Columbia Library columns (v.15(1965Nov-1966May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.15,no.3(1966:May): Page 30  

Our Growing Collections



IT is by no means unusual for this writer, in his capacity as
Head of Special Collections, to be approached by some
distinguished member of our faculty with the diffident en¬
quiry as to what he should "do about" his "papers." This gener¬
ally comes up because, he tells me, "The University of So-and-
So has made a most interesting proposal. They want my papers,
and they say they will set them up in special quarters and furn¬
ish me with an evaluation which I can use for tax purposes. But
before I decide I'd like to know whether Columbia is interested."
This always leaves me a little deflated. For more than a dozen
years I have been preaching the gospel {ad nauseain, as I
thought) of Columbia's "interest" in being made the repository
of the manuscripts, correspondence, notes, and memorabilia of
our faculty members. That effort has borne distinguished fruit,
and the pages of "Our Growing Collections" for the past year
alone are studded with notices of gifts or bequests of the papers
of, for example, Jacques Barzun, the late Harry J. Carman,
Charles Frankel, Walter Gellhorn, the late Virginia C. Gilder¬
sleeve, Donald L. Keene, Richard B. Morris, Allan Nevins, Wil¬
liam Y. Tindall, Mark Van Doren, and the late C. C. William¬
son. It is an effort that we take great pride in, knowing that we
are serving scholarship by preserving and making available the
unpublished materials which authors and historians have gath¬
ered in support of their own writings. And it is an effort that
has placed Columbia high among the universities of this country
in the development of manuscript resources for the purposes of
research. From a mere  handful of manuscripts at the end of

  v.15,no.3(1966:May): Page 30