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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
K: This is Vernon Kisling interviewing Gus Harrer, former director of the University of
Florida libraries, on November 17, 1993, at his office in Library West on the
University of Florida campus, Gainesville, Florida. For the record, will you state your
H: My full name is Gustave Adolphus Harrer III.
K: When were you born?
H: December 30, 1924.
K: Are you sure? [laughter]
H: I am sure; I just had to think. [laughter]
K: What city were you born in?
H: I was born in Durham, North Carolina, because there was no hospital in Chapel Hill,
where my Dad was a faculty member. So we went to the hospital in Durham, Watts
K: Did you have any brothers or sisters?
H: Following me, there was a brother, and then a sister, and then a "bonus" baby some
six years later, another sister. There were four children. The four of us grew up
mostly together. Although our little sister was much younger. We got split up when
the war came along; Joe, my younger brother, and I both went into the army. But
we all grew up together.
K: Did you go all the way through high school at Chapel Hill?
K: What high school did you go to?
H: Chapel Hill High School.
K: What years?
H: I graduated in 1941 from Chapel Hill High School. And then I went to the University
of North Carolina the next year.
K: While you were at the high school, did you do any work for the library there?
H: Yes I did, as a matter of fact. I think it was more to get out of the study hall, which I
despised. I could volunteer to be an assistant in the library. Until I graduated, I was
a student assistant in the high school library.
K: Did you think at that time that you would be doing that as a career?
H: I never had such a thought, never. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but part of it was
because it gave me a little bit of stature. But I really had not given it much thought
[for a career] at that time at all.
K: Did you enjoy reading? Was that part of it?
H: Oh yes. I always enjoyed reading. My father was a classics professor, and we had
a house full of books. Books were always at the center of our lives. We had an
unabridged Webster's dictionary on a stand in the corner of the dining room. And as
the conversation progressed around the table, (we kids all had a good time talking
with Mom and Dad) all of a sudden Dad would say to one of us, "You used that
word; what does it mean?" And when we would answer, "Well, I don't know," he
would say, "Go look it up." So we were excused from the table to go over and
thumb through [the dictionary] and find what the word was.
He was of course a linguist. He knew Latin and Greek, and spoke German very
well. And I think he spoke some French. So we had a dosage of foreign languages
K: After you got out of high school, where did you go?
H: I went directly to the University of North Carolina. I applied, and was accepted as a
freshman in the fall of 1941. At UNC Dad make it clear I should work. In high
school I volunteered for work in the library. I did so for two years, so at UNC I got a
job in the library and worked there for freshman and sophomore years, till I was
drafted. I stayed at UNC for the 1941-1942 year, and [I began] the 1942-1943
[school year], until January, when I was drafted. This was quite a surprise to
everybody. My father, who was not a suspicious sort of man, figured out why I had
gotten drafted so promptly after my eighteenth birthday.
Dad was the chairman of the Board of Deacons of the Presbyterian church there.
There was a vacant lot next door that was owned by the church. The church
decided that it ought to really develop the lot, or do something with it; it was an
eyesore. And so they put it up for sale. And one guy who wanted to buy it, wanted
to put a filling station on that corner. Except for a little alley between the two pieces
of property, it would have been cheek by jowl with the Presbyterian church. Dad
immediately said, "No, we will not sell it to him," because we would have the noise of
automobiles disturbing church services. And so he said that they would not sell it to
him. And the man (I do not remember who it was, to tell you the truth) got
thoroughly mad with Dad and made dire threats against him in the future. Low and
behold, the day after my eighteenth birthday I was drafted. And it just happened
that the fellow was the head of the draft board. [It was] small town politics, you
know. That was back when the University of North Carolina had 1500 students; so
[Chapel Hill] was really a small college town.
K: So how long were you gone for that?
H: I was at the university in 1941-1942, and 1942-1943. I had registered for the winter
quarter, beginning in January 1943, but I dropped out right after that, because I got
my draft notice. And I reported sometime around March 1,  to go into the
draft. I went into the army.
K: And where did they send you?
H: Well, I gave them a hard time; I did my best to get into a flying service somehow. I
was thoroughly enthused with airplanes, making model airplanes and flying them. I
tried everything [to get into a flying program]. And every one of them said, "We will
put your name on file, and we will let you know." The navy wrote back a very
encouraging letter, and [so did] the army. But before any of them got their letters to
me, the draft board [sent me] my orders, and there was no way out of that. So I
went off to the army, to Spartanburg, South Carolina, which is where I got inducted.
And then I was sent home for two weeks' leave, and told to report back to Fort
Bragg [North Carolina]. When I got back to Fort Bragg they assigned us up into
pools of young men, to be picked up by one or the other services that were there.
I realized that there were two members of the faculty who had volunteered for duty
with the army, and they were both officers; one was a colonel and the other was a
captain. The captain pulled me to one side one day. He knew me from home, from
Chapel Hill. He said, "We think maybe we have got something very interesting for
you. How would you like to work with German prisoners of war?" Well, I had
already had a couple of years of German in high school and another in college, so I
was pretty enthused. So he said, "Well, just sit tight. It will be a little while they
have people transferred in and out, but you will be [called] after a while."
I was there for about six weeks, I guess. And then I got inducted, and shipped off to
Kalamazoo, Michigan, to a training program for forming up the first prisoner of war
processing units. They were forming three of them. There was a German, an
Italian, and a Japanese unit there. And, of course, I was in the German one. It was
very interesting. We got classroom work, we studied the German army. That is
where I stayed for the rest of the war.
K: Where was that located?
H: Well, first in Kalamazoo, Michigan. There we formed up into operational platoons.
One was the Italian, the second platoon was Japanese, and the third was German.
After training we were all split up: the Japanese [platoon] went to the Far East; the
Italian and German units ended up in Italy and North Africa; and we were given
training in a prisoner of war camp at Camp Phillips, just outside of Salinas, Kansas.
They were holding a good number of German prisoners there that had been taken in
the North African campaign and brought to this country and parked in [that] camp.
And so we practiced on them, seeing if our procedures were correct; we were purely
an experimental unit. But they knew they were going to have to do something with
these prisoners, and they needed some sort of records. The Red Cross required
that we keep records on them, and so that was that.
And then we were shipped overseas in August of 1943. We were shipped to North
Africa, landed at Oran, and taken out to a prisoner of war camp out in the middle of
the desert somewhere down there; as I remember, it was sixty or seventy miles
south of Oran [Algeria]. And it was just a great, big enclosure full of guard towers
and stacheldraht--barbed wire fences.
We practiced processing prisoners there. Although they had been captured during
the last year, these prisoners had never had any records made on them. So we did
that. And I was working there with a group, interrogating the German prisoners and
making out records on them. [We] tried to spot any of them who might be of any
help, although they were so far removed from the war that their assistance was not
going to [count for] much of anything.
I was sitting in the processing tent one day. The prisoners came in and stood at
attention, and answered questions: "Ja" or "Nein" or name, serial number, rank, and
so on. Most of the typewriters we had were old Royals, a standard machine, but
they did not abide sand very well, [and] I was getting annoyed with that. And [a
prisoner] said, "Excuse me. If the honorable interrogator will pardon me, I can help
you fix that." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "I am by profession a typewriter
repairman." And so, quickly, I hopped up and went to the commanding officer and
said, "Hey, I got somebody I will take charge of and work with." He said, "What?"
"A typewriter repairman."
We had had to send these damned typewriters back to Oran, sixty miles or so, to be
repaired. And they took forever to get back. So this guy and I figured out a method
of cleaning [them]. Basically, it was a matter of getting all of the rubber that you
could out of the machine, and then taking the whole thing and dumping it in a vat of
gasoline with a light mixture of engine oil in it. And it really did very well; it did not
take more than an hour or so to clean them that way.
K: It was a good thing you did not have computers to try and fix.
H: Oh boy. On the other hand, when I got back after the war, I wanted to go back to
work in the library. By then I had repaired and disassembled hundreds of
typewriters. One of the gals was fussing about one of her typewriters. I said, "Let
me see that. I can fix that, if you wait a minute, I will get a screwdriver." When I
came back she said, "How do you know how to fix that?" And I said, "Well, I had
about three years of it in the army." [laughter] [It was] not quite [three years], but
then it turned out that the people on the library staff at the University of North
Carolina found out that they had a typewriter repairman on their hands. So I was
immediately shifted from my duties at the circulation desk, to being typewriter
repairman for the university libraries.
K: What year did you get back from the army?
H: I got back in December 1945 and I entered the university in 1946.
K: To continue with your studies?
H: Yes, to continue with my studies. By then, I had not had any idea what I was going
to study when I got in. I was pretty sure that it was going to probably be chemistry
or physics, which I had gotten very enthused with before the war in high school
because of a wonderful teacher we had there, one Dr. Preston. At that time many of
the teachers at the high school were also on the faculty of the School of Education
at the university. Many of the professors in the School of Education not only taught
education to college students, but were in charge of some portions of the Chapel Hill
And Dr. Preston was a biologist and chemist. He got two or three of us so enthused
with [science], that we just did not leave in the afternoon; we stayed in the lab, and
worked on during the afternoon. There were three of us in particular who did that.
There was Glen Haydon, who was the son of the Chairman of the Music
Department. And the other [fellow] was Paul Green, Jr. He was the son of the
playwright, Paul Green. Paul and I were very good friends for many years. And
then we all split up into various directions.
K: But when you were working for the library and fixing the typewriters, was that while
you were at the University of North Carolina?
H: Yes, after the war I went back to the library, because I had worked in the high school
library before I got into the university and the year and a half I was in the university
before being drafted. Dad made a point that I was going to have to earn some
portion of my way through school; he could not afford to pay it. And so I did, on the
library staff. There were student assistants and then there was a supervisor. The
student assistants got about 032 per hour, as I remember, and the student
supervisor got 050 per hour, which was absolutely glorious pay in those days. And
so ultimately I became student supervisor of the student staff. But I worked in the
library all of that time. And finally, when I graduated I decided to go on to graduate
school in German.
K: When did you graduate? Was it 1948?
H: I would suppose so, yes. We can look that up.
K: I already did.
H: Oh you did? You are prompting me for knowledge? Allright, that is good. Keep me
K: And then you went straight on to graduate school?
H: Yes. I decided to go on to graduate school. They were so inundated with beginning
students right after the war, that they could not get enough teachers in many of the
departments. And here was the German department, with students just clamoring at
the door to learn German. One afternoon, we thought it was a bit odd, but the
faculty of the German department, of which there were perhaps six full-time faculty,
invited a group of us graduate students in to have coffee and cookies at 4:00.
They got us in there, and we sat and they said, "From here on, there will be no more
English, just German." So we sat around the room there for two or three hours,
drinking coffee and eating cookies and telling stories in German. The faculty said,
"That is fine; that was a nice afternoon. Thank you very much." The next day,
several of us got called back, and they said, "We would like to have you teach
beginning German." Well I think I was only a junior in college at that time, but I was
put on as an introductory German teacher. And I helped out with the crowds. So I
taught German my junior and senior year. And then I graduated, and I decided to
go on in the German department. And then the following year I got married. I met a
really nice little gal from Mississippi who was up there.
K: What was her name?
H: Mary Elizabeth Varnado.
K: What was she doing up there from Mississippi?
H: She was there from Mississippi, because she had been a whiz of a scholar in high
school, and a whiz of a scholar at the Mississippi State College for Women. One of
the faculty members there was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, and
he said that was the nearest place you could get a good graduate program in
Although the alternative would be Duke [University, Durham, North Carolina].
I have forgotten the story exactly, but I think she applied for Duke, but there was just
simply no place to live; you could not get in because it had all filled up. So she went
next door to Chapel Hill and registered there as a graduate student working for her
master's in English. And that is where I met her. The English department and the
German department were all on the same floor of Saunders Hall. And so we met.
She was going with another guy I knew, and he invited me to come have lunch with
them. That was the beginning of the end right there. So then, after about ten
months, we got married. I got away without having finished my master's paper, but
we went to teach at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1949.
K: You had not finished your master's program?
H: No. I had told the people at Millsaps that I would have it done. And then I had to
call them up and say that I was simply [not finished with my paper]. I was working
on it furiously, eight to ten hours a day, in a cubicle in the library. But I just could not
get the thing completely worked out. I told them that I would take a little bit longer,
and they said, "Well come on anyway; we need you to teach."
K: What was your thesis on?
H: My thesis was on Johannes Pauli's Schimpf und Ernst ["Jokes and Seriousness"]
Johannes Pauli was a Jesuit priest [who lived] about 1500. His one work was
Schimpf und Ernst. And I was doing a linguistic analysis of it, fifteenth century and
sixteenth century German language. Nobody had ever tackled that. It was a
compilation that he had put together, of moral, amusing, and other tales, that were
appropriate to be used in sermons from the pulpit.
K: And did your wife complete her degree?
H: She had finished her degree, all properly. So she got her degree and had the rest of
the next year to hang around. She did. She got a job as a secretary over in Swain
Hall; she was a good typist. I have forgotten what the department was. She waited
around, and she agreed that we would both go to Millsaps. And we went to
Millsaps, and she did not know what she was going to do. People said, "There are
plenty of teaching jobs around in central Mississippi, so you could get a job." She
got down there and found out that, just the day before we got there, the main
English teacher had a nervous breakdown. School was starting in about three days.
K: What city is that in?
H: Millsaps College, in Jackson, Mississippi. It was a good little (700 students) four
year, liberal arts school. It was owned by the Methodist Church. I think it is the last
college owned by the Methodist Church in the South.
K: So you were both on the faculty there?
H: Yes, I in German and she in English.
K: How did you find out about that position?
H: I had written to several places, such as Mercer [Unuiversity, Atlanta] over in
Georgia, and Millsaps, and so on, to see if they would interview me. [I gave them]
my schedule, and [told them that] I was ready. I remember that Mercer wrote back,
as did Millsaps. It seemed to me that there were a couple more [colleges that
responded]. We went to Mercer because it was such a nice little college in Georgia.
Anyhow, we went by there and visited with them for a day or so. We just about
decided that we were going to go over there, and then we went over to Millsaps.
Mercer only wanted to hire me. But when we got to Millsaps and came in for our
interview, by the end of the day they had offered [both] me and Lib a job. It turned
out that one of the English faculty ladies had suddenly had a nervous breakdown
and they needed quickly a fill in, and Lib had all the qualifications. So we decided
[to take that]. And it just happened to be forty-five miles south of Lib's hometown,
which is Pickens, Mississippi, up the road, due north of Jackson.
K: So they decided that they wanted both of you?
H: Yes, they decided right then that they would take both of us. So as I remember,
both of us went right onto the faculty right there, and had a really good time there for
K: You were teaching [what]?
H: I was teaching German, and then I taught Latin. I substituted in Latin. I even
substituted briefly in Greek, knowing as little Greek as I knew. But the students
knew less. So I substituted in Greek for one week. Boy, I had nerve. The
department that we were in was the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages.
Dr. Alfred P. Hamilton was the chairman of the department. They had a lady who
taught French and they offered German. Dr. Hamilton knew German pretty well; [he
had been], as [was not unusual] in those days, at a German university in the earlier
part of the century. The Latin was not so bad because I had minored in Latin, in
college. So I was able to do that. And then I think I taught a regular course in Latin
the next year.
K: Did you have any interaction with the library there?
H: Next to none.
K: It was strictly teaching?
H: Yes. There was no library of sorts at which to study. It was a very small school, 800
K: Did you enjoy teaching?
H: I loved it, yes. I really enjoyed it. It was also a nice introduction to a small college's
activities. All of the faculty knew each other and all of the students knew the faculty
and knew each other. Virtually everybody was part of just one nice, happy family.
K: You left to go back to the University of North Carolina?
K: To get your doctorate?
K: You had wanted to do that?
H: Yes. I left Millsaps having applied for and [having] been awarded a Ford faculty
grant. It was administered by one of the academic associations. And we presented
our desires. The purpose of the thing was to put promising young graduate students
into the Ph.D. program, so that we could give them some support. And I just could
not believe that I got one. I think there was a strenuous recommendation on the part
of Millsaps, since I was coming back again.
And I fully expected to [return], except I got back to North Carolina and started
studying, and I continued teaching beginning courses in German as a graduate
assistant. And I just got a bellyful of teaching; I really did not want to do it at all.
