For the first time in U.S. history, the protection of books and other cultural resources became an official war aim during World War II. Examining the broad historical process by which this policy was formed and executed, this article focuses on three key factors: the new role of intellectual and cultural elites, who forged close ties with the state; the expansion of intelligence gathering and its unintended consequences for the preservation of cultural material; and the extraordinary actions of individual librarians, curators, and ordinary soldiers on the ground, who improvised solutions to the problems of preservation and restoration.
The Chinese book project Siku Quanshu (The Complete Library of Four Treasures) was conducted at the Emperor Qianlong's command starting in 1772. Thirteen thousand two hundred fifty-four books were collected nationwide and thousands of scholars were involved; 3,462 books were selected to make up the Siku Quanshu proper. Over 4 million pages were transcribed by thousands of copyists. Out of the seven copies made, only three copies survived the dramatic historical changes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries almost intact. This article traces the odyssey of the Wenshu Ge copy, particularly in the rapidly changing sociopolitical and economic contexts of the twentieth century. The emphasis of the article is placed on the description and analysis of its relocation in the early 1920s soon after China was transformed into a republic; in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War when China split from and confronted the USSR; and in particular, in the new era of reform and opening up for economic development since the late 1970s. After the turn of the century, the two-decade competition between Liaoning Province and Gansu Province for physically keeping the copy has become increasingly intense at the national, provincial, and local levels, and the competition has created significant impacts on library building and cultural development in the two provinces and beyond. The article examines important factors of culture, tradition, preservation, and modernization associated with the fate of the copy in hopes that the perplexing realities of Chinese history and society will be better understood as China has entered a new era.
This article investigates the discourse of loss during the period between the pillaging of the Song Dynasty imperial libraries and the dispersal of private collections in north China in the late 1120s and the rebuilding of the Imperial Library and private collections through the 1140s. It contrasts the different strategies taken by the court and private collectors in managing loss, in developing acquisitions, and in remembering war and peace through collecting.
The Tianyige (TYG) Library is the most ancient private library still in existence in China. It is also the oldest private library in Asia and one of the three earliest private libraries in the world. It was built between 1561 and 1566 by the Defense Minister Fan Qin during the Ming Dynasty. TYG witnessed the glories and the turmoil of the Ming and Qing dynasties, war, revolution, and numerous social changes and its own triumphs and downfalls. After 400 years of preservation and management by thirteen generations of the Fan family, in 1949 it was donated to the government at the time of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The collection is strongest in local histories and imperial examination records during the Ming period. It is a remarkable representation of the Chinese private book-collecting tradition as well as a symbol of the continuity of Chinese culture and civilization.
Late-nineteenth-century China suffered from a weak and declining central government, the incursions of Western interests, and a necessity to grapple with the demands of a modern national state. For sixty days in the summer of 1900 the legation quarters of Western governments in Peking came under siege by the Qing government and Boxer forces until finally relieved by an international military expedition. During the siege, the Hanlin Academy, a repository of Chinese bibliographical treasures representing centuries of cultural accumulation, suffered destruction through fire and pillage. From the immediate aftermath of the siege and throughout the century following, questions have been raised as to what actually happened and who was to blame for the atrocity. The observations of the British and other Western government officials differed from those of the Chinese participants. A variety of sources, some recently rediscovered, make fresh conclusions possible.
During the Paris Commune of 1871, communards assumed responsibility for administration of the Bibliothèque Nationale. On April 1 the Commune appointed Citizen Jules Vincent the library's supervisor. Three weeks later, the Commune dismissed Vincent when it discovered that he had embezzled 10,000 francs that had been allocated to meet library expenses. Vincent's behavior had immense consequences for the Commune. This article will examine how Versailles attempted to portray Vincent's action as symbolic of communard deceit; how it became virtually impossible for the Commune to regain the trust of library managers and employees; and how Elie Reclus, a widely respected humanitarian and academic, was faced with the challenging task of managing the library and protecting its collection during the final five weeks of the Commune's existence.
