
nothing less than fair to state that within my 
knowledge and rather less than two years 
ago in the course of a letter addressed to a 
yomig priest of much more definitely marked 
churchmanship than his own, he said, "There 
are so many of your sort who work hard 
and say nothing about it, and there are so 
many of my sort who talk a great deal and 
do not work at all, that I have somewhat 
changed my notions on these matters": 
meaning thereby, as he afterwards told me, 
that for their work's sake he would, as far 
as possible, close his eyes to practices which 
he did not approve. 

The only party in the Church — ^if "party" 
be not far too large a term by which to de- 
scribe less than one per cent, of the clergy — 
whom he thoroughly disliked is made up of 
those whose pliant theology and conjectured 
science are in a state of unceasing flux, who 
believe it to be a sign of liberality at five 
or ten minutes' notice to refit their * 'views'* to 
the latest scientific guess and to bow with 



24 PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 

equal deference to the Lord and to the devil. 
Dabblers and babblers, chatterers and smat- 
terers in a theology of which they know very 
little and a philosophy of which they know 
nothing, he did occasionally treat according 
to their deserts, and when he did it was 
V(B victis. He liked men to be one thing or the 
other, whether they agreed with him or not, 
but those who were neither "hot nor cold" 
he was quite apt — ^to cite the vigorous lan- 
guage of St. John the Aged — "to spue out of 
his mouth." 

Very significant and interesting also was 
the attitude of his mind towards the diffi- 
culties of belief of the present day, and 
particularly towards the "free-handling" of 
Holy Scripture, often attempted with a 
view to meet them. His mind was too 
open and too candid either to ignore difficul- 
ties, or to tie itself rigidly down to the narrow 
conceptions of inspiration and interpretation, 
in which he had been brought up. From 
his youth upwards he had taken a wide 
interest in literature and science, and during 
the later years of his life he had given himself 
very largely to purely metaphysical reading 
and still more largely to metaphysical think- 
ing. Accordingly, both as an inquirer and a 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 25 

teacher, whose guidance was sought by minds 
as inquiring as his own, these questions were 
prominently before him. His view of such 
difficulties was eminently, in the rightful sense 
of the word, a view of faith, deeply conscious 
of the reality of the truths to which God 
had led him in the Word, refusing to give 
them up, because they could not as yet 
explain all other truths really or appar- 
ently discovered by science, but certain that 
all truths must harmonize, and hoping 
that, in degree at least, that harmony 
would manifest itself even here to those 
who would at once search for it and wait 
for it. 

Thus, speaking on the conclusions suggest- 
ed by geological science as to the origin and 
date of man's appearance in the world, and 
their apparent inconsistency with Scripture, 
he has again and again spoken to me very 
much as follows : — 

'* Ly ell's speculations do not seem to me to 
touch the origin of man or the date of his 
first appearance on the earth; but what of 
that? One way or the other? I have very 
little sensitiveness on such subjects; and of 
a disturbing kind none at all. On the con- 
trary, every year as it passes leaves me 



26 PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 

more and more sure that there cannot be 
any real discrepancy between the intimations 
of inspiration and the established facts of 
science, for the one is just as truly the voice of 
God as the other. " 

I remember very clearly that at one of our 
old time clerical meetings and for just such 
an utterance as this he was denounced by a 
young clergyman whose orders were at that 
time less than a year old as "the lineal 
descendant of Bunyan's 'Mr. Facing Both- 
ways.' To this ill-begotten and ill-bom 
sneer, and with flashing eyes Bishop Hunt- 
ington made answer, "Young man! you are 
bearing false witness against your neighbor. 
My dear friend Dr. Mundy — ^and I speak 
whereof I know — ^is as little influenced by 
the strife of tongues as were Shadrach, 
Meshach, and Abed-nego of Nebuchadnez- 
zar's burning fiery furnace. " It will throw a 
kindly side-light on my dear friend's char- 
acter if I record that after this flaying process 
had, in his judgment, lasted long enough, 
he was heard to say sotto voce^ "Have you 
forgotten, Bishop, that the gentleman 
who is sitting next to you is an officer of the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals?" 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 27 

Of his work as a parish priest I know but 
little, and experimentally nothing at all. 

