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Guide to the Records of the Bibliographical Society of America, 1904-2017

Records of the Bibliographical Society of America, 1904-2017

OCLC No. (Unique ID)


Bulk Dates: 

95 Linear Feet; 84 boxes.

This collection is comprised of the business records of the Bibliographical Society of America, and includes correspondence, financial records, publication drafts and proofs, and copies of publications and monographs. 

Access Restrictions and Copyright:
Access is restricted. This collection may be used only with written permission of the BSA President, who can be reached at Copyright restrictions may apply; please contact repository for requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce the materials.

Preferred Citation:
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Records of the Bibliographical Society of America, 1904-<2018>, The Grolier Club of New York.

About the Finding Aid:
This finding aid was prepared by Sophia Dahab and Emily Hernandez in Microsoft Word at the Grolier Club, July 2015.  Earlier processing and arrangement was done by Hope Mayo.  Miwa Yokoyama, BSA’s Archival Consultant, revised the finding aid in February 2018 after new boxes were added to the collection.  For information on how to use this finding aid, please refer to the Arrangement Note below.

Materials in this collection were produced during the normal course of operations by the officers, committee chairs, members and executive secretary of the Bibliographical Society of America.  The collection, including all past and future additions, was donated to the Grolier Club by the Bibliographical Society of America on January 8, 2012.  John Bidwell, past BSA President, donated his papers, boxes 63-71, on April 27, 2017.  Scott Vile of Ascensius Press donated the production materials in boxes 72-75 on May 30, 2017

Biographical/Historical Note:
The Bibliographical Society of America (BSA) began as the Bibliographical Society of Chicago (BSC) in 1899 when a meeting was held to organize a “society with the object to further bibliographical research”[1].  Early concerns of the society included bibliographical scholarship related to English works and the accessibility of rare books held in private collections. The BSC elected to produce a publication that contained scholarly work related to bibliography and also relayed the actions of the society and its meetings.

In 1901 a meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) spurred the idea of the creation of a national bibliographical society. At the suggestion of the ALA, the BSC appointed a committee and began discussing the possibilities of a national organization. The following year, the BSC again held a meeting in connection with the ALA conference, and there concluded that the BSC would continue on as-is, but prepare for the eventuality of becoming a national organization. The BSC would maintain its efforts in order to show its credibility and, at the next meeting of the ALA, the committee would discuss the possibilities of the project.

The proceedings of the committee were slow, until, in June 1903 it was decided that the time for a national society had come. In 1903 and 1904 membership of the Bibliographical Society of America expanded and increased, and a meeting of the council in October of 1904 marked the true beginning of the BSA. In 1904-1905, the first volume of the Bibliographical Society of America Proceedings and Papers was published. In this volume the Constitution of the BSA was laid out and the object of the society was declared “to promote bibliographical research and to issue bibliographical publications.” [2]

The BSA has continued to do just that. The society holds meetings, lectures, conferences and joint meetings with other organizations. The BSA also funds several fellowships and prizes, including a fellowship designed specifically for early-career scholars. The quarterly Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (PBSA) publishes articles on pertinent scholarship as well as reviews and notices of happenings in the field. Since its founding 110 years ago, the BSA has issued over 108 volumes of the PBSA, has published over 40 monographs, and has grown from 145 members in 1905[3] to 930 in 2013.[4]

Scope and Content Note:
This collection consists largely of business correspondence, financial reports, publications and monographs produced by the Bibliographical Society of America. Collection contains minutes from annual and council meetings; general correspondence, e.g., letters, telegrams, and email among BSA officers including presidents, secretaries, and the Council; financial papers include statements, check stubs, bills, receipts, financial statements, income tax returns and budgets; membership lists and membership correspondence from late 1940s-late 1990s; minutes of many sub-committees of the BSA, the largest being the Publications Committee; materials from the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America (PBSA) and monograph projects, including authors’ drafts, correspondence with the editors, and galley proofs; papers of the Fellowship Committee, including successful fellowship applications and related correspondence; and correspondence and other material related to printing and advertising.  Also included are photographs, digital media (hard disk and CD-ROM) and ephemera.

