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William H. Carlson Papers, 1924-1981

Collection Overview

Title: William H. Carlson Papers, 1924-1981

ID: MSS Carlson

Primary Creator: Carlson, William Hugh (1898-)

Extent: 3.45 cubic feet

Arrangement: The William H. Carlson Papers are organized into eleven series: I. Correspondence; II. Research and Lecture Notes; III. Reports and Studies; IV. Speeches; V. Articles; VI. Publications; VII. Brochures/Pamphlets/Handbooks; VIII. Book Drafts; IX. Book; X. Newspaper Clippings; and XI. Photographs.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


These papers document the career and research endeavors of William H. Carlson, University Librarian of OSU from 1945 to 1965.

Scope and Content Notes

Subjects addressed in the correspondence include the publication of Carlson's articles and studies, employment possibilities as a university librarian, involvement in the Pacific Northwest Library Association Reorganization Committee, sabbatical leave plans, and Carlson's receipt of a Carnegie Fellowship Award. Carlson's research and lecture notes were generated in the course of formulating articles, speeches, books, and courses in library science which were taught in the summer of 1938 at the University of California at Berkeley. Class notes from Carlson's graduate course work in library science are also included in this series. The reports and studies pertain to institutional and university library resources and services. Carlson was involved as a researcher, author, and consultant in these reports. This series also includes completed surveys and informational materials assembled in the process of research.

The speeches delivered by Carlson to library schools, library association conferences, and local fraternal clubs and churches cover the subjects of library management, religion, and books. Series V contains draft copies and reprints of Carlson's articles and book reviews published in journals, magazines, and an encyclopedia. The subject of these articles primarily relate to library subjects and Scandinavian studies. This series also includes reprints of articles collected by Carlson that mostly pertain to library topics such as international libraries, library special collections, and the library profession. The publications consist of library staff newsletters, library journals, magazines, annual reports, book collection guides, and conference proceedings, and relate to various library topics, Scandinavian studies, and U. S. History.

The pamphlet materials and brochures relate primarily to university libraries, including dedications of new library buildings, university library handbooks/guides, and brochures for library furniture. The two book drafts are: In a Grand and Awful Time: Essays from the Librarian's Desk on 20th Century Man and His Books and The Library of OSU: Its Origins, Management, and Growth. A Centennial History. The book, The Development and Financial Support of Seven Northwestern and Western State University Libraries, was the product of a study Carlson conducted and submitted to the University of California School of Librarianship and which was funded in part by a American Library Association Carnegie Fellowship. The newspaper clippings pertain to Carlson and his post at the OSU Library, dedications of other university libraries, the University of California Berkeley student free-speech movement, and state legislation relating to correctional facilities. The photographs, primarily B&W prints and color slides, depict the Dodgen family and other friends/relatives, the OSU Library and other university and public libraries, and Carlson in portrait shots.

An addition to the Carlson Papers (Accession 2008:067) is made up of two sets of floor plans that reflect Carlson's involvement in the planning of the OSU Library expansion that added two floors to the building in 1971. Both plans depict the Library at the University of Montana, with one of the sets machine copied and the other hand drawn in pencil. Both sets contain annotations and markings made by Carlson.

Biographical / Historical Notes

William H. Carlson served as the University Librarian of OSU from 1945 to 1965. Born in 1898 in Waverly, Nebraska, William Carlson graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1924 with a degree in Journalism. As a student, Carlson's employment in the Nebraska Legislative Reference Bureau Library sparked an interest in a career in library work. Pursuing this interest, Carlson earned a certificate from the New York State Library School in 1926 and later graduated with a Master's degree in Librarianship from the University of California at Berkeley in 1937. Before his appointment as Director of the Libraries for the Oregon State System of Higher Education and OSU Librarian in 1945, Carlson worked in several college and university libraries, including: the University of Iowa, University of North Dakota, Vanderbilt University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Washington. Active in research on library topics, Carlson published a number of articles and reviews on contemporary topics in library science such as post-war library planning and resources in Western libraries. Carlson also pursued an interest in Scandinavian studies, owing partly to his own Swedish ancestry. The Kerr Library was constructed in 1963 during Carlson's tenure as OSU Librarian. Retiring from the OSU Library in 1965, Carlson continued to be involved in library research, serving as a consultant on a survey of Oregon Institutional Libraries from 1966 to 1967. Carlson also completed a history of the OSU Library during his retirement, which was later submitted to The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science in 1977. Carlson died in Corvallis in 1990.

Administrative Information

Related Materials: The Library Records (RG 009) include the administrative records of the OSU Library under Carlson's leadership. The OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center also has the personal papers of other OSU librarians, including the Bertha Herse Collection (MSS Herse) and the Rodney Waldron Papers (MSS Waldron).

Preferred Citation: William H. Carlson Papers (MSS Carlson), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 19, 2015.


Carlson, William Hugh (1898-)

People, Places, and Topics

Academic libraries.
Carlson, William Hugh, 1898-
Institution libraries--Oregon.
Libraries--United States.
Library science.
Oregon State University. Library

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.