History - The 1920's

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The Texas State Library and Historical Commission continued to publish Texas Libraries and News Notes - The Bulletin of the Texas Library Association began publication in 1924. In 1925 the President of the Texas Library Association was Mrs. Maud Durlin Sullivan of the El Paso Public Library. Mrs. Sullivan also served as founder and the editor of News Notes for several years and it was during this time that articles began appearing on government documents topics.

A later article in the Texas Library Journal noted ". . .at the 1922 TLA Conference business and special libraries were discussed, thus indicating that a new type of service and possibly a new type of library was appearing . . . ." ("As Others See Us: The Background," by Fred Folmer, Texas Library Journal, vol. 30, no. 2, June 1954, page 109.)

The Texas State Library and Historical Commission began publishing its first periodical listing of state publications received - Documents Checklist, no. 1.

Current Texas libraries joining the Federal Depository Library Program during the 1920's: Southern Methodist University, 1925 and West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University), 1928.

Note about the publication history of Texas Libraries:

"It has been impossible for financial reasons to issue this number, vol. 3, no. 4, and there is no prospect of improvement in that respect in the near future. Volume 4, nos. 1-2 (July - October, 1920) is the biennial report of the Texas State Library for 1918-1920. . . ." (Letter, April 16, 1962 from Mrs. Mildred M. Williams, Interlibrary Loans, Dallas Public Library)

The following excerpts are included to chronicle Texas interest in government information and documents librarianship.

Items of Interest from the 1920's

July - October, 1920 (Texas Libraries, vol. 4, nos. 1-2, pages 33-34) Biennial Report of the Texas State Library, 1918-1920

Division of Documents - Mrs. Annie T. Shirley, Documents Librarian

[Excerpt:] "Acquisitions: The Library, as a depository, receives all Federal documents, except confidential publications. For the most part, not attempt is made to catalogue these; . . . the departmental sets are classified and shelved in accordance with the classification scheme provided by the office of the Superintendent of Documents . . . The Library also receives the public documents of most of the states. Those which are of sufficient general interest and importance are catalogued . . .
Document Distribution: Under the law as amended in July, 1919, the State Library now receives directly from the State Printer 175 unbound copies of each current State publication . . . These documents are sent to a mailing list composed of Texas and other American libraries . . . The distribution under this law has been more nearly satisfactory than ever before, because the Library is now able to acquire a wider range of documents than under the previous law . . . The legislative appropriation which made possible the arrangement of accumulated material made it possible to distribute many of the non-current Texas documents which other libraries requested to complete their files, at least in part. May of the libraries supplied with this old Texas material were the larger libraries in other states . . . ."

March 25, 1925 (News Notes, vol. 1, no. 2, page 3) "Government Publications of Interest"

"The El Paso Library has found very useful the following Government Documents: Trade Promotion Series, no.1, Packing for foreign markets; U.S. Army Training Manual no. 26 and 27 Radio Operator; Dictionary of Tariff Information, 1924. For debates, The Proposed Child Labor Amendments to the Constitution of the U.S. is very helpful. The attractive little pamphlets issued by the Bureau of Education, Reading Courses on many subjects are interesting, especially the pamphlets on Health, Twenty Good Books for Parents, and the reading list on Dante. Another good list is Authorized Government Standards and Specifications, nearly all from the Bureau of Standards."

March 25, 1925 (News Notes, vol.1, no. 2, page 4) "Free Material for Libraries"

[Excerpt: "It is possible that some librarians of small libraries do not realize the vast amount of free material which may be obtained by expenditure of a little effort, only. Improved methods in advertising have made available most of this material. There are even free lists of free material . . . In the Monthly check-list of state publications, one may often find a publication by a far distant state which will fill a need. The Monthly catalogue of United States public documents must be watched carefully for publications not regularly received. About once each year it is well to request material from Chambers of Commerce of other cities and towns of the state, also larger cities and towns of the state, also larger cities more distant. . . ."

