Herbert Putnam: A 1903 Trip to Europe

Overview

Born in New York City just as the Civil War was starting, Herbert Putnam was a Harvard graduate and a lawyer who had held two highly responsible top library posts, first at the Minneapolis Public Library and then at the Boston Public Library before he was selected by President McKinley in 1899 as Librarian of Congress. Putnam was the first librarian with prior library experience to hold this position. During his tenure, Putnam introduced what would become the Library of Congress Classification System, expanded ...
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Overview

Born in New York City just as the Civil War was starting, Herbert Putnam was a Harvard graduate and a lawyer who had held two highly responsible top library posts, first at the Minneapolis Public Library and then at the Boston Public Library before he was selected by President McKinley in 1899 as Librarian of Congress. Putnam was the first librarian with prior library experience to hold this position. During his tenure, Putnam introduced what would become the Library of Congress Classification System, expanded the role of the Library of Congress to that of the Nation's Library and not just as the reference library for Congress, established an interlibrary loan system, and increased the library's holdings to six million volumes. These transcribed and edited manuscripts represent a "slice of life" taken from the career of Putnam when he went to Europe in July, 1903, on a trip that combined work and recreation. Through Putnam's correspondence we are given personal glimpses into a variety of sides of his unexpectedly warm temperament—husband, father, brother, and even absentee Librarian. For many years, students of the Library of Congress have instinctively felt Putnam must have been impossibly aloof and frosty. Through these firsthand accounts we see just how wrong these assumptions were.
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Editorial Reviews

College & Research Libraries News
...presents a snapshot of the mind of Librarian of Congress and ALA President Herbert Putnam (1861-1955) through the letters he wrote to his wife and daughters while on a trip through Great Britain, Holland, Germany, Scandinavia, and Russia. He dines and plays golf with Andrew Carnegie, who warns that 'he is in retreat and doesn't want to talk libraries or hear about libraries.' Extensively annotated by Knowlton, the correspondence reflects Putnam's bibliographic interests and cultural tastes, as well as the sights and society of turn-of-the-century Europe.
College & Research Libraries
The text is meticulously edited and thoroughly documented and indexed....Putnam's correspondence during his 1903 Grand Tour of Europe fills in many gaps for library history enthusiasts fascinated by turn-of-the-twentieth century librarianship. By allowing a rare glimpse into Putnam's personal life, these letters reward the reader with a word portrait showing the human side of the library superman. Academic and research libraries will find this book a valuable addition to their collections and a welcome addition for library historians.
Reference and Research Book News
In July of 1903, Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam went to Europe on an extended trip that combined work and recreation. This volume presents annotated transcriptions of his correspondence with family and colleagues during that tour, providing a close look at his personal and professional life. The letters also reveal much about European tourism as it was experienced by elite travelers in the early twentieth century.
College & Research Libraries (C&RL)
The text is meticulously edited and thoroughly documented and indexed....Putnam's correspondence during his 1903 Grand Tour of Europe fills in many gaps for library history enthusiasts fascinated by turn-of-the-twentieth century librarianship. By allowing a rare glimpse into Putnam's personal life, these letters reward the reader with a word portrait showing the human side of the library superman. Academic and research libraries will find this book a valuable addition to their collections and a welcome addition for library historians.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810851726
  • Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

John D. Knowlton is a retired archivist and librarian for the Library of Congress.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Foreword Part 2 Acknowledgments Part 3 Introduction Part 4 Chronology Chapter 5 1. The Crossing Chapter 6 2. England and Scotland Chapter 7 3. Holland and Germany Chapter 8 4. Norway: The Beginning Chapter 9 5. Norway: To Bergen Chapter 10 6. Norway: Completed Chapter 11 7. Sweden and Russia Chapter 12 8. Going Home Part 13 Name Index
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