Volume XXV · Spring 1970 · Number 3
The First Twenty-Five Years
--ROWLAND L. COLLINS
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With this issue, The University of Rochester Library Bulletin celebrates its first twenty-five years of publication. The record is an oddly mixed one, but nonetheless one for which the staff of the Bulletin feels affection and in which the staff takes some pleasure and pride. All issues but this dedication number have one more important thing in common: they were printed here in Rochester by the Hart family printing concern. When the first number of the Bulletin came out in November, 1945, the printer was The Printing House of Leo Hart; ten years later the company name was the Smith-Hart Printing Corporation; then, in 1963, the name was the Robert Hart Printing Company. The name has varied but the careful selection of type fonts and papers, as well as the careful job of production, has remained constant. These same qualities are now carried on by The Rochester Typographic Service, Inc., Rochester, New York and the W. F. Humphrey Press, Inc., Geneva, New York. Almost every other aspect of the Bulletin has noticeably changed.
At the outset, the staff consisted of the editor, John R. Russell (the director of libraries), and three associate editors: Margaret Butterfield, Robert F. Metzdorf, and Vera Tweddell. All three were members of the Rush Rhees library staff and, additionally, Mr. Metzdorf was the first person to have received a Ph.D. degree from the Rochester Department of English. After two volumes, Miss Tweddell resigned from the staff of the Bulletin, and at the end of the fourth volume, so did Mr. Metzdorf. For the next nineteen years, the Bulletin was edited by Mr. Russell and Miss Butterfield, assisted by Margaret K. Toth, and later by Catherine D. Hayes, Louis E. Martin (associate director of libraries), and Ellen T. Pugh. With the retirement of Mr. Russell in 1968, Miss Hayes became the editor and Volume XXIII was produced with the assistance of the three continuing associate editors: Margaret Butterfield (now Mrs. Andrews), Mrs. Toth, both well experienced with the Bulletin, and George R. Parks, the assistant director of libraries. The next year (for volume XXV) was marked by expansion of the editorial board, expansion for the first time beyond the staff of Rush Rhees library. Miss Hayes remained editor and Mrs. Andrews and Mrs. Toth were now assisted by Margaret M. Mattern of the library staff, Perez D. Zagorin of the Department of History, and Cyrus Hoy and Rowland L. Collins, both of the Department of English; Mr. Parks left the board. The one constant member of the Bulletin staff throughout the quarter-century is Margaret Butterfield Andrews.
The Bulletin has always come out three times each academic year: autumn (November), winter (February), and spring (June). Each academic year is marked as one volume of three numbers, paged continuously. With an original goal of sixty-plus pages per annum, the size of the volumes has varied between 44 pages in volume XIV (1957-8), XV (1958-9), XVIII (1962-3), and XX (1964-5), and the 97 pages of volume XXIII or the well-over-a hundred of this volume XXV.
The cover has undergone two striking changes in its twenty-five year history. The original cover featured the University shield and motto in a simple line drawing, and it was printed in a variety of strong matte colors. With the twenty-first volume, the cover was changed to a slicker finish; the design, to a stylized reproduction of the grille work of the Rush Rhees library door; the color, to a shocking green. This new style lasted only three volumes and was changed for volume XXIV to a soft color, using a different hue for each issue. The paper of the cover was again a soft finish. Volume XXV boasts the additional innovation of a printed spine.
Throughout its history, the Bulletin has featured regular articles and notices on gifts to the University libraries and a careful variety of analytical articles. The dominant purpose of the Bulletin has always been to bring notice to the library's collections and to facilitate publication of research based on the library's holdings. There have been almost a dozen articles on medical books and manuscripts and a half-dozen more on anthropological collections in the library. Over fourteen articles have dealt with particular literary or theatrical holdings; about six, on art history; a dozen and a half, on music. Articles on historical materials and local archives have been the most numerous, however. Almost thirty separate pieces deal specifically with Rochester history; ten more, with New York history; almost two dozen, with general American history; ten or so more, specifically with Seward; a dozen and a half, with University history. Two dozen or more articles are interesting bibliographical studies and at least ten pieces deal directly with description of the library facilities and its general holdings.
Over eighty individual authors have contributed to the Bulletin and their company is amazingly varied: all the way from former New York governor Thomas E. Dewey to graduate students to local amateur historians. The most prolific contributors to the Bulletin have been Margaret Butterfield Andrews, now head of the Department of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Archives, and Ruth Watanabe, now head librarian for the University's Eastman School of Music. Mrs. Andrews contributed at least fifteen separate pieces; Miss Watanabe, thirteen. Mr. Russell, with twelve, ranks a close third. The fourth largest contributor is Margaret K. Toth, with eight articles to her name; the fifth, Robert F. Metzdorf, with five. All of these major contributors were members of the library staff; other important contributors included several professors of history, several of English, several of various branches of medicine. Another distinguished group of contributors includes wise Rochesterians with long memories for local history or splendid powers of synthesis in describing local archives of more than passing local interest. Distinguished contributors such as the historians Rossiter Johnson (posthumous publications), Blake McKelvey, and Harry J. Carman, the anthropologist Leslie A. White, Ruth M. Adams (now president of Wellesley College), Philip B. Daghlian (now Professor of English at Indiana University), Joseph Frank (now Chairman of English at the University of Massachusetts), and Professors emeritus Glyndon Van Deusen, Arthur M. Hanhardt, and Dexter Perkins, as well as former faculty members George W. Corner, Charles Wright Dodge, John Rothwell Slater, and many others, are but good examples of the more than six dozen individual authors of articles in theBulletin.
The first volumes of the Bulletin were clearly distinguished publications. The first six or so volumes averaged around ten contributors each and the articles were not only extremely diverse but also of unusually high quality. Contributions came from members of the library staff, faculty members, visiting scholars, and local historians. With Volume V, the contributors were no longer identified; no longer was there any attempt to provide a published index, and the number of contributors began to decline. By 1965 (Volume XXI), when the cover changed to slick shocking green, the editor, John Russell, was much committed to planning the addition to Rush Rhees library and the average number of different contributors was but five per volume. The articles depended more and more on the library staff and on the reminiscences of townspeople about Rochester history. Some of these local contributors have generously given invaluable personal information about our western New York heritage and their records have formed a valuable archive. With Volume XXIV, however, the appearance of theBulletin was much improved and the size increased; the expectations of the staff soared. Volume XXV, a good deal larger than previous volumes, is, hopefully, a welcome harbinger of the Bulletin during its second twenty-five years.
Library History continued >>
Volume XXV · Spring 1970 · Number 3