Spring 2007


Series Vol. 8 No. 2

LHRT Executive Meeting at ALA in D.C. is open to all interested members. It will be held on Sunday, June 24, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., WCC (Convention Center), Room 156.

Message from the Chair

Aloha Colleagues and Friends:

I can’t believe that my second Chair’s Report is already due -- or actually a few days overdue (sorry Tom).  Time goes by so quickly… I used to claim that thinking in historic terms helps us escape the daily grind and lemming-think, allowing us to approach things from a deeper and more critical philosophy.

Before running for Chair I dreamed of helping to launch a library history museum; unite our sister library history organizations internationally, and do what we could to promote the teaching of history in the Library & Information Studies (LIS) Curriculum. I wanted to do this not only because of my passion for library history, but also to thank the many members who’ve been kind enough to mentor me in the dozen years since I joined LHRT as a master’s student.

Alas, the year is already almost over, and it doesn’t look like we’ll have time to start a museum campaign overnight. I’m writing this in March, so we have a few months to launch at least one of these initiatives – the role of history in LIS education.  LIS educators especially, please check out our new site, which is temporarily on my homepage: www2.hawaii.edu/~wertheim/LibHistEd.html

I welcome suggestions from others, as I hope this could lead to a database for potential LIS students (MLS or PhD) could consult when selecting a school.

The LHRT Education Committee will also try to express our round table’s concern about the importance of library history, print culture history, and history of information/ books within graduate LIS education. This is very timely as it is easy to forget about history within the current debate. Those of us in LIS education are beginning to see how ALA’s Committee on Accreditation is encouraging LIS schools to present their curricula in alignment with the Draft ALA Core Competencies. While there is a category for “Professional Ethics” and another related to research, we all know how frequently qualitative research is overlooked in our field. Here in Hawaii, we’re preparing our accreditation self-study, and are seeing how the structure is changing even though the standards have not greatly changed. In any case, please send me your comments on how we can best address this pressing question.

Looking ahead, I sincerely hope that you will join us for two great programs at our annual conference in Washington DC. It is fitting that we celebrate the work of John Cole while there, and also to reflect on the history of the American occupation of Japan in terms of library policies. I’m sure that these programs will inspire us in our research and professional endeavors, and also give us food for thought regarding our nation’s current foreign policies. We will also have our executive meeting in DC. I remind everyone that it is an open meeting, and all are invited. It is an ideal opportunity to meet other library historians.

Before closing my final report, I want to again thank everyone who has helped LHRT from voting on awards, selecting speakers, and even simply renewing each year. It is because of you all that LHRT is a strong roundtable, and that there is a future for history within librarianship.

Mahalo nui loa (thanks so much!),


Andrew B. Wertheimer

LHRT Research Forum
ALA Conference 2007
Sunday, June 24th
10:00 to 12:30
WCC (Convention Center), Room 147 B

"Washington, DC the Nation and the World: Papers in Honor of John Y.  Cole"

Because we are meeting this year in Washington, DC and because 2007 also marks the 30th anniversary of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, it seemed most fitting to dedicate the LHRT Research Forum to  John Y.  Cole.    In his capacity as founding director of the Center for the Book, John has played a very significant role in sponsoring conferences, symposia, lectures and publications related to book history and to library history. In addition to his administrative work at LC, John Cole has made an enormous contribution to the field as a historian and is internationally known as the foremost expert on the history of the Library of Congress.

In 1976, ten years after John began his career at LC, he was named chairman of a one-year Library of Congress Task Force on Goals, Organization, and Planning.  This appointment was made by Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin who was aware of John’s historical research and believed that his deep understanding of the institution’s past especially fitted him to the work of planning for the future.   After the Task Force ended in 1977, Dr. Boorstin  appointed John Cole to become the founding director of the new Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which was established with a mandate to stimulate public interest in books and reading and to encourage the historical study of books and their influence.   Under John’s leadership, state centers have been established throughout the country, and a number of other national libraries abroad have been inspired to found similar book and reading promotion centers.

