Guide to the William H. Carlson Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Carlson, William Hugh, 1898-
Title: William H. Carlson Papers
Dates: 1924-1981
Quantity: 3.4 cubic feet
Collection Number: Consult repository.
Summary: These papers document the career and research endeavors of William H. Carlson, University Librarian of OSU from 1945 to 1965.
Repository: Oregon State University
University Archives

121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-4501
Phone: 541-737-2165

Languages: Materials in English 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

William H. Carlson served as the University Librarian of OSU from 1945 to 1965. Born in 1898 in Waverly, Nebraska, William Carlson graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1924 with a degree in Journalism. As a student, Carlson's employment in the Nebraska Legislative Reference Bureau Library sparked an interest in a career in library work. Pursuing this interest, Carlson earned a certificate from the New York State Library School in 1926 and later graduated with a Master's degree in Librarianship from the University of California at Berkeley in 1937. Before his appointment as Director of the Libraries for the Oregon State System of Higher Education and OSU Librarian in 1945, Carlson worked in several college and university libraries, including: the University of Iowa, University of North Dakota, Vanderbilt University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Washington. Active in research on library topics, Carlson published a number of articles and reviews on contemporary topics in library science such as post-war library planning and resources in Western libraries. Carlson also pursued an interest in Scandinavian studies, owing partly to his own Swedish ancestry. The Kerr Library was constructed in 1963 during Carlson's tenure as OSU Librarian. Retiring from the OSU Library in 1965, Carlson continued to be involved in library research, serving as a consultant on a survey of Oregon Institutional Libraries from 1966 to 1967. Carlson also completed a history of the OSU Library during his retirement, which was later submitted to The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science in 1977. Carlson died in Corvallis in 1990.

Content Description

Subjects addressed in the correspondence include the publication of Carlson's articles and studies, employment possibilities as a university librarian, involvement in the Pacific Northwest Library Association Reorganization Committee, sabbatical leave plans, and Carlson's receipt of a Carnegie Fellowship Award. Carlson's research and lecture notes were generated in the course of formulating articles, speeches, books, and courses in library science which were taught in the summer of 1938 at the University of California at Berkeley. Class notes from Carlson's graduate course work in library science are also included in this series. The reports and studies pertain to institutional and university library resources and services. Carlson was involved as a researcher, author, and consultant in these reports. This series also includes completed surveys and informational materials assembled in the process of research.

The speeches delivered by Carlson to library schools, library association conferences, and local fraternal clubs and churches cover the subjects of library management, religion, and books. Series V contains draft copies and reprints of Carlson's articles and book reviews published in journals, magazines, and an encyclopedia. The subject of these articles primarily relate to library subjects and Scandinavian studies. This series also includes reprints of articles collected by Carlson that mostly pertain to library topics such as international libraries, library special collections, and the library profession. The publications consist of library staff newsletters, library journals, magazines, annual reports, book collection guides, and conference proceedings, and relate to various library topics, Scandinavian studies, and U. S. History.

The pamphlet materials and brochures relate primarily to university libraries, including dedications of new library buildings, university library handbooks/guides, and brochures for library furniture. The two book drafts are: In a Grand and Awful Time: Essays from the Librarian's Desk on 20th Century Man and His Books and The Library of OSU: Its Origins, Management, and Growth. A Centennial History. The book, The Development and Financial Support of Seven Northwestern and Western State University Libraries, was the product of a study Carlson conducted and submitted to the University of California School of Librarianship and which was funded in part by a American Library Association Carnegie Fellowship. The newspaper clippings pertain to Carlson and his post at the OSU Library, dedications of other university libraries, the University of California Berkeley student free-speech movement, and state legislation relating to correctional facilities. The photographs, primarily B&W prints and color slides, depict the Dodgen family and other friends/relatives, the OSU Library and other university and public libraries, and Carlson in portrait shots.

