Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

gested that destructive organic effects are due to untimely oxidation.

The physician possesses in radiation a subtle means of attacking the mechanism of cell-growth, and one of unlimited power. It is a characteristic feature of true scientific advance that new powers, based on newly-discovered forces, are placed at our disposal. The possibility of physical interference with the atomic linkages of organic structure and its sustaining metabolic processes is a recent conception. The older practice recognised one way only of effecting such interference-by the intervention of chemical actions set up by drugs assimilated through the digestive system. Although we are to-day far from a knowledge giving complete control of radiative effects, I venture to think that these will ultimately be found to be more definable and manageable than medicinal

treatment.

Let us consider, so far as we can, what we are doing when we insert into a tumour a needle filled with emanation.

Within the tube the radio-active transformations of the atom are attended by three forms of radiations.

(1) a rays, which are positively electrified helium atoms, and cannot pass the walls of the tube. With these, therefore, we have nothing to do.

(2) Also B rays, or electrons, are sent out. Some of these are so slow as also to be stopped by the thin glass and steel walls surrounding the radio-active substances. But these walls are thin enough, as used in the technique introduced by the Radium Institute of the Royal Dublin Society, to permit a large proportion of them to escape. Their velocity varies over a wide range, some electrons moving at speeds ninetenths that of light. Their velocities are such as to give, as already stated, both a line and a continuous spectrum" when sorted out by a magnetic field.

66

These electrons are known to be the direct agents in effecting ionisation. The faster electrons probably penetrate a couple of centimetres in soft tissues, their energy dying out in the creation of ions and secondary y rays. The latter are re-converted to ẞ radiations, which again take up the work of ionisation. Thus the whole of their energy, or the greater part of it, is, probably, ultimately spent in the work of ionisation in other words, on work which is capable of seriously modifying the chemical and molecular processes progressing in the medium.

(3) There emerge, also, from the tube the y rays of Ra B and Ra C. The latter enormously predominate, most of the rays of Ra B being sufficiently soft to be absorbed in the walls of the tubes. These rays, as we have seen, move with certain definite quanta of energy, or in integrals of a certain quantum in each case: in short, in trains of rays. Wherever they traverse atoms they give rise to B rays. Some of these, taking up the whole energy of a wave-train, move with velocities similar to the most penetrating primary B rays given out by the parent radio-active atoms. This is the inner history of the events leading to the ionisation of the medium according to recent views.

The number of ions which these rays can generate in air has been computed. In reckoning the number of ions two count for one, as each electron separated involves the formation of both a + and a ion. The numbers given refer, therefore, to pairs of ions.

The quantities of the substances Ra B and Ra C used in the estimates are those which will be in equilibrium with one gram of elemental radium or with one curie of emanation. These substances alone con

4 Stevenson, Brit. Med. Jour., July 4, 1914, and March 20, 1915. 5 Moseley and Robinson, Phil. Mag., vol. xxviii., September, 1914.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Total

0.325 × 1015

0.64 X 1015

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

2.183 x 10 Now it is of interest to estimate what these num bers would represent in the therapeutic use of the radiations in body-tissues, on the assumption that energy is in a similar degree expended on ionisation -an assumption which may approximate to the facts seeing that the mere state of aggregation-solit, liquid, or gaseous-should not much affect the results I take the volume of an average cell as 125 x 10' cubic centimetres, which is the volume of a 1/500 of an inch on the edge..

cut

I shall assume the surgeon inserts the radio-active needles containing the emanation one centimetre apart, and that he has only one millicurie in each needle, the radio-active length of the needle being one centimetre. I shall also assume, as a first approximation, that the radiations are completely absorbed within the boundaries of the tumour being treated.

The number of pairs of ions generated per second by one millicurie will be 2.18 x 1012. And as the needles are one centimetre apart, we have this number generated per cubic centimetre. In a single cell the number is 272 x 103 pairs of ions.

