Scope and arrangement
Records document Ralph A. Beals' term as director of the New York Public Library, from 1946 to 1954. They also include some files relating to the directorships of his predecessor, Franklin F. Hopper, and his successor, Edward G. Freehafer. The collection consists of appraisals, bulletins, correspondence, legal documents, memoranda, notes, reports, and telegrams mostly relating to library functions such as acquisitions, donor relations, fund raising, and reference services. The records provide detailed information about a number of projects with which Beals was directly involved, including the proposal for a regional research library, the creation of a new job classification system for The New York Public Library, and the efforts to obtain state funding for public libraries. There is also material that relates to Beals' membership on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and the Yale University Library Council.
There is additional material from the directorship of Ralph A. Beals in the Lydenberg, Hopper and Beals General Correspondence, also held by NYPL Archives.
The Ralph A. Beals records are arranged in two series:
- 1947-19542 boxes, 1 volume, 1 oversize folder
Arranged alphabetically by subject. The records consist mostly of correspondence, internal memos, notes, and reports on subjects relating to the administration of the New York Public Library, such as Long Range Proposals, Overdue Procedures, and Public Services.
- 1946-19535 boxes
Series consists mostly of correspondence with persons who were not employees of The New York Public Library. Most of the correspondence is with publishers, potential donors, and other librarians. The primary topics of these letters are employment, donation of books or materials to the NYPL, financial contributions to the NYPL, and press coverage of library activities. Much of the correspondence in these files was addressed to or answered by Paul Rice North, Chief of the Reference Department. There are also internal memos and other documents relating to this external correspondence. Incoming and outgoing letters are arranged in alphabetical order by subject or by the name of the correspondent. However, only the files between "tib" and "zy" are extent. In addition, there is one folder of unsorted complaint letters that criticize library policies and services.