Scope and arrangement
The records of the Melrose Branch Library document the first 75 years of its service, 1914-1989. The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, photographs, newspaper clippings, and printed ephemera. The records document the day-to-day operation of a New York Public Library Branch, with special emphasis on the development of children's services. The collection contains an extensive and detailed run of Melrose Children's Room Reports, and an unabridged copy of a 1941 system-wide Children's Room Report prepared by Frances Clarke Sayers, successor to Anne Carroll Moore. Certainly any study of the life and work of Moore, who created the Library's Children's Services and served as its superintendent from 1906 until 1941, would wish to take into account the lively reports from the Melrose branch, with their typical, simple opening of "Dear Miss Moore..."The Melrose Branch Records illuminate several other broad historical themes: the history of education, with respect to cooperative relationships between public schools and public libraries; women's history, in light of the feminization of the librarianship profession; the history of reading; architectural history, with respect to its building's Carrère and Hastings provenance.
The Melrose Branch records are arranged in three series:
Series 1. Administrative Files gathers together the annual reports for the branch, as well as the individual reports for its divisions:Adult Services, Young Adult Services, and Children's Services. Annual reports for the years 1979-80 through 1985-86 are inclusive for all divisions. Together, these records provide more than a historical profile of the Melrose Branch Library. The regular practice of describing the library's service within the context of the patrons and neighborhood it serves has resulted in a unique record of the fluctuating demographics of this region of the Bronx. Particularly vibrant in their descriptions of changing readers are the Children's Room Reports, reflecting that division's activity from 1923 through 1979. Further, these reports represent the earliest evidence of service at the branch of any sort -- the Branch Annual Reports collected here date from 1939, as do reports from Young Adult Services; Adult Services reports date from 1948.
Series 2. Celebrations consists of materials related to the Branch's Opening in 1914 and its subsequent 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries. Notable items to be found here include a history of the branch written by Ida B. L. Molnar (including a copy in autograph typescript), who served as head librarian the first 25 years; photographs of the branch and its staff from 1914 through the 75th anniversary celebration in 1989; and a copy of the January 16, 1914, opening day program.
Series 3. Subject Files contains Branch brochures, printed ephemera, correspondence, and memos.An extensive publicity file, comprised of newspaper clippings, is the highlight of this series. Spanning the first 75 years of the branch's existence, the clippings document New York Public Library milestones generally, particularly as regards the Central Research Library: a copy of the 50th anniversary program for the New York Public Library may be found here, as well as a copy of the press release concerning Dr. Lawrence Reddick's resignation as Curator of the Schomburg Collection. There is also a survey of library resources in the Melrose neighborhood and adjoining areas, ca. 1970.