Columbia Library columns (v.2(1952Nov-1953May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.2,no.3(1953:May): Page 21  

Our Growing Collections


IT MUST be increasingly clear to readers of these pages that
the Columbia University Libraries are rapidly assuming major
importance as a repository for manuscript and archival col¬
lections. In recent issues we have reported many acquisitions of
such materials—both by gift and by purchase—which have added
significantly to our resources for literary and historical research—
the Gumby Collection on the American Negro; the Stephen
Crane Collection; the Samuel J. Tilden papers representing his
political career; the Chalfant-Britton Collection of early Chinese
writings; the various Russian archival files; the Max Nomad clip¬
pings on corporate forms of government; the Thomas S. Jones
Collection of books, correspondence, and "automatic writing"
manuscripts; the Oral History Memoirs; the growing corpus of
manuscripts of contemporary authors; and many other smaller
but no less useful groups of unique materials.

The importance of such original sources for advanced graduate
research cannot be over-emphasized. In most instances, however,
the collections come to us in an unorganized state, and one of
our greatest problems has been that of making the materials avail¬
able for scholarly use. There is at present under way a project,
sponsored and being carried out by The Libraries, of listing and
describing some two hundred groups of archival materials that
are housed in the various libraries about the campus. This com¬
pilation will be closed as of June 30, 1953, so that the descriptions
can be published. It is already foreseen that supplements to the
list will be required periodically, and it is recognized that the
work will always be something less than complete. Just how in¬
complete can be inferred from the rate of acquisition indicated by
the following trio of collections chosen for mention from the
  v.2,no.3(1953:May): Page 21