But I do know at first hand what many 
of his people thought and said about him. All 
of them loved him. All of them reverenced 
him. All of them spoke of him as a shepherd 
who cared for the sheep, not merely as a 
flock, but one by one. One of them — a 
shrewd old Yorkshireman but little differenti- 
ated by his residence in this cotmtry — said 
of him '' 'e wor most as good as t'auld vicar of 
Leeds." (The great Dr. Hook.) And as 
I happen to know, that is a good deal for a 
Yorkshireman to say, whether he be recon- 
structed or not. And a young Canadian, 
once a member of his congregation and after- 
wards for many years the honored warden of 
the church with which I have been so long 
associated has often told me in detail of 
many men, and women too, whom "Good 
Old Mundy," as he used to call him, had 
rescued from the land of the harlot and the 
swine. 

What his friends and contemporaries — 
I am now thinking of that sadly dwindling 
band of men who have been affectionately 
described as the ''Grand Old Men of Syra- 
cuse" — thought of him they will probably say 



28 PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 

for themselves, but here is what one of them, 
no longer with us, but the peer of the best of 
them, has actually said about him in a letter 
addressed to myself, ''There is something in 
that man, Mimdy, — call it by whatever 
name you please — ^which compels reverence 
and love. I doubt if any better name can be 
found for it than 'The grace of Our Lord 
Jesus Christ. ' But describe it how you will, 
it is an animating influence for good — an 
influence against which men can't harden 
themselves, because they are not conscious 
of it. It comes on them like the early dews 
of morning, or the fragrance of incense com- 
ing they know not whence, and steals on their 
receptive faculties before they have time or 
notice to resent its interference." To the 
people of Syracuse it is hardly necessary to 
say that this letter came from the pen of 
Bishop Huntington. 

Of the more tender graces of this good 
man's character, this is not the place to speak. 
Such details belong to his family, and not to 
the world. But surely there can be no im- 
propriety in recording the fact — the beauti- 
fully pregnant fact — that they who have 
never seen him in his own home have never 
seen him at his best. 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 29 

Of his moral worth it must suffice to say 
that I always trusted him and never found 
him wanting. 

"A strong soul! By what shore 
Tarriest thou now? For that force, 
Surely, has not been left vain ! 
Somewhere, surely, afar. 
In the sounding labour-house vast 
Of being, is practised that strength, 
Zealous, beneficent, firm." 



DR. MUNDY AND HIS ALMA MATER 

DR. RUSH RHEES 

Doctor Ezekiel Wilson Mundy, who was 
graduated from the University of Rochester 
in i860, and received its honorary degree, 
Doctor of Literature, in 1910, was one of 
the gentlest spirits I have ever known. His 
gentleness was of the spirit, for it was coupled 
with positiveness of conviction and courte- 
ous loyalty to that conviction. He was 
therefore a man of quiet but subtly powerful 
influence, and of tenaciously loyal friendship. 
The former all felt who knew him. The latter 
became a blessing to all who shared its privi- 
leges. 

Repeatedly since his graduation from 
college his Alma Mater had evidence of that 
loyalty. Repeatedly successive academic gen- 
erations of students, who had the opportunity 
to know him, experienced the influence of his 
strong character. 

He was one whom his Alma Mater de- 
Ughted to honor, and whose death leaves her 
poorer in all but memories. 

30 



DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 

SALEM HYDE 

It is with much pleasure that I respond to 
the request to contribute something to the 
printed memorial being prepared to com- 
memorate the life and work of our loved 
Mr. Mundy, as Citizen and Librarian. I 
only wish that what I can say might be more 
worthy of the subject and the setting than 
anything I can hope to prepare. 