The second year that I was there I had been working furiously, taking all of the
courses that I needed to; I had put them out of the way. And I had a dissertation
topic and was working on it. It just suddenly came over me that I really did not want
to go on teaching anymore. I did not want to teach at the university, I did not want to
teach at Millsaps, I did not want to teach anywhere.
I began to think of the library, because this was something that I had enjoyed doing.
I had done it right after we got back from the war. I had been supervisor of that
student library staff for a couple of years. And I had gotten very much enthused with
the complications and challenges of library work. And I began to investigate it. I
had an opportunity to talk to a number of people. Chapel Hill had visiting librarians
all the time.
Dr. Louis Round Wilson, who was the founder of the first graduate library school in
the country, in Chicago, had retired from that deanship and had come back to
Chapel Hill to retire, and to live out his remaining years; these came to 102, or
something like that. He [Dr. Wilson] was a friend of my dad's, and he and I got
along very well together. He said one day, "I have been thinking about what you
were talking about. You really ought to think about university librarianship, scholarly
librarianship, not doing small college work. You have a degree coming up. Think
about it more seriously." Finally, I did the best thing that I could.
I took off a few days of the spring semester and went back to Millsaps and
presented myself to Dr. Marion Smith, the president. I told him that I just did not
want to go back, that I had my bellyful of teaching and I did not enjoy it anymore. I
was not going on in teaching, [and] I was not going on in languages. He accepted it
very kindly. I said, "I wish that if you have anything nice to say to the Ford
Foundation people, you might say it on my behalf. I am very embarrassed, but I
simply cannot teach. It is not as if I have taken the Foundation money and have
done the wrong thing with it. If I have to, I will pay it back." And then I applied to the
University of Illinois. That was a complicated story in itself.
I talked to Dr. Wilson, who had retired from the University of North Carolina. Dr.
Wilson had been a high school librarian and had come over to the university. He
had become the librarian of the University of North Carolina for some years, in the
early part of the century. And then he had gone on to set up the first graduate
library school in the country at the University of Chicago. And then he retired from
there, and came back to Chapel Hill. He was a fine old gentlemen, and he and I had
many long discussions about librarianship. He said, "I would apply [to library
school]. There are scholarships available, if you explain your situation." By then we
had a baby. So I did, and I applied to the four [schools] that he said were the only
library schools worth going to. And that were University of Illinois, Chicago,
Columbia, and the University of California at Berkeley. And I wrote them long,
extensive, explanatory applications.
At the University of Illinois, the director of libraries was Dr. Robert Bingham Downs,
who had been a good friend of my father's when he, Downs, had been the librarian
at the University of North Carolina, and Dad had been chairman of the library
committee. And so I thought that it would not hurt to let him know that I was
applying to those places. I never heard back from him. But when it rains, it pours.
All of sudden, Ilinois not only accepted me long after the closing date for the class,
but they were pleased to tell me that if I would accept it, that they had given me the
Katherine L. Sharpe fellowship for that year.
K: Let us go back for just a minute Gus, and let me ask you a couple of questions
about your family. What were your father's and your mother's names?
H: My father's name was Gustave Adolphus Harrer, Jr. I in turn became Gustave
Adolphus Harrer II. My mother's name was Florence Caroline Wagner. Her father
was the last harness maker at Princeton University, in Princeton, New Jersey. [He
had a shop right on Nassau Street, opposite the university. And he made horse
harnesses and all of the football helmets and pads for Princeton University, until
finally there was not a demand for them. Anyway, he got too old and he retired and
shut up the last harness-making shop in Princeton. But my Dad went to Princeton
and his mother rented a room for him in their house. After Dad had graduated from
high school and was accepted at Princeton-- it must have been around 1905 or
1906--his mother went with him from Lakewood, New Jersey, up to Princeton, to
help him find a room where he could live. They did not have dormitories in those
days. They found a room at the Wagners' house, and there he was, stuck with a
bevy of beautiful women, three sisters. And ultimately, he married one. That was
where he was doing his undergraduate [work]. He went up there as an
undergraduate and then went on through. He got an A.B. degree and then did not
get a master's; he got a doctorate from Princeton following that.
K: What nationality were your parents?
H: The Harrer family was German. The Wagner family was Dutch. The Harrer family
had come over as late as 1860 or 1870. The Wagner family had apparently been
there in the New Jersey area with some of the early Dutch settlers. When I was a
little kid, Dad and I went prowling through cemeteries to see if we could track down
the background. My sister consequently took up all of that work; she turned into the
documenter of the family.
K: Were they both born in New Jersey?
H: No, Dad was born in Brooklyn.
K: Did they get married while they were at school there?
H: Well, she had gone to what they called a normal school. It was apparently a two-
year school of education, for teaching. [Mother] went to the New Jersey Normal
School, and was in the first class that graduated with a four-year degree, instead of
a two-year degree. Subsequently, the state of New Jersey reissued all of those
diplomas, indicating that this was in fact a full four-year degree. In effect she had a
bachelor's degree from New Jersey State Normal School.
Dad's father must have lived some years in Brooklyn. Then he went down to New
Jersey to take with John D. Rockefeller on the Rockefeller estate in Lakewood, as
physical superintendent to the estate. He kept up all of the furniture and buildings,
and made new furniture. And Dad used to go over when he was a little kid, and he
and John D. [Rockefeller] struck up a great friendship. John D. liked Dad, evidently.
We have heard from a number of places in the family that, when Dad was ten or
twelve years old, he and John D. often took an early morning walk.
It is noted in a number of the biographies of Rockefeller, that his favorite game was
a game called Americus. Nobody knows what the game was. And when I ran
across this I said, "We have a copy of that game; it was given to my father by John
D. when he was a little kid. They used to play Americus together." And I went
looking, but I cannot find that anywhere. It was in a nice little cardboard box, about
four inches cubed. It was full of little cut cardboard chips. I do not remember, they
either had letters and/or numbers, or maybe they just had letters on them. I am not
sure. And you played it someway in some sort of a "Scrabble-type [method],"
arranging [the chips] out and spelling letters out on the board. But I started hunting
further and everybody said, "Nobody knows anymore what in the world the Americus
K: Did your parents get married while your father was at Princeton?
H: They got married in Princeton. Yes, I guess they got married right after he got his
doctorate. And then right away he had a job waiting for him. Again, it is nice the
way things like that happen. The head of the classics department at the University
of North Carolina, Dr. George Howe, wrote to his cousin, then the president of
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, that he [Dr. Howe] was looking for a bright,
young Ph.D. who would like to come down to North Carolina, [and who] would like to
have a job in the classics department. And Howe wondered if he had one. And
Wilson replied: "Yes, we have one. We just happen to have one of the finest young
men we have had." And sure enough, I do not think Dad even went down to look
the place over. He was offered the job, and accepted it. And that is where they
stayed for the rest of their lives.
K: And his doctorate work was in what subject?
H: The classics, Latin, Greek, and archeology. It was about fifteen to eighteen printed
K: Going back to your Ph.D., what was your major and what did your dissertation
H: My major was in Germanic linguistics. I think they called it "Germanic Languages
and Literatures" at North Carolina.
K: So you got your Ph.D. degree in 1953?
H: Let us see; yes, 1953.
K: And then you received the Katherine L. Sharpe fellowship?
H: Yes, from the University of Illinois Library School.
K: For your master of library science, which you got in 1954?
K: You mentioned that you had given up your teaching in order to pursue the library
studies. Once you got into those studies, did you regret making the change?
H: No, I never have. I have enjoyed it more and more as the years went by. Some
aspects of it gradually turned me off: the details of cataloging for instance, but, even
there, it is in some ways mentally stimulating to see how to apply the myriad of rules
that make up a bookcode number and ultimately allow you to create a well-ordered
finding file and even to go to the shelves to find the books in such a numbered order
that it is possible to find kthem relatively efficiently. Many librarians find this a
completely satisfying challenge. I, on the other hand, like to mingle with people and
the challenge of physically arranging information in such a way that users can
retrieve it most efficiently is very rewarding. On the other hand, in addition to the
features listed above, we now have the challenge of the computer, and there is
always the interaction with scholars and would-be scholars.
K: Did you always have the big picture in mind?
H: I just got in, because I was always interested in the big picture of the complications
of library work. And the further I got into it, the more I got interested. I must admit,
during the year in library school a lot of the material was a strain. A lot of the stuff
they were trying to teach us was something that we could have learned outside. It
seemed sort of piddling [information, such as] cataloguing. I must have typed
thousands of catalogue cards for practice. On the other hand, I did realize that it
had to be done; you had to perfect a method of indexing the collections. And that is
what cataloguing is. You have to index the collections and there is no way around it.
On the other hand, having done some amount of it, I decided that I would let others
do that work. I decided that, maybe what I would really like to do is be in the order
department. That is where you decide whether or not to order books for the library.
This seemed to me to be a wider [field]. That is what I did when I went to the
University of Tennessee as an assistant acquisitions librarian. There were two
people in the department: the acquisitions librarian, the assistant acquisitions
librarian, and two or three clerks. But the University of Tennessee was one place
where I think some of them got scared off because I had a Ph.D. in an academic
field, and what kind of an oddball would I be, giving that up to become a librarian?
And my employer there at Tennessee, after I got to know him well, the following
year, told me that was indeed part of the question [whether to hire me]. But they
met me and decided that I was a fairly normal individual.
K: What made you decide to look at the University of Tennessee?
H: It was the one job in the southeast that was offered to me. We did not want to go
anywhere else. My wife is from Mississippi. We had taught previously in Jackson,
at Millsaps College. I had been raised in North Carolina. And we were just
southeastern southerners; that is all. And I did not like big cities; I never did. I am
still not that crazy about them.
And so we kept looking. I had taken some work in epigraphy and manuscript
writing, and so on. And when I was doing my doctorate, part of that, I was
interested in Latin manuscripts and Roman medieval manuscripts. I had a great
opportunity while I was doing that, of being a student of Dr. Berthold Louis Ullman,
one of the great scholars in the field of classical epigraphy and paleography.
Anyway, I had him as a teacher for two courses in my minor. And I was very
impressed with [him].
In Cleveland [Ohio] the Library of Congress had a sub-unit for medical manuscripts,
where they had a whole batch of librarians sitting down there, cataloging these
medieval manuscripts. And that was one thing that might have lured me away,
because I really did enjoy delving into the idiosyncracies of manuscripts.
K: Did you apply for that one or were you just thinking about it?
H: I think that I thought about it and I had several other applications out by the time I
had that one out. I just made a note of that one, that I would perhaps apply. But
then I went to Tennessee for an interview. And I was then promptly offered the job.
So we took it and moved to Knoxville, Tennessee.
K: And that was in 1954?
H: Yes. And then I got an interview and an offer to go to Stanford as acquisitions
librarian, as head of the ordering department.
K: Did they contact you, or did you contact them?
H: They contacted me. Ray Swank was the director of the libraries at that time, and I
got a letter from him asking if I was interested in the job [which] he described. He
had recommendations of me for that position, and would I be interested? If so, he
would like to drop by Knoxville and say "Hello". And he did, and he laughed
afterwards because [of what occurred]. I was so embarrassed. In the first place, I
had to find some liquor; I had heard that he liked to have a drink in the evening.
Tennessee [was] dry and I had to buy some bourbon.
Anyway, Ray got there; we went out and picked him up at the airport. And he came
in, and I took his coat and his bags, and put them up. We had two little girls by then.
And I came back into the living room in this cute little bungalow that we had bought,
and there was Ray Swank sitting in the middle of the floor with the kids crawling all
over him, and having a ball. And then we started talking, and we started talking
about how much fun it was to go camping. He told me later, that at about the time I
mentioned camping, he knew we were people that he wanted out at Stanford.
Anyway, he offered me the job right away, and I took it. It was sort of a dirty trick to
Tennessee; I stayed only about three years, I guess.
K: That must have been quite a change, to go out to California.
H: Yes, and the question was, how to get there? We were lucky; just at the last minute,
we [sold] our house. We had figured we were going to be in Tennessee for some
time, and had purchased a house. In the first place, we had to sell it. And houses
were not going for a lot of money in those days. It turned out that just the day before
my wife was going to leave town with the kids, she talked to a lady [and her]
husband [who had] come around to look [at the house]. And they said, "We will buy
it." And so the next day, we went down to the bank and sold it to them.
And then Lib took off with the kids and went to Mississippi to her home, and I
finished packing all of our worldly goods on this old truck I bought. It was a used
bread truck, and the bread company had taken all of the back parts off and put them
on their new batch of trucks. I [had] mentioned [my situation] to a friend of mine who
was in the reserves with me, and he said, "I will tell you where there is a batch of
good trucks. Right down there in our used-car lot. We traded them in for a batch of
new trucks. And there is one down there that is just about new. I will tell you which
one it is, if you will not tell that I told you." So he gave me the number. I went there,
and it sure did look good.
I then scrounged around and got a big stake-bed to put on it. We bolted it into
place. And then we proceeded to pack all of worldly belongings into that thing. At
about the time that I had [loaded] all the beds, Lib decided she would take off and go
to Mississippi ahead of us, and I could follow along. So I got a couple of students to
help finish moving the stuff, and I drove out of Tennessee to Mississippi, and then
we drove all the way to Stanford with our station wagon and our truck. That was
K: What attracted you to the job at Stanford?
H: Well for one thing, the name "Stanford;" [it was] the "Harvard of the West." And that
Ray Swank, the director of libraries was interested in me. He was one of the great
names in library science at that time. He had been president of the American
Library Association, and he was director of libraries at Stanford. That was about as
high as you got. He and I hit it off so well. And to go to Stanford as a full
department head, head of the acquisitions department, [was another reason]. A
sizeable department like that, [with] four or five professionals [and] a half-dozen
clericals, was a big step up from the University of Tennessee. And besides, there
was this sense of adventure: "Let us go to the west coast and see what it looks like.
We will go all the way to California." Which we did. We went and stayed for about
four years, and then took off again, all the way back to Boston.
K: I have here that you were head of acquisitions from 1957-1958. And then [you]
became assistant director for Central Services at Stanford?
H: Yes. I was approached in 1960 by Boston University. When I told him I was
seriously thinking about going to Boston University as director of libraries there, Ray
wanted to know what I knew about Boston University. So we had a big talk.
[Boston University] was a terribly administered place. I just could not believe it, then
I went there. And I just got all fired up. They wanted to interview me for the position
of director of libraries. Several of my friends said, "Do not bother to go." But I did
Actually I was on a trip to the East on another project, so I went up to Boston and I
just had such a grand time pontificating on all of the things that they were doing that
were totally stupid. This was no way to organize a library, this was no way to run [a
library], and this was no way to budget [a library]; I mean just everything [was
As I said, I was on another little study project at that time, and I got to visit my sister
in Hartford [Connecticut]. I had driven her car up from Hartford to Boston to visit
there. As I got back into the car and sort of simmered down a bit [after this visit to
Boston University], all I could think of was, "Well it is a damn good thing I did not
want that job," because I had been very free with my criticism. And [when] I got
back to Stanford four days later, there was a letter on my desk from the president,
offering me the job [in Boston]. And then the question was, how do we decide on
K: So you went there in 1960?
K: Did you hear from them? Or did you contact them?
H: They contacted me in that case. [Before] I did not know anything about Boston
University, and I was about to tell them that I appreciated [their offer, but was not
interested]. I was referred to them by someone. Well, at that time, I had just
completed a six weeks leave of absence from Stanford, to be part of Keyes Metcalf's
"Eight knuckleheads," (as we named ourselves).
Keyes Metcalf, who was the director emeritus of Harvard, was still a great power in
American library circles. But he was doing all sorts of things; he had the name to
command just about whatever he chose. He was university librarianship
personified. At one time in his retirement he noted that, around the world, he had
consulted as the principal consultant on the building of something like 400 libraries.
And at that time he was heading for India, and then of course Europe, to revisit two
or three other buildings on which he was the principal consultant of design.
At any rate, he had the bright notion that it would be a nice idea to get together eight
young administrators whom he would pick from around the country, based on
recommendations, and so on. And [he] would set up a program for them to study
library administrative problems of one sort or another, and give them about three
months to work on it, and write a report. It would give them a chance to do some
sort of theoretical studying, if they were any good--we all were of course. Lo and
behold, out of the clear blue sky, I received this letter from Keyes Metcalf asking
would I like to go into this seminar. I said, "Yes, I really would."
I talked to Ray Swank and he said, "You will never get an opportunity like this again.