The

In actual practice there may be about five millicuries in each needle. We have then, theoretically, more than 1.3 million pairs of ions generated per cell per second. The assumption that all the rays are absorbed in the tumour is not accurate, and again the numbers given apply to quite unscreened radiation only. softer and y rays suffer absorption in the glass and steel envelopes. This loss applies chiefly to the rays from Ra B. In order to make a safe allowance for these sources of error, as well as for the loss of the most penetrating of the y rays of Ra C which escape from the tumour, I take 50 per cent. of the calculated number of ions, that is, 136,000 pairs of ions per cell per millicurie per second; or, in the working conditions, 680,000 per cell per second. In exposures measured by hours the numbers rise to thousands of millions in ten hours to twenty-four thousand millions of pairs of ions per cell.

These figures are instructive, whether they represent entirely effective and useful ionisation or not.

Even

if only a small fraction is usefully expended, they reveal the power of radio-therapeutic methods in controlling or initiating chemical changes within the cell.

6

The effects of this powerful ionisation on the cells of the body have been demonstrated repeatedly by microscopic examination. I would refer more especially to the fine series of photographs obtained by A. Clifford Morson on carcinoma and sarcoma before and after exposure to radiation. After treatment for twentyfour hours with 90 mgrms. of radium the obliteration of structure is far advanced, or even, to all appearance, complete. In the case of healthy cells of the rat, Lazarus-Barlow has shown that considerable exposures may produce no more than temporary disturbance of growth, and that even while treatment is proceeding the cells may become again apparently normal.' The important point has frequently been brought out that the healthy cell behaves as a less sensitive system. This, of course, is at the basis of radio-active treatment. It is not improbable that a dosage which will 6 Morson," Archives of the Middlesex Hospital," xxxiii., p. 110. 7 Lazarus-Barlow, loc. cit., p. 34.

[ocr errors]

do no more than stimulate mitosis in a healthy cell will suffice to destroy the less stable cancer cell. The latter is, indeed, so unstable towards the ionising effects of the rays that a very small dose will arrest development, and even cause the destruction of the cell. A tube guaranteed to contain five milligrams of pure radium bromide was several times applied to cases of cancer in this city, the tube being screened with thin sheet-lead and applied externally. It was afterwards found that the tube contained but 0-8 mgrm. of radium element. This was, therefore, a very small dosage. All the results obtained were, however, beneficial. The whole subject is probably in its first stages of investigation in spite of the work

which has been done.

Failing the guidance which investigation will assuredly one day give us, it is interesting, and, possibly, important to discuss the cell as a photo-sensitive molecular system, and in so far comparable with another photosensitive molecular system, the study of which is less difficult to pursue.

Of all photo-sensitive systems with which we are acquainted the photographic film is at once the most accessible to observation and the best understood; although in this, no more than in any other case, is our knowledge complete, or our views always capable of actual demonstration. We know it to consist of halogenised molecules emulsified in an organic colloid, the relations of salt and colloid being probably complex, and such that they react one upon the other in responding to the photo-electric effect. Certain features in common with the cell will be recognised in this statement. It is, indeed, possible that we might apply it word for word as a general description of the activity of the cell as a photo-sensitive system.

The photograph is an effect of photo-electric activity. This activity, which operates during exposure, generates the latent image. The latent image is afterwards acted on by the developer, and the negative produced.

In this process we start with a halide of silver, loosely combined with the complex molecule of the gelatine, or in a state of solid solution, the instability of the silver halide being increased by its immersion in the gelatine according to principles which have been pointed out by Sir J. J. Thomson, in the case of ordinary solutions in water.9 We end up with separated metallic silver. The process is, then, one of reduction on the whole. But it is effected in two stages. First, the photo-electric action; then the chemical action of the developer or reducing agent on the latent image.

The view that the process of formation of the latent image is founded in the expulsion of the electron under the photo-electric force is supported by many circumstances.10

What may be described as a state of static ionisation is set up, the discharged electrons creating negative ions by attachment to the gelatine surrounding the silver-bromide-gelatine systems, and forming electro-negative region which may be regarded chemically as comparable to an increase in negative ionic concentration.

an

The developer acting at this stage-i.e. when the latent image has been formed-finds the process of reduction facilitated by these conditions. For the developer is essentially a reducing agent, and the latent image represents a temporary release of the positive silver ion from attachment to the chlorine ion, the latter having lost its charge.

