The University Library to 1941
THE history of the General Library of the University of Michigan begins almost with that of the University itself. The Reverend John Monteith, President of the Catholepistemiad or University of Michigania, mentions in his diary that a part of the little University building erected in Detroit in 1817 was occupied by a Detroit library.
In the Act of 1837, which provided for the organization of the University in Ann Arbor, it was stipulated that as much as was necessary of the moneys received from student fees should be expended in keeping the buildings in good condition; the balance was to be used for the increase of the Library. Although no money was forthcoming from this source for the Library the Regents in 1837 "elected" the Reverend Henry Colclazer to the position of librarian (R.P., 1837-64, p. 7). He held his office, which must have been a sinecure, until 1845. During the next eleven years the librarian's duties were assumed for brief periods by various members of the faculty.
A year after Colclazer's appointment the Regents passed a resolution commissioning Dr. Asa Gray, who had been appointed Professor of Botany and who had asked for a year abroad prior to taking up his teaching duties, to buy books:
That Dr. Asa Gray, Professor of Botany in the University of Michigan, in his contemplated tour in Europe be requested to purchase a library for the University of Michigan, that the sum of five thousand dollars be appropriated and placed in his hands to carry that object into effect, … and that fifteen hundred dollars be advanced to Doctor Gray for defraying the expenses which he may incur in the execution of the commission hereby confided to him.
(R.P., 1837-64, p. 56.)
Further resolutions specified the classes of books to be purchased and requested Gray "to embody his observations of a scientific, literary, and philosophical character … in the form of a report, to be laid before the Board of Regents on his return home."
As a result of this commission Gray, through George Palmer Putnam,* purchased 3,400 volumes "embracing the various departments of history, philosophy, classical literature, sciences and arts, (and) jurisprudence, …" The Regents' committee on the Library reported that a large proportion of these books consisted of works which could not be obtained in America, while many of the editions were scarce and rare in Europe.
The list of books bought, which was printed as a state document (Joint Doc.) in 1841, has been compared with the catalogues, and most of the books have survived a century of active use and are still in the Library.
The commission given Gray did not represent all the activities of the Regents in regard to the Library, for in 1838 they ordered a copy of Rafn's Antiquitates Americanae, and in 1839 they paid $970 for a copy of Audubon's Birds of America, which is still in the University collections.
It is also worthy of note that the first gifts to the University, as far as known, took the form of books. In 1840 Dr. C. W. Borup, of La Point, on Lake Superior, Page 1370donated a set of Brockhaus' Konversations-Lexikon, which is still in the Library. "An ancient Runic book," given in 1844, by Alexandre Vattimare, a librarian in New York, has never been fully identified.
After this auspicious beginning little was done for the Library until President Tappan, shortly after his arrival, appealed to the citizens of Ann Arbor for funds with which to buy books. As a result $1,515 was subscribed in 1854, and during the year "by donation and purchase" 1,200 volumes were added. As early as 1847 the Regents had begun to make regular appropriations for the Library. In 1865, $1,000 was set aside for the General Library, $500 for the Law Library, and $400 for the Medical Library. This was increased to $5,000 a year in 1877, and by 1891 the appropriation was $15,000 for a two-year period. The Librarian reported in June, 1877, that the collection consisted of 23,909 volumes and 800 pamphlets, with an average annual increase of about 800 volumes.
During the University's early years in Ann Arbor there was no regularly assigned room for the Library. Books were kept wherever convenient. In 1840 it was resolved "that the Building Committee be authorized to provide temporary shelves in one of the Professors' houses at Ann Arbor for the Library" (R.P., 1837-64, p. 140). In November, 1841, it was resolved "that the Librarian be authorized to remove the Library to one of the large rooms in the Main Building" (R.P., 1837-64, p. 202). At this time the Committee on the Library reported:
The books of which a catalogue has been printed, belonging to the University, have been carefully preserved in temporary cases, prepared for them, in one of the houses for Professors. Since the organization of the Faculty, it has been judged best that measures should be taken for the purpose of giving the Institution the advantages appropriately accruing to it from the possession of the Library. Rules and regulations have therefore been prepared, with the co-operation and concurrence of the Faculty and Librarian, for the purpose of rendering those advantages available. The following are the regulations which for the present have been adopted:
- Regulations for the Library.
- 1. The Librarian or his Assistant shall keep the key of the Library and shall permit none but the Regents of the University and members of the Faculty to enter the Library except in his company.
- 2. The Librarian shall keep a catalogue of the books of the Library and an account of all books borrowed therefrom, including the name of the borrower and the time of delivery of the book.
- 3. The Library shall be open for the delivery of books once a week on such day and hours as the Librarian may appoint when all the students of the University may enjoy its privileges under the restrictions which follow.
- 4. No book shall be loaned to students except such as may have been distinctly specified by the Faculty as suitable for such use.
- 5. No student shall receive more than two volumes at a time nor retain a volume longer than two weeks, without renewal, nor lend, nor carry it out of his room except to return it to the Library. A volume may be renewed only once except by special permission of a Professor.
- 6. A student not returning a volume in his possession within two weeks, shall incur a penalty of twenty-five cents and an additional penalty of fifty cents for every additional week of delinquency, which penalty shall be paid to the Librarian before such student shall have any further use of the Library.