During World War I public libraries in the United States functioned in multiple ways as civic spaces. This was particularly true of libraries in large, urban centers with diverse ethnic populations, many from countries involved in the conflict. For children, the library was a refuge that provided story hours, reading material, and space dedicated to their needs. Just before the end of the war, the influenza pandemic broke out and children were not allowed in the library building. In a few short months, the library went from being a refuge to being a health risk for children.
The day after the Armistice of 1918 was signed ending World War I,the Book Committee on Children's Libraries was established by a group of American women. The committee's relief efforts focused on the establishment of children's libraries in order to help with the "educational reconstruction" of Belgium and France. This article focuses on the first of these children's libraries, L'Heure Joyeuse Brand Whitlock, and the ways in which it became a site of educational and social reform.
Although from its inception in 1850 the public library in Britain displayed an economic dimension, attempting to respond in relatively general ways to technical, scientific, industrial, and commercial needs, it was not until the First World War that the institution's "materialist" role achieved anything like the standing of its traditional sociocultural function. The war generated a series of economic, social, political, and technological problems and proposed solutions. There was considerable anxiety concerning the anticipated escalation in postwar international competition arising from the loss of foreign markets. The war brought into sharp relief Britain's relatively poor scientific and technological infrastructure. Total conflict engendered extensive social and political disaffection and an accompanying fear of impending radical change. In addressing these problems and tensions, the government initiated a policy of reconstruction in the second half of the war. One element of this policy was a planned extension of public library services, including an upgrading of technical and commercial information provision through the establishment of new "dedicated" departments. In the closing years of the war and in its immediate aftermath, public technical and commercial libraries (generically termed "technical libraries" in this article) emerged in some of Britain's large cities. An analysis of plans and statements from librarians, the business world, and political elites in support of these new "workshop" libraries throws light on contemporary discourses concerning the future of the economy and sociopolitical ideas. However, outside the grand issues of economic policy and social and political stability, discussion surrounding the intended purpose and practices of technical and commercial libraries reflected debates and tensions in the library and information world concerning the nature, status, and identity of librarianship, its relevance to information work and documentation, and the future of the public library in the postwar world.
The American Library in Paris remained open to readers throughout World War II, and its history during the darkest period of the occupation is a tribute to the leadership and courage of an American-born countess, Clara Longworth de Chambrun, and her small but dedicated staff. This article presents the drama as it unfolded—-through the phony war, the fall of Paris, and the bleak years following the American declaration of war on Germany. The concluding section offers a brief analysis of the American Library's unlikely survival and explores its complicated wartime history by using concepts borrowed from institutional sociology.
Jews crowded into the ghettos and concentration camps of World War II were desperate for any avenue of resistance or escape, not only physically but also mentally. In the ghetto concentration camp Theresienstadt, the prisoner-run Ghetto Central Library, complete with bookmobile system, reading room, and branch libraries, served as a reminder that minds and imaginations remained active and free, even amidst devastating persecution. With the inclusion of Jewish book collections confiscated by the Nazis, it grew to 100,000 volumes. Brought to the Jewish Museum of Prague Library after liberation, the books are still being returned, whenever possible, to original owners.
This article looks at two libraries founded in 1934 as counter-symbols to the Nazi book burning: the German Freedom Library in Paris and the American Library of Nazi-Banned Books at the Brooklyn Jewish Center in New York. It describes these two libraries as agents of cultural memory, as privileged sites for redefining German, German-Jewish, and Jewish-American cultural identity in times of radical change. Created on different continents and in different social, cultural, and political contexts, they reflect the dynamics of cultural memory from 1933 through World War II and the Cold War era to the present day.
The ground for library work in Finnish military hospitals during World War II was prepared before the war by three different traditions of library activity. First, professional librarians and state library authorities tried to initiate hospital library work in Finnish hospitals as an extension of municipal library services. Impulses from abroad, mainly from Great Britain through the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), were important in this initiative. Second, nurses, especially in the Red Cross Hospital in Helsinki, started to give library services as a voluntary operation in late 1930s. The first full-time hospital librarian, a volunteer, was originally a nurse. Third, the Soldiers' Homes Associations run by women volunteers organized libraries for conscript soldiers during peace time. This article describes how these traditions worked together during the Second World War. Professional librarians' attitudes toward voluntary library work in military hospitals and the interaction between librarians and patients as readers are described. Library work in civilian hospitals grew out of wartime activities.
