Provides a wealth of information about the founding of American libraries from the earliest colonial times through 1875.
1876 is considered to mark the beginning of the modern library movement in the United States, but Americans created and used thousands of libraries before that date. While the history of American libraries has not been neglected by scholars, none has examined in detail where in the different parts of the country various libraries came into existence over any extended period of time. The present work does that, detailing the kinds of libraries that existed before 1876 and including 80 to 85 kinds, depending on the way the collections are classified.
Preface Introduction Libraries in the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods Libraries from the End of the Revolutionary Period through 1875 Kinds of Libraries in Existence before 1876 Social Libraries Libraries Belonging to Organizations that Were Not Formed to Establish Libraries Libraries Belonging to Institutions, Some of Which Were Operated by Private Organizations and Some of Which Were Operated by Governmental Units Libraries Belonging to Governmental Agencies Libraries Belonging to Business Firms and Individuals Libraries of Uncertain Ownership Subject Matter of the Collections Private Libraries, School Libraries, and Sunday School Libraries Afterword Glossary Selected Bibliography Index
Reviews McMullen's work is a major resource for historians as they develop their understanding of the emergence of libraries and a print culture in the Colonial and early American periods. It also allows librarians to gain a unique regional perspective on this nascent period of American librarianship.—ARBA
The book clearly involved enormous effort, the painstaking collection of data, and an undeniable joy in discovery. The chapter notes attest to the author's familiarity with historical scholarship in numerous fields, not the least of which is library history.—College & Research Libraries