- 7. Borrowers of books from the Library are forbidden to write or mark in them or to turn down a leaf.
- 8. All damages done to books shall be estimated by the Librarian and shall be promptly paid. If a volume shall be lost or Page 1371destroyed, the borrower shall pay for the whole set or replace it.
- 9. Such books as by reason of their great value or scarcity could not easily be replaced, shall not be loaned but shall be kept for consultation in the Library.
- 10. No person visiting the Library shall be allowed to take down or put up a volume without permission of the Librarian or his assistant.
- 11. Any violation of these rules will be punishable by fine or exclusion from the use of the library.
It has been thought altogether impracticable and inappropriate to the use and design of the College Library that it should be rendered a circulating Library for the benefit of the surrounding population, and therefore books are not to be loaned but as above prescribed. Yet it is a matter under consideration by the Committee whether it would not be proper to instruct the Faculty and Librarian to afford access to the Library during the presence of the Librarian at such fixed time to be designated by him, to such as may desire to consult any of the authors, it being understood that no work whatever is to be carried out of the Library by such visitants or readers.
(R.P., 1837-64, pp. 195-96.)
Eventually, the growth of the University and of the Library itself, made necessary a more adequate arrangement, and in 1856 the Library was installed in what were for the time commodious quarters in another part of North College (old Mason Hall), remodeled "for the accommodation of the Library and Museum." For the first time a reading room was provided, the books were placed on shelves, and a daily service was inaugurated.
John L. Tappan, a son of President Tappan, was put in charge in 1856, and became in effect the first Librarian of the University. According to a report by a later Librarian, Raymond C. Davis, an extraordinary demand for library books "seemed to spring into existence." This gratifying result was due in part to the installation of a card catalogue, one of the first in America. The completion of the Law Building (old Haven Hall) in 1863 made possible the removal of the Library to the quarters in which it remained for twenty years. In 1880 Acting President Frieze reported:
It is to be regretted that the department (of Law), by the intrusion of the University Library, is still deprived of the use of a large portion of the building originally intended for its exclusive accommodation. I hope that the necessity for this kind of trespass will soon be removed.
(R.P., 1876-81, p. 580.)
In the same year Dean T. M. Cooley of the Law School stated:
Two important interests have long suffered from comparative neglect when University funds were being appropriated. One of these is the University Library, which has now for some fifteen years been imperfectly accommodated with what was intended to be, and should have been, only temporary quarters, in the Law Building…
The great and paramount need of the University at this time, in our opinion, is better accommodations for the University Library. For this purpose a building specially designed for the Library is required. Its erection would accommodate and advantage every professor and every student in every school of the University, and would enable the library to be protected and increased…
(P.R., 1879-80, pp. 60-61.)
2. The large increase in the number of students and in the number of subjects taught in the various Departments of the University has, in a corresponding degree, increased the use of the General Library. The tables and alcoves are so crowded as to cause great inconvenience and discomfort to both students and Faculties. In fact, it is simply impossible to accommodate the number of persons now needing to use the Library.
Page 13723. The growth of the University just mentioned, and particularly the large increase in the number of those studying for second degrees, make well-nigh indispensable an immediate outlay of several thousand dollars for books. In answer to inquiries addressed to heads of departments in the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts, we find that very few subjects can be assigned for theses, on which there is any adequate apparatus for study in the General Library. The growing importance of this department of our work should not be overlooked.
4. The newly added departments of Pedagogy and Music, as well as several new Courses in Literature, Science, and Art, — all create an additional demand for books.
(R.P., 1876-81, p. 600.)
The legislature, in response to the solicitation of the Regents in 1881, appropriated $100,000 for a new library. Though there was some delay the new structure, which was to be used by many generations of students, was ready for occupancy in 1883. It stood in the center of the campus, where its twin towers, one on either side of a semicircular apse which enclosed the reading room, were perhaps the most striking feature of the campus. The east tower contained the University clock and Westminster chimes, which marked the quarter hours. For many years this building proved adequate, but eventually a further enlargement was necessary. In 1899 the bookstacks were extended to a capacity of 200,000 volumes.
When President Tappan was removed in 1863, his son John L. Tappan ceased to be Librarian. His place was filled temporarily by Datus Chase Brooks ('56, A.M. '59), Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature. In 1864 the Reverend Andrew Ten Brook (Madison [Utica, N.Y.] '39), who had been Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy from 1844 to 1851, was made Librarian. Ten Brook was the first historian of the University, and his book on American State Universities and the University of Michigan, published in 1875, is a mine of information on the University's earliest years in Ann Arbor. He resigned as Librarian in 1877 to be succeeded by Raymond Cazallis Davis (A.M. hon. '81), who had joined the Library staff in 1868.
Davis was born at Cushing, Maine, June 23, 1836. He came to Ann Arbor in 1855, one of many young men attracted to the University of Michigan from New England in the fifties and sixties. Because of illness he did not graduate with his class. In 1868, however, he was made Assistant Librarian of the University, holding the post until 1872, when he returned to Maine. In 1877 he was recalled to the University as Librarian, a position he filled until 1905 when he was made Librarian Emeritus. He died in 1919 at the age of eighty-two.