Go boy, go." So it happened that I was on the end of that project, I think, [when I
visited Boston]. No it was not. I did that a couple of years before. It must have
been about 1957, when I was there at Stanford.
I was talking about going to Boston, and I got to Boston with my sister's car. I think
that was when I was doing [another] little grant project in [Chicago]. It turned out
that Alex Ladenson, the assistant director of the Chicago law library, and I, had
independently proposed [an idea] to Verner Clapp, who was one of the consultants
to the Association of Research Libraries on some grant projects that they had going.
I had written to him, wondering if he would care to support my idea, if we could work
it, that all or almost all of the books in the world that were published could be
assigned a book number. [And] would this not simplify the question of ordering
books? Because you could set up all of this author, title, print, and date, and
number of pages and so on [as you assign a number to the book]. Every book that
came out would have an individual number on it.
He [Verner Clapp] wrote back and he said, "Funny that you should ask, but I have
just had a similar request from the assistant [director] of the Chicago public library.
And he wants to do the same thing. I am going to put you two guys together. I will
give you money for six weeks, to go on a trip around and talk to all of these people.
And two of you would be better than one." And so he did, and we did. We went to a
good number of Publishers, and met with them and talked to them and got all sorts
of opinions on why you could not do this and why you could not do that. It was just
something new; they did not want to be tied up with the new [system].
There was also a very technical question as to whether the Library of Congress
could become part of it or not. But anyhow, Alex and I toured around for about six
weeks, and went home, each to his own country. We wrote an article which was
published a few weeks later, and we just got all sorts of high-class letters from
everybody. But we did not know where to go with it from then on.
Fortunately, a guy by the name of Dan Melcher, who worked for a company that did
a lot of the publishing in the field of libraries, said he would like to pursue it. I saw
him at an annual meeting the next year, and he wanted to talk about it. He said,
"Are you getting anywhere with it?" And I said, "No, we do not know where to go."
And Dan Melcher got hold of us and said, "Look, I am the vice president of Balcour,
and I am interested in this. I am interested in the technical aspects of providing
books. Do you mind if we take your idea and run with it?" We said, "Take our idea;
that is what we thought it up for. Go to it." And then he worked at it for about four or
five years. And he really got the thing accepted.
K: When were you doing your work? In 1960?
H: No, it was done in 1958; so I would say somewhere in 1958. And then in 1960 of
course, Lib and I packed up and went to Boston.
K: Is this the numbering that developed into the ISBN?
H: That is the ISBN.
K: Did you call it that? Or did he call it that?
H: We called it "Individual Book Code Number," or something of the sort. The
[success] was something that we could not have even dreamed of. That would have
been the international book code numbers: International Standard Book Number,
ISBN. But we were the first people who got it into print, and then Dan Melcher did
pursue it. And he kept reporting back. That was where it started. And that was
when I got to Boston University. I was up in Hartford visiting my sister, who lived
there. And I had made this visit from Hartford, and then [the question was], "Would I
like to go up to Boston?" At any rate, as soon as I got back to Stanford, there was a
letter on my desk offering me the job in Boston.
K: And you took it.
H: I really did not think I [wanted to go]. I was so glad I did not want that job, but then
here they offered it to me, to come back as director of libraries. And the president
liked all of the notions that I had. And [I was told] I would receive both the
cooperation of the president and the academic vice president, if I would come there
and work out the system. And so I did.
K: What I would like to cover now to start with is some of the activities that you were
involved with while you were here as Director of the University of Florida Libraries.
The first one that I have listed here was that you were on the Board of Directors of
the Southeastern Library Network from 1974 to 1977, and then vice chairman from
1976 to 1977. Were the University libraries a member of that network already?
H: Oh yes. We were a member of it. The organization itself had been the brainchild of
another person presently here and retired on campus, John Greppin. He was at
Tulane University, I believe, where he got very much interested in the possibility of
inter-library use of the biographic data bases and that sort of thing. And, I think, we
had several meetings of the southeastern university librarians, and I cannot even
give you a date on that, but it was shortly after I came here. We were all toying
around with bibliographic data bases. I wonder if we ought to put that off to a little
later, when it comes back to me.
K: Let me ask you this, was the primary purpose to share information tied to the intent
to expand the holdings of our own libraries?
H: That is right. That was the basic idea, and the idea was making a regional data
base, a regional card catalogue, if you would.
K: Was this an in-print catalog?
H: No. What was dreamed of first, I think, was the idea of everybody [cooperating],
since we were all starting to do cataloging electronically in various and sundry ways.
Or the data was getting set up in the centers like OCLC [Ohio College Library
Center], which may at that time still have been the Ohio College Library Network,
but they were going great guns. We were all more or less checking in with them,
with OCLC. For instance, the present law librarian, Betty Taylor [Grace W. Taylor]
got the idea that the law libraries could get together on this and she wanted to know
if I would help pursue it with OCLC. And I said, "Sure." So we made a date to go up
there and talk to the grand old founder of OCLC, Fred Killgore.
He was originally the librarian at Harvard Medical Library where he had gotten this
notion of sharing electronic information. The Ohio College Libraries, the
organization in Ohio, decided to set up a center. And they had asked him [because]
they were looking for someone who was interested in doing this sort of a cooperative
project, a cooperative venture. So, he took the job. He left Harvard Medical and
went to Ohio, and he is still the Director Emeritus of OCLC, I think. At any rate, we
went up there and talked to him. From then on it became a tug-of-war between
OCLC and local, regionalized groups that said, "That is fine to have an office in
OCLC, but you guys are not going to want to take anything except Ohio materials."
Well, he said, "No. We are going to try and change this. We are going to step out
and start taking in other libraries, other than those belonging to the Ohio College
Library Center." And then it became a tug-of-war between the regions and OCLC
centrally. OCLC and Fred Killgore, the original founder and really the brain, the
creative genius behind the whole OCLC operation for several decades, saw this as a
center where everything would be put into the center. Many people objected
because they said one cannot possibly handle that sort of thing with today's
technology. So, Betty Taylor, who was representing the law librarians, and I had
gotten fairly well involved in that, because we were one of the larger libraries in the
southeast, and we immediately said we wanted to get in on OCLC, but we wanted to
get in through a southern library network.
Betty was a leader in the law library group that wanted to make a law data base, and
hoped that OCLC would take it on. She was hoping that I would go up with her and
introduce her to Fred. Well, we did not make any headway with Fred on that one.
He was much more interested in being all of everything to everybody, and it took
many years before we were able [to include law libraries].
As the popularity of the idea grew, other groups [got involved. [For example] the
State of Washington Libraries [who] then expanded to the northwest area. They
decided they would use the same principle, but they did not like the system that
OCLC was using, so they started out on a different system. So you had two huge
incompatible operations, and this obviously was not the way to go. But Fred was
bound and determined that he was going to win, and to some extent he did.
Many of the brilliant young men that he brought in there were computer geniuses as
well as thoroughly well-versed catalogers and bibliographers, and he got them on
the staff realizing they had to all work together. They indeed began to, I think, work
K: So until OCLC really became national you had the Southeastern Library Network.
H: Well, but then we were just working under the Southeastern Library Net. We have a
volume around here in this office. Why do we not put off that discussion until I can
refresh my memory with some of the material?
K: At the time that you were thinking along these lines, did the University libraries not
already have computers in the system?
H: We had already decided that the way to go was to bring in computers, computerize
the University library. I felt early on that we needed to have somebody on the library
staff who would know more about computers and be acquainted with the current run
of computers and developments in the field of bibliography and computers. So, we
advertised for such a person. And we got a young man from one of the large
corporations up in the Middle-west, Robin Fern. We hired him ultimately.
I got him involved with a lot of the other people, and I think, following our lead and
others, we all started taking on machinery and bibliographers of this sort, to work
with computers. But we were all flailing around, and there were a number of efforts.
I am trying to remember what we put together first. I said that I thought things were
in too much of an uproar; I would rather wait a little while and let all of these other
guys that were energetic and could get the money from their universities do the
experimenting. There were enough of them around, why did we not sit back and
consider other problems that might exist? And so, we did and he [our young man]
did, and we started to put together what we felt would be the requirements [for a
K: You were waiting for a good system to be established and tried, and to be working
H: In general my attitude was that though we had to push, I did not think that we could
con our financial benefactors over in Tigert out of the kind of money that was
involved, which was $1 million and more just to even get set up. And we kept
working at it. It was well known that we were working at it very hard, and for that
reason the ARL, Association of Research Libraries, which is an association,
originally, of the top one hundred large research libraries, invited us to join. We met
the qualifications and joined in the early or mid 1970s.
[ARL members] really [had] problems of large research libraries, and we became
that shortly after I got down here. ARL had a meeting, we went to this meeting. In
those days they moved around a bit, and we had one in New Orleans. And they
asked us to put on a program concerning computerized library bibliography. And so
we did, and Robin Fern did a very creditable job at presenting it and I think
demonstrated what the University of Florida's position was, and I think our position
was that we were one of the leaders of the crowd.
K: Was that doing work on the card catalog itself, an electronic version of the card
H: It was mostly planning at that point. We were collecting information on all of the
systems that we knew existed, and then we were trying to put together a proposal
that we could put to the University to say, "This is what we would like to do." Well,
unfortunately, Robin got into some personal problems that caused him to have to
resign his position, and we were then floundering about to find a new replacement.
We were having a meeting one day and we were discussing it in the administrative
council meeting [consisting of] the heads of various departments. At that time we
had a sub-department head in Library East, Nolan Pope, and he was head of the
circulation department over there. He was in the meeting as one of the department
heads and we were starting to talk about what we were doing and what we felt we
ought to do, and he came up and he said, "I heard you were working on this sort of
thing." And he said, "You know, I have got a lot of the literature." And I said, "What
are you doing with all this literature?" He was just a new graduate, or essentially out
of library school, had worked for a year or two for Bell Telephone as a junior librarian
and then come down here. Suddenly we realized that we had a guy here who had a
hobby of keeping up with the developments in the electronic card catalog.
Nolan was a whiz. We could not believe it. I said, "Why did you not [tell me about
this earlier]?" He said, "Well, I was just doing it as a hobby. It is something I think is
going to be very important to the library world, this utilization of the electronic data
bases." And he said, "I have just been collecting the books, and [information]." He
had a whole library of stuff on the subject, and knew it all, had read it all, understood
it all. So we immediately started drawing on him for information and it was, I
believe, shortly after Robin Fern left that [we appointed] this young man as assistant
director for electronic services, or something of the sort. And he took over and it
was his baby from then on.
He did a beautiful job. He worked with me a great deal in trying to figure out what
we should do next, and I kept telling him I thought it was coming along and how we
might base our arguments and our tests. Then he went out into the field and got a
number of the manufacturers, who were then catching on to this new wave and
producing systems, to come and talk about them. And then we finally proposed to
Tallahassee that the university libraries in Florida should unite at any rate and set up
their own system here in Florida. That was a great argument then because there
were several systems proposing to work and what we wanted was to get in on a
system that looked like it could be more likely a national system. I just kept feeling
there was, in spite of the [opposition] by a lot of the people, a lot of them on my side
too, that if we did not end up with a compatible system of tabulation, the problem of
translating, as it were, between one system to another would just be horrendous,
and we would lose all sorts of effectiveness, because ultimately this is not going to
be a local thing, but national and international. And I kept arguing this. Oh, I was
not the only one, there were others. But at any rate, Nolan Pope was the young
man that we pulled out of the circulation department in Library East and made him
assistant director, and then tried to keep him happy which we did not manage to do.
Ultimately, he got an offer that was too good to turn down. We just were not in the
[same] salary category.
The thing that we were most interested in was what we had heard was being
developed at Northwestern University [Evanston, Illinois]. [This was] a data base
Nolan came back [with] from one of the meetings up there and said, "That is the one
that we ought to get in on. That is the one that we want to develop, jointly with them
if we can." And what they had set out to do was this: they had taken this big pattern
of what this program did; they had developed an outline of how [the program] should
be developed and how they could afford to develop it, department by department.
Perhaps first by getting it into circulation and at the same time cataloguing,
simultaneously getting numbers on to the books. Then once you have enough
numbers on the books, you could start using those numbers identifying books and
so forth, but it was a step by step [process]. They had to make this shift.
Nolan worked with them, and we added whatever we could and became co-
developers with them of what is now called LUIS here, which had several other code
names for itself along the line, but was really initially developed by a computer
programmer at Northwestern who was a genius in being able to conceive of the
whole things and see how it could be worked out in detail. He was really cut loose
from the computing department at Northwestern to run his own little department,
because they too believed in what he was doing. NOTIS was the system they were
Well, we got Nolan to go up several times, and he stayed in regular contact with
them. By that time I had forced the catalog department--I forced them all after
talking and talking and they did not love me too much--to go to LC [Library of
Congress] from Dewey [Decimal System] which meant, of course, not just starting
and running LC, but re-cataloging all of the stuff. I did not lose anybody, but I think
that was the end of Imogene Hickson. She was a fine cataloger and a good
manager, but ultimately, there were just too many things going on for her, and I
guess she waited and just about hung on until retirement and then retired quickly.
But we were working internally to see how much we could adjust toward a multi-
machine readable system, taking clues from and constantly working out every part
of the system into one that would fit with what Northwestern had already developed,
or were in the process of developing. It really was Northwestern and University of
Florida for a while, but that was the reason that ultimately the system that came here
was the Northeastern NOTIS system.
K: So did the computer start here in the technical department before it moved down
H: We have to go back and look at some of the documents to see who did what first.
About that time a guy called me up from whom I had not heard in years. He was in
high school with me. Before the war, his father was a naval officer and was there,
as Navy ROTC, and they then pulled out and left. I had not seen Tate Elder for
years when he called me up and said, "You are running libraries now, Gus?" And I
said, "I am trying." He said, "Well, I am coming down that way. Could I stop by and
see you?" So it was real nice to get a friend to visit. And it turned out that the
[company he worked for, 3M, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing] was working on
a book detection system. They thought that was a good business to get into and
they had put various book detection devices in front doors, and realized that none of
them really seemed to fill the bill. So the geniuses in his firm decided they really
needed to talk to librarians and see what they really wanted, not try to gin up
something that they thought we wanted and put it out. Well, I was very impressed
Tate had worked his way up very high in the 3M Company, and was at that time in
charge of book detection systems. And he said, "Been hearing a lot about you. We
have been investigating the libraries down here and you sound like you are one of
the libraries that is ready to go electronic." And I said, "Well, we are going at it
slowly, Tate, but we are going at it." Well, he showed us the magnetic tape strip
Actually, it started a little earlier than that. That conversation took place a little
earlier because he had happened to come down here first, on a summer vacation,
and saw my name. He called me up, and so we just visited. That time, I guess, he
was vice president of research with the 3M Company, or something like that. And
then, later on, he came up and said, "I have another one for you now. We have a
book detection device." I had mentioned that as one of our needs. He said, "When
you mentioned it and several other people did, we started to work on it." And he
said, "We have got an idea which we have [developed] just enough to show you [its]
And so he came with the magnetic strip and the detection gate at the front doors.
We went over all the details of it and how one would key the books and be sure that
they were checked out and that sort of thing. So that was coming along, and we
were pulling out books. We had decided to go with that system, but it meant that we
had to do some amount of surveying of the book collection deciding where to start.
We keyed some of that in, and we did have that going about the same time that we
had the recataloging of books. And it was an interesting combination of efforts.
K: So there was a lot going on about that time, changing to LC, the computers, the
H: Oh my, yes. I had already been convinced several years before that we obviously
had to convert to LC. There was just no [other] way. LC was going to be the center
of the book world, in a sense. When I was at Stanford as head of the acquisitions
department for four years, I got a bright notion that if there were any way of making
a system so that you could, even back as early as the printer, assign a number to
the book based on some code system, that we could, as we were coming along with
electronic methods of ordering books, type them out in a telegraph style. But since
there would be so much of a possibility for misunderstanding and so on, if we could
develop the code system, the publishers themselves could handle it and they could
assign a number and do this.
So, I wrote to Verner Clapp, who had been the associate director of the Library of
Congress and had retired from that position, and had gone to work for the Council
on Library Resources. And he had money to give away for experiments. He was
handling gift funds. A lot of the firms had gift money that they wanted to put into the
library development operation; many firms saw that there was going to be big money
made in this. Each one of them had their own particular interest. But they wanted
to be sure that it was being spent right, so they gave it to the Council on Library
Resources. The Council on Library Resources then had a staff that reviewed a lot
of this sort of thing, and so I wrote to Verner Clapp, whom I had met previously.