The latent image is, in short, one stage in the re

8 Joly, Proc. Roy. Soc., Ser. B, vol. lxxxviii., 1914.

9 J. J. Thomson, Phil. Mag., vol. xxxvi., 1893, p. 320.

10 Joly, NATURE, vol. lxxii., July 27, 1905, p. 308.

duction of the complex silver bromide molecule. But it is a stage reached by physical means, and owes its stable character to the solid nature of the medium in which it is immersed. Nevertheless, it runs down in course of time and disappears; the negative electron gradually being attracted back to the central positive system, and re-combining with the chlorine whence it came. The process of destruction may be accelerated by over-exposure to light, X or y rays. This is the phenomenon of reversal or solarisation. The probable explanation is that by continued exposure the electrostatic stress set up by electronic segregation accumulates to the point of rupture, and there is a hurried return of the electron to its starting point under the electric stress.

The latent image may also be induced by friction, pressure, or, generally, by mechanical irritation of the film. The action of the mechanical stimulus is probably to induce directly the separation of electrons, i.e. to promote the negative ionisation. A latent image so formed can be reversed by radiation.

The reversal of the latent image may, in some cases at least, be effected by the infra-red and the heat waves. This might have been anticipated from the theory given above, for we would expect a feeble displacement of the electrons by the long waves, under which effect they would re-combine.

We have now to consider the formation of the latent image by chemical means.

If the latent image is essentially the result of a partial reduction of the silver halide we should expect its creation by reducing agents. The developers and sensitisers, in point of fact, generally create the latent image, and act most effectively when alkaline, e.g. pyrogallol, gallic acid, tannin, aqueous solutions of nicotine, and it is stated "-alkaline solutions of lactose and glucose. These substances, acting as developers, must, whatever stages may intervene, ultimately neutralise the charge upon the positive silver ion in the emulsion, setting it free as metallic silver. The effects are probably continuous with those of radiation in creating the latent image. Dilute solution of ammonium hydrate alone will give the latent image. Some substances act as sensitisers, or owe their special efficiency as developers to their active absorption of the halogen.

As opposed to the effects of the concentration of the negative hydroxyl ion in alkaline development, the action of the positive hydrogen ion upon the latent image is to inhibit its growth, or reverse it if already formed by light or otherwise. This result is made apparent by introducing a very weak solution of a mineral acid. The oxidation of the reduction product, or the re-halogenisation of the partially reduced silver, may be involved, according to the nature of the acid used. The feature common to all acid intervention is the increased concentration of the positive hydrogen ion.

The photo-sensitive molecular system of the film can exist in different states of sensitiveness, ranging from a highly sensitive to a relatively insensitive state. The behaviour of the "ripened" emulsion of the fast plate (i.e. of an emulsion which has been subjected to a process of prolonged heating) is similar in kind to that of the " unripened" emulsion of the slow plate, but in the former all the phenomena are relatively advanced. The latent image is sooner formed under a given exposure, and much more readily reversed. Chemical effects are correspondingly accelerated. The grain of the sensitive or ripened film is much coarser than that of the slow or unripened film.

We now turn to the living cell.

We find that radiation may, if carefully modulated,

11 Meldola, "Chemistry of Photography" (Macmillan, 1891), p. 190.

stimulate, and, if too intense, retard its growth, and ultimately destroy the molecular structure required for mitosis. In so far the effects on the growth of the cell-superficially, at least-resemble those on the formation of the latent image.

It is also found-and, as already stated, the whole efficacy of radio-active treatment turns upon thisthat in the case of the pathological cell these phenomena appear all in advance of the like effect in the normal cell. There exist then states of the cell differing in sensitiveness towards radiation just as there exist differing states of the film.

The accelerated mitosis and growth of the pathological cell appear in some cases to be traceable to repeated mechanical stimuli. This is parallel with the formation of the latent image by similar stimuli.

Finally, the destruction of the pathological cell is said to be brought about by thermal radiation of a certain intensity. A method of treatment has even been founded on this. The parallel with the latent image also appears here.

There is, then, a very complete parallel between the effects of radiative and mechanical stimuli in both cases, the latent image and the cell. The formation of both may be promoted by radiation, and by the same radiation in excess may be finally destroyed. It seems permissible to ask if the same parallel does not extend to more definitely chemical effects. The point is important, not only on the score of the convenience and accessibility of the plate as a means of investigation, but because of certain conclusions which can be drawn from already known data, and which possibly possess a bearing on what is termed the cancer problem.