Japanese public libraries failed to make a significant impact with either the state or the people for close to a half century after their introduction in the 1860s. The state was under too much pressure to modernize and militarize to see any value in funding a recreational facility that served personal needs, and librarians did little to market themselves to the people to increase their support base. It was not until the state began to see a role for librarians to provide ideological thought guidance through reading material that libraries began to receive more attention and support. But the library community was hesitant to abandon traditional library services (based on free reading by individuals) in favor of social education (guided reading of mandatory texts), and as a result libraries were not effective vehicles in the state's moral suasion campaigns to ensure that all citizens were fully committed to the war effort.
As the United States was gearing up for war in 1940, San Diego, California, was one of the cities most affected by the increase in both military personnel and civilian defense workers. Confronted with a rapidly increasing population and a growing demand for information to support the aircraft and shipbuilding industries, the staff of the San Diego Public Library exemplified the important role that libraries played in educating citizens, building morale, and maintaining a sense of normalcy in a very uncertain world.
American book publishing during the Second World War had to cope with a huge increase in demand for books coupled with scarcity of resources, especially paper rationing imposed by the War Production Board. Based on research in the Random House archives and focusing on the Modern Library series, this article examines how publishers coped with wartime challenges and opportunities. Random House grew rapidly during the war. Sales reached the million dollar mark in 1941 and exceeded three million dollars by 1946. Many new titles were published in smaller printings than demand would have justified and were out of stock for extended periods before they could be reprinted. The psychological uncertainties and dislocations of wartime affected the kinds of books that were in demand. Sales of philosophy and poetry increased at a disproportionate rate. The Oracles of Nostradamus, published two months after Pearl Harbor, became one of the Modern Library's best-selling titles. Shortly after the war ended the Modern Library became embroiled in a censorship controversy involving the removal of poems by Ezra Pound from a Modern Library poetry anthology. The end of the war was accompanied by rapid inflation in all areas of the economy, and paper remained in short supply despite the end of rationing. It was not until September 1948 that all Modern Library titles were back in stock for the first time since the war.
The founding of the Notre Dame de Grace Library for Boys and Girls in Montreal in 1943 provides a unique and interesting case study in Canadian library development. It was founded and operated by an umbrella group of local community organizations, using money raised locally, initially to combat a perceived rise in juvenile delinquency during the Second World War. The arguments made in favor of the library by the general public and the organizers were widely reported in the local press. The documentary record provides a rare account of the beliefs held about the efficacy of reading and libraries to shape children, a neglected aspect of children's library development in Canadian historiography.
The second International Relations Office of the American Library Association was established in 1956 with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Its directors advised the association, foundations, United States government, and individual librarians who were involved in programs of technical assistance and other international activities. The office closed in 1972 when its final Agency for International Development (AID) contract was terminated. This article discusses its establishment, its directors, its activities, and its demise.
Celebrating its 200th anniversary in 1954, Columbia University organized bicentennial symposia, publications, and ritual observances around the theme "Man's Right to Knowledge and the Free Use Thereof." While not part of the original bicentennial plan, libraries became emblematic of its message. As librarians strengthened their commitment to intellectual freedom, libraries throughout the United States and abroad hosted the Bicentennial Panel Exhibit documenting with quotations and illustrations the worldwide quest for knowledge. Using books, film, recordings, and discussion groups on the bicentennial theme, libraries at the height of the Cold War demonstrated their role in providing free access to information.
In 1951 librarians from the American Library Association's International Relations Committee and publishers from the American Book Publishers Council Foreign Trade Committee met at the Library of Congress to discuss how to meet the "need for books in developing countries." The nonprofit Franklin Book Programs they established existed from 1952 until 1978 and helped to make possible the publication of some 3,000 titles in languages such as Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, Indonesian, and Portuguese; involved the intelligentsia of each country in the process of book selection and translation; and established both a publishing infrastructure and a market for U.S. books in areas where there had been none. Why were these countries and languages chosen? Was the decision to establish a nonprofit organization that could accept funding from the federal government a result of concerns about Cold War censorship? Was the decision another manifestation of librarians' and publishers' assertions of the importance of free access to ideas as a counter to communist ideology? Was it a way to build an international market for American values or American publishers? This research uses archival sources and oral history to explore the motives and actions of behind the Franklin Book Programs.
