Scope and arrangement
Records include correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports, surveys, and related materials covering such topics as library automation, conservation and preservation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Files contain position papers, administrative decisions and changes, materials on collections and exhibitions, appraisals and acquisitions, memoranda and correspondence from Library curators about collections, accounting procedures, staff changes and salaries, statistics, relations with donors, collectors and readers, all reflecting the activities and responsibilities of the Director of the Research Libraries. The Lincoln Center Library and Museum Planning series documents the conception, and development of the facility. Nelson Survey materials consist of studies and surveys of the resources of the Research Libraries in the 1960s and 1970s. The files of the planning stages of the Schomburg Center for Black Culture contain reports, correspondence, memoranda, minutes, and newspaper clippings. Also included are some records of Henderson's predecessor, Harald Ostvold, and additional materials of Paul North Rice, Edward G. Freehafer and Rutherford D. Rogers.
The James W. Henderson records are arranged in five series:
- 1961-19981 box
Miscellaneous memos and reports prepared during Henderson's tenure as Director off the Research Libraries. Also a copy of a 1998 memoir of his time at The Library.
- 1929-197816 boxes
Files include materials on collections and exhibitions, appraisals and acquisitions, correspondence, memoranda, reports, loan approvals, accounting procedures, staff changes and statistics. There are interesting memoranda and letters from NYPL curators about collections. A notable series of letters by Spencer Collection Curator Karl Kup describes his adventures on buying trips for rare books, prints, and manuscripts in various cities. The T.S. Elliot file concerns the republishing of The Waste Land and includes letters from Mrs. Elliot. Other files document relations and problems with donors, collectors, and readers. The files are arranged in two chronological subseries: Subseries A 1929-1969, Subseries B 1969-1978.
- 1959-19721 box
A small group of records documenting the origins and development of the performing arts collections at Lincoln Center.
- 1963-19701 box
Studies and surveys of the resources of the Research Libraries, their nature, frequency of use and needs in the 1960s and 1970s.
- ca. 1940s-19781 box
Includes plans, reports, correspondence, handwritten notes, confidential memoranda, minutes of NYPL committees, and newspaper clippings that document the interaction between the Harlem community and NYPL during the planning, construction and early years of operation of the Schomburg Center.