Genesis of Houston Public Library system. Outgrowth of Houston Franklin Debating Society, founded 1837, the first Houston Lyceum was chartered by the State of Texas on March 20, 1848. Its founders were Thomas M. Bagby, Abner Cooke, Peter W. Gray, T. B. J. Hadley, E. A. Palmer, James Walker, and other citizens interested in debating and in a circulating library. Meetings of this group lapsed, and a second Houston Lyceum was organized on May 27, 1854, by Andrew W. Daly, who became president. C. R. Smith was vice president; W. I. Brocket, recording secretary; S. C. West, corresponding secretary; T. H. Conklin, treasurer; and Thomas Pearce, librarian. Aim, similar to that of first Lyceum, was to diffuse knowledge...by a library, by lectures..., and by discussion.... Some $17.40 and 88 volumes were collected by Aug. 25, 1854. A bookcase was bought, and library was lodged in the county courthouse. Lyceum activities were curtailed in Civil War era (1861-65), but library and records were preserved until his death in 1868 by the faithful president, Andrew Daly. The Lyceum was reactivated in 1874. Houston Public Library, inheritor of the Lyceum's books and ideals, is now a major resource center for one-fourth of the population of the State of Texas.
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