Ruth Royce

Graduate of the San Jose State Normal School and Long-time Librarian

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  • Royce graduated from the San Jose State Normal School in 1877 and served as the school's librarian for 37 years (1881 to 1918). She was the first librarian for the school.
  • One of the original six "red brick" dorms was named for her (Royce Hall). It was torn down in November 2016, along with the red brick building north of it - Hoover Hall, named for another alum (1893) - Lou Henry Hoover who later became a First Lady.  It was the middle one in the row closest to the 7th Street Garage. See 12/1/16 Mercury News story.

Taken from page 170 of The Story of an Inspiring Past by Estelle Greathead:

Ruth Royce, sister of Josiah Royce, became librarian in 1991, and continued until her resignation in 1918. She is a graduate of the San Jose State Normal School and previous to entering upon her position of Librarian did some substituting in the preparatory department.

After leaving the library, Miss Royce became private secretary to Dean Gresham, 1219 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, but she considers San Jose her home and has a permanent address at 693 South 2nd Street.

Miss Royce's mark upon this school is ineffaceable. No one who knew her will ever forget her quiet efficiency, her calm poise, her tireless labors, and her intimate contact with all the books, their location, and their content.

The following verse written by her in La Torre, 1915, shows not only her gifted mind, but it expresses her idea of the religion she practices:


Hail and Farewell! 'Tis the way of the wise

   'Tis the New World way of sharing our best;

Wisdom dwells not alone in the elder East.

   Nor does strength come only out of the West.

The North to the South gives, but takes return;

   The members are many, the body one.

And mankind awakes, not alone to know

   There is a good in all things under the sun.

But to feel with a thrill the old-time truth -

   Nothing truly is ours that useless lies;

The treasure buried breeds moth and rust;

   'Tis the treasure broadcast that multiplies.



From the San Jose State Normal School Pennant, December 1904


A December Farewell

We go when yellow leaves strewn thick,

When harvest fruits in store,

And south winds whispering of the rain

Tell that the year is o'er.


And with the white frost's chilly breach

Something akin to pain

Blends with our joy, for Normal days

May not be ours again.


We go when mountain springs revived,

Grass blade and fringing fern,

Their old time message sing once more,

The spring will soon return.


And spring-time joy leaps in our hearts,

Youth's pulse beats warm and strong;

Life and our work are all before,

And years are full and long.


A moment pause; our debt record,

Our gratitude repeat.

Here's to the Past! O Future, haste!

We hail they coming feet!

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This page last updated March 24, 2017


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Last Modified: Feb 22, 2023