He wrote back. He said, "Funny you should ask. I have got it all worked out for you.
You need x number of weeks in the summer." He said, "I have another guy who is
the Associate Director of the Chicago Public Library, Alex Ladenson. And believe it
or not, within the last couple of months he wrote me, basically the same sort of
proposal." He said, "You guys differ in some ways," I think it was principally in
technical ideas [but not in principle]. I think he decided to propose an actual system
of code numbers, and I had not done that, saying that I thought that would be
worked out among the publishers--how they wanted to code number their books.
But he said, "[If] we give you enough money, you guys get together for four or five
weeks. Make your dates, get ahold of the publishers. I can tell you those that have
been in touch with me. You go and talk to them and try the idea out on them, and
see what the problems might be." And so that is what we did, traveled together for
four or five weeks.
K: So you were hoping that would tie in with the electronics?
H: I was hoping this would tie into the electronic business, which of course it did. About
that time we had feelings in the library, especially among the University librarians,
that any really usable system would have to be worked out regionally, and then
across the country in cooperation between regions. So we had a librarian who
thought that we should get up a southeastern library network, and we all met at the
conferences and then tried to work with OCLC, and that was very difficult.
K: Eventually you went to Tallahassee about the Florida universities being linked
together. So did that develop as well?
H: Yes. That developed also. However, some libraries, some of the smaller
institutions, and even [University of] South Florida, as big as South Florida was
already, were not of a mind that we really needed to [change to electronic bar
codes]. I argued for it, as did others. [Once persuaded] they said, "Well, look, we
might as well get on with this thing, but we are not all the same size, and we do not
need the complications that you guys have at Florida State and University of
Florida." So we called for some bids.
Tallahassee did their best to try to coordinate it, I will say that for them. They had
the wrong guy in there. He was simply an old purchasing guy, and he really did not
understand about libraries. He was talking a different language from what we were
talking. I do not think he had much of a chance of being effective and all he did was
make a lot of us mad because he was talking about a system for buying multiple
pairs of shoes, about where you buy a whole lot of one thing, and here we are
talking about buying a whole lot of single things. There is quite a big difference in
the way the system has to work.
At any rate, we got to the point where every library invited bids. Several of the
people were approached by companies that had little systems operating and we [at]
Florida State and University of Florida knew there was no point in putting in a little
system because we [handled a large number of volumes]. [Some companies] said,
"Our capacity is 250,000 volumes, or 250,000 titles." Well, that was just fine for
some of the smaller institutions. But ultimately even we at University of Florida went
to one system and Florida State went to another one.
At Florida, on a trial basis for six months, we put in the equipment from a company
in New England. We set up the parameters; [they] had to be able to handle a total
of 5 million volumes of bibliography. The system had to be ultimately expandable to
handle cataloguing as well as the circulation system.
Finally there was one company; we turned down all others. They came down and
Nolan went over [their proposal] in detail, and then came in the next day or so and
told me what I was supposed to say. I understood some amount of what he was
talking about, but basically I really had faith in Noland and he kept us on the straight
and narrow. At any rate, we decided to go along with the New England-based
company and to run a test. We got all the equipment down here and Noland [saw
whether] it was able to add the output of the catalog department of every day within
three hours at night, or something like that. It had to be able, initially, to absorb from
the general collection the reclassification and renumbering of all of the books, for
which we set up a separate staff for reclassification.
H: It became obvious very shortly that these people were not going to be able to
manage the capacities that we foresaw.
K: So originally all the different universities that participated started off with their own
H: That is right. They all did. Florida State and we, however, really sort of hung in
there together toward the tail end because privately we decided, if we catalogue all
of our stuff according to one system, very shortly these other libraries will want to do
business with us. They are going to have to cooperate. We are the two largest
[libraries], and between us we have four or five times the amount of stuff that is in all
of the rest of the systems put together.
K: Was [the equipment at the University of Florida] based on the NOTIS system?
H: Yes. It was based on NOTIS. And they had to handle this much material, in such
and such time parameters, and additionally, initially, we had to load extra materials
which had already been processed but had to be loaded into the system. I think at
one time there we were running twenty-four hours a day on the system. We had
crews that came in at night when the libraries were closed and pulled books off the
shelves, or [from] cataloguing files, and added them [into the system].
K: Did you run out of space at the end of the six months?
H: You mean in the system? At the end of six months it became obvious that we were
cataloguing x number of volumes a week, and the machine, running twenty-four
hours a day, could not even keep up with that, much less pick up any of the extra
stuff. They were doing about 60 percent of what we were turning out weekly. They
said they could make some corrections to get it to work faster. Richard Bennett [a
member of the circulation department] was one of the guys who really pitched in.
He did a lot of night work, I remember. He [pointed out] that there was also [a
problem with] machine down time. He said, "They are just not holding up. They are
not sorting the information, they are not putting it in the right order!"
I kept giving him [the company representative] the bad word. He said, "Let us try
this. My programmers have some new ideas about how to improve the system, and
would you give us a few days and then let us see if we can correct the problem."
Well, we were waiting the first night. James Renz [assistant director for technical
services] and I were trying to enter records of 50,000 volumes, and managed to get
about 2,000 of them in the machine. Richard came in and told me the next day, I
think, that it was not even doing as good as it was doing before. And Nolan and
Rich Bennett and others who were involved with it, we all got together in the office.
And Nolan said he could not see how this system was ever going to improve. We all
agreed with that. So it fell to me to break the news to the company. So I called the
guy up, the president of the company, and talked to him the next morning. I said,
"Here is our record to date," and as his tone became more sober I said, "We have
just got to do something, and I do not know what. It seemsto me like you have tried
everything." And finally he said, "What do you think we ought to do?" And I said,
"Well, I am sorry to say it, but I think you ought to just come down and pick up the
equipment and go home. It has been an interesting experiment, but it simply does
not work out." He said, "I think you are right."
Sure enough, the next morning, he had three men down here on the airplane
coming in and supervising the whole situation; [they asked] "Where was the
equipment?" They started dismantling it; two days later a couple of big vans picked
up all the equipment and they went home. That was the end of that.
K: I think you were back to square one.
H: We were back to square one. Well, it was at that point that it became obvious that
NOTIS was really the hot system in the market, and that any system that we had
[should be NOTIS based]. Ours was supposedly based on NOTIS, but it became
obvious that we really ought to get together with other libraries and produce a
requirement that all of the stuff would be at least compatible with the NOTIS system.
The NOTIS system had this number of parameters that needed to be met, and
anybody getting on would have to realize that this was the very beginning of the
thing that was going to blossom into a monstrous, large operation. You know, I
really ought to just go back and take a look over that period. Things were going by
The next thing that happened was that Nolan came in one morning and said, "I have
got a bad decision to make. Northwestern University wants me to come and join
their staff as associate director of their cataloguing project, a NOTIS project." He
showed me the salary [he would get] and there was just no way [we] could match
the salary at this University. There was good reason why he was [offered this
position]. I would not have thought of standing in his way of going, because that
was going to be more good for the whole country for him to go and join
Northwestern. So, at any rate, he left us.
K: Did NOTIS start to develop their own packages, or did he have to use another
H: No. NOTIS had already developed the systems.
K: But it was basically the software.
H: Yes. And NOTIS was basically developing software, not that it could not be done by
somebody else and that is where I am getting foggy now. I think, ultimately, the
effort at Northwestern included writing the software as part of the package to
whomever decided to pick it up.
K: Standardized equipment?
H: We all rather argued for that, because the more similar the equipment and the
systems, the more easily we could develop from there on. And that of course, is
what has come true. About that time, things started blossoming all over the country.
And unfortunately, various areas decided to pick up on one or another cataloguing
system of other machines. But then, I think most of them had sense enough to
realize that it had to be compatible to the extent of handling each other's requests on
a national basis. It had to have some kind of conversion from one to the other.
K: [That] tended to sort things out.
H: Yes. Then, of course, the Library of Congress [got involved], and I am not sure just
what states the Library of Congress got in on it, a number of us were invited. I had
gone to an early meeting at the Library of Congress where the Library of Congress
was deciding that it probably should get involved.
[A product I saw] when I was at Boston University, [came from] a typewriter
company which was making punched-tape typewriters. That is to say, you could
type on the thing and it would produce a punched tape, then you could loop the
punch tape. Not only that, they had two readers, one on one side of the typewriter
and one on the other side, and you could put an address of this over here, and this
thing could keep on typing the same letter off of this punch tape and you would get it
Well, it suddenly dawned on me, talking to their technical repairman, that what we
needed to be able to do was to type sets of catalog cards this way, from this system.
So, the technical assistant, and salesman, and I surreptitiously spent a number of
nights in the library working over these machines, which was totally illegal. [It was]
illegal from the standpoint of the company, because this was unauthorized research.
The local regional sales manager had met with us, and with this really brilliant
young man who knew the punched tape typewriters inside out. He [the sales
manager] said, "Yes, we can get it to do that. I can show you." Then they drifted
off into the language that I knew nothing about. But, at any rate, they agreed, "It
could be done. But we are not allowed to do that."
And I said, "Well, who is going to find out? If you come in here, I will work with you
at night when you are in here." And they came back, and said, "Well, we have got a
way we think we can do it. We can keep on making the machine do what it is doing,
but we can also put in another whole system here that will make it up." Shortly, we
had a batch of typewriters going in the catalog department, purely mechanizing, but
we would type one card and we got a whole bunch of cards typed for one card with
all the headings changed and all the extra entries.
That attracted some attention there at Boston University and around in the area. But
the guy who was one of the vice presidents at that company, I do not recall his
name, had been writing some articles on the use of data bases, and so on, for
library purposes. The Library of Congress invited him to one of the first big
conferences that we had in the Library of Congress. There were forty-five or fifty
people invited from around the country. I was down in Florida then.
I said I was surprised to see him there. He said, "They all want to find out about this
little system we worked out. So we were interested in the same sort of thing." He
asked if I had seen any of the articles he had written since then. I said I have not
seen any. He said, "They were all good thinking, developing right out of the sort of
thinking we had been doing at Boston University. That is what we were working
toward." They had a batch of experts. They got up various papers and various
discussions over the next two or three days at the Library of Congress. But it was
one way of bringing the attention to the idea [that] libraries should use some sort of
general system that could be interpreted, at least, one by the other, [even if it were]
not the same one.
K: Another system was interlibrary loan. I believe Ray Jones mentioned once that here
at the University of Florida [they] originally used teletype machines to do that.
H: That is right. I had forgotten about that.
K: And then it was later converted to some of these other systems when computers
came along and some of the software systems developed. But it started out with
teletype machines here.
H: Yes. Ray was our real first general expert on mechanization. He was very much
interested in automation and use of computers. We kept having conferences
around, this place and that place, and I told Ray that he ought to come to me, that I
would find the money to get him to go to any of these meetings, because he was
absorbing [the information] faster than I could. He made a great many contributions
to the whole discussion here of automation, of interlibrary loan, systems, and then
the earliest efforts to catalog maps. Maps come to mind, for some reason. He was
involved with maps.
He was the first guy I found who was enthused with going off to these meetings and
listening to the early discussions and contributing a great deal. Ray has a real fine
brain on his shoulders, and was very knowledgeable about this. [He was a] quiet,
unassuming fellow, but he was doing some deep thinking. So we were very lucky to
have him in the very earliest stages.
Mostly, we kept him on the efforts of the documents people to computerize the
documents being published and being able to find them, indexing them all and this
sort of thing, via computers which the superintendent in documents was pushing.
He probably told you a great deal more about that. I always knew that he
understood--at least he sounded like he understood--a lot more than I did about
some of these systems. All I tried to do was to help put the money in the right place.
We started out a while back this afternoon talking about OCLC and how they got
into the works and how Fred Killgore went out there from the Harvard Medical
School. They wanted him to come out there and head up a system which was to
collect and coordinate and list, centrally, all of the Ohio libraries, at the Ohio College
Library Center. You can praise Fred Killgore or you can condemn him. For one
thing, you have to praise him for an absolutely single-minded determination that his
concept of national and international bibliographic information exchange would come
He saw further than any of us, from the very earliest times, that the extension of this
thing would be such that now OCLC regularly receives the cataloguing input from
Germany and from Japan on the same day. He realized it. The rest of us, I think,
just could not quite bridge the gap between where we were and where he saw we
were going. But, he would not give an inch. Some of us went away madder than
hell, "Why in the world would we go along with this, Fred Killgore, and do some of
this?" But we understood later. I became a great supporter of Fred Killgore.
K: I notice you were on the OCLC User's Council from 1978 to 1981.
H: That is right.
K: Did you agree with him that this would happen? Did you help push that on the
H: Yes. That was after they were already beginning to [come around]. He was very
clever in picking the right people who could see what he saw. That was [that] OCLC
would take over the world as far as bibliography was concerned. And that they were
going to stay ahead of everybody else, and they were going to produce new
systems faster than anybody else could think of. And that is just exactly what they
have done. And he turned around and took the money that they could invest and
invested it right there in the development of a think tank of bibliographers who were
just so far ahead of the rest of us [that] we did not even understand what they were
talking about. Every now and then they would have a little slip of paper that
explained another little piece of what they were aiming at.
Yes, and I was very enthused with the Council there. We were fairly active in
making presentations on the subject. I got on a couple of survey teams. He asked
me if I would serve; they got up a group of librarians to go and talk to other librarians
at various places to see [how] the library community would feel about doing this, [or]
how we could get information together, how we could handle it centrally. And I
worked with a couple of those groups, and Fred and I got to be very good friends.
K: But you were also on the board of directors of the Association of Research Libraries
[ARL] from 1973 to 1976, and they developed their own system called ARLIN which
seems to have been in direct competition with what OCLC was doing. What was the
rationale behind that?
H: That developed from an early decision on the part of the four largest libraries
around, namely, Harvard, Yale, New York Public. I forgot the name of one. Harvard
finally disagreed, basically, with the approach. I think they were the first to drop out.
At which point they went around and decided to extend and they got Stanford to
come in to be part of the quadrillion, as I remember. Anyhow, they simply said that
Fred Killgore's dream for the future is not what the great research libraries of the
world needed. There was a real schism there and I got madder than all of those
guys. Some guys who were involved with them quit in that operation. The big
libraries were infected with the same notions that the presidents of those big
institutions have, and that was that the academic world ought to run the way they
wanted it to run, because they were the ones that had the greatest libraries and the
greatest institutions and they were the ones who knew how it should run, obviously.
What it led to was that for many years there was really pretty bad blood. I got
caught in the middle of that with several friends of mine who were involved with ARL
and also in the OCLC-centered crowd, and I was vice president of the Users'
Council at OCLC for two years. Was that one year or two years?
K: Well I have 1978 to 1981 at the users' council.
H: Oh. I was on the users' council 1978-79, 1979-80, 1980-81.
K: So actually that was right after you had been going to the Association of Research
Libraries. That came after.
H: Yes. Well, that was the ARL at Boston University. Now, this other crowd: Harvard,
Yale, New York Public, and ultimately Stanford, they were not really ARL. They
were an order unto themselves. They made as many enemies in the ARL as they
did outside. Ultimately, both sides won. The ARL libraries, I believe now, are
regularly making their cataloging available to the OCLC. Are we finished with that?
K: I think we have covered [that]. There is another [group, the] Association of
Caribbean University and Research Institute Libraries [ACURIL], you were involved
with from about 1973 to 1978. Was that another regional attempt [at organization]?
H: 1973 to 1978. Well, I would have to back up. Let us see. I would just have to go
back over it. I was involved in it much longer than that, and, ultimately, was
president of ACURIL. For many years before and after that I took it as my personal
little contribution to keep up with the "constitution and bylaws" of that organization.
All of those people down there thought that this business of having a constitution
and bylaws and making things run straight was just a lot of foolishness. [Their
attitude was,] "We are all friends; we will get along okay together," you know?
K: Well, they were British, so they do things differently?
H: That is right. The British were there, and the French were there, the Spaniards were
there, and the Americans were involved, you see? So I did my best. Basically, I
started out with a Committee on the Constitution and Bylaws and then we met and I
told them what we were doing. They agreed that that was what we ought to do and
then we would announce it at that meeting, and then I would go home and go to
work on the constitution and bylaws and try to reform [them].
