We have recently processed the materials of a particularly interesting record series, The Nathaniel L. Goodrich Scrapbooks, 1881-1902 (97/1/77). Born in 1880, Nathaniel L. Goodrich was the Librarian at Dartmouth University for 38 years—from 1912 until he retired in 1950—and was granted full professorship in 1943. He passed away on April 30, 1957, exactly 60 years ago. The record series includes four scrapbooks dating back to the early twentieth century, which had been discarded from the Dartmouth College Library in Hanover, New Hampshire. In the scrapbooks, Goodrich had collected and arranged an assortment of materials relating to library buildings.
In honor of Black History Month and the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, it is only fitting to discuss the service of African Americans in the war and to highlight a few materials we have here at the archives that illustrate their contributions.
In 1917, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, which Woodrow Wilson then signed into law, thus initiating the draft. It required all young men, regardless of race, to register for service . Subsequently, more than 2.2 million black men registered over the course of four draft calls , of which nearly 370,000 were then inducted into the Army .
W.E.B. Du Bois was one of many African American leaders and activists who saw the war as a chance to advance racial progress, hoping that racial equality would follow at the war’s end when Americans saw their loyalty and service to their country. He urged black men to put the fight for civil rights on hold during the war, writing in The Crisis, “first your Country, then your Rights!” .
The connection between the ALA and the American Merchant Marine Library Association (AMMLA) is a little-known example of collaboration and cooperation between organizations. AMMLA developed out of the World War I Library War Service and ALA’s efforts to provide books and resources to men aboard U. S. vessels. (For more information about the Library War Service, please see our research guide). After the war ended, the library service for American servicemen was turned over to the War and Navy Departments, and the Library War Service Committee hoped that it’s work aboard U.S. ships would be taken over by either shipowners or another organization . Finally, after the request from ALA to form a peace-time library service for this purpose, Alice Sturdevant Howard, Chief of the Social Service Bureau of the Recruiting Service of the United States Shipping Board, organized the American Merchant Marine Library Service in 1921 . To aid the effort, ALA donated the leftover book stock used in the Merchant Marine Service as well as some unexpended funds . Continue reading ““Public Library of the High Seas”: ALA and the American Merchant Marine Library Association”