He was a lovable man, devoted to his task as Librarian, spending himself freely for many years, and accomplishing much with small means. The records of the Library Committee, all in his handwriting, the well-planned and executed card catalogues, the collection purchased with rare skill and meager funds testify to his effectiveness as a Librarian. Generations of students knew him as a kindly and friendly mentor, always willing to help them and guide them to the reading of good books.
In 1878 Davis joined the American Library Association and was long associated with its work, being a life member. He was one of the early co-operators in Poole's Index and in other joint undertakings. He early inaugurated a course in practical bibliography which he continued to give until age forced him to cease teaching.
In 1890, though with less than 90,000 volumes in its collections, the General Page 1373Library for more than a decade had been the strongest Library in this country, west of Cornell. Davis reported:
There were in the Libraries of the University, Sept. 30, 1890, 74,599 volumes, 14,907 unbound pamphlets, and 571 maps; in the Law Library 10,218 volumes; in the Medical Library 4,146 volumes and 996 unbound pamphlets; and in the Library of the Dental College, 500 volumes.
During the year 260 periodicals have been regularly received, as follows: In the General Library, 184; in the Medical Library, 56; in the Law Library, 7; and in the Library of the Dental College, 13.
(R.P., 1886-91, p. 467.)
In 1891 the policy of supporting the Library by a series of special appropriations from the legislature came to an end. With the increase of the general tax from one-twentieth to one-sixth of a mill in 1893, the Regents fixed the annual appropriation for the Library at $15,000 annually.
Davis began a policy of securing capable assistants. It is not generally known that Professor Fred Newton Scott, later so well-known to students of English, was Assistant Librarian from October, 1888, to October, 1889. Frederick Parker Jordan ('79) held the same post from 1889 to 1922. He became Assistant Librarian in 1889 and Associate Librarian in 1920. He had charge of the preparation of books for the shelves, and subsequently he took over the entire burden of classification. Trained as a philologist at the University and in Germany, Jordan brought to his seemingly routine work an extensive knowledge of languages, a wide acquaintance with classical and modern literature, and a long experience which rendered his services extraordinarily valuable to the Library. Byron A. Finney ('71) was Reference Librarian from 1891 to 1916. Anderson Hoyt Hopkins (Ph.B. '92) was Assistant Librarian from 1892 to 1895, when he left to help in the organization of the John Crerar Library in Chicago.
Under Davis gifts of important special collections were made to the Library. In 1870 Philo Parsons of Detroit bought and presented to the University the library of Professor Karl H. Rau of Heidelberg, a valuable collection of books and pamphlets relating principally to the science of political economy. Mr. Parsons also paid for the continuation of several of the serial publications contained in the collection, and added still other works. In 1898 the Parsons Collection contained 4,325 bound volumes and 5,000 pamphlets.
The gift of the McMillan Shakespeare Collection from James McMillan in 1883 was perhaps even more important. Though funds for keeping it up by additions of newer materials have been insufficient, this collection is one of the important Shakespeare collections for scholarly research in this country. The valuable Goethe Collection, fathered by Professor Calvin Thomas, of the Department of German, and largely the gift of the German citizens of Michigan, while smaller than the Shakespeare Collection, has also been of much service. The private library of Dr. Edward Dorsch, of Monroe, Michigan, also added during Davis' term as Librarian, and the small but very valuable private collection of W. W. Murphy, long Consul-General of the United States at Frankfurt-am-Main, were notable acquisitions.
In 1896 the University established its own bindery, set up in the Library under the superintendence of William Charles Hollands. From modest beginnings this bindery grew to considerable size. (The printing which had earlier been a function of the bindery was transferred to the Press Building in the early nineteen thirties.) By 1940 the establishment had specially designed quarters in the northeast corner of the basement of the Page 1374present Library Building and still profited from Mr. Hollands' supervision, notwithstanding his partial retirement from active duty in 1929. It was not until 1944, when Mr. Hollands was eighty-two, that the Regents relieved him of all duties and responsibilities, though continuing his salary and commending "his long, expert, and devoted service to the University."
The two decades from 1890 to 1910 were marked by slow growth in the book stock of the General Library. Careful selection was a necessary result of strictly limited funds for book purchases, but the most careful selection could not meet the problems presented by an expanding curriculum, an enlarged faculty, and a student body growing by the proverbial leaps and bounds. Noticeable also was the growing pressure caused by increased reading for research work being carried on by faculty and graduate students. The policy of extensive purchase of periodical sets begun by Dr. Vaughan for the Medical School and so amusingly described by him in his autobiography, A Doctor's Memories (pp. 205-6), was followed in other disciplines, particularly in the Literary College and in the nascent Graduate School.
The Coyl and Ford-Messer bequests proved to be a great boon to the Library. Though small ($10,000 and $20,000, respectively) from the standpoint of a later day, these two endowments enabled the Library to purchase sets and journals which could not otherwise have been acquired. The income of the Coyl Fund, the gift of Miss Jean L. Coyl, of Detroit, in 1894, in memory of her brother, Colonel William Henry Coyl, was devoted chiefly to the purchase of expensive books and sets in the field of the arts and archaeology. The Ford-Messer Fund was established in 1894 by Dr. Corydon L. Ford, for many years Professor of Anatomy in the Medical School. The income from this fund was used mainly to buy sets of the publications of the major European learned societies and academies. Unfortunately, as these purchases grew in number, and as the current subscriptions for the annual additions to these transactions and proceedings were charged to these funds, the income became practically mortgaged. The Coyl and Ford-Messer funds, however, continue to yield each year most happy and beneficent fruits to the Library. Already the total income expended has far surpassed the original sums received as endowments and has added steadily through the years materials of prime importance to University study.