Arrangement Note:
Boxes 1-36 of this collection were processed between 1998 and 2002 at the American Antiquarian Society, and transferred to the Grolier Club beginning in April 2011. Boxes 0.1- 0.9 were deposited at the Grolier Club in 2007, at which time a minimal container list was added to the existing inventory; boxes 37-39 were added in 2011-2012. 

Upon the accrual of boxes 40-58 in March of 2015, it was decided that the entire collection be processed and arranged into a more cohesive unit. However, due to the varying levels of arrangement and description already present along with the guarantee of expected accruals, this collection has not been physically arranged to reflect the intellectual arrangement which has been developed.  As such, both the full folder-level container list and the organizational structure as outlined below should be consulted when using this collection.

For boxes 63-75, all folder titles are original unless noted in brackets. Bracketed titles or portions of titles were created and/or added by the archivist in order to clarify the original title.  In the case of boxes 69-71, folders did not exist; thus, the archivist created folders and titles to make browsing and researching the boxes easier.

This collection is organized into eight Record Groups (RGs), based on the committees and activities that comprise the organizational structure of the BSA.  These RGs are then broken down in the series and – when necessary – subseries in order to fully reflect the duties and activities of each distinct committee.   Numbers listed under each series/subseries in the organizational structure outlined below refer to box numbers which contain relevant material.  The container list which follows then provides brief folder-level description for the contents of each box.

The files of Hope Mayo, who has held numerous offices and chair positions, oftentimes concurrently, between the 1990s-2000s, have been assigned into RGs as best as possible without disrupting her original arrangement.  As such, please note that some overlap may occur. 

Due to the quantity and importance of the quarterly publication The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, materials relating to and copies of the publication itself were separated from the Publications Committee (RG3­) into its own Record Group (RG4).

Access Points:
Bibliography -- Societies, etc.
Bibliographical Society of America
Monograph series (Bibliographical Society of America)
Bibliographical Society of Chicago

Organizational Structure:

RG 1 Council and Administrative

Series 1: Council and Annual Meetings               
Box 1; 2; 63; 67

Series 2: President               
Box 4; 44; 63

Series 3: Vice-President                            
Box 44

Series 4: Secretary               
Box 4; 44

Series 5: Executive Director               
Box 44, 62; 63

Series 6: ACLS Membership               
Box 11; 63

Series 7: General Correspondence               
Box 3; 5; 63; 64               

Series 8: History                             
Box 43; 47; 64; 66

RG 2 Finance and Audit Committees

Series 1: Treasurer Papers and Correspondence              
Box 6; 12; 69

Series 2: Financial Statements                             
Box 6-8; 46, 62; 68

Series 3: Tax returns, Payroll              
Box 8

Series 4: Bequests                              
Box 9

RG 3 Publications Committee

Series 1: Committee Business                             
Box 12; 13; 16; 37; 42; 44; 45; 50; 65

Series 2: Book Projects
Subs 1: Winship: Census (1919)

Subs 2: Sabin: Bibliotheca Americana (1928-36)              
Box 17, 47

Subs 3: Cole: Index to Bibliographical Papers (1933)              
Box 47

Subs 4: Gregory: Newspapers (1937)              
Box 47

Subs 5: Gregory: International Congresses (1938)              
Box 47

Subs 6: Stillwell: 2nd Census (1940)              
Box 16

Subs 7: Allen: Dakota Imprints (1947)              
Box 17, 47

Subs 8: Allen: Arkansas Imprints (1947)              
Box 17, 47

Subs 9: Alden: Rhode Island Imprints (1948)              
Box 17, 47

Subs 10: Tryon/Charvat: Ticknor and Fields (1949)              
Box 16, 47

Subs 11: Hagrett: Oklahoma Imprints (1951)              
Box 17, 47

Subs 12: Currier: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1953)              
Box 16, 47