June, 1925 (News Notes, vol. 1, no. 3, page 3) "A Few Recent Government Publications"

Now that the people of the nation, including the president, are interested in more scientific marketing, a new bibliography is useful, Bibliography on the marketing of agricultural products, complied by Emily L. Day and others (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Miscellaneous circular 35). The activities of the Department of Commerce of service to the agricultural industry are shown in its pamphlet, Report of President's agricultural conference. Efforts toward the further conservation of forest resources are indicated in the Report of the National Conference on Utilization of Forest Products, November 19-20, 1924. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Miscellaneous circular 39). Of interest to many is the bound volume, Taxation of incomes, corporations and inheritances in Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, and Spain, prepared by A. Bernard, complied under the direction of H.H.B. Meyer, Director, Legislative reference service, Library of Congress. Methods used in the various countries are covered in detail. The publication, Explorations and fieldwork of the Smithsonian Institute in 1924 (Miscellaneous collections, v. 77, no. 2), shows an interesting year's work including Archaeological investigations at Pueblo Bonito, by Neil M. Judd, also Study in Indian Tule music, by Frances Densmore. For those interested in animals before man is the pamphlet, On remains of mastodons found in Texas. (Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum, v. 66, art. 35).

January, 1926 (News Notes, vol. 2, no. 1, page 13) "Position Open"

"Reference assistant, Public Library, El Paso, Experience in the use of Public documents required. For information write the Librarian." [Note: Not too many positions were advertised in News Notes, but of course the Librarian here was Mrs. Maud Durlin Sullivan, editor of News Notes!]

April, 1926 (News Notes, vol. 2, no. 2, page 6) "Interesting Government Publications"

"Public documents continue to furnish much of the practical materials in the reference department of libraries. The list of bulletins on trade in Latin-America is offered as a suggestion to librarians for display or newspaper publicity . . . ." [This is followed by a list 1926 documents on overseas markets for specific products in various countries similar to the more recent Overseas Business Reports or Marketing in . . . series.]

July, 1926 (News Notes, vol. 2, no. 3, pages 4-5) "Uncle Sam's Southwest Baedeker"

[Note: This is an annotated bibliography similar to those produced today to accompany travel displays in many government documents departments. While long, the entire article is included as many of these titles are now regarded as "classic" federal documents.]

"Guidebook of the Western United States - Part C - The Santa Fe Route, with a side trip to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado - By N. H. Darton and others. (United States geological survey bulletin No. 613) A guidebook, educational in purpose, which gives adequate information on the scenic beauties and material resources of the entire route covered. Explanatory maps are included. This book would make the trip vastly interesting.
In the land of the Ancient Cliff Dwellers. The Bandelier National Monument. (U.S.D.A. Miscellaneous circular No. 5 - prepared by the Forest Service). This is the Rito De Los Frijoles within the Santa Fe National Forest. It is the scene of Adolph Bandelier's story The Delightmakers, a romance of the ancient people who lived there long ago. There is a small ranch hotel on the banks of the Rito. The bulletin is illustrated showing the scenic beauty of the Canyon. Directions for the camper are include and a list of books which will make the trip more interesting. Mesa Verde, in the Southwestern Colorado, has the best preserved cliff dwellings in the United States. It is a place of beauty with a variety of interests equally fascinating to the Archaeologist, Ethnologist or mere recreationalist. Those interested in going to Mesa Verde should first read some of the publications listed below.
Excavation and repair of the Sun Temple, Mesa Verde National Park - By J. Walter Fewkes - published by the Department of the Interior and for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.
Mesa Verde National Park - By J. Walter Fewkes (Bureau of American Ethnology - Bulletin 51).
The Petrified Forest, National Monument - rules and regulations, published by the National Park Service. The Petrified Forest, more often known as the Rainbow Forest, is located in Northeastern Arizona. This pamphlet gives the geological history, a general description and hotel and transportation accommodations. The Painted Desert is very near the Petrified Forest.
The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona - National Park Service. A little booklet giving all necessary information from a full description and all of its trails, to the length of time one ought to stay and what is necessary in the way of wearing apparel. Maps are included for the benefit of the auto traveler. Besides this, the Department of the Interior issues an illustrated booklet on the Grand Canyon.
Those who plan to travel by motor to many places of interest on a vacation might like to know of the Aztec Ruin National Monument situated near the town of Aztec, New Mexico; Carlsbad Cave National Monument of overwhelming beauty; Casa Grande National Monument, located in the Gila Valley of South Central Arizona. The handbook issued by the National Park Service called Glimpses of our National Monuments gives sufficient information and directions for reaching these monuments.
The United States Bureau of Ethnology in their thirteenth and fifteenth annual reports give the history of the Casa Grande National Monument.
When you have returned home, you will be enthusiastic over the country and will wish to read the following books: Preliminary report on a visit to the Navaho National Monument, Arizona - By J. Walter Fewkes. (Bureau of American Ethnology bulletin no. 5). Two summers' work in Pueblo ruins - By J. Walter Fewkes. (Extract, 22d annual report, Bureau of American Ethnology). This contains numerous pages of colored plates of unearthed pottery. Antiquities of the upper Verde River and Walnut Creek Valleys - By H. Walter Fewkes. (Extract, 28th annual report, Bureau of American Ethnology). The Coronado expedition 1540-1542 - By George Parker Winship. (In 14th annual report, Bureau of American Ethnology.)"