The contribution of Edward Lorraine Walter, long an energetic and most influential teacher of French, should not be forgotten. After his tragic death in the sinking of "La Bourgogne" in 1898, Professor Walter's private library was given to the University in 1900. It continues to be very useful, furnishing many sound editions of the French and Italian classic and modern writers. To many of the older men on the faculty his bookplate with his favorite motto recalls a beloved teacher. Many collections, the fruit of ripe judgment gained in years of University life, have enriched the Library. These include the philosophical library of Professor George Sylvester Morris, presented by his widow in 1896, and added to generously in later years by gifts of money.
The practice of reserving certain books, frequently several copies of each title, for the use of classes began at Michigan in the autumn of 1889, when Professor Francis W. Kelsey arranged for about a hundred and fifty books to be held on shelves near the loan desk for the use of the students in his well-attended course in Roman Archaeology and Antiquities. From this modest Page 1375beginning, regarded as a great innovation at the time, the practice grew until by 1915 it became evident that special provision would be required for outside reading in connection with undergraduate courses. Two rooms had been provided in the building erected in 1881-83 for the use of advanced students: the East Seminary Room for history and the West Seminary Room for classics. Thus, a beginning was made in that differentiation of service to groups within the University which has so marked the developments in recent years.
With the advent of Theodore Wesley Koch (Pennsylvania '92, A.M. Harvard '94) as Librarian, a period of rapid development began for the Library. After service at the Library of Congress and at Cornell, where he published a large and detailed catalogue of the Willard Fiske Dante Collection, Koch was appointed Assistant Librarian at the University of Michigan in 1904, becoming Chief Librarian the following year when Davis became Librarian Emeritus. He held the post until the summer of 1915, when serious illness compelled him to resign. Later, he became librarian of Northwestern University.
The Library Building was enlarged in 1910 by the addition of bookstacks at the south. A part of the space formerly occupied by the Art Gallery was also set aside for stacks. The remainder was made into a Graduate Reading Room for advanced students including those of the Medical School. The south part of the Gallery, which was used for stacks, presents a novel architectural solution of a most difficult problem. The original cast iron stacks were not designed to carry the weight of additional stories, hence trusses were used to bear the weight of the two floors. The trusses themselves were supported by columns of brickwork embedded in the walls. The additional shelving thus ingeniously installed was completely filled by 1915.
In 1900 the General Library counted 258,633 volumes and for its size was unquestionably one of the best in America. By June, 1915, the number of volumes had grown to 352,718. Funds had never been large, and only constant care and supervision of expenditure had kept the Library properly supplied with books.
Certain innovations of importance brought about by Koch put the Library in line with modern practice. The Reading Room on the first floor was furnished with a large and carefully selected collection of reference books, and the students were given the privilege of "borrowing books from the General Library for use in their own rooms." In early days the reference collection had been meager in the extreme — a few dictionaries, atlases, and encyclopedias contained in a small case in the center of the room. To these were added some three thousand books of reference placed in cases against the outer walls of the semicircular Reading Room, available for consultation by any reader. How great this change was can be understood only by those who as students had to apply for reference books at the loan desk. Home use of books by students soon grew to large proportions. The privilege has been valued and has been very little abused.
Byron A. Finney joined the staff as Reference Librarian in 1891, and it was found possible after 1900 to add to the Library staff a small number of professionally trained librarians. A Catalogue Department was created, and later an Order Department. It is noteworthy that before the end of the nineteenth century, the Library had been arranged on the Dewey Decimal System, and before 1910 the use of printed cards bought from the Library of Congress had been thoroughly established. Subject cataloguing had been introduced by Hopkins and Jordan Page 1376before 1895. Shelf-lists for inventory purposes were begun equally early. Technically, the Library's methods were in conformity with modern practice, but the force was always too small to permit the application of these methods with full satisfaction either to the Library staff or to the University.
Further service to advanced students was attempted in the upper Reading Room following the removal of the art collections to Alumni Memorial Hall after it was completed in 1910. The limitations of the Library Building, however, prevented any considerable enlargement of the service in either direction.
Perhaps the most significant of various changes and improvements was the adoption in 1913 of the principle of segregating rare and costly books in the Rare Book Rooms, with consultation rooms adjoining the storage space. This was accomplished with some difficulty by enclosing the southern half of the third floor of bookstacks and providing metal doors and metal window coverings. The principle was undoubtedly sound, but implementation was difficult because the more valuable books were locked up, and every time they were needed it was necessary to apply at the loan desk or the Librarian's office. Until 1917 it was not possible to provide special service for the rare books, to keep the room open, and to give expert supervision. Professor Isaac N. Demmon ('68, M.A. '71), who had been instrumental in acquiring many of the rare books for the Library, was made Curator, and Miss Eunice Wead (Smith '02, New York State Library School [Albany] '03, A.M. Michigan '27), Assistant Curator. On Professor Demmon's death in 1920, Miss Wead, later Associate Professor of Library Science, was made Curator, resigning in 1924 to become Assistant Librarian of the William L. Clements Library of American History.
