174R. K. Sisam to Harrod, 21 March 1930 [a]

Sisam discusses the best dates for the Bodleian Library Commission to visit the American libraries. [1]

  1. 1. The Bodleian Library Commission (see note 4 to letter 172 R), in their exploration of the "question of accommodation, equipment and organization, and use" of libraries abroad, travelled first to Rome and Paris (8-17 April 1930), then to Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia (5-25 July 1930), and finally visited 12 public libraries and 15 university libraries in the United States and in Canada (3 September-1 November 1930).

    The results of the evidence collected by the Commission are summarized in the Commission's Report (1931), pp. 126-33. Harrod's extensive notes on these visits are filed in HP VI-4 (America libraries) and VI-5 (European libraries). In the light of the debates which followed, it is interesting to remark that Harrod's own notes on the American visit reveal that he was interested both in the architectural solutions advanced in other libraries to meet accommodation and future needs of expansion and in the system of access to shelves.

    Sisam's circular letters, dated 17 and 26 March 1930, accompanying the minutes and agenda of some of the meetings of the Commission at which these visits were organized are filed in HP VI-9/3 and VI-9/4. The accumulations from the American visit were sent by Sisam on 28 November 1930, and are filed in HP VI-29/2 (Sisam, circular letter to the commissioners, in HP VI-29/1).

    The visit to American libraries initially created some conflicts with Harrod's heavy schedule, in particular with his College duties at the beginning of term (at the time Harrod also was member of the Hebdomadal Council and senior censor of Christ Church). Harrod was concerned that these commitments could prevent him from carrying out the same amount of work as the other members of the Commission, and expressed his desire to resign (A. H. Smith to Harrod, 30 March 1930, in HP VI-15). Smith took contact with F. H. Dudden, the Vice-Chancellor, who in turn discussed the matter with H. J. White, the dean of Christ Church. The problem was solved by suggesting that Harrod returned a week earlier than the other members of the Commission (Dudden to Harrod, 23 April and 28 May 1930, in HP VI-19 and HP VI-22).

    1. a. From the Clarendon Press, Oxford # , one page TLS, in HP VI-26/20.

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