Subs 13: Blanck, et al: BAL (1955-1991)              
Box 42, 44, 47; 63

Subs 14: Faye/Bond: Medieval Census (1962)              
Box 16, 47

Subs 15: Goff: Third Census (1964)              
Box 16

Subs 16: Bristol: Charles Evans (1970)              
Box 47

Subs 17: Stillwell: Awakening…Science (1970)              
Box 16, 47

Subs 18: Eddy: John Brown (1971)              
Box 0.8, 16

Subs 19: Goff: Third Census Supplement (1972)              
Box 0.8

Subs 20: Stillwell: Beginning of the World (1972)              
Box 0.8, 16, 47

Subs 21: Woodfield: Surreptitious Printing (1973)              
Box 16, 47

Subs 22: Shaaber: British Authors Abroad (1975)              
Box 0.8, 16, 47

Subs 23: Johnson: Connecticut Imprints (1978)              
Box 16, 47

Subs 24: Gulick: Chesterfield (1979)              
Box 0.8, 47

Subs 25: BSA Retrospective (1980)              
Box 0.8, 16

Subs 26: Adams: British Pamphlets (1980)              
Box 16, 47

Subs 27: Wolfe: Music Engraving (1980)              
Box 0.8, 47

Subs 28: Todd/Bowden: Tauchnitz (1988)              
Box 45, 47

Subs 29: Christianson: London Directory (1990)              
Box 0.8, 37, 45, 47, 72

Subs 30: Fogelmark: Panel-stamped Bindings (1990)              
Box 37, 47

Subs 31: Maslen/Lancaster: Bowyer Ledgers (1991)              
Box 42, 47

Subs 32: Maslen: Early London Printing House (1993)               
Box 38, 47

Subs 33: Huttner/Huttner: NYC Register (1993)              
Box 0.8, 37, 42

Subs 34: Carpenter: Wealth of Nations (2002)              
Box 0.8, 47, 48

Subs 35: Alderson/Marez Oyens: Merry and Wise (2006)              
Box 45; 63; 70

Subs 36: Gatch: Leander van Ess (2007)              
Box 50; 64                
Subs 37: Krupp: Bookcloth (2008)                                            
Box 64                             

Subs 38: Howard-Hill: British Book trade (2009)                                            
Box 45                             

Subs 39: Parisian: White House Library (2010)                                            
Box 45

Subs 40: Stoddard: American Verse (2012)              
Box 45, 50; 66

Subs 41: Nipps: Lydia Bailey              
Box 42, 45

Series 3: General              
Box 13; 18; 42; 63; 64; 66

RG 4 Papers of the BSA

Series 1: Papers
Box 20-22; 41; 49; 51; 52; 54; 57-61

Series 2: Editor, Drafts, and Correspondence              
Box 0.1; 0.5; 12; 19; 21; 23-33; 40A-40B; 42; 45; 65

Series 3: Advertising              
Box 35; 36; 42; 72; 74

Series 4: Anthoensen Press              
Box 34

Series 5: Shagbark and Ascensius Press              
Box 72; 73; 74; 75

RG 5 Fellowships  
Series 1: Winners and Applicants                             
Box 0.8 ; 14; 15 , 62              

Series 2: General                             
Box 0.8; 14, 62; 63; 64; 66

RG 6 Program Committee              

Series 1: Program Committee                             
Box 12; 65

RG 7 Membership              

Series 1: Member Lists                             
Box 10; 12; 39; 43; 49; 64

RG 8 Ad Hoc and Other Committees              

Series 1: Ad Hoc and Other Committees                             
Box 11; 12; 64; 71


[1] Yearbook of the Bibliographical Society of Chicago, 1900-1901
[2] Roden, C. B. (1905). Historical sketch.  Bibliographical Society of America Proceedings and Papers, 1(1), 19-23.
[3] Bibliographical Society of America. (1905). List of members. Bibliographical Society of America Proceedings and Papers, 1(1),13-17.
[4] Bibliographical Society of America. (2013). List of members and annual reports.

Van Hoesen, Henry B. (1980). The Bibliographical Society of America – Its Leaders and Activities, 1904-1939.  Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 35, 177-202, reprinted in The Bibliographical Society of America, 1904-1979: A Retrospective Collection (Charlottesville, 1980), 139-171.

Edelstein, J.M. (1979). The Bibliographical Society of America, 1904-1979. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 73, 389-422.

Mayo, Hope. (2004). The Bibliographical Society of America at 100: Past and Future. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 98(4), 425-448.
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