A new building was imperatively needed long before the insistent efforts of President Hutchins finally secured from the Legislature of 1915 an appropriation of $350,000. The sum was far too small. The legislature added $200,000 and later provided another $65,000 for furniture and equipment. Only the genius of the architect, Albert Kahn, of Detroit, an expert in concrete construction, permitted building with this comparatively modest sum a structure which, despite great increases in the student body, in the faculties, in the number of books, and in the service itself, proved to be adequate for two decades. The architect was obliged to keep the old bookstacks, which were weakly built but fireproof, and to limit his designs. Before the plans had passed beyond the stage of preliminary sketches, Koch's illness resulted in his resignation, and William Warner Bishop was called from Washington to succeed him in September, 1915.
The University of California, early in the century, had built a library of stone embodying a central stack, a large reading room on the second floor across the front of the building, offices, and special reading and study rooms situated on either side of the main entrance. Harvard, in 1915, because of its greater need for book storage and for space for diverse classes of readers, had carried the principal features of this design much further. Kahn, in developing the design, used the central axis for the approach of readers and the delivery of books to the main loan desk. The design is simple in the extreme, and years of experience have shown it to be thoroughly workable. The cruciform stack with a book conveyor in the center provided a means of rapid service along the shortest possible lines.
A faculty committee composed of Professors Wenley and Demmon and Dean Guthe aided the Librarian and the architect in perfecting the designs finally Page 1377carried out in the building. Professor John F. Shepard represented the University in practical details of construction. The University owes a great debt to his unwearying labors, ingenuity, and practical sense. The architect also brought to his task great experience and a resourcefulness unmatched among his colleagues (see Part VIII: The General Library Building). The new stack units at right angles to the old stack were built first, and the Library services were housed in them temporarily while the old structure in front of and beside the bookstacks was torn down. Begun in April, 1917, before World War I was declared, work on the building lagged owing to lack of men and materials. The Library was finally dedicated on January 7, 1920. Meantime, the west bookstack, furnished with concrete floors, was used for reading rooms, while the east bookstack housed the Order Department and the cataloguing staff, as well as the books which had been stored in those parts of the old building torn down to make room for the new structure.
Between 1910 and 1920 the number of volumes grew from 270,998 to 430,000. In the next decade the total reached 765,516, and the accessions in 1938 reached the million mark. This rapid growth is by no means unusual. In fact, the major university libraries of the country have all grown with equal or greater speed. The significance of the large additions to the University Library lies in their character fully as much as in their size. Files of important journals and newspapers, such as the London Times from 1817 to date; imposing series of transactions of learned societies both general, as the great European academies, and special, as the Japan Society of London; monumental works of fundamental importance in research, such as Pertz, Monumenta Germaniae Historica and the Humboldt-Bonpland Voyage; rare books, such as the Shakespeare and incunabula collections; and highly valuable special collections, best typified perhaps by the Vignaud Collection, have marked the increase as the years have gone by. While much ephemeral material and much of secondary importance has of necessity been acquired, the bulk of the great additions is of enduring value, much of it printed on the older paper stock which is fairly permanent. By the end of the academic year 1940, the stacks of the main Library Building were practically filled, despite the establishment of several additional "departmental" libraries.
One great factor in maintaining the high level of acquisition was the addition of two more trust funds. Another lay in the richness and size of certain gifts of books and of money for their purchase. The Octavia Williams Bates Fund with a principal of approximately $17,000 became available in 1917. This fund has been devoted to purchases of important and valuable books and sets in certain fields, chiefly the publications of museums and libraries, the writings of the Renaissance humanists, and of valuable books in archaeology and the arts. Few continuations have been permitted to burden this fund; thus, its usefulness has not been circumscribed in emergencies. The Silas Wright Dunning Fund will ultimately have a capital of more than $250,000. It has been used to establish a great collection of publications of French and Belgian local academies and societies. This field was chosen in agreement with the library of the University of Minnesota, which had gathered similar publications of the Scandinavian countries and those Baltic regions once under Scandinavian control, and with the John Crerar and New-berry libraries of Chicago, which agreed to gather German and Austrian society publications of a local and general character. By means of interlibrary loans this material is serviceable in all four Page 1378libraries and in others as well. Both the Bates and the Dunning funds are the gifts of alumni. Other funds have been raised by certain alumni groups and classes for the endowment of book purchases by the Library.
Perhaps of even greater value have been the gifts by alumni and others of the fruits of their own collecting in special fields. In 1914 Dean C. Worcester gave his Philippine Collection, which included many unpublished manuscripts. He also gave a large sum of money to be used in adding to the collection.
Regent William L. Clements not only gave his extraordinary collection of Americana to the University but also a beautiful building in which to house it; he also presented many valuable books to the General Library. For more than twenty years Clements was chairman of the Library Committee of the Regents, giving freely of his experience and knowledge. Much of the successful development of the Library since 1910 is owing to his guidance and aid. While technically he did not give the Henri Vignaud Library to the University, it was bought by the Regents in 1922, after inspection by the Librarian, upon Clement's urging. His gift of money to arrange and catalogue this valuable addition almost equaled the purchase price. The Americana in the Vignaud Collection provided the Clements Library with an indispensable critical apparatus and thousands of books second in importance only to the great treasures Clements had already secured; the remainder of the collection came to the General Library. The Vignaud library was particularly rich in the European philosophical writings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in books on geographical discovery, and in the older works on anthropology. There were also some thousands of pamphlets which were arranged for binding by Dr. George E. Wire. Every year adds to our sense of the value of these materials, gathered in a long lifetime spent chiefly in the service of the United States in its Paris embassy.
