Library Trends 05 (3) Winter 1957: Manuscripts and Archives


Library Trends 5 (3) Winter 1957: Manuscripts and Archives. Edited by R. W. G. Vail.

Manuscripts and archives are the most important sources of the scholar for only through them, supplemented by contemporary newspapers, broadsides, caricatures, and controversial pamphlets, can he hope to find the facts and the real flavor of the period of his studies. Years ago when manuscripts were mentioned the student thought only of a man’s letters, diaries, and legal papers. Now the field has broadened and has become far more exciting and the librarian finds himself faced with the problem of collecting, processing, and administering the business papers of individuals and corporations, the archives of governments, states, and cities, the manuscripts of authors, the sketchbooks of artists and the scores of musicians. And, added to records on paper, he must now collect significant motion picture films, tape recordings of the careers of the great or of the pioneer, the records of famous singers, distinguished musical compositions, and the elusive folk song of the nation. He is even expected to collect the spoken dialects of vanishing Indian languages, the music of church bells, and the sound of great guns in battle.

Our acts may not be death-defying or even breath-taking but we are most grateful to the performers, nevertheless, especially since, in their enthusiasm, they did their parts without other remuneration than the satisfaction of being generously helpful in a good cause. All the editor had to do was to help select the subjects and locate the proper talent to make our circus a success. You, the audience out under the big top, must decide whether we have succeeded.

Library Trends (ISSN 0024-2594) is an essential tool for librarians and educators alike. Each issue thoroughly explores a current topic of interest in professional librarianship and includes practical applications, thorough analyses, and literature reviews. The journal is published quarterly for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science by The Johns Hopkins University Press. For subscription information, call 800-548-1784 (410-516-6987 outside the U.S. and Canada), email jlorder [at], or visit

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