Use of the Collection

Preferred Citation :  

William H. Carlson Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The William H. Carlson Papers are organized into eleven series: I. Correspondence; II. Research and Lecture Notes; III. Reports and Studies; IV. Speeches; V. Articles; VI. Publications; VII. Brochures/Pamphlets/Handbooks; VIII. Book Drafts; IX. Book; X. Newspaper Clippings; and XI. Photographs.

Related Materials :  

The Library Records (RG 9) include the administrative records of the OSU Library under Carlson's leadership. The Archives also has the personal papers of other OSU librarians, such as Bertha Herse.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Correspondence, 1928-1981
1 Article on Ida Kidder, 1966-1967
1 Article on " Notable Nebraskans" , 1964-1966
1 Articles and Speeches by Carlson (general), 1936-1972
1 Book, In a Grand and Awful Time, 1966
1 Conference Paper: Resources of Western Libraries, 1940
1 Dodgen Family, 1961-1966
1 Employment Related, 1928-1968
1 Fellowships/Scholarships, 1933-1936
1 Genealogy Research, 1958, 1968
1 General, 1935-1942, 1945-1981
1 Higher Education Act of 1965 (Federal Legislation), 1965
1 Oregon Institutional Library Services Study, 1967
1 PNLA (Pacific Northwest Library Association) Reorganization Committee, 1964-1966
1 Publication of Western and Northwest University Libraries Study, 1937-1939
1 Retirement Congratulations Letters, 1965
1 Sabbatical Leave (ranching in Oregon research), 1950-1951
1 Sabbatical Leave (Sweden), 1956-1957
1 State Institutional Library Services Advisory Council (includes minutes), 1967

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Series II:  Research and Lecture Notes, 1936-1972
1 Advanced Cataloging 218, 1936
1 Bibliography 220 A, 1936
1 Economics 140-Elementary Statistics, 1936
1 History of Libraries 215, 1936
1 Political Science 200, 1936
1 Freshman Lecture-Business Administration, 1937
1 Librarianship 203, 1938
1 Study of Correlation Between Grades and Library Books Drawn, 1938
1 Junior College Library Administration, 1938
1 Scandinavian Materials in U.S. Libraries, 1939
2 Notes for Articles on Library Topics, 1945-1947
2 Notes for Booklist Columns, 1955-1964
2 Notes on the History of OSU Library, 1966
2 Notes on Visits to Scandinavian Libraries, 1969
2 Notes on World Council of Churches and Its Outlook on Contemporary Social Issues, 1972
2 Notes for Ida Kidder Article, undated
2 Notes for " Propaganda Paper" , undated
2 Notes from an Unidentified Book on University Library Design, undated
2 Notes on Pacific Northwest Library Resources, undated
2 Notes on the Merton College Library-Oxford, undated
2 Notes on Education/Librarianship After World War II, undated
2 General Library Topics, undated

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Series III:  Reports and Studies, 1936-1968
2 Report on the General Education Board Fund for the Development of the Bibliographical and Reference Book Resources of Vanderbilt University Academic Library, 1936
2 Western and Northwestern University Libraries Survey, 1936-1937
2 Survey Results: Montana, Idaho, Nevada, South/North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming
2 Report to Library Committee on Book Allocation Funds (Report compiled by Carlson for Univ. of Florida), 1940-1941
2 Monthly Reference Reports (OSU Library), 1952-1955
5 Draft Report: A Study and Analysis, with Recommendations, of Library Services and Facilities in the State of Oregon Correctional Institutions, the Mental Institutions, and Those for the Physically Handicapped (Handwritten by Carlson), 1967
2 A Report on Institutional Library Services in Oregon, 1967
Survey results and form-included.
2 Survey Results/Informational Materials
2 Columbia Park Hospital and Training Center, 1967
2 Dammasch State Hospital, 1967
2 Eastern Oregon State Hospital, 1967
2 Fairview Hospital and Training Center, 1967
2 Hillcrest School for Girls, 1967
2 MacLaren School for Boys, 1963-1967
2 Oregon State Correctional Institution, 1967
2 Oregon State Hospital, 1967
2 Oregon State Penitentiary, 1967
2 Oregon State Schools for the Deaf/Blind, 1967
2 Informational Materials
2 Library Services and Construction Act, 1966-1968
Documents relating to both the federal and state legislation that prompted the Institutional Library Services Study.
2 Standards for Institutional Libraries, 1963-1966
2 Washington State Institutional Libraries, 1963-1966

