Our Intent for the Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library
Robert L. and Pauline S. Payton
We believe that the study of philanthropy should become and enduring field of study in higher education.
We believe that the study of philanthropy should be interdisciplinary and interprofessional; it should be grounded in the liberal arts and tested by practice.
We believe that the workshop of ideas is a library, just as the marketplace of ideas is public discourse.
We believe that students should be encouraged to spend long hours in the library, just as scientists must spend long hours in the laboratory.
We believe that students should be encouraged to read widely and not be intimidated by the barriers to knowledge erected by specialists called professors.
We believe that some books are more valuable and enduring than others—there should be a canon—and that it is a matter of continuing debate about which books are most worth reading.
We believe a good library is a workshop, not a storehouse or an attic; it should be a place to study, to read, to write, and to talk.
We believe a good library has a lot of books and offers easy access to them.
The Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library is a workplace, not a monument; it is a dynamic and growing collection of books and documents. The Library is named for two young men of promise who died before their time, one barely 18, the other 33 years of age. The two young men, uniquely precious to their family, are, for others, no better known or knowable than the names on headstones in a cemetery in a strange town or the photographs of strangers in obituary columns.
Both young men had committed their lives to philanthropy; Joe died in the course of a refugee crisis in Rwanda; Matthew died with the hope of becoming a medical missionary in Africa. The Library will be a place where young people prepare themselves for lives of service.
The Payton Family wanted to honor the memory of Joseph and Matthew and have been permitted to do that by Indiana University. The family has agreed to help build the philanthropic studies library and philanthropy archives with gifts of money and with gifts of the family’s own library and papers. When the process is completed, these gifts in cash and kind will have a value in excess of a million in dollars.
The Lilly Endowment was the leading contributor to building the new University Library itself. It has also provided substantial grants to begin the philanthropic studies collection. Miss Ruth Lilly’s generosity established the Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives in which the Philanthropy Archival Collection is among the most important. More recent contributions to the relocation and expansion of the Library include The Indianapolis Foundation and the University.