We may state the argument thus :-We find certain chemicals producing in the film what are to all appearance identical effects with those generated in it by radiation. And reasoning from the fact that radiation produces parallel results in the case of the cell and the film, we ask if those chemicals which affect the latent image in the direction of acceleration or retardation may not also in like manner affect the cell. The view that this question is legitimate is supported by some observational facts, as will presently appear. But first it is necessary to look more closely at what may be really involved in comparing the formation of the latent image with the growth of the cell. If, at any stage of its metabolism, a partial (or complete) reducing action takes place in the cell in which the halogen and the colloid present take a part, the similarity between the two results may be more than a parallel. It may be based on actions chemically or physically identical, or practically so. There may, in fact, exist, as a stage in the life of the cell, relations between the negative halogen ion, a positive ion united with this, and the protoplasm, similar to that prevailing among the elements of the film. If such exist, the explanation of the resemblance in the response of the two systems towards different agents, physical and chemical, is at once forthcoming. We are not in this case involved in the statement that the growth of the cell and of the latent image are parallel actions beyond the inference that a certain molecular rearrangement necessary for the growth of the cell is similar in character to what is presented to our study in the formation of the latent image. In a sense the formation of the latent image is katabolic, that of the cell is anabolic. We are not, however, forcing a complete comparison between them, nor do the observational facts call upon us to do more than recognise some photo-sensitive molecular process involved in cellgrowth similar to one involved in the formation of the latent image.

There seems to be no doubt that the growth of the

cell is highly sensitive towards ionic concentration Confirming and extending the results obtained t Loeb in 1898, and using similar methods, Moore, Roaf, and Whitley have found by direct observations c the embryonic cells of Echinus that even small increas in the concentration of the negative ion (HO) accelerate growth. 12 But if the alkalinity be increase! yet a little, pathological mitoses make their appearance, and at a slightly greater alkalinity the chemica actions necessary for the life and metabolism of the cell are inhibited. On the other hand, an increased concentration of the positive ion (H) from the firs retards, and, if pushed further, inhibits, growth. The parallel with the action of alkaline sensitisers and ac retarders upon the film is obvious.

+

Observations showing an abnormal lowering of acidity in the digestive secretions of cancerous patients have been made by several investigators. Messrs. Moore, Roaf, and Whitley in 1905 found that the diminution of hydrochloric acid in the stomach was independent of the location of the disease. 13 Copeman and Hake, in 1908, published results which failed to confirm those of Moore.14 The question as regards the secretion of HC1 cannot be regarded as finally settled. But a lowering of acidity as a frequent feature in cases of malignant disease seems to be accepted as proved. With old age a similar pheno menon is observed, and with advancing years the liability to cancer increases.

These facts suggest that the antagonistic action of the acid and the alkali in the cell is parallel with the antagonistic action of restrainer and sensitiser upon the film. The latter may be illustrated by a simple experiment on the film. A latent image is formed on a dry plate, either by brief exposure to light or by application of a sensitiser. The application of a wash of very dilute HCl left on the plate for a couple of minutes will then obliterate the latent image, as will be found upon applying a developer. The effect is best obtained with highly dilute acid. Such a strength as is said to prevail normally in the secretion of the stomach-o-2 to 04 per cent.-works effectively.

The possibility that substances which act as sensitisers or restrainers on the film may act to promote or retard mitosis in the cell must be admitted from these results, some of which are obtained by direct experiment on the living cell.

The fact that cancer of tongue, lip, and throat, and generally of parts around the mouth, is chiefly confined to the male sex has before now been regarded as raising a suspicion as to the injurious effects of tobacco smoking. 15

The effects of a solution of the volatile substances evolved from burnt tobacco, upon the film, support this inference. If tobacco smoke is bubbled through water, and a little of this water is poured on the photovigorous latent image will be obtained, as developgraphic plate in the dark, and again washed off, a

ment will demonstrate.