K: Was that another effort at regional networking?
H: Yes. It was an effort at making it possible. It started way back. I went down from
Boston University to Puerto Rico to the dedication of a library down there which had
been one of the first big libraries built. We got down there and I got involved with a
recently deceased member of our library community, John McDonald, who was [for]
many years the director of libraries at the University of Connecticut, but he had
gotten into some consulting work and he went down there to help the College of the
Virgin Islands. I am not sure that is the right name. He went down there to help
them build the library, he was consultant on the library, and then he had gotten a
bunch of us in the Southeast to come down to the dedication. He invited me down.
So Lib and I decided it would be a good time to go down and see the islands, and so
we did. That was our first introduction, and we met a lot of people there. Then, the
thought was, not only could each one have developed a library on each one of the
islands, the main thing was nobody knew what the next island had. So there was an
effort made [to organize] at that very first get together, on the part of one of the
really top-notch [people], Alma Jordan, who was the librarian of the University of
Trinidad and Tobago [West Indies], a Ph.D. graduate of Columbia Library School.
We worked together and then she got the notion [of] forming [the association]. She
asked, "Why not get some of you guys who know how you form an organization like
this to come down and work with us?" So we did. Of course, in about a year we
started to tool up a proposal for an organization and what its purpose is. Then we
had to get all of the people together and say, "Would you like to join this
organization?" And that was when we discovered how far apart their ideas were
about this association.
K: Like you said it was a lot just to have different countries [represented], with different
nationalities and languages.
H: Oh, yes. And the libraries themselves were from different origins. Why did they
have a library here? Well, it was because old admiral somebody or another landed
there and, you know, decided he was going to found a city here and he wanted a
library. And decided that he had a lot of family books, and so he built a castle and
put the books in it and named the library after himself, and there he was. It was just
as wild as this sort of thing. [There were] all sorts of reasons for having libraries
down there. And what we discovered, after we got these guys to start digging in
their basements [for] what they had, then they had a method of listing them in
bibliographies and getting them out, [was that] there was just a monstrous
uncovering of treasures that nobody knew were down there.
Also, they thought it was so silly because the government said the British libraries
would not let them have free trade with the French and all this sort of stuff. We just
decided to cut through it. At the same time, there had been the establishment of
UNICA, which was a Caribbean organization of universities, and we paralleled them
coming along a little behind, [with the libraries' association]. They broke the ice in
cooperating with each other. Archie McNeal and I were two of the people who
pushed the Caribbean Library Association and stayed with them year after year. I
am still getting minutes of meetings from UNICA.
K: Yes. It mentioned that you were an honorary member.
H: Yes. Well, I am an honorary life member of the Association of Caribbean
Universities and Research Institute Libraries. That is [the association] of the
libraries. But UNICA was the organization of the presidents and vice presidents that
had a nice little way of getting down to the Caribbean islands in the middle of winter,
too. They thought it was a good idea. But, they began, then, to see that there was
a reason for inter-library and inter-institutional cooperation. On that level, they broke
the ice between themselves [and] we put in our two cents worth every time, telling
them to have their librarians talk to us.
K: I want to cover the special collections of the University of Florida libraries. The first
one is the archives collection. Had that already been established when you came?
H: I believe it had been. It was really a place to store old library records as files
became available for storage. I do not think we had anybody really in charge of the
archives at that time.
K: Was it just something that existed? It was not an actual formal collection?
H: It was not a formal [collection]; it was a location where you could put old library
records, as I remember it. As time went along, we did get a position [for a person] to
head up the archives and try to put them in order.
K: What about the Baldwin collection?
H: The Baldwin collection [Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature] was
something else. The Baldwin collection was, in fact, a regular procedure. I mean to
say, we bought a large collection. When we heard through some of the people in
the English department that Ruth Baldwin, who had been teaching children's
literature for many years at LSU in the library school, was retiring and was thinking
to move somewhere with her collection, which was a major collection at that time,
into a place where it could be used. This would be her love; it would be also her
activity for the rest of her life.
Well, we heard about it here and several of the people in the English department
came to me and said, "Could we investigate getting it?" And I read what I could
about it and told them, "By all means. I do not know whether we could afford it, but
why not let us go look at it?" Several people went by and looked at it and came
back with glowing reports of its contents and size and what it would do for teaching
that area of English literature. I remember the one trip that I took out there, because
I took several members of the English department in my airplane and we flew out to
Baton Rouge and spent the day going over the collection with her, looking at it. The
more we looked, the more enthused we got. Then, we flew back, which is the flight
that I remember because it clouded up in the afternoon. It became a rather
thunderstorm ride back, and I do not know whether everybody else was as tense
about the situation as I was, but as a pilot I was [tense]. We got by it; there was no
problem, but it was a busy flight back trying to miss all the thunderstorms.
K: You flew the plane?
K: Was it a University plane?
H: No, it was mine.
K: Your own personal plane.
H: I and three other guys at that time owned the Beachcraft Bonanza H-model, in case
anybody wants to know, which is a low-wing, four-place plane, [a] very good
airplane. So, it was quite capable and I was instrument-rated, so we could plow
along through the misty murks up there without seeing where we were going, but it
was a rough afternoon. Anyhow, I think everybody else thought it was a fine flight.
Now there should be a number of letters in the archives concerning our negotiations
with them. The English department was very enthused about it, and so we made an
offer to her. The specific amounts, negotiations and arrangements, financial and
otherwise, should be in the documents of the Baldwin file.
Basically, as I remember it, we offered her a position here on the library staff as the
curator of the Baldwin collection. We offered to buy the collection for a period of
years and we told her that we would develop funds available as possible over the
years so she would have more and more funds to buy more and more material. The
collection came here and it seems to me we had it stored somewhere other than
where it is today, and then we managed to get that second floor room in the
Smathers Library, old Library East, [a] nice [one] with a balcony, and the stacks for
the collection so that it could be [better] used. We had made an agreement that we
would supply her with funds to buy wall material. I think, to begin with, we did very
well, exceeding the amount that we said we would provide. A few years later, as
funds dropped off, we had to curtail those funds.
Ruth was a very dear friend of mine. I enjoyed her very much, because she and I
got to understand each other, but she was a fussy old lady. She had people just in
fear of their lives whenever they had to confront Ruth Baldwin on anything. That
made it a little difficult for some of the faculty and then for some of the students to
use the collection. I had to talk with her to some extent about making it available,
and making it pleasantly available, please. Well, it went along.
We had our ups and downs, but as far as she and I were concerned, she would take
as much as she could from the library staff from time to time, and then she would
call me up and say, "I am coming over to see you this afternoon." I said, "All right,"
[and] crossed off whatever was on the calendar, and got Ruth in there and closed
the door, and we spent the afternoon going over the whole thing. I was very fond of
her, and I really did as much as I could for her, but children's literature is not the "be
all and end all" of the English department.
We could not always provide funds that she wanted. We gave her a salary and a
position on the library staff, and we gave her raises as we could, and we provided
acquisitions funds to go along with the collection. And we provided some funds for
the refurbishment, that is to say, repair and so on of the books.
How soon we got into the cataloguing project of it, I do not remember. Ruth was
pressed to get out a catalog of the collection by several of her colleagues around the
world. One in England and several in this country wanted a catalog of what she
had. She had done a relatively good effort to catalogue the material without always
going to the total authentic sources for her information. That is to say, exactly what
was the form of the author's name that was to be used, and so the catalogue itself is
a little rickety if you look at it from a pure librarian's standpoint. And several people
thought this. Ruth said, "If I am ever going to get a catalogue of this thing out, I am
going to get it out this way. It is the only way to do it." And I tried to defend her to all
the others. To her I said, "Go to it, Ruth. Get us up a collection as much as you
For the most part, it went along fine. She typed up cards and typed up [more] cards,
and we got her a typist to just sit there and type cards for the collection. Finally, it
was acceptable for publication.
K: Was she independent because she still felt [as if] this [were] her collection.
H: You bet. Beyond that, I do not think anybody wanted to take responsibility for her,
so I did. But, as I say, she and I got along very well. I had to tell her "no"
sometimes, and she stalked off in great fury, but always came around the next day
and I could tell she had forgotten all about it. She and I were very good friends. I
had a hobby in my early years of being enthused with reed organs, and I had owned
a number of them and had rebuilt them. And, lo and behold, Ruth had a reed organ
that needed some work. So I went over and, oh, I spent maybe fifteen or twenty
hours sitting on the floor of her living room taking that reed organ apart and
rebuilding parts of it. She and I just sat there and talked and had a good time. I
enjoyed that very much. It was a very nice reed organ, and she was very pleased
that it could be played.
Other than that, we did turn over money to her as we could get it. It seems to me at
one point we got some funds from somewhere, some extra-special funds for buying
more equipment and improving the physical appearance of the place. We did do, I
think, some refurbishing of that two-floor section down there for her. And then, of
course, we gradually took over part of the breezeway, part of the section that makes
the bridge over into the main stacks. And then [once] it poured rain, the roof leaked,
and Ruth was down there in the middle of the night putting plastic sheeting over the
top of her stacks, and then coming furiously at me the next day. "You have got to
get something for that roof! You cannot keep my books in that kind of condition."
We did. Then, of course, her death was a tragic thing and unintended. She did not
take her life. If anything, she was constantly concerned that she would be ready.
She was just waiting day by day to die. She had all sorts of things like high blood
pressure and it bothered her.
But, she went off. I do not know how in the world she did [it]. She went on a hiking
trip through the Grand Canyon in the summertime and took trips to South America
and so on. Her father had been an English professor at the University of Illinois for
many years, and very highly respected. Apparently, he had managed to put
together something of a family library which was sold after his death, I believe it
contained English literature. Beyond that he had managed to accumulate some
money so that Ruth was able to inherit some money from him. Her mother lived on
for a while, but not very much longer.
Ruth was on the verge of dying most of the time, she was sure, and she wanted to
be sure that things were all ready for her demise, and then, lo and behold, it came to
the time and we certainly did not expect it. I do not know whether you have got a
record of that anywhere in your [notes] or not. She had a massive stroke and was
discovered a day later just lying there in her apartment. It was very shocking.
However, that was the Baldwin Library.
K: What about the Belknap Collection [for the Performing Arts]?
H: Well, that collection was something that had been started to help out the drama
people, principally. I did not involve myself with it very much, because the theater
and the drama [and] English people were all very much interested in having it.
[They] had supported it quite well, and it was highly supported by the people working
in drama. So I did not really do very much with it other than make space for it. Oh
yes, I did do one thing for it.
There was a professor here by the name of Manning [Julian] Dauer [professor of
Political Science and chairman of the department 1950-1972]. He was the
outstanding faculty professor-type around the campus, highly respected scholar,
and another grumpy guy who always got his way because he grumped. Except he
grumped into my office and I grumped back at him, and he and I got to be real good
friends. I enjoyed Manning very much.
But, early on, I had assumed that I had control of the library space and this building.
And already, when this building was moved into, it was too small. The appropriation
did not come through as high as it was supposed to. The building, as a
consequence, had to be redesigned, and Lord help us, basically what they did was
just to take the whole building and shrink it by 10 percent. I mean that was shrinking
corridors, classrooms, cubicles, I mean everything, just as [if] you [had] printed the
plans 10 percent smaller, not exactly, but quite broadly throughout the building
which left everybody with too little space.
I do not think anybody thought that was going to be the result of it, but, of course,
nobody had the space that they wanted. But, in the library, there had been
designed a number of rooms, if you find rooms upstairs that are apparently nice, big,
square rooms, [with] open corridors, those rooms were classrooms in the library.
And there was this notion that librarians during that period in the 1960s should try to
bring the academic program into the library, not just constantly trying to get the
library to go out and do missionary work to make the library attractive.
For myself, I felt that a nice attractive library was wonderful, but you had to run a
library. You did not get the library in an organized condition where it could be used
by the faculty. They [the faculty] were not going to come in and mess around in a
building where books were always in stacks and there were all the boxes stacked up
making it miserable to get to the collections. So as pressure came on us, I started
looking around to see where there was space. I discovered that there were several
of these conference rooms that had been built into the library to be used by the
faculty as meeting rooms or classrooms. That was before I really knew Manning.
I looked around and I got the staff to give me the information on who used what
rooms and how often. It was perfectly obvious that that big room up on the fifth
floor, by the Belknap collection, off to one corner, [and] behind it, was a seminar
room. It was used very infrequently, once a month maybe, for graduate seminars
wanting to meet there, and otherwise, this simply sat empty. We had the key to it so
faculty and students could get in there and study. Right next door was the Belknap
collection and it needed expansion space. They did not have any place to put it, and
it was getting to be a fairly big collection at that time.
I figured if we needed space, we better get that space. And the drama people were
very enthused. So I just said, "Well, okay, let us cut a hole through the wall." It was
a solid wall between the Belknap collection stack areas and that one room. I put in a
requisition for the grounds and plant maintenance crew to cut a hole through the wall
and so add [that room] to the Belknap collection. And we did and we moved a
number of the stacks of the Belnap collection into that room and gave them a little
breathing space for people who wanted to use the Belknap collection. Oh, I
suppose that had been a couple of months after we did that, lo and behold there
was an uproar in my outer office and here was Manning Dauer.
It turned out that this room, ever since this library had been built, had been set aside
for his use, for his graduate seminars, and here he comes over here and discovers
that we have moved into it. That turned out to be a confrontation. Well, I had
already heard that it was maybe used once a month, or something like that. I had
already said we have some other room where we can put them in, but he wanted his
room. Well, he did not get his room. I won the battle.
I think he went off and tried to get [some] faculty pressure [put on me] or to get the
vice president for Academic Affairs to do something. Nobody would take his side,
thank goodness. So I got away with swiping his seminar room. After that, he and I
got to be very good friends. He was a grand old man. We gave him lots of
privileges in the library after he retired, and so it was very nice, very intimate. But I
remember his conference room.
K: Did you have money for acquisitions or was a lot of that stuff brought in by the
H: The Belknap collection [had] a large portion brought in by the faculty, or even free,
or by exchange arrangements with other universities or colleges or any drama
interests. The worst thing was we did not have a catalogue of the material. It
seems to me that we did something by way of getting cataloguing started and I am
just foggy on that now. Will you be interviewing those people at all?
H: Well, you may eventually find out. I remember we had some discussions of how to
go about it. I remember there were some discussions as to the sort of catalogue
that we would like to have if we made one.
K: What about the Florida History collection [in the P. K. Yonge Library]?
H: The Florida History was another established collection [donated to the University of
Florida] and you can get all the details of that from [Alice Elizabeth] Lib Alexander
[librarian and head of P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History]. Are you going to get a
chance to talk to her, or have you already?
That is one of the collections that is well known throughout the South. The Florida
History collection is [comparable] to the one in South Carolina, [the South
Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina, Columbia], and there is
another Southern Historical Collection in North Carolina [at the University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill]. Our collection was a donation by a man [named Yonge].
K: P.K. Yonge?
H: Yes, P.K. Yonge was his father [in 1944 Julien Chandler Yonge donated to the
University of Florida his collection, named in honor of his father]. P. K. Yonge was
an official in Florida education [chairman of the Board of Control]. If you want to
check that out with Lib Alexander, she has got all of the history of it. But at any rate,
it was a large collection and he gave it to the library, but with all sorts of strings
attached. It was to have a board of trustees who were to meet once a year to
decide if the program of the library would make rules and regulations as to how it
was to be increased and what monies could be available for it.
And Lib Alexander was one of my great pleasurable people here. She and I got
along well together. I did not always give her the money she wanted, but she is a
nice person to work with. She and I got to be very good friends. The collection itself
became a very important one. We did not always have the money we should have
[had], but she collected a lot of the stuff free [so that] we did not have to buy it.
K: Did she come right after you got the collection?
H: No. She was here before I came. I think she was just really quite a young librarian
when she came here to take charge of that, and she has built it into a major
K: What about the Judaica collection?
H: Ah, the Judaica collection. Well, I guess that is one I can take some responsibility
for. I suppose that I have always felt that there ought to be more attention given to
Jewish literature because it seems like all of the English speaking world is Christian,
but it is a development out of the Judaic approach to God and religion. Anyway, I
have always been interested in that. I think that I either got the funds or was able to
increase the funds sufficiently so that we could hire a librarian in the field of Judaica.