In addition to his administrative work, John Cole has continued his historical research on LC which began with his dissertation on Ainsworth Rand Spofford, the sixth Librarian of Congress, who served from 1865 to 1897.   Since earning his Ph.D. in American Civilization from George Washington University in 1971, John Cole  has tirelessly continued to pursue his study of LC and its impact on librarianship and scholarly communication.   In the past 35 years John has published more than 100 articles on the Library of Congress as well as authoring, editing, and contributing chapters to numerous books. Among his best known books are two popular, beautifully illustrated histories of Library of Congress: Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress (1993) and On These Walls: Inscriptions and Quotations in the Buildings of the Library of Congress (1995).   In addition John has edited 14 books published by the Center for the Book, including Television, the Book, and the Classroom (1978), Books in Our Future: Perspectives and Proposals (1987), and Books Change Lives (1996).   His most ambitious publication is the well-reviewed one-volume historical Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress (Bernan, 2004) which he co-edited with Jane Aikin.

We were very pleased to honor John Y. Cole by holding an invitational Research Forum that brings together a distinguished panel of speakers who have each worked with him for many years and who can speak on topics that represent different aspects of his contribution to the field and his own wide ranging interests as a scholar and a librarian. The speakers will be in the order that follows:

Maurvene DeBerry Williams will present a short historical overview of the Center for the Book at LC and will then discuss trends in the development of the 51 state Centers for the Book.

Maurvene Williams is Program Officer at the Library of Congress Center for the Book.   She has been at the LC for 38 years and had held several management and administrative positions before joining the Center for the Book in 1990. As program officer, her primary responsibilities include serving as author-publisher liaison for the National Book Festival, manager of the Center for the Book’s Web site, and coordinator of the center’s affiliates in 51 states and the District of Columbia. Maurvene received a Special Achievement Award for her work on the 2004 National Book Festival.  She has an M.L.S. from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) in Atlanta, Georgia.  She has also compiled The Community of the Book: A Directory of Organizations and Programs (1989 and 1993).

Jane Aikin will discuss the history and historiography of the Library of Congress, highlighting some of John Cole’s contributions.

Jane Aikin is Director, Division of Research Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, and co-author of the Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress. Since receiving her doctorate in history from the University of Michigan in 1988, Jane has authored numerous articles and papers in journals such as Humanities and American Studies.  She is especially known for her book The Nation's Great Library: Herbert Putnam and the Library of Congress, 1899-1939 (University of Illinois Press, 1993).   Her chapter on “Women and Intellectual Resources: Interpreting Print Culture at the Library of Congress” appears in a recent collection of papers entitled Women in Print : Essays on the Print Culture of American Women from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006).  Her most recent article is “Preparing for a National Emergency: The Committee on Conservation of Cultural Resources, 1939-1944,” accepted for publication in Library Quarterly.

Donald G. Davis, Jr. will speak on international trends and issues in library history.

Donald Davis is Professor Emeritus of Library History, University of Texas, Austin and editor emeritus of Libraries & Culture. For twenty-five years Don served on the executive committee of the IFLA Round Table on Library History and he was chair from 1999-2004.  Don has published scholarly articles on library history in India and China as well numerous articles on American libraries, librarianship and library education. He has also served as editor or co-editor of several important library history reference books, bibliographies, and collections as well as writing over 250 book reviews.  Don holds a BA in Social Science and History from UCLA, an M.A. in history and an M.L.S. from UC Berkeley, a Ph.D. in Library Science from the University of Illinois and an M.A. from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Jonathan Rose will present a brief overview of trends in book history. 

Jonathan Rose holds the rank of Professor in the Drew University Department of history where he specializes in British History and history of the book.  From 1999 to 1997 Jonathan served as Founding President of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP).  Jonathan is the author of The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (Yale UP, 2001) an engaging, well-documented study that won numerous book awards.   He is also co-editor of the award-winning SHARP journal, Book History, and served as co-editor with Simon Eliot of the Blackwell Companion to the History of the Book, which will be released in 2007 and should be available at Blackwell’s ALA booth.   Jonathan earned both his B.A. and M.A. in history from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mary Niles-Maack
Chair-Elect, Moderator of the LHRT
Research Forum

Celebration of Ruth Brown, Librarian and Civil Rights Pioneer

The Bartlesville Public Library and the Bartlesville Women's Network welcomed Ruth Brown back to the public library on Sunday, March 11, 2007, in form the form of a bust sculpted by Native American artist Janice Albro. The event was the BPL and Women's Network contribution to both the Centennial of Oklahoma and of the Oklahoma Library Association and of Women's History Month.

