“It is difficult and disturbing, in the quick rush of occupied life and preoccupying duties and pleasures to stop, even for a few minutes–to stop and turn aside and think upon the past. Indeed, it is difficult to think upon anything except the “present moment.” Life to-day gives many opportunities and some advantages…we all know more people than we can possibly remember, and we talk to those we don’t know by long distance telephone…we are all bent on broadening our sympathies, widening our interests, expanding our horizons, and if this can be done by the help of steam and electricity, we have a chance to do it.
Yes, life to-day gives many opportunities, but opportunity for leisure and meditation it does not give, or else –or else we do not know how to take its gift. We know ourselves to be the heirs of all the ages, rich in what they have left us, and eager and willing to make good use of our patrimony, but neglecting or forgetting the unearned increment–Wisdom, the “fruit of solitude, a school few care to learn in, though none instruct us better.”
–Paper Written by Agnes Irwin and Read on the Occasion of the Opening of Stenton, Philadelphia, 1901