203R. Harrod to A. H. Smith, 16 March 1931 [a]

Harrod is not willing to make propaganda about the proposals concerning the Bodleian Library which he had submitted as a minority report. However, he is available to explain the details of his plans and the reasons for suggesting it to anybody who would desire to hear such an explanation. [1]

  1. 1. After the Bodleian Library Commission's Report was printed on 10 March 1931, including Harrod's "Separate Report" ( 1931:1 ), it was up to the Congregation to accept, or reject, either of the two reports. The press largely reported on the division of opinion within the Congregation, and in some cases took part for one of the factions. The Oxford correspondent of the Manchester Guardian, for instance, on 29 April 1931 stated that "Harrod's plan is vastly superior to the report of the majority" (Harrod preserved a number of cuttings, now in HP VI-92). Opinion in Oxford seems to have been divided as well, with the young members of the Hebdomadal council more favourable to Harrod's plan on the ground that it would do more for the development of research. This was an important issue at the time. Research, in fact, was carried out by college fellows and university professors in the time left free by their academic duties, while graduate studies were in their beginning. This development, however, was prospected by some, and Harrod's proposal allowed for it (see, for instance, letter 205 R. Harrod's action along these lines culminated in 1934 with the discussions leading to the establishment of the Institute of Statistics: see note 6 to letter 371 , and note 2 to essay 15 ). According to the press reports prior to the decision of the Council, Harrod's plan seems to have found a large support in the University. The idea of open shelves had also been advanced by a number of the scholars, lecturers and so on, whose opinion was invited by the Commission at the first stage of inquiry (see note 4 to letter 172 R): G. R. Driver, for instance, maintained that closed stacks render the library useless to those for which it was designed; Lindley Fraser and eight other social sciences fellows advocated open access to books (LR c.580/1, Folder 387/4, and c.579).

    Although Harrod did not directly engage in the debates at Oxford, he dropped a word to the ear of the Rockefeller Foundation (see letters 206 R and 207 R). In Oxford, the matter was taken in his hands by A. H. Smith: see note 1 to letter 211 R (Smith had already commented on Harrod's proposal in a letter of 10 January, in HP VI-37).

    1. a. From Christ Church # , one page ALS marked "copy", in HP VI-35.


Welcome page

top of page

Return to index of this section

Go to previous page

Go to next page