At any rate, what really happened that put [this collection] into the forefront was that
we heard that there was a major collection of Jewish materials, bibliographic
materials, going up for sale in Chicago by Rabbi Mishkin. The rabbi had been the
superintendent of the Jewish school system of Chicago. All the kids went to regular
schools, but afternoons, I think, in most big cities, they have regular Jewish schools
that operate every afternoon or several afternoons, a far-flung [parochial school]
empire there. He was highly respected as a scholar and he was an avaricious
bibliophile, he just collected.
A very fine old man he was. It turned out he decided he was going to have to give
up this effort and he faced the fact that he had probably one of the greatest private
libraries of Jewish material anywhere in the world, and he wanted to sell it. Of
course, it was not a question of whether the collection was worth what it was, it was
a question of whether anybody wanted to pay that much for it.
So, I [contacted] a couple of guys, [one was] Chas Berlin at Harvard in the theology
department. I asked him, after several recommendations, [to] see what was in the
collection, see what it is. He went over for several days and, as a top-notch scholar,
came back and wrote us a long evaluation of the collection. He said this was the
[last] outstanding collection in the world that would ever be available, as all the other
collections that had been developed by individuals were very small collections, or
were huge collections, owned and operated by some sort of organization, school, or
synagogue. This, as far as he knew, would be the last major collection that would
He [Berlin] just got me thoroughly enthused, as he did the Jewish faculty in the
School of Theology and Dr. Sam Proctor. So we got together. I went up there to
look it over myself and found the collection was just exactly what Berlin said it was.
Then a committee was appointed in Theology to see where we could raise the
money from, and, ultimately, it was raised.
K: By the local Jewish community?
H: In the state of Florida. Yes, we paid well over $200,000 for the collection. You
ought to, of course, get [Robert] Bob Singerman [associate librarian, Judaica
Library] to give you the statistics on it.
K: Was there competition from other universities for this collection?
H: No. I think not. Except that Rabbi Mishkin said that he was either going to give it to
a school in Chicago, or, if anybody wanted to buy it and take it away from Chicago,
why that would be all right. Actually, he wanted to sell it because he said, "This is
what I have put my [work into] aside from running the Jewish schools here and
being a librarian and rabbi."
Some of the advantages of this collection were that he had been most interested in
local Jewish communities as they grew and then would disappear in Europe. He
has the Jewish congregation of some small Russian town, for instance, that for thirty
years published their own little information newspaper, and files of this kind, as well
as books that he could acquire, and many books that were given to him. At any
rate, it was a major, major collection. Singerman can give you all the figures.
I came back and we got together with the Theology department and the president
appointed a committee to consider it. This was an across-the-campus-collection of
linguists, literature people and library personnel, discussing all the problems of "what
do you do with a collection of this size?" Fortunately, the rabbi had learned
something about how to write up catalog cards, bless his soul. He had a card
catalogue with the thing, not strictly according to LC rules, but it was a good catalog.
So we then were able to go out [and inform people] around. I said, "I cannot help
you on this one. I can talk about what it is as a value to the University and the
library. I do not know that much about Jewish literature, but I will be happy to visit
and attest to the value in places around the state where groups want to know what
this was all about."
We had to move [the Judaica library collection] down from Chicago, pack it and
move it down, and it was suggested that somebody ought to go up there. I decided I
ought to go myself. So, I went up to Chicago and spent about ten days living in a
nearby Holiday Inn, I think, and went over and got to be a good friend of the rabbi's.
He and I hit it off well, and he is a genial sort of [person]. Most of the Jewish rabbis
have to be something of politicians, and he was certainly one. But, he was a genial,
friendly man to be with. It was just a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it very much. I made a
very good friend of him.
K: You physically packed up the books?
H: Yes. I did physically help pack up the books, although I was not supposed to help.
They had a crew coming over; the packing company had allocated people to pack
the books and get them in boxes. [The work] was just running behind time so I went
over and worked with them during the day. I said, "There is no point in my standing
around here." And then we got a big moving van and loaded the whole thing up and
shipped it down here.
The most memorable [part] of that activity for me was the beginning of the second
week when I was up there, [when] the rabbi came over and he said, "I have a
question to ask you." He said, "My wife and I would be very grateful to you if you
would come over and have Friday evening dinner with us." Which of course, was
the evening prior to the sabbath, and it is the holy dinner of the beginning of the
sabbath each week. He and I had gotten along very well because I have been a
rather serious Christian all my life and have read a great deal. I did not know as
much as I should about Judaica, but he and I had a number of great discussions of
philosophy and the history of the Jewish thought and [its influence on] Christian
So it was a great honor that he would ask me to come over. I was just delighted.
Friday of the second week was an experience. Here was a man who loved to talk, a
great scholar of history of Judaism, and a great bibliographer. We went through the
whole dinner. He said, "We are going to prolong [dinner]. There is a short form for
Friday evening dinner and there is a long form; we are going to use the long form."
And we did. We started out eating at seven o'clock and I think we got done
sometime after midnight. It was just delightful because [with] each one of the meals
and each one of the dishes that are served with each one of the courses that are
served there was a story. There was a history to it, and he told it. I just wished
afterward that I had recorded it. That was one of my really great experiences, that
night at Rabbi Mishkin's, listening to all the history, and of course interspersed with
this is his history and how he had come to develop this [collection] and [he told the
story of] "these books which I showed you the other day that relate to this." He said,
"I have these. I got them because of this reason and that reason."
K: He related the history of individual books?
H: Oh yes. Related it to the collection he had in the house. As a matter of fact, that is
where he had started his collection. As it got larger, he had distributed it out to
some of the Jewish schools around the city so that it could be used by some of the
teachers. I think, actually, they scheduled classes for some of the seniors, grown-
ups, in Jewish history, in some of the locations where these books were. But then
he kept, at his house, all of the really great, rare ones.
As I remember it, I was appalled at the treasures sitting there in the great big old,
fine, high-class, but mighty rickety old apartment house. It is on North Shore Drive
looking out on the lake, you know? Those places do not come cheap. It was a
delightful place, but the buildings themselves, I think, were fire traps. But, I was glad
we got them all out of there. But, he kept, in his apartment, the really choice items,
and so we had a discussion [about] rare books that night, [those] he had in his
He and I developed a very good friendship. Well, then we shipped [the collection]
down here and finally he did come by and look at it. We had several affairs to which
he came then principally supported by the religion department, the Department of
Theology. I was very pleased. We were having some time trying to find a good
librarian, of course. We ended up with a very fine young librarian in the person of
K: What about the Latin American collection?
H: The Latin American collection had been established years earlier; just when I am not
sure, but it was one of the collecting areas that was well established. At one time a
special project had been undertaken to develop a collection of microfilm copies of
major periodicals and papers from that area and a number of staff members had
gone to the area to film material. In later years I think the terms "Latin American"
and "Caribbean Collection" have been loosely used interchangebly.
In the Latin American collection Irene Zimmerman [reference and bibliography] was
the librarian; [she had] a Ph.D. in history with a great interest [in her work]. That had
been a very well departmental library with a staff and a separate collection. I got
involved with the Latin American studies business because of being the director. I
have forgotten, but very shortly Irene Zimmerman retired [in 1977]. I used to work
with her. She was an eager librarian, and a very informed librarian with respect to
what we should collect so that nobody really could argue with her.
About the time I came to Florida there was another librarian, Alma Jordan, a Ph.D.
in librarianship from Columbia University library school who was the librarian in
Trinidad, I believe. And she was coming up to the United States to talk with
librarians at various institutions that had Latin American or Caribbean studies
programs. She felt there was a lot of stuff in the Caribbean that really ought to be
preserved. So I got here about the same time she did and we had a lot of talks with
her about the collection.
Then she wrote a letter, I believe, that she wanted to have a meeting in San Juan
[Puerto Rico] of librarians from the area down there to see about the establishment
of a library association for the Caribbean. A bunch of us went down there from
libraries in the States who would have major interests in the establishment of a
Caribbean collection, a Caribbean studies collection. From that developed the
notion of a Caribbean Library Association, and so that first meeting that winter took
place. It must have been 1968 or the spring of 1969. We sent out a letter listing all
of us as being interested in supporting the idea of developing a Caribbean Library
Association. Then, let us go back to the history a little.
K: We had talked about the association before, but did the collection itself ever get
H: Yes. The Latin American collection was established before I got here.
K: What happened to the Caribbean collection?
H: Oh, the Caribbean collection. No. The Caribbean collection, such as it was, was
part of the Latin American collection. It was not separate. But, there had not been
an area in the major countries in South America; there had been people interested,
and the library here had been interested. I understand West under his
administration here did a lot toward collecting. The University here did a lot. It
established, for instance, a program of trying to film newspapers. Filming Latin
American newspapers was a project that had been started some years before.
Basically, we have a good collection in Latin American materials.
K: So that one was pretty well organized?
H: We did not have the [full] organization of it. Then, we did establish Caribbean and
Latin American libraries, and the association. From there on, for ten years or more,
I was involved with it in various ways. Ultimately, as president, and then about the
year after, I think, I got shot.
K: What about the rare book collection?
H: Well, every library has a rare book collection and ours has done fairly well, I have to
admit. The librarian was Laura [Virginia] Monti.
K: She was here when you came in?
H: Yes. We had a falling out, she and I. That will go without talking about it. Laura
Monti had been here, the Rare Book collection had been established. It did not
have money and we did get more money and were able to buy some things that we
wanted. But Laura did some careful purchasing and worked with the faculty and
bought library materials to build the [Rare Book] collection. She did get an offer.
We had a squeeze put on the library financially, as I remember, then we were
pressed for library funds for salaries and she got pretty disheartened because she
did not think she was getting her share of the library funds. I told her she was. So
after that she got an offer from Boston as Rare Book librarian at Boston Public
Library. Boston Public Library was a major library, [with] a large rare book
collection. And she took it and went up there.
We were without a librarian for it [the Rare Book collection]. That collection sort of
rolled along, for the most part. As things of great rarity and pertaining to the
southeast or at least to Florida [became available], we have tried to buy them, but
we did not have great deal of money set aside for the purchases in the rare book
collection at all. There were some collections we had that needed a rare book
librarian, the collections had to be specially curated. But, that was about it.
K: Did all of the librarians get involved with that if there was a rare book in their field? It
was purchased to go in their collection?
H: Yes. There was, in fact, a central library and there were some branch libraries
around in some of the outlying schools or colleges of the University, but we had it
fairly well centralized. Well, there was a library in the field of athletics and physical
education. It was building quite a collection, it seems to me, because they were
getting a great number of books on the history of the football. And some of these
books came over to the main library and to the history collection and to the library's
rare books collection.
K: What about the Howe Society [Parkman D. Howe Collection of American Literature,
contains first editions and manuscripts of every New England author writing before
H: Yes. The Howe Society was an invention of the previous librarian of rare books,
Sidney [Edwin] Ives. When Laura Monti left, we set out to find a new rare book
librarian. We were very fortunate to get a man who had been at the rare book
library in Harvard and was well thought of, and we were very glad to get him to join
us here. The Howe Society was a direct development out of the Rare Book
collection. There was a collection available for sale in Cambridge [Massachusetts],
a private collection. It was thought, "Fine, now, how will we get money for that?"
But we did manage to put together the funds to buy that, and it was principally a
selected collection of early American imprints. Sidney [Ives] brought the collection
here. I went up one time and looked over the collection. Sidney had already given
his support to it, and we were able to fund the collection. I went up for a while and
helped supervise packaging it.
And then, Sidney decided the thing to do would be to establish a rare book society
based on part of this collection. The collection was strictly a rare book collection.
He and the president and some others had made a real project of going around the
state to [obtain funds to] purchase this collection. They did manage to get the
money together to buy it.
Then, using that collection as a centerpiece, he got various subject scholars to write
descriptions of various sections of the collection. Then he set up the Howe Society
to have an annual dinner, much on the order of the activities at Harvard and other
major rare book libraries. They have sort of a society and it gets all the fine book
lovers together once a year which has been very nice to hear. The Howe Society
has been doing its own things for the most part. We have officers who are separate
from the University. They are basically very friendly donors, and they undertake
projects from time to time, undertake the problem to raise money to buy those
special purchases. Then Sidney retired and, as far as I know, it has been since I got
shot, I do not know what has really happened to him in the past few years.
K: Let me ask you just a general question about the special collections. They seem to
be almost opportunistic as far as what is established and why.
H: Quite right. I would say that the special collections or rare books collection, in most
university libraries, is opportunistic. You get the gift of materials, often quite
valuable, to a library. You cannot put the [gift] on the stacks, so you have to put the
[gift collection] somewhere. This library had made do for rare books. I had the
same experience at Boston University library before I was here. You have these
rare books here but there cannot really be much of a program around it, because, as
an academic institution, our business is not collecting rare books. So, no library
funds really are ever shifted toward the rare books collection.
[At the] Boston University, I was Director of Libraries and Museums, and the reason
was that Boston University had been established out of about ten small colleges in
the Boston area which had been brought together with the energy and interest of
Danny Marsh who was an educator and preacher, and he became the first president
of Boston University. But there were schools and colleges that had all been
individual schools and colleges for many years.
I forget the names of various colleges that had been part of it, but there was a
general liberal arts library when I got there and there was also a rare books
collection. Actually, it was stored in locked cases. Beyond that, everybody in
Boston, at some stage in their life, had grandfather clocks to get rid of which of
course do not really go in modern houses [that have] eight foot ceilings and cannot
[hold] big old clocks. I laughed, I had some calculation of it, but as Director of
Libraries, I was responsible for ten or fifteen libraries around the campus. As
Director of Libraries and of Museums, I was responsible for something like fourteen
grandfather clocks, and other stuff. These were beautiful grandfather clocks, so
they became nice furniture for dean's offices and lounges.
Then there was also a batch of rare books. Well, most of the schools and colleges
across the university had been set up individually. When they brought them all
together, they had quite a batch of stuff as a rare book collection, and I think that is
what had been formed already. The head of reference was called the Chairman of
Reference and Special Collections for all these little cabinets.
K: I was interested in some of the special collections, specifically why certain ones
might be accepted and others not accepted. Was [the decision] based on the value
to the total community [since] there [was no other] collection in this area or [was the
decision made] on value to the school? What kind of things go into deciding whether
or not a collection would be [further enlarged and] developed?
H: Yes. I see. Often you get these things offered to you as a collection and if they
have anything to do with libraries you can set up a special collections department.
But, too often you have to accept the [gifts] out of good will for the community. That
is how we accepted all these grandfather clocks. Boston University did not have the
money to go out and buy things and most libraries do not really. It would be a great
thing to have a first folio of Shakespeare, but you can get reprints of the first folio of
Shakespeare even photographic reprints which are identical with the original. So
you do not buy them [originals]. You wait until somebody wants to give you one.
[The exceptions are] cases where you might get some large amounts of money
endowed, or a millionaire dies and leaves you $20 million to establish such a
[special collection] department. [It] can be run as a separate operation and can
make its way if you get a large enough group of people who want to give you
materials that maybe do not have anything to do with the institution. Then it [that
collection] takes on life of its own.
Here, [it was different] to the extent that the rare books collection started out with
books which were from that purchase we made in Cambridge [Massachusetts].
That collection was something that the English department got behind, because it
was, to a large extent, early American publications and rare copies. So the English
department was very interested in that. But, a lot of the other stuff had come in very
irregularly. These collections are therefore not really integral parts. They are set up
as a matter of need.
As I say, [when I was] the rare book librarian at Boston University, I had a collection
of 100,000 volumes and fourteen grandfather clocks. I told Howard Gottlieb, who
has now been in charge of special collections at Boston University, "Well, now look.
You are coming in here having worked in archives at Yale, do you want to look
around this place and see what you think we can do with all these fits and starts of
stuff in cataloging?" He made a proposal that we set up such a department. So I
[appointed] him Chairman of the Reference and Special Collections. Then we had
that and then we decided that this collection, once we made it known that such a
collection existed, then lots of people who were involved with Boston University in
past years started offering their papers to the university. This just turned into a
bonanza for Boston University. It was a monstrous operation. In fact, it sort of
usurped the academic program of Boston University which is a good and very, very
well [regarded], very solid school nowadays, but it was the special collections for
which Boston University was famed.