Now C. and R. Hertwig and Galleotti 16 mention nicotine as one of a few substances which they found, by direct observation on animal cells, produced pathological mitosis and derangement of cell-division closely similar to those which are observed in cancer growth. It is evident that we may find, in this indica

12 Moore, Roaf, and Whitley, Proc. Roy. Soc., Ser. B, vol. lxxvii., October 1905. 13 Moore, Roaf, and Whitley, Proc. Roy. Soc., Ser. B, vol. lxxvii., May, 1905.

14 Copeman and Hake, Proc. Roy, Soc., Ser. B, vol. Ixxx., June, 1908. 15 Statistics of cases treated in the Middlesex Hospital in 1913 show that the number of cases of the kind in the male and female sexes stand as 8.3: 1. Archives, xxviii.. p. 2.

16 Referred to by Moore, Roaf, and Whitley, Proc. Roy. Soc., Ser. B, vol. xxvii., October, 1905.

tion of the film, support for our line of reasoning. The substances present in tobacco-probably the intensely alkaline substance nicotine in chief-set up in the cell those same electro-negative conditions which cause or assist it to promote the formation of the latent image, and in this way locally precipitate a state of mitotic instability which from other causesto be presently discussed-may prevail as a tendency throughout the body cells of the patient. Local mechanical stimuli may contribute. It is, of course, not impossible that in many cases of the kind the effect is so far due to the local causes that but for these the cancer would not anywhere have invaded the body.

According to Dr. W. S. Bainbridge ("The Cancer Problem," p. 67; New York: The Macmillan Co.), cancer of lip, tongue, cheek, and buccal mucous membrane is of relatively frequent occurrence in both sexes in India, in consequence of the chemical irritation produced by the chewing, or holding in the mouth, of a mixture of betel leaves, areca nut, tobacco, and slaked lime."

The seeds of Areca catechu are rich in tannin and also contain arecolin, an alkaloid closely related to nicotine, being, in common with it, a derivative of pyridine. Choline, a strong base answering the general reactions of alkaloids, is also present. The betel leaf is the leaf of Piper betle, and contains yet another alkaloid of the pyridine group-piperine (Haas and Hill, "Chemistry of Plant Products"; London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1913). It is worth noting that in this case both sexes suffer the increased liability to mouth cancer, and both sexes indulge in the habit.

I say

An increase in the number of deaths from malignant disease within recent years is admitted by high authorities to be the only conclusion we can draw from the statistics, after every allowance for error has been made. Modern advances in surgical and medical science undoubtedly enable life to be prolonged in many cases, or even cure to be effected where formerly speedy death alone must ensue. This ought to be a set-off against improved diagnosis as a source of error in the statistics. If this increase is a fact, we have to look around for the cause. It is, assuredly, not founded in anything of an evolutionary nature. this because if its origin be in the cell itself, a very profound change-profound because seated in the primary organic structure-must be supposed to have taken place within a few decades. Indeed, if the increase is what we judge it to be from the figures, it has taken place within a single generation, or at most two generations. This quite precludes evolutionary change acting through Mendelian factors. The view that some general body-change is involved appears to be supported by the fact that local causes will initiate the disease in some subjects and not in others. Consequently we must look to some article of diet or some custom of life which can reach and affect the stability' of the cell. There are obvious difficulties in laying the blame for a change so deep-seated on a custom. Moreover, we look in vain for any custom at all likely to be responsible. When, however, we come to the possibilities of diet, we see much less difficulty.

In view of what has already been stated, it is legitimate to pursue the matter yet further, and to ask if within recent years we are not taking into our bodies more abundantly than formerly some substance or substances which might be held responsible for the increase of cancer. Many accustomed articles

17 See "Encyclopædia Britannica," last ed., Art. Cancer. Statistics for career in England and Wales (1912) show the highest mortality till then recorded. (Daily Mail Year Book, 1915.) The more recently issued statistics for 1913 reveal a still higher death rate.

of diet may, doubtless, contribute in some degree towards abnormal cell mitosis and yet be quite harmless under the conditions of consumption. As already stated, it is known that alkaline solutions of lactose and glucose possess the parallel qualities required for affecting the photo-sensitive films. I have not obtained this action on the ordinary dry plate, nor got any latent image with ordinary sugar in alkaline solution. Milk, however, gives a faint effect, and this may be due to lactose. Sugar is an article of diet the consumption of which has increased in modern times, and the evidence for its sensitising activityeither directly or indirectly-should not be lost sight of as possibly concerned in the cancer problem; although it must be regarded as a priori improbable that a great natural food would act in this way.