For nearly if not quite half a century it has 
been my privilege to know Mr. Mundy and for 
the greater part of that time to count him as 
one of my personal friends. This was indeed a 
rare privilege, for he was a rare man, an exceed- 
ingly modest man yet with a vast amount 
of reserve power ready for all emergencies. 
There was a quietness, a gentleness — ^what ' 
Matthew Arnold called '*a sweet reason- 
ableness'* — about him that drew all acquaint- 
ances in loving friendliness toward him and 
made him indeed the "friend and helper 

31 



32 DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 

of those who would live in the Spirit." He 
loved his friends and it was impossible not to 
love him. One of the old philosophers, I 
think it was Seneca, gave this advice, " Let 
us choose some good man and keep him 
always before our eyes that we may live as if 
he watched us and do everything as if he 
saw." To anyone desiring to live the good 
life he could not have made a better choice for 
such assistance than Mr. Mundy. 

Early in his married life and in mine we 
became neighbors and friends. He was 
then the minister of the Independent Church 
which later became the Lutheran — ^located on 
South Salina Street. I was not a member 
of his church but occasionally went to hear 
his sermons. I loved his quiet manner, 
his graceful elocution, his thoughtful and 
scholarly discourse, and profited greatly by 
them. Mr. Mundy's sermons, as I remember 
them, were never dogmatic or doctrinal, none 
of the theological frightfulness so commonly 
preached in those days, nothing of the sen- 
sational. There were Art and Poetry and 
Science, a simple philosophy of good living, a 
feeling after the truth if haply it might be 
fotmd. There was clearness of vision, logical 
sureness in his reasoning, firmness in con- 



DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 33 

viction, the real, true culture that lives 
by appreciations of what is best, by sym- 
pathies and admirations, not by disUkes 
and disdains, ever preserving the higher, 
healthier tone and Uving on the higher levels 
of power — a gospel of love, truth, beauty, 
God. Love and service were the keynotes. 
You could not help feeling that his own 
religion was expressed more by his life than 
by his words; he was both the ideaUst and the 
practical man. As has been said of another 
good man of his type, "he kept about him 
the atmosphere of the hills," and in Mr. 
Mundy's case he was always ready to come 
down into the lowliest surroundings if there- 
by he could serve his fellowmen. 

Later in life he came to love the beautiful 
forms of religion and ritual as used in the 
Episcopal Church to which he attached him- 
self and in which he found comfort and peace. 
To that Church he consecrated many years 
of his active life, rendering highly appreciated 
service and gathering to himself friends to 
whom he was ever loyal and whose loyalty to 
him were the highly prized treasures of his 
later and decUning years. 

Intellectually Mr. Mundy was character- 
ized by breadth of vision and toleration of 



34 DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 

thought. What a man thought out for him- 
self straightly and honestly was to him 
deserving of the highest respect. While him- 
self loving the beautiful forms of the Church 
— ^its articles of faith, its rites, its organi- 
zation — ^the main thing was to fill them with 
the right spirit. To him Christ was in every 
life which served man in the Spirit of love 
and self-sacrifice — no matter what the philo- 
sophy, no matter what the creed or church 
afBliation, "A man's a man for a' that" — 
goodness is goodness, purity is purity, love is 
love wherever manifested. 

Now it usually happens that a man devoted 
to these lofty ideals, devoted to literature, a 
student of philosophy, a dreamer of beauti- 
ful dreams, religious in the deepest sense, 
falls far short of accomplishment when under- 
taking to assume in any large way the re- 
sponsibility of handling important business 
affairs. Mr. Mundy became the head of our 
Syracuse Public Library when it was a very 
small affair housed in a small back room in 
our old City Hall — ^that picturesque little 
building with a grove of stately trees in front 
which should have been left as one of the too 
few montmients remaining to speak of the 
early civic life of otir City. 



DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 35 

From that small begimiing with a collec- 
tion of a few seedy volumes and a circulation 
of most limited range he, with patient fidelity 
to his task, organized and built up the vast 
collection of worthy books now housed in our 
noble Public Library and distributing its 
nearly half million volumes annually. This 
was the successful construction of a large 
business enterprise organized into many 
departments with competent heads and many 
subordinates. It involved the selection and 
purchase of many thousands of books annu- 
ally, a close censorship lest unworthy or un- 
clean literature fotmd its way to the shelves, 
a careful and tactful discipline to be 
maintained over the staff of workers, a con- 
stant watchfulness over the physical property* 
— care, repairs, additions, furnishing, adjust- 
ment of wages and what not. 