Another Regent whose benefactions have enriched the Library was Lucius L. Hubbard, of Houghton. Serving on the Library Committee with Regent Clements for years, he became thoroughly familiar with the Library's needs and its work. In 1923, some time before his retirement from the Board, Dr. Hubbard gave the Library a remarkable collection of imaginary voyages, which naturally included the two most famous in English literature, Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels. The Crusoe collection is unusually large and complete, from an exceptionally fine copy of the first edition of 1719 to recent illustrated editions. It contains a long series of British editions, another series of American editions, and translations into many languages. It includes in a dozen languages an outstanding lot of "Robinsonades," imitations of Defoe's famous classic. The Gulliver collection includes not only large and ordinary paper copies of the first edition (1726) but a number of collected editions of Swift's works, gathered by Mr. Hubbard in the course of his studies on the bibliography of Gulliver's Travels. It also includes a long sequence of editions and translations. Other imaginary voyages, chiefly in English, Dutch, and German, figure in the collection. Regent Hubbard also gave the Library a group of books which he called "Men and Manners in America." This consists of impressions of European travelers to America and covers a period from the end of the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War. By his direction these have not been kept separately but have been incorporated in the Library's general collections, distinguished only by a special bookplate.
Two physicians have greatly aided the Page 1379Library by gifts of books gathered with care over long years. Dr. Lewis Stephen Fisk Pilcher, of Brooklyn, one of the foremost surgeons of the country, in 1926 presented the greater part of his private library of important older medical works. This collection, which serves to trace the history of surgery and anatomy, contains many unusual and rare works. Later, the Library received the Haass collection of incunabula in the field of internal medicine, given in honor of the memory of Ernest William Haass, of Detroit, by his brother, Walter Ferdinand Haass. This collection, selected by Professors R. S. Warthin and C. V. Weller of the Medical School, although small, containing only twenty-eight volumes, is very choice. Dr. Warthin had previously secured from Regent Peter White, of Marquette, a fund with which certain very important works in the history of medicine were bought. Dr. Le Roy Crummer, of Los Angeles, built generously on these foundations by adding books from his private library. His gift was later enlarged by his widow. He began with an extraordinary series of editions of the Regimen Sanitatis of the Salerno School, followed this by an almost complete collection of editions of the various writings of Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich, and then gave more than one thousand books, most of them very rare and all of them significant in the history of medicine. Taken together, these gifts form a notable foundation for a study of medical history.
It is, however, important to observe that none of these special gifts which have so greatly enriched the Library carried with it any provision for endowment. An effort has been made to add to the collections in Shakespeare, Carlyle, Goethe, and others by drawing upon the various book funds at the disposal of the Librarian and of the department concerned. The lack of sufficient funds earmarked for this purpose has greatly reduced with the passage of time the value for research purposes of many of these special collections.
Failure to note the debt of the Library to faculty members would be inexcusable. Ziwet, Beman, Scott, Taylor, Warthin, as well as Morris and Wenley, are only a few of the Michigan benefactors whose gifts of books still serve the University.
The total of important gifts which the Library has received is impressive. Each year among the thousands of volumes there are many of prime value. Among alumni of the University who have made a practice of securing unusual items for the Library should be mentioned Colonel Thomas M. Spaulding who, with Mrs. Spaulding, not only has given the Library a book fund endowment for the Stephen Spaulding Collection in history in memory of their son but has also presented more than a thousand books, among them many incunabula, a large collection on Hawaii, and many illustrative of the history of the military art.
Funds for purchase have likewise grown steadily, though suffering a reduction after 1932 through the depression years. Earlier purchases were carefully selected works. With easier means the character of the selection has not greatly changed. Permanent value has been sought, to the exclusion of the trivial or temporary. The various departments and individuals selecting books have spent their money carefully. The fashion of the last sixty years in the world of learning has been periodical publication in highly specialized journals and in transactions of societies. These the Library has sought and obtained in large numbers. Perhaps a third, certainly a fourth of its bulk lies in bound newspapers, transactions of learned societies, general and technical periodicals, series of monographs, university publications, and the serial publications of governmental bodies. Page 1380The emphasis on collecting periodicals of all sorts and in many fields marks the greatest change from the Library of an earlier day.
In its early years the Library failed to gather systematically the publications of governments. Long a depository of the documents published by the United States, the Library made little attempt to secure the publications of other governments or of the several states of our own country. Much of this material, so valuable for the social sciences, can be secured only at the time of issue and generally only from the office of publication, but seldom through the ordinary book trade. Early in 1915 a beginning was made in securing the British parliamentary papers. Imperfect but still fairly complete files dating from the beginning of the century were bought in London, and subscriptions were entered for the complete series. A systematic attempt was made in 1917 to get back issues of publications of the state of Michigan. This effort was successful largely through the co-operation of the State Library and through the personal exertions of James H. Russell. A beginning was made at that time in procuring files of Canadian, French, and German official documents, partly by way of exchange. For some years the success of the Documents Section of the Order Department in gathering the publications of American states and cities has been marked. There is still room for great development in this field. Research work in certain of the social sciences depends in large part on this material.