A more suspicious substance is found in tannin. This substance enters, as all know, largely into the composition of teas of all varieties to the extent of, usually, 11 to 26 per cent.; and 60 to 80 per cent. of this is obtained in the normal extract. Tea, as an article of diet, has replaced all other beverages in the light meals of the day. This especially applies to the better-off classes. In former years this beverage was only taken at "tea-time." The cancer statistics when compared with the statistics for the consumption of tea in this country show features in common. Both curves rapidly rise for several decades preceding the last, and within recent years show a somewhat less rate of increase, 18

As regards the consumption of tannin in other countries, it is to be remarked that this substance enters into coffee to the extent of about 22 per cent., and is present in red wines. Obviously without statistics both as to the consumption of tannincontaining beverages and of the prevalence of cancer we cannot discuss the geographical evidence. It is stated that in China cancer has long been a prevalent disease. In Australia tea is said to be largely consumed. The cancer death-rate is reported to be as large as in Great Britain, and to be increasing.

It

Tannin or gallotannic acid is itself a photographic sensitiser, and has long been known as such. absorbs the halogens.1 It is the parent substance of a complicated and only partially studied group of substances in which the reducing properties required for development and sensitisation seem to prevail. Thus gallic acid, a derivative which does not coagulate albumen, and is said to be absorbed in the body by administration of tannic acid, is a developer and sensitiser. Another derivative is the powerful developer pyrogallic acid, which along with gallic acid is stated by some writers to be excreted by the kidneys. As transported in the circulatory system these substances must, of course, acquire neutral or faintly alkaline characters. Other substances which possess the requisite reducing properties, and are constituents of the complex tannins, are pyrocatechol and hydroquinone.

Thein (or caffein) does not appear to exert more than a very feeble effect on the film, even when in a state of saturated solution, either neutral or distinctly alkaline. This substance is stated to be excreted unchanged.

If the increased prevalence of cancer is wholly or in part traceable to the increased consumption of tannin, we must regard the derivatives of this substance as predisposing the cells throughout the body to the incidence of the disease. The appearance of the disease at any particular point in the body is probably determined by local stimulus of cancerous mitosis. The view suggested is that a general instability or irrit18 Compare figures given for tea-consumption in Thorpe's "Dictionary of Applied Chemistry," art. Tea, with the Cancer Tables in Burns's "Vital Statistics Explained." (London: Constable, 1914.)

19 Meldola, loc. cit., p. 98.

ability is promoted throughout the body cells by this substance tannin; or rather, by the derivative or derivatives of it which are absorbed in the body; the effects being mainly due to the reducing properties. A state is at length reached after long and excessive absorption of the injurious substance in which local causes are competent to precipitate the pathological mitosis and cell proliferation. These causes are various. It may be a local chemical stimulus, as by the application of a powerful sensitiser such as nicotine, or possibly "nut-gall ointment." Other local causes, as has often been suggested, may be the increased mitotic activity prevailing in the organs of generation. Here there is already a local approximation to the conditions induced by increased electronegative ionisation. Dr. Lazarus-Barlow's results on the segregation of radium in cancerous tissues may indicate yet another local cause. Mechanical stimuli are probably responsible for the sweep cancer, etc.

The frequent recurrence of cancer after its local extirpation or destruction follows as a matter of course according to the present views. For, even apart from metastatic spread of the disease, the local cure is likely to be only temporary if the patient continues to absorb the sensitising agent into his system, or, possibly, has already permanently affected his tissues by its use. Where so much is involved, should not the physician consider the advisability of the denial to the patient of tannin-containing beverages?

[ocr errors]

These

The effect of tannin as an influence on mitosis is very probably responsible for the phenomenon of "vegetable cancers or galls on trees or shrubs. Galls may contain up to 75 per cent. of tannin. growths originate under the stimulus of irritation by some insect. Pfeffer, Sachs, and others have recognised that tannin in plants is abundant in places where growth is specially active; such as growing points, pathological growths, and places where the protoplasm is specially irritable.20 We must remember that

when we come to the cell there is not so much to differentiate the vegetable from the animal.

