Intrator's dissertation on postwar cultural reconstruction wins Dain Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/14/2015


Norman Rose

Program Officer


CHICAGO — The Library History Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the winner of the Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award for 2015 - Miriam Intrator for her dissertation, “Books Across Borders and Between Libraries: UNESCO and the Politics of Postwar Cultural Reconstruction, 1945-1951.”

Her dissertation focuses on the response of UNESCO’s Library Section, in cooperation with other international, national and Jewish organizations, to the cultural and intellectual destruction suffered in Europe during WWII and their plans for postwar reconstruction regarding books, libraries and archives. The dissertation offers original insights into the recovery of cultural life in postwar and post-Holocaust Europe and highlights the individuals who formulated the argument for access to books and libraries, to knowledge and culture, as a fundamental human right within the context of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Dain Award committee praises Intrator's depth of research using numerous primary resources from a wide variety of archives and libraries. The members of the committee are impressed by her analysis of the complexities of Cold War politics and their impact on restoring, preserving and making accessible the cultural records of the public and personal libraries and archives in Europe. The dissertation, which the committee believes is close to publication-ready, illuminates the under-researched history of international cooperation and conflict in the years after the WWII and will receive broad, multidisciplinary interest.

Intrator received her doctoral degree from the Graduate Faculty in History of the City University of New York. She is currently the special collections librarian for the Ohio University Libraries.

The Dain Award is named in honor of Phyllis Dain, a library historian widely known as a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar and a thinker with great breadth of vision. Awarded every two years, the award is given for an outstanding dissertation in English that embodies original research on a significant topic relating to the history of libraries during any period, in any region of the world.

The aim of the Library History Round Table of ALA is to facilitate communication among scholars and students of library history, to support research in library history, and to advocate for issues, such as preservation and access. The Round Table sponsors conferences, publishes a newsletter and presents prizes such as the Phyllis Dain Dissertation Award to promote excellence in library history research.