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Queer Titles Turn Up Among 40,000 Magazines, Catalogues And Tracts Buried in Cellar of Library for Past 50 Years

Radcliffe Alumna Catalogues Volumes by Own Original Methods


"The Annual Report of the Society for the Education of Imbecile Youth in Scotland"; "A Method of Learning to Read, Write, and Speak English for the Use of Chinese Pupils"; and "The Report of the Widows' Society of Boston" are three of the queer titles found by Miss Barbara Tisdale, Radcliffe '35, in her work of cataloguing 40,000 pamphlets, magazines, tracts, letters, and catalogues for use in the graduate schools of the University.

Miss Tisdale's volumes completely fill an entire room on the top floor of Widener. "It used to be the 'quiet room' of Archibald MacLeish," she explained, but the Curator of the Nieman Collection would have difficulty in recognizing his former retreat today.

An experienced cataloguer, Miss Tisdale is using an entirely original system of her own to classify the books. She uses the subject matter and the interest of the person who will read it to determine the classification of a "piece," as Miss Tisdale terms her books.

Works Stay In Library Cellars

Many of the works have been in the cellars of University libraries for 50 years without being touched or used. Miss Tisdale was commissioned this fall to go through them and see if she couldn't make some use of them.

W. C. T. U. Literature

"One of the most interesting pieces I have found was a letter mentioning the name of Jared Sparks, famous American historian, and concerning some letters of Washington to the Grand Ledge of Massachusetts," she said.

One entire section of shelves is devoted to W. C. T. U. literature exhorting men to give up "Demon Rum" and giving directions for teaching Sunday classes about alchohol and for raiding saloons.

Unusual Titles

Some other unusual subjects of pieces which Miss Tisdale has run across include "The Mariners' Family Industrial Society"; "The New England Moral Reform Society"; "The Society for the Relief of Indigent Old Men"; and "The Society for the Diffusion of Christian and General Knowledge among the Chinese".

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