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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: a catalogue with indexes

Sir Robert and Victoria's Library

Sir Robert and Victoria's Library

As Minister of Education (in 1887) and as a member for Wellington City (in 1894) Sir Robert proposed legislation to establish a University institution in Wellington. Only when Seddon adopted page vi the idea, and introduced the legislation creating Victoria University College in 1897, was the idea brought to fruition, but the dominant intellectual influence upon Victoria was Stout, not Seddon. In the early years of the College Sir Robert dominated the Council meetings, and directed many of its decisions - not always to the taste of the professors or of the students. One Council decision supported by Sir Robert which was acceptable to the professors and students was the expenditure of funds on the College Library, which made it the largest and best funded library in the four colleges by 1911 and this support was an exemplification of his own extensive reading and book-buying interests. The College Library was established formally in 1907; Sir Robert then gave a few books from his own collections - history, philosophy, literature - and he continued this, with 69 volumes of political economy in early 1919 and then over 300 volumes of history, political theory, popular science, educational theory and similar topics at the time of his retirement in 1926. Some more volumes came in 1929 and then, after his death, a substantial collection of over 1,000 volumes was accessioned over the following decade, covering all topics represented in the pamphlet collection though there is a much greater representation of history, philosophy, literature and archaeology among the books than in the pamphlets, and there were fewer New Zealand works, These donations included runs of periodicals - Mind, the Hibbert Journal, G.J. Holyoake's The Reasoner, the Theological review and the Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of the Social Sciences - as well as the Debates and Journals of the New Zealand Parliament.