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NUCMC History Timeline: 1947-present

A report by the American Historical Association Special Committee on Manuscripts recommended that a national register of manuscripts be started.

AHA Special Committee on Manuscripts abolished.

Joint Committee on Manuscripts formed by Society of American Archivists and the American Association for State and Local History.

A suggestion is made to create a national register under the umbrella of the National Union Catalog (NUC); this would include cataloging of manuscripts and printing of cards for sale (similar to 1901 LC cards); this is what happened; the name of the project is National Register of Manuscript Collections.

Plans started for a national register of manuscripts entries in one master file; name of project changed to National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.

LC applied for grant to start project.

November: Council on Library Resources gave LC grant of $200,000 to begin NUCMC program; there were subsequent grants of $170,565 to continue the work to July 1964, when Congress first appropriated funds to continue the program as part of the Library’s work.

April: Program staff was assembled under the guidance of Lester K. Born.

May: Formation of Manuscripts Section in Library's Descriptive Cataloging Division; included a section head; three catalogers; and a clerk typist.

June: First catalog cards printed.

September: 825 collections cataloged; NUCMC had different focus than planned; its scope was reduced because of budget constraints; eligibility reduced to publicly open repositories and those located in the U.S.; only archival material held by repository not created by them (e.g., university archives) eligible.

NUCMC printed volumes planned and executed; two volumes published by 1964 covering 1959 to 1962.

First printed volume describing some 7,300 collections in 309 repositories published.

Until present: Congress appropriates money to continue work on NUCMC.

NUCMC automation planning began.

March: NUCMC begins automated cataloging into RLIN.

Final printed volume published.

NUCMC moves from RLIN to OCLC cataloging.

Over 114,000 collections in nearly 1,800 repositories cataloged over the course of the program.

October: NUCMC program becomes part of Cooperative Programs Section in newly-created Cooperative and Instructional Programs Division.

May: 50th anniversary of NUCMC.


Ostroff, Harriet, "The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections: From the Printed Volume to On-Line Data Base." In The Hispanic Experience in North America: Sources for Study in the United States, edited by Lawrence A. Clayton (Columbus: Ohio State Univ. Press, 1992): 51-59.

NUCMC Catalogers and archival files (including an announcement about the 10th anniversary of NUCMC).

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   August 22, 2013
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