The author of Little Orphan Annie had died, his wife [survived him], as did his
successor, who had been an assistant to him for a long time. Little Orphan Annie
used to come out on the [comics] pages and then down across the bottom there was
always just a single strip, across the bottom, with his name that started with the
letters "MA," but I forget the rest of the name. This guy that helped the writer of
Little Orphan Annie also did the strip across the bottom and as an assistant he got
to put his own name on that. But, at any rate, the guy died and [his estate] said,
"Boston University has been around in this area for all these years, would you like to
have all the originals of Little Orphan Annie, the original drawings?" I do not know
what has happened to them since, but I do know that we went out and picked them
all up in my van and brought them back. The van was just about flat on the ground
[weighed down with papers] when we came up.
K: Let me ask you one last question on the special collections. Were there any that
were offered that you did not take?
H: Off hand right now I cannot think of any here. This University has been a large
enough university for a long period of time, and it was the only university really for
Florida for quite a long time. It got its foot in the door in almost every area of
knowledge and collecting so that there are no restrictions on what we would take as
rare book materials. Because we have got somebody interested in almost all of the
That is not true of a number of the universities of which I can think. [However at]
Boston University we just flat out decided we were going to do it to see if we could
bring some money and attention to Boston University through a collector, a few of
these guys that have made millions. Well, now the Fellows of Boston University, the
group that have been elected to fellowship, [collected] all authors. [We have there]
many of the papers of Martin Luther King [Jr.], but that is another chapter. Because
it is such a big city, the collection has a life of its own.
Here [such a collection] is more of an adjunct to what we have, there is no purpose
to building it regularly. We are in the business of education, not in the business of
museums and we do not need the original. A photo facsimile of the first edition of
Shakespeare or something like that [is] quite sufficient to work with. Now if you
happen to get [an original], it is nice to hold it up and say, "Here is this pretty [item],"
but I just do not see that we really need it. It is really a museum piece.
K: The emphasis here has been on the regular collection.
H: That is right.
K: There are a couple of issues I want to touch on before we wind things up. One of
these has to do with who, when you arrived here in the mid-1960s and thereafter,
who actually controlled the book and journal money and the decisions to buy books
and journals. Was it the librarians, or was it the faculty, or a combination?
H: It was a combination. We proposed to the Faculty Library Committee every year a
distribution of funds that we had available, for their discussion and approval, for the
purchase of books. That was as far as the Library Committee went with respect to
fund control. That is to say, we did not request funds for special projects except as
there might be some unique project that the faculty member hoped might be funded
in the library, or something like that. Such a special project we proposed, often, to
the vice president. The rest of it, salaries, and other matters were handled by
negotiation with the academic vice president.
Basically the size of the book fund was handled by the Director of Libraries and the
academic vice president with recommendations from the Library Committee. I
cannot really say what happened before; I do not remember that I made any
particularly strenuous change. Although, during those first fifteen years that I was
Director of Libraries, I brought in from the outside world a number of new
approaches that were tried in many of the major state university libraries throughout
the country. One that I had gotten very much interested in when I was at Boston
University was called the Washington Formula.
This had some popularity nationally. Somewhere along about 1965, I would say, I
requested money to have a conference to invite some ten or twelve librarians that I
knew were interested in the Washington Formula to come to the university for a
three-day meeting and we would invite various and sundry others to meet with us
and see if we could [come to] some opinions as to how the Washington Formula
worked and how it might be improved, or what its dangers were, and so forth. We
wrote quite an essay on it. We published the papers and after that it boosted us
with a lot of ideas. So then I brought those with me down here, and here in Florida I
was interested in getting others to let us convert the state of Florida to the
Washington Formula. We finally showed the Board of Regents how this could be an
efficient way of doing things for the state universities. It also seemed to me to
demonstrate the fact that the University of Florida needed to get the lion's share of
the money that was appropriated by the Board of Regents to the universities for
It worked for a few years until some of the other guys got real canny about this thing
too and realized that if you got down to the heart of it all, all you had to do was
change a couple of figures way down in the middle and it brought out a whole
different [result]. I stayed with it and helped improve it, and we all wrote our own
opinions of it from time to time. I understand that the Washington Formula is still
being used since I was Director of Libraries. People began to realize that you could
go to the Washington Formula and jigger a few figures down in the bottom and
make quite a difference.
K: Well basically was [the formula] not based on several criteria related to the size of
H: Yes, [it was based] on the size of the departments, on the [number of] faculty,
number of academic degrees offered, number of graduate degree recipients year by
year, and that sort of thing. I have forgotten all of the details of it. As with many
other things, I just had to stay out of it entirely. But I have seen references to the
fact, apparently, that the University Library Committee, of all the institutions, [is] still
arguing about the Washington Formula. Do you know this to be true?
K: Why yes, they are. They are trying to refine it, and I think right now, this past year,
they are trying to see if there is a better one.
H: The Washington Formula made a great contribution to the thinking. First off,
actually, to the analysis of the needs of various departments, just in pure thought,
about this problem of what is it that can demonstrate a department's needs for book
funds in the library and so on. And then, as that went further and further, it
developed into quite some esoteric arguments, but then it also developed into some
neat little tricks people realized could be used to gain their own nefarious purposes.
If you could slip in just a little, maybe even one percentage point, down somewhere
in the proper place, it came out very nicely in that several $100,000 go into your own
departmentall purposes] right past the Board. For many years I think it was a good
tool for a librarian and library administrators to examine the facts and factors which
represented the needs of the library.
K: What about the decisions on which titles to buy? Is that the librarian's decision?
H: No. By and large, [in] the University, from the very beginning, departmental library
funds were left in the hands of representatives of the departments. The physics
department might have umpteen thousand dollars to spend for books in the field of
physics and we do the best to get for them what they said they wanted. Unless, for
instance, a bibliographic search demonstrates that maybe they did not really get
what they were thinking they were getting, and we helped them out.
I think I felt that we needed to have more funds in the hands of the librarians, not in
the hands of the faculty. Not that they did not know what they were buying, but
there were other things that in the long run were going to be more important to a
university library system than some of these papers or volumes discussing at great
length all sorts of things that were really only temporary sort of arguments.
K: I imagine that the faculty were interested in things having to do with their specific
H: Yes. And that was fine. We let the faculties of the departments, by and large, fight
it out among themselves. We had a good person on the staff to work with them.
The chairman of the department was given, essentially, the responsibility unless we
had some objection to their choice. I can remember there were a couple of
instances where the people who were being picked were sort of being the low man
on the totem pole [who were] given this nasty little job, and did not get anything
done with it, so we had some discussions about some of those choices of people
and their choices of material.
K: For the most part were there pretty good relations between the faculty and the
H: Oh yes. I thought that there were quite good relations. Shortly before I was shot,
there was a university faculty committee appointed to look into some of the
objections about the library and [Robert Barbeau] Mautz [Regent's professor of law]
was called back into service, having been retired and having returned from
Tallahassee, to chair an investigative committee about objections about the library
and whether these, in fact, were valid objections. They came to the conclusion, if I
remember correctly, there was nothing [against the library]. They expressed
opinions but certainly did not express any lack of confidence in the library direction
and so forth. I was pleased to be vindicated.
But there were several people on the faculty who thought they had suffered at my
hands because of my own influence to move book funds in other directions. From
time to time, we got more money, one way or another, than the library anticipated
getting, and faculty, having been persuaded they would probably get so much per
year and now, all of a sudden, we got more money from Tallahassee coming
through. For the most part, Tallahassee did decide to hand out library money as a
separate category from the rest of the University budget.
They [Tallahassee politicians] handed out library money to the various universities'
libraries almost directly, based on the Washington Formula, you see, which is all
right by us because we have a very active committee composed of the University
Directors of Libraries, which met at least in Tallahassee every other month during
the year for a whole day going over all the obligations, as it were. And we had a
strong fellow on the Chancellor's committee. There was some influence from the
Board of Regents on the library funding, and we were able to point out some things
that were not being handled very properly by particular institutions and then the
president of the institution had to either say, "Thank you very much for letting us
know about it," or "That is our business, forget it."
K: Is that standard procedure to give money for the libraries?
K: To have a separate university [library] budget?
H: By and large, yes. The matter got to be one that was supported, by and large, by
the universities, the nine universities. [The budgets were broken into] requests for
funds, request for money and faculty support, and another for library physical plant
support, but there was library support. And I think they [the Board of Regents] were
very happy to have this broken out with the logic of the Washington Formula as
something you could plug figures into and work with as a formula.
K: On another matter, when you came here in the mid-1960s, that was about the time
there was a lot of unrest with the civil rights and the Vietnam War. Was there much
of a problem on this campus in particular in the relationship between the library and
H: That was one reason that I left Boston University, because Boston University was a
rather liberal university in the huge gathering of universities in Boston. [There are]
more students, and more faculty, and more universities in Boston than in any other
city in the world. It has a huge population there and this was the hotbed of student
and faculty revolt and faculty revolt and everything else under the sun. I got along
with the students very nicely.
From 1960 to 1966 we built the new university library, 1966 to 1968 we ran it and
got it operating, and [completed] the minor fine tuning. At that point I decided it
would be better for me to get out [rather than have] somebody coming in criticizing
"my new baby," you know. I either could not see the problem or did not want to see.
So I decided it was better for me to leave and let other people run the building. I
was very satisfied that operations had been set up and that reorganization was
As I indicated previously, [there was] a great deal of reorganizing of collections, of
bringing [them] together in a central library, of bringing staff together and
reallocating the staff, and reforming the order department and the reference
department. But the students wanted to rebel also, and I managed, as far as the
library was concerned, to keep them [from harming the library], partly because they
were as proud of it as we were. I managed to talk with the library staff and get the
student leaders, the president of the student body, to agree with permitting this and
not permitting that and so on.
One interesting example, I thought, was in 1966 or 1967 they were trying to have a
demonstration [against] the university [because] they wanted the library open longer
than we said we could keep [it] open. They came in and said, "You have been such
a real friend to the students, but we think you are not doing right about keeping the
library open. We wanted to tell you that we are going to keep the library open Friday
night two weeks from now. We are simply not going to leave when you want to
close the library. We will refuse to be thrown out."
I said, "Well, you might do some good. I will be am glad to [get] more money to
keep the library open longer." But I said, "Now what is with the dance band? If you
have this sort of an open operation, we do not have smoking in the library. But that
is for a perfectly good reason. We have got some very nice hardwood tables out
there. Cigarette burns on the edges [of tables] are going to really mess [them] up.
In addition to that it is almost impossible to keep someone from dropping cigarettes
on the floors. You are going to mess up your own carpet." We had this beautiful
bright red carpet on three major floors, with beautiful oak tables sitting on top of
them. It was really attractive. I said, "I do not think you want to mess that up."
They said, "Well, no. But what do we do about it?" And I said, "Well, I think if you
want to run this thing yourself, why don't you get some monitors to go around and
put some signs at the door: 'No drinks inside' and 'No smoking.' 'Come on in and
do whatever else you want to.'" He said, "Well we are going to bring in a little dance
band." I said, "What kind of a dance band?" He said, "Well, they have a couple of
saxophones, some drums, a string base, and so on."
Since one of my nefarious activities was playing string base for many years, in
symphony orchestras, for the fun of it, I said, "Now wait a minute. You are going to
have a string base, that is fine, but that string base has got a peg on the bottom and
that peg on the bottom, wherever you put it on the nice carpet out there, within an
hour or so, it is going to score up that carpet." "Well, what can we do about it?" I
said, "Tell the guy that he has got to have a block of wood. Bring in a piece of 8" X
8" X 2" thick or something; just have it on the floor and put his peg on top of that."
So, it happened to be that that Friday night there was a Boston Symphony
Orchestra [performance] downtown. Lib and I had came in from where we lived,
then about one-thirty or two o'clock, afterwe had gone to have some midnight coffee
with some friends of ours, we were coming back by the library, and I just thought on
the spur of the moment, "Let's stop in here and see what is going on." So I went in.
Not a soul smoking in the place! There were monitors at the door telling the kids not
to smoke as they came in; they could do anything else they wanted to, dance,
And over in the corner [there was] this little dance combo and, believe it or not, they
had not only a block of wood under the string base, but they had a few music stands
out there and they brought in some sheets of plywood and put them underthe music
stands, so the music stands would not mess it up. I thought, "Now, there is a batch
of good students." They knew what they were doing, and it was fun to work with
But they had broken into the president's office in one of the buildings down State
Street just down from the university. They got in there and pried open university
files, [these were] locked files of student records, and just pulled the stuff out and
threw it all around the place, just rebelling against any sort of faculty or
administrative authority, [whom they accused of] all sorts of trumped up charges.
That was in the early heyday of the university [students'] objections [and protests in]
Down here they were having meetings on the green out here in front of the library.
That was when our Catholic priest turned professor of history, Michael Gannon,
Mike Gannon got to be a real good buddy of mine. Three or four of us owned an
airplane together. Mike had given up his religious appointment, I think, and had
become a faculty member. He was influential in keeping the students more or less
in order down here. And they certainly never, on this campus, ever got to the stage
that they did at Boston University. I was able to feel much better about that and [to]
get along with students who wanted to rebel, who wanted to try out their violent
tactics, you know, as long as it did not hurt the people or what the university was
working so hard to provide [for] them.
I was very happy to see what was going on down here. I was pleased to come
down and work with them. Here we had a number of instances when the
representatives of the student body came by to see if I had an opinion about this,
that, and the other. Mike Gannon and I got to be good friends during that period.
To begin with, he was first a faculty member. And, of course, he was very effective
in those years of 1968-1970, I would say, whenever that high and happy period of
student unrest was.
He worked very well with the students, and he and I got to know each other. I think
we both appreciated each other's involvement with those students, whenever
students wanted to get in here and raise hell and that sort of stuff, and this was a
fairly new building too, we just tried to say, "Look what you are doing. You are
cutting off your nose to spite your face. This is one of the greatest values, one of
the greatest adjuncts to your education that you will find anywhere on this campus.
It is the minds of the faculty and the minds in the books, so do not go messing those
up or you will really mess up the very thing that you are trying to improve." So they
were very decent about it.
K: What about black students? Were there many black students at that time?
H: No. There were not. I was raised in North Carolina, my father was on the faculty of
the University of North Carolina, then had subsequently taught in Jackson,
Mississippi at Millsaps College, which was, in fact, all white. But that was in 1948,
1949, 1950. I was a Southerner originally, and I recognized that they were
segregated institutions, and Boston University was not, nor was Stanford University
[at Stanford, California] where I had been for four years. Although it [Stanford
University] was principally white, it was not that they kept blacks out, it was just that
there were not that many blacks qualified to enter. Boston University, now, was
much more integrated. But here, of course, there was just plain discrimination
against blacks. Students wanted that reorganized and it was a good thing; they did
get those regulations changed.
K: Was there discrimination as far as the ability of black students to get access to
H: No. If they were admitted--of course there were very few--but whoever was
admitted, had access to the library materials.
K: The last thing that I wanted to talk about was the shooting.
H: Oh, the shooting!
K: Finish with a bang, so to speak.
H: We did not discuss it at all, did we?
K: No. We did not.
H: All right, sure.
K: What year was that exactly? And what brought it on?
H: Let us see, what year was it? It was in 1983, is that right?
K: It was in the mid-1980s.
H: Yes, because [in] 1993 it has been ten years. I have sort of divided it up because I
was fifteen years Director of Libraries, from 1968, through 1978, to 1983, at which
time I was shot. It was in May, it was on May 4, I think. If I had been doing what I
was supposed to do, instead of changing my mind at the last minute, I would have
[been at] a meeting of the Association of Research Libraries in Banff, Canada on
that day. Lo, how the fate of the world is changed. I would not have been shot.
Instead, at the last minute, the budget was not in good shape, there were a great
number of things that required my attention here; [moreover,] Banff, Canada is a
miserable place to get to from here. It was even a miserable place for me to fly my
airplane to; it is a long way up there. Although I had reservations to go, I decided
about three or four days ahead of time that I simply would not go. We did not have
a lot of travel money that year. We were running short of it. Here I was going to
have to spend several thousand dollars, probably, getting to Banff and back, and on
the hotel rooms, and it did not seem fair to use the money.
And I did not really have that much for that year to involve myself in the Association
of Research Libraries which at that time [included] about 100 of the major research
libraries in the country. I do not know how many [are included] today. ARL has
increased in its size in this past ten years since I was with them, but they were
pushing 100 by then. So I did not go. I guess [it was] the fourth or fifth of May. You
want me to run through what happened?
K: Yes. Who was that fellow and what brought it all [on]?
