Ezra Cornell Bicentennial Celebration Continues at Cornell University Library


Contact: Ellen Marsh
Phone:  (607) 254-4680

Ezra  Cornell Bicentennial Celebration Continues at Cornell University Library
Carol Kammen presents “Ezra Cornell and Any  Person” on March 28

Ezra Cornell and his dream of founding of a  university open to anyone regardless of their religion, gender or race will be  the focus of a March 28 presentation at Cornell University Library.

Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen, a senior  lecturer in the university’s history department and co-curator of the library’s  Ezra Cornell Bicentennial exhibition, will give a talk entitled “Ezra Cornell  and Any Person,”  beginning at 4:30 p.m. in  the lecture room of Carl A. Kroch Library.  The event is free and open to the public.  A reception will immediately follow.

In his address at the opening of Cornell  University on Oct. 7, 1868, Cornell said, “I trust we have  laid the foundation of [a] university – ‘an institution where any person can  find instruction in any study.’”  Kammen’s presentation will center on the historical significance of Cornell’s  “any person” belief and how it ultimately led to the creation of a university  bearing his name.

“What impresses me about Ezra Cornell is that  having been poor, and then in debt, when he came into money – and he came into  a lot of money for the day – his  immediate goal was to use it to do the  most good and to do something for his hometown,” Kammen said.  “In an age that would come to be dominated by  ‘Robber Barons,’ Ezra Cornell set a stunning example of stewardship and  humanity.”

The March 28 presentation is part of the university’s yearlong  bicentennial birthday celebration for Ezra Cornell. Also on display in Kroch  Library’s Hirshland Gallery through Aug. 31 is the exhibition, “‘I Would Found  an Institution’: The Ezra Cornell Bicentennial.”  It details how Cornell, who came to Ithaca with no formal education, went on to amass a  fortune in the telegraph business and found one of America’s finest universities.  The exhibition features Cornell’s letters, diaries  and photographs. Highlights include the university’s charter, the telegraph  receiver used to receive the world’s very first telegraph message, Cornell’s  safe and tools and a collection of shells from Hawaii that he purchased to enhance the university’s  holdings

For more information, call  255-3530 and visit rmc.library.cornell.edu/Ezra.  For press information, call 255-4813 or go to  library.cornell.edu/communications/Ezra.