Current Issue: Volume 49, Number 3 (Aug/Sep 2014)

Ciaran B. Trace
Information in Everyday Life: Boys’ and Girls’ Agricultural Clubs as Sponsors of Literacy, 1900–1920 (p. 265 - 293)

 Building on prior research into the 4-H movement, the role of the agricultural extension service, and rural life and school reform in the United States in the early twentieth century, this article examines the history of the 4-H movement during the Progressive Era, with a particular focus on uncovering the role that records and recordkeeping played in the clubs for rural girls and boys. The research documents the activities and events within the early 4-H movement where written literacy had a role, analyzes the idea of the 4-H movement as an agent and a sponsor of written literacy, and uncovers the view of the world that the 4-H movement was imparting through its early record books. In doing so, the article documents some of the key exogenous and endogenous forces at play during the Progressive Era that had an impact on children’s everyday information creation practices.

 

Heather MacNeil and Jennifer Douglas
The Generic Evolution of Calendars and Guides at the Public Record Office of Great Britain, ca. 1838–1968 (p. 294 - 326)

 In this article we report on a historical study of the calendars and guides published by the Public Record Office (PRO) of Great Britain between 1838 and 1968. Drawing on rhetorical genre theory, we conceive of these finding aids as sociohistorical texts and trace their evolution across three dimensions (textual features, composing processes, and social roles). Our study suggests that the calendars and guides were not simply tools for making the PRO’s holdings accessible to the public; they also shaped and were shaped by ideas and beliefs about what it meant to make records accessible to the public and the most effective means of accomplishing that end. These ideas and beliefs were linked, in turn, to the PRO’s sense of its purpose and identity in relation to the communities it served. The generic evolution of the calendars and guides reflects and, to some extent, embodies that evolving sense of purpose and identity.

 

Richard J. Cox
Lester J. Cappon, an Unwritten Textbook, and Early Archival Education in the United States (p. 327-350)

 Not long ago, preparing to become an archivist was a complicated affair, as we see in examining Lester Cappon’s career as a teacher. Cappon ran a summer institute in historical administration at Radcliffe, participated in crucial debates about archival education, presented guest lectures in undergraduate and graduate courses whenever the opportunity presented itself, advocated for more rigorous graduate programs in archival work and documentary editing, and consistently argued about the synergy between teaching and publishing. In all that he did, history and historical scholarship were the central points of what was needed to know to become an archivist, an idea seemingly left behind as archival education has become ensconced in library, information science, and information schools. Although he failed to complete a book about historical and archival manuscripts that could be used in the classroom, Cappon’s commitment to the project and the publication of a few selected chapters mark his place as a pioneer in archival education.

 

Brett Spencer
From Atomic Shelters to Arms Control: Libraries, Civil Defense, and American Militarism during the Cold War (p. 351-385)

 This article analyzes American libraries’ civil defense activities during the Cold War along with their decision to redirect their efforts away from civil defense and toward arms control initiatives during the later years of the conflict. During the 1950s, the nation’s leading libraries converted their buildings into fallout shelters and disseminated survival information to millions of Americans. However, libraries became increasingly disillusioned with civil defense during the late 1960s, and they largely abandoned civil defense in favor of peace advocacy in the 1980s. The article concludes with ideas for current libraries based on this chapter of
information history.

 

Chirabodee Tejasen and Brendan Luyt
The Hophrasamut Wachirayan Library: Library and Club of the Siamese Aristocracy, 1881–1905 (p. 386 - 400)

This article charts the origin of the Wachirayan Library of Siam (as Thailand was called until 1939) and argues that it performed multiple roles. The library helped build not only the modern Siamese nation-state but also the modern Siamese elite by accumulating modern knowledge, serving as the nucleus of a social club, and functioning as a center for recreational education. The library became deeply involved in the society of which it was a part.