Now, I think the patrons of the library 
and my associates on the Board will bear me 
out in the assertion that in none of these 
partictdars did Mr. Mundy fail — while over 
it all, through it all, and in it all there was the 
never-failing suggestion in manner, in speech, 
and gesture of the quiet gentle scholar, the 
superb. Christian gentleman. I never saw 
an angry or contemptuous look on his face. 



36 DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 

Occasionally when some unusual provocation 
stirred others to wrath and testy expression, a 
puzzled look would come over his face as 
much as to say, *'My dear, good man how 
could you do or say such a thing? " And 
yet there was such a strong, stem fiber of 
determined will running through his char- 
acter that when he knew he was right, and 
he generally was right, enabled him in the 
gentlest and most winning way to bring about 
the results he aimed at. 

And so this gentle, strong fibered soul 
worked on, and our great library is the pro- 
duct of his brain and heart. His spirit breathes 
through every door and window of the mass- 
ive building, speaks from every bookshelf, 
from the deportment of every member of the 
Staflf and every employee. All will tell you 
that they loved him and that they couldn't 
help it. Our city reaped the harvest of this 

• 

man's work. The salary was meager, the 
material benefits to himself slight. Had 
these generous gifts of this "patient continu- 
ance in well-doing" been directed toward 
business or professional enterprise the re- 
wards could not have been other than great. 
He has told me of opportunities that had been 
almost forced upon him whereby he could 



DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 37 

have shared in rich material rewards and 
scarcely could have failed to build up a 
substantial fortune; "I did not fed I had a 
right to do it, " he said, " It seemed to me that 
my work lay in other directions — and yet, 
and yet" he said '*I have my doubts now — 
on my family's account." Thus inspirit 
he was another Louis Agassiz — ^he did not 
*'have time to make money" yet he was a 
living, breathing, vital man in every sense of 
the word — in no sense a colorless character. 
Tennyson said of the Prince Consort that " he 
wore the white flower of a blameless life " ; 
so did our gentle hero friend who was himself 
worthy of any Tennysonian panegyric that 
could be written. Mr. Mundy had great 
aversion to all personal publicity although 
the minutest revelation of the details of his 
life could have no other effect than to raise 
him still higher in the estimation of the 
public. 

At the same time he was possessed of a 
force of character and a frankness of speech 
which, as has been said of a great poet he 
admired, ''saved him from the curse of being 
taken for that most disagreeable of beings, a 
so-called saint." Mr. Mundy' s love for the 
highest literature, his bent towards con- 



38 DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 

templation and reflection, his proficiency in 
learning, his firm grasp on the profoundest 
philosophies, his peculiar faculty or gift 
of getting hold of the precious kernel of a 
truth or system and imparting such knowl- 
edge in clear, simple language to others — 
through writing or in conversation, was one 
of his most marked mental characteristics 
and made him the chosen companion of many 
wise and learned men. 

He was at home with the great literatures 
of the world and was able at sight to dis- 
tinguish what was really worthy from the 
ephemeral trash, the silly nonsense and taint- 
ed morality, now characterizing so much of 
our popular fiction and popular periodical 
literature, if literature it may be called — and 
to keep them out of the library. Mr. Mundy 
loved books and loved to talk about books 
and to lend such as especially appealed to 
him, to his friends. 

One of the special delights of my associa- 
tion with him was now and then to look 
up from my desk, see him come into my 
office with a book under his arm which had 
pleased him and which pleasure he wished 
me to share by leaving the book with 
me. 



DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 39 

Everything really artistic and beautiful 
appealed to him — ^poetry, music, pictures, 
art in pottery especially, and in his younger 
days he was a diligent and discriminating 
collector of choice specimens from all the 
great manufacturers. My earliest visits to 
his home were made interesting by his 
enthusiasm over this collection and the evi- 
dent pleasure he had in showing and de- 
scribing them to his friends — a taste to 
which doubtless may be traced the strik- 
ingly beautiful cameo and figure modeling 
and coloring brought to such perfection, 
and to such world-wide recognition, in the 
charmingly artistic work of his daughter. 
Miss Mundy. 

I must bring this to a close although I do 
not seem to have said one half that I would 
like to say or that it is in my heart to say. I 
may perhaps add that during the more than 
half century during which I have made my 
home in Syracuse there have been many able 
men, strong men, men of fine character and 
commanding influence among her citizens, 
yet in my estimation there has perhaps 
been no man who has stolen so quietly and 
sweetly and with recognized benefit into 
the affections of so many of our citizens 



40 DR. MUNDY AS LIBRARIAN 

and stayed there permanently as has Mr. 
Mundy. 

To have been numbered amongst his per- 
sonal friends, I esteem as one of the greatest 
privileges of my life. 



THE LIFE IMMORTAL 

(address by rev. WILLIAM U. CASEY AT THE 
FUNERAL OF DR. MUNDY) 

You and I, dear friends and fellow-motim- 
ers, are once more face-to-face with the great 
enigma. 

Are we in the presence of a finished drama? 
If we are, then is there no escape from the 
horrible alternative, — the Supreme Power in 
the Universe is not good, and no longer 
deserves our worship. Nay then — ^to put it 
nakedly — deserves from us nothing but pity 
or execration — ^pity, if this is the best world 
He could make, — execration if it is not ; He is 
unjust if He will not, and impotent if He 
cannot satisfy the righteous longings which 
He himself has implanted in all His children. 

Do I tmderstand the tremendous signifi- 
cance of these words? Yes, — I do. But what 
would you say of a father who instilled into 
his child's heart desires which he knew could 
not be realized, — ^who trained him to expect 

41 



42 THE LIFE IMMORTAL 

something which he did not mean to give 
him? Who gave him such false impressions 
of his future prospects and position that 
when he awoke from his delusions he would 
be driven to despair? And how is it possible 
for you to think that an infinite and omni- 
potent Creator is under less obligation than a 
weak and finite man? Do you not believe, — 
do you not know that the higher you rise in 
the scale of being the greater grows the sphere 
of obligation? Has He who made us, or has 
He not, by a very fact of creation laid Him- 
self under an obligation to deal kindly and 
justly with the beings He has made? Does 
not the fact of creation carry with it an 
infinite burden of responsibility? Have we 
not a right to expect from Him something 
better than dust and ashes, and the total 
loss of love and personality? or, at the very 
least, the chance, if we choose to avail our- 
selves of it, of something better? And is it 
giving us something better when we have 
such a passionate longing for immortality, if 
not for ourselves, at any rate for others, to 
answer it with annihilation? Here is a ques- 
tion which those who deny, or even doubt 
the continuity and never-ending development 
of our personal life, must answer somehow. 



THE LIFE IMMORTAL 43 

This is an inquiry which cuts too deep to be 
relegated to the region of notes and queries. 
And I commend it to your most serious 
thinking. 

Yes, I know it is sometimes said that to 
an infinite intellect everything would appear 
quite different from what we, in our finitude, 
can imagine. But there are many things 
which a finite mind can know with infinite 
certainty. It does not need infinite wisdom 
to know that two parallel straight lines 
cannot enclose a space, — nor does it require 
infinite wisdom to know that the glory of the 
Creator is inevitably bound up with the 
glory of His creatures. If they are failures. 
He has failed. If this world is a system 
complete in itself, — ^if this life is not to be 
followed by another, — ^if hopes are bom only 
to be blighted, yearnings roused only to be 
crushed, beings created only to be destroyed ; 
if our most passionate desires are doomed 
to everlasting disappointment, if, after think- 
ing ourselves endowed with the power of an 
endless life we are to die out like the flame 
of a candle, then, so long as any remem- 
brance of us lingers in the universe, we shall 
be nothing but a reproach to our Maker, and 
a witness to the fact that whatever else He 