The card catalogues of the Library have necessarily become intricate and numerous. The public catalogue in the second-floor corridor and the official catalogue in the Catalogue Department record under author and subject and, when desirable, under title as well, all books owned by the University. The shelf-list kept in the Classification Department is also a systematic catalogue by subjects, maintained for purposes of inventory. Each outlying library is furnished with a shelf-list and catalogue prepared in the Library. In 1940 there were over two thousand trays in the public catalogue, containing more than one and three-quarter million cards.
The card catalogue was used here before 1870, following the then novel system begun at Harvard College Library. Of course, all the cards were written by hand. For two decades this simple catalogue of author cards sufficed. About 1890 subject cards began to be made. Later, typewritten cards were introduced, and, after 1900, printed cards from the Library of Congress. The growth of the Library after 1900 resulted in an excessive cataloguing burden. After 1915 numerous changes in the cataloguing staff reduced the quality of the cataloguing despite vigorous efforts on the part of the senior cataloguers. By 1920 it was painfully evident that a recataloguing task would be necessary.
The Library originally used a "fixed location" system of arrangement of its books. Each book was given a number which showed the floor of the bookstack, the range of shelves, the section in the range, and the shelf on which the book belonged. This method was fairly satisfactory until the shelves or sections were filled, when it was necessary to begin a new group in another place. Systems of "relative" location which numbered the books according to prepared schedules and made the shelving a matter of convenience, came into vogue in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The Dewey Decimal classification was by far the best known and most widely accepted of these systems. Though designed originally for the library of Amherst College, this system proved better Page 1381adapted to the needs of public libraries than to those of large university libraries. A great many improvements were made to adapt the system to the needs of the University of Michigan Library. Unfortunately, these changes made it impossible to apply the modern European expansions of the decimal system.
In 1924 work was begun on recataloguing and reclassifying the Library in accordance with the system of the Library of Congress, already in use in many large university libraries, and in 1926 the Regents provided a force of specially trained people under the direction of the Assistant Librarian, Rudolph H. Gjelsness (North Dakota '16, B.L.S. Illinois '20) to carry on this task (see Part IV: Department of Library Science). This work by 1940 had progressed to a point where more than three-quarters of the books had been arranged on the new system and each book recatalogued. It would have been an easy task merely to change the numbering and arrangement of the books. But to carry out a thorough and systematic recataloguing has taken time. Every advantage has been taken of the cooperative cataloguing of the larger libraries of the country, thus incorporating the cards for many extensive and intricate monograph series. The Library of Congress deposits in the Library a complete set of its printed cards. In this file, up to World War II, were placed cards from various other libraries, European as well as American, thus creating an unrivaled bibliographic apparatus of great value in research as well as in cataloguing. The collection of books in the field of bibliography was greatly enlarged and strengthened. The Catalogue and Reference departments were equipped as well as or better than other libraries of a comparable size.
In the nineteen thirties all of the libraries organized as part of the General Library system — those of the professional schools as well as those of more restricted scope, such as Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy — were furnished with separate complete card catalogues. The books were, of course, also recorded in the central catalogue. The contents of the Law and Clements libraries were gradually represented in the General Library catalogues.
In 1917 the Library purchased a photostat camera and the necessary equipment for making photographic reproductions on a large scale. Its first undertaking in this field was the Kentucky Gazette. This, the first newspaper issued west of the Allegheny Mountains, was published at Lexington, Kentucky, from 1787 on. The entire eighteenth-century series of this newspaper, an invaluable source for the student of the political and economic history of the Ohio Valley, was photostated and furnished in bound form to subscribers. Regent Clements underwrote the enterprise. The Lexington Public Library lent its file, a volume at a time, for photographing. Missing numbers were supplied in part from other sources, though some pages have never been discovered. The Detroit Gazette from 1817 to 1830 was reproduced later, chiefly from the files in the Burton Collection in the Detroit Public Library, and in the Buffalo Public Library. These two newspaper reproductions were made without cost to the University, save for supervision, the subscriptions covering the entire expense. By 1940 the Library owned two photostat machines which produced more than 30,000 prints annually, about two-thirds of which were made for various units and offices on the campus. It is fitting to take note of the care with which this work has been done and the excellence of the workmanship, which is under the direction of Mrs. Page 1382Alvina M. Woodford. This department of the Library is self-supporting.
Of the various collegiate and departmental libraries of the University, the largest, the Medical Library, housed in the main Library Building, in 1940 numbered more than 61,194 volumes. In addition, there were, in 1940, three libraries in the College of Engineering and one each in the College of Architecture, the School of Dentistry, the School of Business Administration, and the School of Forestry and Conservation. As new buildings afforded space, the libraries of Natural Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy were also established. Reading rooms with modest book collections in Angell Hall served the departments of Economics and Mathematics and the needs of the graduate students in the departments of Philosophy, Education, History, and Political Science. The ancient and modern languages were taken care of in the main Library Building. A determined effort was made to offer direct library service for different groups of readers having common interests, allowing the Main Reading Room, the Periodical Room, and the loan desk to give service of a more general type.