Before World War II the Prussian State Library, with its three million volumes, was one of the most important German libraries. It was operational until mid-1943, but the ever-increasing number of air raids over Berlin led to a large-scale evacuation of its collections to the east in late 1943 and early 1944. Among the most prized collections removed for safekeeping were hundreds of autograph scores and music manuscripts by Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach. As the result of postwar border changes some of these collections ended up in the Jagiellonian University Library in Kraków, where they remain. Since the unification of Germany consecutive German governments have been trying to negotiate the return of the Prussian music collection from Kraków to Berlin. However, negotiations have been extremely difficult as the broader question of German compensations for losses inflicted on Polish libraries by the Nazis is being raised. This article discusses the Prussian music collection in the context of cultural heritage and war reparations.
Houston Public Library operated as a racially segregated system until 1953, when it quietly changed its policy to one of token integration. Occurring some seven years before the Houston Independent School District began to desegregate, the public library's policy change depended on a few key individuals. Drawing on the library's records of discussions and events, this article traces the history of a major shift in philosophy and practice at a large urban public library in the U.S. South.
In the context of the declining legitimacy of the war in Vietnam and widespread challenges to the authority of established institutions and cultural norms, the American Library Association (ALA) was the target of criticism by a diverse coalition of librarians who asserted two broad demands; first, that the ALA expand the scope of its activities to include consideration of social and political issues that had not, to that point, been regarded as "library" issues by the established leadership of the ALA; second, that the ALA democratize its structure of decision making. This challenge led to the creation of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), which is still active as a component of the ALA. It also prompted the formation of two committees in response to the above demands: the Activities Committee on New Directions (ACONDA) and the Ad Hoc Activities Committee on New Directions (ANACONDA). A central concept at play in the politics of these events is the notion of "social responsibility" and its meaning in time of war and social change. This article focuses on the discourse of the challengers to the ALA and the ALA's response through the work of ACONDA and ANACONDA to examine the contesting and contested meanings of the "social responsibility" of libraries, librarianship, and the ALA. These events and this discursive struggle established an explicit professional concern for and continuing conflict over the meaning and role of libraries and librarianship in the creation of culture that before these events had been merely implicit in professional discourse.
This article examines the relationship between public libraries and social change in South Africa during the 1980s. It focuses on libraries in selected townships on the Cape Flats. It concludes that debates about the public library's success or failure as an instrument of social change cannot overlook the idea of contested space in which the live discussion, debate, and circulation of ideas precludes and includes the use of books and libraries.
The transition away from communism toward a more democratic society and the move to a market economy had profound effects on Russian libraries. Using the main public library in Bryansk, the Bryansk Region Scientific Library, as a case study, this article examines the changes in library service, including information access and the opening of previously closed collections, funding issues, the library's relationship with the government, changes in the professional mindset of librarians, and the information needs of library users in this period of transition.
On March 20, 2003, military forces of the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia invaded Iraq. In the course of this invasion and subsequent occupation, Iraq's cultural infrastructure suffered a great deal of destruction. While international attention has focused primarily on the immense destruction done to the country's pre-Islamic archaeological assets, domestic Iraqi attention has focused equally on the losses suffered by the country's manuscript collections, archives, and document collections. This article provides a general overview of the latter category, including a brief discussion of the events involved, damages sustained, and current status of the collections in question. While in certain key cases the damage sustained by collections was not as severe as initially reported, there were significant losses and a great deal of work lies ahead to reconstitute the facilities involved.
This article introduces the concept of monumental preservation, which the author defines as the preservation of all cultural phenomena, because from the smallest item to the greatest monument all things emanate from and reflect culture. The imperative to preserve monuments is the imperative to preserve our cultural heritage. Whether there is a moral responsibility to preserve cultural heritage may be considered from philosophical, political, and legal perspectives.