October, 1926 (News Notes, vol. 2, no. 4, page 4) "With the Libraries of Texas" - Texas Library and Historical Commission, State Library, Austin

Submitted by Octavia F. Rogan, State Librarian, Texas State Library

[Excerpt:] ". . . Two concurrent series of staff meetings were held from September 1, 1925 to May 31, 1926. The reason for the all-staff series was to familiarize the entire staff, including the part-time members, with the Libraries as a whole and with something of the activities of the Library other than those which each was engaged . . . The second series of staff meetings was a group-study series attended only by five staff members. Untied States government publications were selected for the year's study, as familiarity with them is essential in this Library and as opportunities to lend them are so few. For each meeting there was an annotated list closely following that used by the University of Illinois Library School and a problem of typical questions asked at this Library. Publications necessary for the study of each group were assembled. Of the eight problems on federal government publications, two were on the Document Checklist, one on the catalogues, indexes, and lists, one on the census publications, one on the other publications of the Commerce Department, and one each on the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Labor. Though not complete, it is believed that this study furnished an excellent working foundation for federal publications. There were also two talks and two problems on some of the most used reference books in the Library outside of the government publications, and one list and problem on court reports, law encyclopedias, etc. The State Library staff is often called upon by users of the Supreme Court Library when the assistant librarian in charge of the Supreme Court Library is called away by other duties in his dual position. The State Library is glad to reciprocate in this way the assistance given it by the Assistant Supreme Court Librarian, - especially that given during the legislative rush."

January, 1929 (News Notes, vol. 5, no. 1, page 13) "Texas School and College Library News" - Texas Technological College

Submitted by Elizabeth H. West, Librarian

[Excerpt] "From the Library Report as of June 1, 1928:
Total number of volumes, pamphlets, maps on the accession list, June 1, 1928.............35,906
Public documents .....24,880; Other documents ..... 11,026
PROGRESS OF ORGANIZATION
Cataloged Titles .........9,994; Volumes........14,036
ANALYSIS OF CATALOGUED MATERIAL
Public documents listed ................... 8,108
Other than public documents ........... 5,715
Total now in library ........................13,823 . . . ."

July, 1929 (News Notes, vol. 5, no. 3, page 5) "Birds of Texas"

"Through the United States Bureau of Biological Survey, Dr. H.C. Oberholser, Chief Ornithologist, has made the people of Texas a priceless gift, the manuscript of his "Birds of Texas." Dr. Oberholser is one of the greatest in his science in America. For twenty-eight years he has been personally making the observations that in book form will fill two volumes, with 377 cuts and 20 color plate illustrations. Besides being absolutely authoritative and up to date, the books will be the first ones published to cover the entire state's avian population. Many educational, cultural and nature study organizations, sportsmen's clubs, and a number of the most prominent individuals in the state have already pledged their unstinted aid to the movement for immediate publication of the manuscript. Dr. Oberholser's gift carries with it but one proviso: that libraries receive the books free of charge and individuals be allowed to purchase them at cost."
[Note: Dr. Oberholser's life work on the birds of Texas was published 11 years after his death in a limited edition as the Bird Life of Texas by The University of Texas Press, 1974. The original request for free distribution to libraries and "at-cost" pricing are reminiscent of the Government Printing Office's distribution policies.]

Additions and Corrections to this History are welcomed. Texas Library Association, Government Documents Round Table; All contents copyright © 1996-2005. All rights reserved.

Last Updated: Saturday, January 29, 2005
Created on Mar 27, 2011 | Last updated May 19, 2014