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Annual Oration of 1878

Waldo and Miller

Orator: Leonard Wheeler, M.D.

Synopsis of Oration:

Wheeler's first subject, Mr. Daniel Waldo moved to Worcester from Boston during the Revolution. He lived a philanthropic life and is remembered for it even now. He donated $6,000 to the Worcester District Medical Society along with other medical institutions in Boston. Dr. Charles W. Wilder lived in the Worcester region all his life. He practiced medicine, served in several municipal governmental offices, and founded Worcester County Hospital. In his will he left $500 to the Worcester District Medical Society.

Wheeler next relates the history of the Society's library, to which part of Waldo and Wilder's donations went. He proposes that the Society's library share with the general library, the task of buying books on the "allied sciences." "Since neither [the Society's library nor the Public Library] is able, like the Boston Public Library, to cover the whole field [of medical science] ... we should, I think, make the Public Library supplemental [to the Society's library]." Like some of his earlier counterparts, Dr. Wheeler begins with a quick overview of the history of the Society's orations, telling of the sporadic deliverances prior to 1840, and the lack of copies of orations given even since then. Wheeler bemoans the neglect of the Society library by members. With statistics from the past twenty-five years, he illustrates how few members use the library's rich resources. He believes the uninviting condition of the library room, the disorganization of the books and periodicals, and the lack of many periodicals are the reasons behind this disuse. Wheeler suggests making a new, thorough card catalogue and hiring a part-time librarian.

It is clear that Dr. Wheeler values the Society and its library. He wishes to show gratitude to its benefactors by enhancing the institution which they favored.


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