On hand to greet Brown were a number of people who remembered her as a librarian, some who were her colleagues in early integration efforts in Bartlesville. Also present was Louise Robbins, author of The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown [which won of the roundtable’s 2004 Gleason Award for the best book in library history- ed.]. Music was provided by a Gospel quintet made up of members of the Greatest First Baptist Church choir with a special solo of the Black National Anthem (James Weldon Johnson's "Lift Every Voice and Sing") by Women's Network member Bettye Williams.

The unveiling of the statue culminated a week of activities, including a showing of Storm Center, storyteller Fran Stallings' version of the story for young people, an open book discussion led by the Johnstone Irregulars, a talk on the legal aspects of the Brown case by retired judge Jan Dreiling, and Robbins's talk on "Responses to the 'Resurrection' of Miss Ruth Brown." Graphics and artifacts connected to the event were on display in the foyer and will comprise a traveling exhibit later this year. A "Read" poster bearing Brown's likeness was also available.

Louise Robbins
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Symposium on Alternative Print Culture in Honor of James Danky

In 2007, James P. Danky will retire after thirty-five years as librarian at the Wisconsin Historical Society and fifteen years as Director of the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America (CHPC) at the University of Wisconsin. Since joining the Wisconsin Historical Society as a librarian in 1973, Jim Danky has gained an international reputation in the area of the “alternative” or “oppositional” press. During his long tenure at the WHS he has built research collections of books, newspapers, periodicals, and “ephemera”—adding approximately thirty thousand new titles to the library’s holdings—that represent the print culture of the African-American press, marginalized ethnic groups, feminist and other women’s publishing, the gay and lesbian press, left- and right-wing political groups, and the literary “underground.”

To celebrate Jim Danky’s outstanding contributions to librarianship and print culture studies, especially his research and professional practice that for decades have brought the alternative press to the attention of students, scholars, and the general public, the CHPC, in planned conjunction with the Schools of Library and Information Studies, and Journalism and Mass Communication, and the departments of Afro-American Studies, English, and History, the General Library System of the University of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Historical Society, will sponsor an event titled "Alternative Print Culture: Social History and Libraries: a Symposium in Honor of James P. Danky" on April 13th and 14th, 2007. For the program and more information, see: http://slisweb.lis.wisc.edu/~printcul/symposium2007.html

Christine Pawley
Director, CHPC

Important New Titles in Library and Book History

A Companion to the History of the Book, edited by Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose, is forthcoming from Blackwells. It includes on chapter on libraries by Wayne A. Wiegand. For more information, see: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/book.asp?ref=9781405127653&site=1

The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland is now available. This is a three-volume set edited by Peter Hoare. For more information, see: http://www.cambridge.org/features/history/hoare/

News in Brief

Larry T. Nix has added a page to his Library History site with images of postage stamps featuring “librarians, library workers, library leaders, and library supporters.” View this interesting collection at:

David B. Gracy II of the University of Texas at Austin is working on the centennial history of the Texas State Library and Archives to be published by the University of Texas Press in 2009.  While the TSLA centennial recognizes the agency operating under the enabling statute passed in 1909, in fact the library and archives function of Texas government dates to 1835. Gracy will be covering this entire history in his work.  Having found few published histories of state libraries and archives, Gracy would like to establish contact with anyone working on the history of a state library and/or archives. You may contact him at:  gracy@ischool.utexas.edu.

As part of a series of monthly podcasts from the library at Dowling College, Chris Kretz has traced the interesting history of a donation of books once owned by an early supporter of the college. To hear an interesting tale of romance and library history, go to:  http://www.dowling.edu/library/newsblog/podcasts.asp?id=34

LHRT member Larry T. Nix received a Gold award and the Best Display Exhibit award at the St. Louis Stamp Expo, which took place February 23-25, 2007 for his exhibit “America’s Libraries 1731-1920”.  The Expo is one of the stamp shows in the World Series of Philately sponsored by the American Philatelic Society.  Nix’s exhibit included over 300 library history related postal items and other artifacts which told the story of America’s libraries during the period 1731-1920.  Nix also received a Silver award for an exhibit featuring the America’s Libraries postage stamp that was issued in 1982.  That exhibit included over 150 first day covers and related items for the stamp.