44 THE LIFE IMMORTAL 

may be He is no God. What would prove 
impotence in a creature cannot prove power 
in a Creator; what would bring contempt 
upon the finite cannot bring honor to the 
Infinite; what in us would be imutterable dis- 
grace cannot in Him be glory. If there be no 
immortality, no development for us, limited 
only by that which must forever make it 
impossible for the finite to become infinite, 
what is this but to say that the crowning 
achievement of the Deity is to have created 
an infinite number of abortions! To what 
does all this point? To this — and nothing 
less than this, that the alternatives before us 
are immortality or atheism, by which I mean 
to-day an utter denial of the goodness of 
God. 

Surely we shall place this foremost among 
the lessons of to-day that the life of EzekLel 
Mundy, cut short at a moment when — save 
for certain physical infirmities, it seemed to 
be ever growing nearer to its greatest useful- 
ness, must still be growing and expanding, 
still learning and still loving, though no 
longer within our ken. Must there not be 
somewhere out of sight a more than compen- 
sating existence, a home of many mansions 
in which the faculties which were so ham- 



THE LIFE IMMORTAL 45 

pered here shall find full scope and a never- 
ending progress to perfection? Do we not 
all possess within us powers and capacities 
immeasurably beyond the necessities of any 
merely transitory life? And was not this 
more true of him than it is of most of us? 
And do not these stir within us yearnings 
irrepressible, longings unutterable, and a 
curiosity unsatisfied and insatiable by aught 
we see? Are these appetites, and passions, 
and affections, as some would have us believe, 
nothing but the delusive inheritance from our 
savage forefathers? 

Not so. They are the indication of 
something within us akin to something im- 
measurably beyond us, — tokens of things 
attainable, yet not hitherto attained, — signs 
of a potential fellowship with spirits nobler 
and more glorious than our own, — ^they are 
the title-deeds of our prestunptive heirship 
to some brighter world than this. 

The greater the spirit, the tenderer the 
conscience, the more loving the life, the 
stronger is the argimient from its very 
discomfiture and defeat here for its immor- 
tality in a state of which sight and sense give 
no evidence, but which shaU forever grow 
in knowledge, and forever grow in love, 



46 THE LIFE IMMORTAL 

• 

where Anna shall meet her husband, David 
his friend, and Rachel her children, and 
being nearer there to the source of love shall 
love them more than they ever did. 

If God be God who shall doubt, save 
perhaps in some morbid moment, that what 
has been well-begun here will not be for- 
ever interrupted, — ^that somewhere there is a 
state where what has been ill-done here can 
be atoned, — that affection once kindled 
never need cease, — ^that sin committed can 
be wiped out, — ^that the good conceived can 
be achieved, — that the good seed sown in life 
shall some day bloom and fructify in a more 
congenial day, — ^that all that is within us 
which is good and happy yet vainly struggling 
here shall be free to act hereafter, — ^that 
families kept asunder by a crowd of circum- 
stances forever pushing them apart, and for- 
ever leaving them with empty arms, will 
somewhere come together! Is such a belief 
the mere baseless amusement of a man who 
likes to make creeds of his aspirations? Is 
this a mere phantasmagoria of love? a faia 
morgana and nothing more? No — a thou- 
sand times. No. If God be good it is a logi- 
cal necessity. 

Surely no waste could be more wanton, and 



THE LIFE IMMORTAL 47 

therefore under a God of wisdom and judg- 
ment more inconceivable than that would 
be if the good that is in us should forever 
perish. Can anyone capable of thinking 
seriously believe in such a hideous climax of 
immorality as that? Then have we before 
us, as the ultimate result, htunan life at its 
best without an adequate motive, affections 
without an object to satisfy them, hopes of 
inmiortality never to be realized, aspira- 
tions after God and godliness never to be 
attained, and, as the outcome of it all the 
undisputed kingdom of confusion and de- 
spair! This thing cannot be, as the Lord 
liveth, it cannot be. If morality have any 
serious basis, if its Teachings be not the idle 
and delusive dreams of minds which cannot 
think and hearts which cannot feel, it must 
be that "Our Redeemer liveth" and careth 
for all His children. What does all this 
mean? This, and nothing less, that our 
dear brother is not dead, it is only his poor 
tired body that sleepeth, and that in God's 
good time, 

The veil shall be rent — 

The veil upon nature's face, 
And the dead whom ye loved, ye shall walk 
with. 