LIBRARY PROVISION AND POLICY.

THE

HE Carnegie United Kingdom Trustees have published the parts which are not of a confidential character of a report on library policy prepared for them by Prof. W. G. S. Adams. Though the Trustees do not commit themselves to the policy or the recommendations of the report, they consider it will be of interest and value to those concerned in the development of public libraries in this country.

It seems that Mr. Carnegie has made 295 grants to rate-supported libraries, amounting to a total sum of 1,768,4041. Most of these grants extend over the period from 1897 to 1913, and vary from 400l. to 120,000l. The grants have been almost exclusively for library buildings, including in many cases furnishing, but not for endowment, maintenance, librarianship, or the purchase of books.

A table provided in the report shows that few among the libraries which have received these grants spend more than 150l. a year on books—a small sum if a library is to be kept moderately efficient, and that 120 libraries have an expenditure on books and binding of not more than 50l. per annum.

The chief criticism Prof. Adams offers concerns grants made to centres which have been unwilling or unable to support a library on the scale which Mr. Carnegie provided. It may be summed up in the word overbuilding." Libraries have, in a number of cases, been provided, involving a scale of expendi20 Haas and Hill, "Chemistry of Plant Products." (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1913.)

66

ture on upkeep which left no sufficient means for the main purpose and object of the library. Buildings in several instances costing 10,000l. or even larger sums have been erected, the upkeep of which absorbed the greater part of the income from the id. rate, leaving a mere pittance, and in some cases not even that, for the purchase of books. In certain instances, where there had previously been a library on smaller premises, the gift of the larger building has ultimately involved a reduction in the expenditure on books. In many cases there is not an adequate income to provide a librarian worthy of the building and competent to create the true library. The criticism thus reduces itself to the error of overbuilding. The suggestion is frequently made that libraries in small towns would have been more truly assisted by smaller buildings and an initial grant in aid of the purchase of books.

Among suggestions for future action made by Prof. Adams is the assistance of libraries of a specialised character. He urges the claims of special libraries to provide literature for the blind, and for doctors in rural districts. Referring to the latter, he says:

"It has been brought to my attention by Mr. MacAlister, the secretary of the Royal Society of Medicine, with its most valuable medical library, that it would be a great benefit, especially to doctors in country districts or poorer town districts, to have available a circulating library providing them with the special literature which they may wish to consult. but which they cannot afford to purchase. It is evident at the present time, with the great development which is taking place in medical science, that it is not easy for the practitioner to keep himself in touch with the literature which is of service to him. Yet the value of a special library for this purpose would be great, and would react undoubtedly upon the well-being of the community. Technical and scientific literature is expensive, and I understand that it is with such an object in view that there has been established in the United States the Surgeon-General's Library at Washington, which circulates medical books and journals to practitioners throughout the United States."

UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL
INTELLIGENCE.

A REUTER Message from Cape Town on June + reports that Mr. Marais, late member of the Union Assembly for Stellenbosch, bequeathed 100,000l. for the establishment of a university there. Mr. Marais was a Hertzogite, and the request is regarded as a counterblast to the Wernher-Beit bequest of 500,000l. for the Central University of Grooteschuur, which the Hertzogites opposed.

MR. FRANK FINN, official guide to the Horniman Museum and Library, Forest Hill, S.E., attends at the museum on Saturday and Wednesday afternoons. when his services are at the disposal of visitors, and on Saturday mornings, when his attention is mainly given to teachers. No fee is charged. Applications for the guide's services for special parties should be made to the Curator of the Museum.

WE learn from Science that the Circuit Court of St. Louis has confirmed the will of the late James Campbell, who left his entire estate to St. Louis University School of Medicine, subject to a life tenure of his wife and daughter. His estate is valued at from 1,200,000l. to 2,000,000l. From the same source we find that the late Mr. Ward N. Hunt, of Needham, Mass., has made Dartmouth College residuary legatee for 4000l., to establish scholarship funds to be known as the Hunt scholarships.

« AnteriorContinuar »