Scope and arrangement
The Harry Miller Lydenberg Records span the years 1926-1970, covering his seven-year term as library director and also his participation in numerous professional associations. The bulk of this material is from the years 1926-1944 and consists of correspondence, reports, minutes of meetings, informational pamphlets and brochures, and newspaper clippings. Subject files contain correspondence and other materials pertaining to the operation of The New York Public Library and Lydenberg's involvement in national and international library matters. Of particular interest are materials, 1938-1970, concerning the role of an American Library Association committee on which Lydenberg served in the search for Librarian of Congress in 1939. Many librarians opposed the ultimate choice, Archibald MacLeish.
Additional materials pertaining to the career of Harry Miller Lydenberg can be found in the Edwin H. Anderson Records and the Lydenberg, Hopper and Beals General Correspondence, both held by NYPL Archives; and in the Harry Miller Lydenberg Papers held by the NYPL Manuscripts Division.
The Harry Miller Lydenberg records are arranged in three series:
- 1934-19392 boxes
Letters congratulating Lydenberg on his appointment as director; and incoming and outgoing correspondence and internal memoranda to and from Lydenberg and other NYPL staff members, pertaining to acquisitions, cataloging procedures, exhibitions, and similar library-related matters. Only a small portion of Lydenberg's 1934-1941 director's correspondence has survived, chiefly alphabetical files from Th to Z. (Some additional correspondence from these years can be found in the Lydenberg, Hopper and Beals General Correspondence, 1934-1954, also held by NYPL Archives.) Of note in Series I are materials from the survey committee of a user study of Westchester County libraries, on which Lydenberg served (Box 2, folders 2-5); correspondence with the historian Mary Beard concerning the proposed World Center for Women's Archives and the possible placement of the Center with The New York Public Library (Box 2, folder 15); and letters to and from the Yale University Library staff about a variety of matters (Box 2, folders 20-22).
- 1926-19704 boxes, 1 volume
This series is comprised of two subseries: A. New York Public Library; B. Professional Activities.
- 19371 volume
Haygood, of the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago, undertook a survey of users of both the Reference and Circulation Departments. After a preliminary survey in 1934, this report tabulated 19,595 questionnaires and created what was described as the largest sample of urban library patrons in the United States. The survey compiled data from both the Circulation Department (16,540 questionnaires) and the Reference Department (3,055 questionnaires). Its particular interest was the age, gender, education level and occupation of the users as well as amount of use of the Library, activities within The Library, use of the catalog, materials used, satisfaction levels, complaints, and suggestions for improvement. There are numerous tables which correlate these various data against one another. An unusual feature of the survey is the list of Most Widely Read books cited by The Library's users. It should be noted that this typescript has some missing tables. Among its findings were that the largest category of users in the Circulation Department were students (38%) while the largest category for the Reference Department were professionals (59%). For users of the Reference Department, it found the motivation to be broken down into the following three categories: Intellectual (48.7%), Vocational (38.7%) and Recreational (11.3%). It found that males comprised 70% of the users.