By JOHN Y. COLE
"Libraries & Culture: Historical Essays Honoring the Legacy of Donald G. Davis Jr.," has been published by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The volume contains 16 scholarly articles recently written by distinguished library historians in honor of their colleague, Donald G. Davis Jr., who served as editor of "Libraries & Culture: A Journal of Library History," from 1977 to 2005.
In his preface, this writer notes that the book is dedicated to Davis because "his leadership during the past three decades has helped shape library history into an important interdisciplinary and international field of study. His own work as an author, editor and book reviewer has been a notable and influential part of this effort." Davis is currently professor emeritus of library history at the University of Texas at Austin.
The essays are organized into four sections: "Library History Education & Research," "Libraries, Books, & Culture," "International Perspectives" and "Legacy of a Mentor." Essays contributed by former members of the "Libraries & Culture" Advisory Board include "Early American Imprint Bibliography and Its Stories: An Introductory Course in Bibliographic Civics" by Donald W. Krummel; "Collecting Contested Titles: The Experience of Five Small Public Libraries in the Rural Midwest, 1893-1956" by Wayne Wiegand; "The Library of Congress Becomes a World Library, 1815-2005" by this writer; and "American Bookwomen in Paris During the 1920s" by Mary Niles Maack.
The volume is edited by Cheryl Knott Malone, associate professor in the School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona; Hermina G.B. Anghelescu, associate professor at the Library and Information Science Program at Wayne State University in Detroit, who also prepared the index; and John Mark Tucker, dean of Library Information Resources at Abilene Christian University. The papers were originally published by the University of Texas Press as a special issue of "Libraries & Culture" (Volume 40, Number 3, Summer 2005).
In addition to the 16 essays, the volume includes a foreword by library historian Robert Sidney Martin, former director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services; an introduction by the editors and a "Chronology and Bibliography of Donald G. Davis Jr."
The tradition of publishing bookplates on the cover of each issue of "Libraries & Culture" is described in an essay by Judith Overmeier, professor emeritus, University of Oklahoma, who joined the staff of "Libraries & Culture" as cover story editor in 1977. She also explains why the four bookplates on the front cover of the volume were chosen from among the dozens of bookplates that have graced the covers of "Libraries & Culture" since 1977: two were chosen as favorites by editor Davis and two by assistant editor Bette W. Oliver.
The dust jacket, featuring eight historically significant bookplates, was designed by RCW Communication Design, Inc., which also designed an accompanying bookmark. The four bookplates on the back cover are from the collections of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. Each represents an important development in the history of the Library of Congress and its specialized collections: George Washington's personal library; printmaker and book illustrator Rockwell Kent's distinctive bookplate for the Library's Rare Book Collection; collector Lessing J. Rosenwald's bookplate from one of the Library's greatest treasures, the Rosenwald gift of more than 2,600 illustrated books dating from the 15th through the 20th centuries; and Harry Houdini's collection of items relating to spiritualism and magic, designed in 1936.
"Libraries & Culture: Historical Essays Honoring the Legacy of Donald G. Davis Jr.," a 294-page clothbound book, is available for $25 from Oak Knoll Press, 310 Delaware St., New Castle, DE 19720; telephone (302) 328-7232, toll-free (800) 996-2556; fax (302) 328-7274, www.oakknoll.com/davis/. The book is also available in the Library of Congress Sales Shop, www.loc.gov/shop/ and the Center for the Book. For a complete list of Center for the Book publications and information about their availability, visit www.loc.gov/cfbook/.
John Y. Cole is director of the Center for the Book.