The Main Reading Room has been equipped with ten thousand volumes for reference work of a general character. The more highly specialized reference work centers in the departmental libraries. Books and journals for all the libraries in the system are purchased, bound, catalogued, and classified in the General Library Building by the Library staff. An organized distribution service takes books to and from the departmental libraries. Circulation is permitted in most of these libraries.
In 1916 Superintendent of Public Instruction Fred L. Keeler pointed out the need for a Library Extension Service, primarily to aid the high schools of the state. Begun very modestly, this service has grown to large proportions, serving 100,000 individuals in 1940. It provides pamphlets and magazines on topics of current interest to schools, clubs, granges, societies, colleges, and individuals. It has gathered, arranged, and sent out thousands of pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and other materials. The service has drawn heavily on the knowledge and experience of experts on the campus for aid and counsel. By its "Alumni Reading Lists" and other publications, aided by the Bureau of Alumni Relations, Library Extension has rendered help to thousands of alumni at home and abroad. The work has been done on a modest annual budget, but it has grown into an indispensable part of the Library's services.
It is not generally known how valuable and how numerous are the Library's book rarities. Aside from special collections, the Library has in its Rare Book Rooms hundreds of first and early editions of British and American authors, hundreds of rare and early books, including those printed before 1501, in addition to manuscript collections of importance, such as the Lucius Lyon papers (now transferred to Clements Library). Any book printed in less than three hundred copies goes into the Rare Book Room, as do most books printed before 1550. Modern private presses and limited editions, historic bindings, and a modest group of prints are only a few of the collections represented. A Curator of Rare Books and an Assistant Curator oversee the collections and perform a great variety of bibliographical services. The University also owns more than a thousand specimens of the Elzevir Press including the famous Copinger Collection.
The Library inaugurated, in 1927, a Department of Manuscripts and Papyri. Page 1383The papyri collection in 1940 numbered more than ten thousand pieces and the manuscripts more than eight hundred, of which two hundred were Greek or Latin. The basis of the manuscript collection was the purchase, in 1922 at a sale in London, of the greater part of the Greek New Testament manuscripts of the library of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts. Professor Kelsey secured the funds for this and other purchases of manuscript material. Many of the additions were purchased by him in the Levant and in Europe with funds given by various friends of the University. A large share of the papyrus collection resulted from the University's excavations in Egypt; many others were bought in London in conjunction with the British Museum. Scholars working on these collections have published a large part of them in the University's Humanistic Series. There is a Curator of Manuscripts and Papyri and a special study room for work on these documents.
The Map Collection, which in 1940 numbered more than fourteen thousand maps and atlases, is housed in cases on the third floor of the Library and is adequately indexed for purposes of quick reference. The extraordinary collection of rare maps and facsimiles in the Clements Library requires the backing of an adequate collection of modern maps in the General Library.
Another special group is the University of Michigan Collection of writings of faculty and alumni. Were it better known among the alumni, it would undoubtedly be larger. No article, pamphlet, or book by, or photograph of, an alumnus or professor which comes into the Library has been allowed to escape this collection. With no funds set aside for building it up, it has grown chiefly by gift. It is arranged on a separate classification scheme, the writings of each class in the several colleges and schools being kept together. In addition, every effort has been made to complete the files of official and student publications, a task far more difficult than would at first appear. Harvard still has the only known copies of some of the earliest official publications of this University.
The Library has had a somewhat unusual relation to the various governing bodies of the University. For many years, until 1934, there was a Library Committee of the Regents which exercised an active and wholesome influence on the Library's growth and expansion. The long services of Regents Clements and Hubbard on this committee merit grateful remembrance. For years the Library's budget was prepared by the Librarian in consultation with this committee, and the chairman appeared, generally with the Librarian, before the Finance Committee of the Regents to present the budget. The presence on the Board of such distinguished book collectors as Regents Hubbard, Clements, and Beal unquestionably was favorable to an understanding of library needs. At the same time, the Library Committee of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for many decades apportioned the book funds voted by the Regents to the Library, caring for general needs as well as for those of individual departments and giving the Librarian counsel on general matters of administration. The growth and extension of the Library's services to other colleges, however, inevitably went beyond the knowledge and experience of a committee from a single faculty. When the Regents' Library Committee was discontinued, it was necessary to establish another body to take its place. Accordingly, the University Council, in 1933, voted to recommend the creation of a Council of the General Library, consisting of four members of the Senate, with the Librarian as chairman. The Page 1384Council proved a valuable aid to the Library administration.
In 1938, the entire stock of books owned by all the libraries of the University passed a million volumes. This figure did not include unbound pamphlets, maps, or materials as yet uncatalogued. Annual accessions were 32,863, a smaller figure than that reached in the several years before 1932.
In 1940 there were ten reading and study rooms, seating about one thousand readers, in the General Library. In addition, there were thirteen collegiate and departmental libraries, besides the Law Library, the Clements Library, and the Bureau of Government Library. Service was given in most of these libraries from twelve to fourteen hours daily. After 1920 the Main Reading Room and the Periodical Reading Room were open from two to nine on Sunday. In the academic year 1939-40, between 5,000 and 5,500 readers used the General Library each day. At least 2,000 more used the outlying departmental libraries. Thus, more than 7,000 readers used the libraries daily.