48 THE LIFE IMMORTAL 

And speak with the lost. 
The delusion of death shall pass. 

And for this blessed hope, Hallelujah! to 
God the Father, God the Son, and God the 
Holy Ghost! 

Amen! and Amen! 



A TRIBUTE TO EZEKIEL W. MUNDY 
SYRACUSE, June 8, 1916 

The Trustees of the Syracuse Public Li- 
brary desire to express our love and reverence 
for the memory of Ezekiel W. Mundy, 
Librarian Emeritus, whose death has taken 
place to-day. Prom 188 1 until a year ago he 
was in charge of the PubUc Library of this 
city. He brought to this task a cultured 
mind, a never-failing and industrious loyalty 
to his work, a generous wisdom in the adminis- 
tration of his duties. The collection of 
books now belonging to the city for the free 
use of all its people is a monimient to his 
many-sided intellect and to his broad sym- 
pathies. The example which he set as a 
public servant is an inspiration to us who have 
shared his responsibilities and the thought 
of having served with him will remain to us a 
remembrance of an unusual privilege and 
honor. 

While we mourn with the members of Dr. 

4 49 



50 A TRIBUTE 

Mundy's family the loss of this noble and 
unselfish friend we share with them the satis- 
faction of having enjoyed a close relation- 
ship with a public man whose work for this 
commimity, reaching over more than a 
third of a centiuy , has so warmed and stimu- 
lated the cause of popular education, has so 
raised the standard of public service, and has 
so constantly and impartially radiated the 
influence of generous helpfulness that he 
made of his o£Scial position a title of demo- 
cratic nobility. 

Dr. Mundy was a rare man. His life was 
an open book, known and read of all men, and 
every page of it was clean. Ambitions for 
fame and wealth never laid hold on him. He 
was too gentle and sincere to follow the paths 
trodden by self-seeking men. He lived in an 
atmosphere of thought, of sentiment, and of 
the kindly virtues. It is pleasant to re- 
member that so many of his y ears were spent in 
an environment so well suited to his inclina- 
tion and ability. For years he was the head 
of the Syracuse Public Library. To him, 
more than any other, is due the development 
and growth of this great public institution. 
It was his constant thought and care. He 
put his personality into it. It was his ofiF- 



A TRIBUTE 51 

spring. To the citizens of Syracuse of middle 
life the Library suggested Dr. Mundy, as 
thought of him also brings the Library to 
mind. To the Trustees, association with him 
was a constant delight. His quiet and kindly 
spirit smoothed away all troubles and vexa- 
tions. He was loved by all who knew him. 
Rare tact, a very noble philosophy, and a 
fine appreciation of all human things enabled 
him to live above the rough and ttunble of 
life, and ripen with the years into a humble, 
trustful child of God. 

Douglas E. Petit 
F. W. Betts 
Paul M. Paine 

For the Trustees. 



IN CONCLUSION 

The character and ideals of such a man as 
has been described in the forgoing pages are 
unique and for most of us inimitable. One 
to whom has fallen the duty of carrying on for 
a while the work to which he gave most of his 
life can best show loyalty to the tradition 
which Dr. Mundy's life established in the 
Library by striving to supplement and con- 
tinue what he did rather than to imitate 
what he was. 

It is as a public servant that Dr. Mtmdy 
was known to the present generation of 
Syracusans. The quality of his devotion 
to the public service was more than merely 
conscientious. It was a passion with him to 
be useful even in the humblest way in bring- 
ing the light and warmth of good reading to 
the homes of the people of the city. That 
tradition remains a priceless heritage to the 
institution he so deeply loved. 

Syracuse, April, 1917. 

52 





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