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Series IV:  Speeches, 1932-1971
2 Speeches, 1932-1942, 1945-1948, 1951-1971, undated

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Series V:  Articles, 1932-1977
3 Article Draft: History of the OSU Library, by William H. Carlson (Written for The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science), 1975-1977
3 Articles by Carlson, 1932-1969
3 Book and Reviews by Carlson, 1945-1964
3 General Library Topics, 1940-1966
3 International Libraries, 1946-1958
3 The Library Profession, 1944-1964
3 Non-Library Topics, 1947-1956
3 Research Resources in Libraries, 1941-1957
3 Special Collections and Manuscripts, 1934-1963
3 University Library Topics, 1941-1966

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Series VI:  Publications, 1924-1973
3 Addresses and Speeches, 1937-1946
3 Annual Reports from University and Public Libraries, 1938-1955
3 Book Collection Guides, 1951-1957
3 Library Association Conference Proceedings and Meetings, 1945-1973
3 General, 1948-1967
3 General Historical Topics, 1938-1960
3 " Libraries In the Southwest: Their Growth, Strengths, Needs" University of California
3 Library, Occasional Paper No. 3, 1955
3 Library Periodicals and Journals, 1947-1964
3 Library Science Education, 1944-1952
3 Materials Relating to General Higher Education Topics, 1935-1958
3 " Nebraska Voter's Handbook" , 1924
Carlson helped to write and compile the contents of this handbook as a Research Assistant at the Nebraska Legislative Reference Bureau.
3 Scandinavian Materials (not in English), 1946-1958
3 Scandinavian Materials (in English), 1953-1965
3 University Library Staff Newsletters (University of Washington, Columbia University), 1942-1957

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Series VII:  Brochures/Pamphlets/Handbooks, 1957-1973
4 Library Furniture Vendors, 1966
4 OSU Press/Personal, 1957-1973
4 Public Libraries, 1966
4 University Libraries, 1965-1967

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Series VIII:  Book Drafts, 1965-1966
4 First Draft, The Library of OSU: Its Origins, Management, and Growth, 1966
4 First Draft, Havd I Hela Mintid-(First title for In a Grand and Awful Time: Essays from the Librarian's Desk On 20th Century Man and His Books), undated
4 Proof Copy, In a Grand and Awful Time, 1965
5 Final Draft, In a Grand and Awful Time, 1965

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Series IX:  Book, 1938
4 The Development and Financial Support of Seven Western and Northwestern State University Libraries, 1938
two copies

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Series X:  Newspaper Clippings, 1945-1967
4 OSU Library-Carlson, 1945-1947
4 State Legislation Relating to Correctional Facilities, 1967
4 Student Free-Speech Movement, 1965
4 University Libraries other Than OSU, 1966

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Series XI:  Photographs, 1947-1965
6 Dodgen Family, Other Friends-Relatives, 1961-1965
6 OSU Library, 1951-1962
6 Portraits of Carlson, 1947-1953
6 University and Public Libraries: Exterior Views of Buildings, 1951-1962
6 University and Public Libraries: General Views, 1960
6 University and Public Libraries: Images Organized by Library Use Areas, 1959-1962
6 University of North Dakota/Miami University Libraries, 1951-1963

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  • Academic libraries.
  • Carlson, William Hugh, 1898-
  • Institution libraries--Oregon.
  • Libraries--United States.
  • Library science.
  • Oregon State University. Library.
  • Photographs.

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