H: All right. David Shelley was a member of the Reference Department. He was a
manic-depressive, that is to say, [he had] a disease which is cyclical in matters of
weeks, up and down, up and down, psychological, in which the brain does not
produce sufficient chemicals of some sort to control the brain operation very well.
As a consequence, a manic-depressive will have several weeks or period [on a]
cycle of being high, being up, being energetic, being a very top-notch type person,
and then slowly descends into a low period.
As far as I know, it is generally of the same length, of being depressed, being very
unhappy, being quite illogical about things, and so on. David, in this case, had been
on the library staff for, I do not know, I suppose fifteen, twenty years. I think he was
on the library staff before I came here. I knew him quite a while. As a matter of fact,
I liked him. He was a member of the Reference Department and he was a very
interesting guy. He had a good brain on his shoulders, he was an odd person to
work with at times because you did not know, and I do not think anybody knew
exactly what his problems were, and certainly I did not know him that well.
K: At the time you did not realize he had this psychological problem?
H: Oh no, he had had this [condition for some time].
K: Oh you [knew this].
H: Yes. It had been diagnosed, manic-depressive, and had been treated for it. I had
had instances in which I had had to go talk to him. The Director of Libraries gets a
number of such duties.
K: Was he violent?
H: We had one who was a typical drunk every now and then, and I think once I had to
come down and bail him out.
K: Was David violent in that in that instance? Is that why he was in there?
H: Was he violent? He pulled various and sundry things, and he accosted various
members of the janitorial staff late at night in the library and told them to quit
sweeping the floors down here, that they were getting dust in the air and he had a
terrible dis-affinity for dust, and so on. One night he grabbed the broom from one of
the janitors and broke it over his knee [and said], "Now sweep the floor with that,
damn it. I told you not to [sweep]. This dust just drives me crazy."
I managed to settle the matter with the Grounds Department and I gave David a
good talking to. But, in this particular instance, he managed to accost some rather
important members of the faculty that were coming in late at night to use some
material. I have forgotten how he got in an argument with them, but [he] was very
belligerent. In this very bellicose attitude, he chewed out several regular faculty
members, one of whom said he was not going to take that foolishness. He [the
faculty member] understood from some of the librarians that Harrer put up with that
sort of thing, but he was not going to do it. So, he went to his department head and
he complained, and the department head went directly to the Personnel Department
to object. He may have gone through the academic vice president, I do not know,
but it ended up in the hands of the Personnel Department, with [Robert A.] Bob
Button [director of University Personnel Relations], who knew about David's
So it developed into the necessity of the personnel office taking some action; he
could not toss it off to me that time, because the wrong people had been objected
to. So at that point, Personnel Department pulled David in. They had a regular full-
blown investigation of what was happening, what David was doing; he was abusing
the faculty in some instances, and they talked it all over with me and said they
thought they were going to have to have a full investigation of David. Bob Button,
who was the head of Personnel at that time, was a good friend of mine, and I said,
"Bob, I will be happy to cooperate any way you want."
So we did and we went through a long series of discussions with David. David said
he was being railroaded unfairly. I think he had, all told, about three different
lawyers here in town who would take David on pro bono, as a charity case. [The
lawyers] would help represent him, as David had explained to them, in the rather
unfair ruling on the part of the personnel department or the library. This was a bad
thing, and when David explained it to them, why they said, "Well, we certainly will
take this." As soon as they got over to the Library and talked to the Library and the
Personnel and read some of the memos that had been written by faculty and
department chairman, and so on, they had to admit that [the administration] had to
do something about this.
But Bob Button was still trying [to settle the matter], because he [David Shelley] had
had a number of years, fifteen to twenty-five, on the staff here. [He] was not of the
age when he could retire, but had a chance [to do so], provided he got help of some
of us on the staff. But he said he wanted to have hearings on this thing and get this
all straightened out and that was what the Personnel Department had to do. So we
met various times with the Personnel Department--I say we but there were faculty,
you know, and various others in the libraries--and gave statements concerning
I explained what my attitude was, that David was never dangerous, he was just
objectionable. So that was in the spring of 1983. David had several lawyers who
successively got fed up with him. [Periodically] somebody else would come along
and say, "Well, I will take [David's case] over." Pretty soon they found out that David
was also pretty hard to get along with, as long as he continued being as
unreasonable as he was. I remember the last meeting, [when] David was carrying
on. I had managed at that point to persuade the Personnel Department that he
could well apply and with their support might, in fact, be given an early retirement
because of illness. He would retire and would receive something of a retirement
[pay] because he had been around fifteen to twenty years and would receive enough
money to sort of keep him.
He [David] finally said that he was not going to do that. In the course of the
discussion he said he would not do it because that would be admitting that there
was, in fact, something wrong with him. We all said, "But David, we all know there is
nothing wrong with me. I am able to hold myself in control. So that is not it, David."
Finally, he made such a statement one day that the third lawyer-type who was
volunteering to try to help this poor guy out, she just closed up her notebook and
said, "Well, that is that. It is better that I leave," and walked off, and so did David.
He would not have anything else to [do with it]. And he forfeited the discussion of
his condition or anything like that. And we said, "Well, David, there is nothing
Personnel Department can do other than to recommend your firing. [If they]
recommend it to me, I will have to acquiesce and fire you, and get you out of this
job. So, he got up and walked out, saying, "We will see about that." None of us
even thought that he could possibly become violent. What he did, though, it turned
out later, after he left here, he stomped out, and very shortly he went out and legally
bought a registered pistol, joined a pistol club here in town, went down with some
regularity to practice pistol firing, to be sure he knew how to handle a pistol.
K: At the same time, was he still working here?
H: No. He was discontinued, and we did not know anything about what he was doing.
All this came out afterwards. And then, [he came] on the day, as I say, I think it was
a Friday. I should have left the Wednesday before that, if I were going to go to
Banff, Canada, which is a very [tough] place to get to, anyway. I should have gone,
I would have been gone, but I had stayed. He [David] had [meanwhile] joined a
pistol club, also, and had been known as an assiduous pistol devotee, interested in
firing, and he went down and took lessons in accuracy and marksmanship and so
on. Apparently, all aiming toward this plan that he had that he was going to come
into the library and he was going to blow the heads off of a bunch of us.
He wanted me, he wanted Max [R.] Willocks who is the associate director [of
libraries] for public services, particularly the Reference Department and some other
personnel matters, and he wanted to get hold of one of the Reference Department
management team. Peter [P.] Malanchuk [librarian and chairman of Reference and
Bibliography] was one and there was another in the Reference Department.
K: So it was you, Max Willocks, Peter Malanchuk. What about [Jesse] Ray Jones [Jr.,
librarian, Reference and Bibliography]?
H: No, it was not Ray Jones, it was [Hoyle] Fleming Montgomery [Jr., associate
librarian, Reference and Bibliography]. Do you know Fleming Montgomery?
H: All right, well, he and David had had a long-term feud. Fleming was an old bachelor
type, you know. [He] would not put up with foolishness. So, he and David never got
along. And [David disliked] Max because Max was assistant director of public
services, which included reference. And then there was me. So, he had determined
to come in and shoot the four of us. He [David] called in previously, apparently a
week or so previously, asking whether the girls in the office knew whether we were
going to be in [during] that period of time.
I have forgotten, [but] I think at that time they [the secretaries] may already have
known that I was not going to go to Banff. Then, I think that morning he called in to
the office [and] said he wanted to come by and see some of the library staff and he
named who it was he wanted to see. It was determined where they were, so he
knew that they were in my conference room up here. I do not know whether you
know where that was. Do you know where the director's office is up here now? If
you go into the director's office, you go into that big room full of secretaries. That
was the conference room. It had a great long conference table in the middle of the
floor and a lot of extra chairs around. There was a great, big, long board table.
K: You were having a Reference [librarians'] meeting?
H: They were having a Reference meeting in there. He had called in to find out if Max
was around. [They said] "Yes, Max was there." [He asked] was the Reference
Department meeting going to be held, [so he located] the Reference Department.
And where was I, [he asked]. I was in my office, and they thought I was going to
[remain] there, since I had decided not to leave town. So he knew where to get hold
of [us]. In the conference room, the Reference Department was having its meeting
and there was Fleming Montgomery and Peter Malanchuk; Max Willocks was in and
out of that meeting since that department was [part of] his [responsibilities]. But he
was outside at the time. And he [David] was pleased to find that I was there.
So he came in. He was told that I was in my office, I had not left town, but I did not
want to be disturbed. He walked on past the girls in Max's office, and Max was not
there at the moment, so he turned back around to come across; I think maybe my
office door was closed. [He] opened it, and found me in there, and simply stood in
the doorway and fired point blank at my back. I was sitting at my desk, this was the
desk, I was sitting here; behind me I had another table, a typing table, so I could
swing around from my desk and look out the window and type, and that was what I
was doing at the time that he put his head in my office.
I did not know what happened to me. I had simply not realized that he was coming
in. He had not fired any shots until he fired at me, and he fired four shots at me. In
what order, I do not know, but one of them went through and caught me right in the
spine and did the most damage. It tore up the spinal column in a major [way]. They
said it was between the third and fourth vertebrae. This was very serious damage
because the bullet went right into the spinal column. It just mangled to jelly what
was in there, which is the spinal column, which transmitted all the signals from the
brain to the rest of the body. So, it cut me off from about here. There was another
bullet that went into my right lung. It is still there. One of them went into my left
chest. I forget whether it did any damage to the lung or not. And then there was a
fourth one that went over my head, went out through the window, and broke one of
those big plate glass windows that was over my head. And I did not know what had
I was sitting with my back to the door because I had the typewriter behind my desk
typing on it. I was facing out the window. All of the sudden, I heard something was
happening and I was suddenly standing up. The reaction was that I felt I had been
electrocuted. And [for a] split second I remember I had several thoughts. In the first
place, it felt like I had had an electrical shock because I [had] messed around with
lights and wiring in the home and had managed to stick my finger in more than one
electrical socket over the years, so I knew what it felt like, and that was what it felt
And I was standing up and tingling and looking at the typewriter, wondering where in
the world I was getting a shock from. Then, I could not figure out what else was
going on or what had happened to me, and I slumped back into my armchair. To
begin with my first reaction was that I was standing up trembling, feeling the buzz of
electric charge from an electrical socket. I thought there could not be any way [for
this to happen], there is no power around that would do this. And I slumped back
into the armchair, the swivel armchair that I had there, and I thought that is odd,
being thrust back into this armchair, and still could not figure out what was going on.
As I slumped back in the chair, then realized that I was not in control of my body
anymore. I was hanging over the arm, sort of like that, and suddenly realized that I
must have been shot, or something because there was a loud noise. Beyond that, I
was bleeding. I was watching the blood running down out from under the sleeve of
this arm and down my fingers, and watching it pour down my arm and dripping off
the end of my fingers onto the rug which I thought, "Poor old Whitey." I forget his
last name, [but] Whitey was a great big old, almost retired, janitorial supervisor for
this end of the campus down here. He and I had been good friends, and had a
number of stories to tell each other about what these damn students were doing to
our furniture. I looked down there. I saw this widening red spot on this new carpet
that they had just installed. I thought, "Well, Whitey is going to be madder than hell
when he sees what I did to his red carpet." And about that time, Max came in and I
asked him what was going on, what had happened. He said, "You have been shot."
I said, "Well, I know something had happened, I could not move out of the chair."
About that time or shortly thereafter, I understand the police had been called. The
police had relayed the necessity for an ambulance because I had been shot in my
office, and they all came up there. They got me down quickly onto a stretcher. I
was conscious through almost all of that. They gave me some intravenous blood
additions and so forth, and strung me up on a gurney to wheel me out of the place. I
was conscious through all of it. I remember being wheeled out through the
secretaries' office which was the main part of the office area up there which has now
been divided up into more offices. But, I remember girls standing there and looking.
I said, "Oh, it will be all right. I will be back. Hang in there."
I did not really feel any particular pain. I was getting along fine. I remember they
got on the main elevator and found out they could not get the damn stretcher into
that elevator, so they had to come out of there and go back around to get me down
to the supply room elevator back in the back part there, and got me down that way,
and out. I remember being wheeled on the front walk out there and they had had an
ambulance brought up there and they had me into the ambulance very shortly.
They drove out to the driveway to the side street over here and bumped over the
curb which really shook it up. I said, "Boy, you have not got very good springs on
this thing." They said, "Oh, it will be better now," or something like that. I remember
commenting on that. Then I guess I remember, sort of vaguely, that I passed out
there. The next thing I knew [was that] I was lying in the room in Shands Hospital
and I had been out apparently for some period of time.
K: I understand that after he shot at you, he went into the conference room and shot at
some of the others?
H: Yes. I was told [after] he got through with me, four of six shots had been fired, so he
went into the end of the conference room and Peter Malanchuk was [there]. The
way it [started was], [David] had gone into the secretaries area and then he went
over to see where Max Willocks was. Max was not there. That moment he went
over to my office and fired four shots in there, three of which hit me and one that just
went out the window. Then he came back and into what was at that time the
conference room, and Peter Malanchuk had heard the noise and Max had come in
through the other door and said, "Watch out!" and [said] that David Shelley had a
gun. And just at that time, Shelley came in the other door of the conference room
and Peter said, "Everybody get down. Get down. David has got a gun."
Peter told me later [that] he ducked down. He was at the far end of the conference
table which was away from the door and had been way down there when David
came into the door. So, he ducked down under the end of the table. Then [Peter]
looked down [under] the table, and lo and behold, twenty feet away, there was David
Shelley down on his knees with the gun pointed at Peter. He [David] fired two shots
which apparently did not hit anybody, but they managed to break a couple of very
large plate glass windows, but that was all. They did not do any damage to the
Then he got up and went on out and was going across the lobby, as I understood it,
to reload. He was going to go into the men's room on the second floor by the
elevators and reload. Some student or student staff member, got hold of him. He
had said to Max, "You just wait, you are next." He shook the gun under Max's nose
as he walked out of the administrative suite offices there.
This student saw him and stopped him. He said, "You do not want to do this. Come
on, let me have the gun. Let us just sit down and take it easy and talk this thing
over." To which David acquiesced, apparently. The way I heard it, the student, or
student staff member, took the gun away from him. They sat down and talked and
by that time David had sort of calmed down, gotten off his high, acquiesced to sitting
and talking about this thing. What was said I was never told, but, at any rate, that
was [it]. Then the police showed up and arrested him and took him off.
K: Now, after you recovered from that did you come back to work as director?
H: Oh yes. I was here in Shands for about four weeks, and then I went down to
Lucerne hospital in Orlando for another five or six months. At Shands they were
trying to keep me alive which they did successfully. Knowing what my condition
was, the doctor suggested that I was going to need some long period of
recuperation, and they suggested three or four hospitals, one in Tampa, one in
Orlando, one in Tallahassee, and one somewhere up in Georgia, that would be the
places that could best treat spinal injury patients. So my wife Lib went out.
She went to all of these places, drove around, and visited with them, and decided
that the best place for me and for her would be Orlando. She could get there from
here, and they had a very good spinal clinic, and they had very fine
recommendations. So after about a month here, they took me down to Orlando, and
that was in the middle of the summer by then. They [the doctors] decided I could be
moved, so they moved me down there. Then I was down there until Thanksgiving.
During [this time] they all were able to evaluate me and give me the best sort of
treatment, which they did very competently, and finally decided I was stable. And
then what they did, they also were very good not just in a matter of medical
treatment, but psychological treatment and everything else. They gradually broke
you into the fact that you were not quite what you were before, you know. It was
quite an experience, very interesting because I had to go through a stage of waking
up in the middle of the night and realizing that what I wanted to do was to roll over
and pull the covers up on one side. Nothing would roll. I could not move anything,
you know? It was quite a series of events that I had to gradually become
accustomed to. Now I am not so concerned that I cannot roll over in bed in the
middle of the night. But, to begin with, it was quite a shock.
And, also, [there were] the psychological problems of having dreams at night of all
sorts of weird things. Then there were some times during the day when I would
think I was only "half way with it," to really understand what was going on with the
doctors and things. There was a problem that I was supposed to be borderline as
far as being able to breathe was concerned, and they were reasonably certain that I
would not be able to breathe on my own.
I would not have the wind capacity to do it because of the three things controlling
breathing. One appears to be the chest muscles, one is the diaphragm, and one is
the stomach muscles which expand to suck air in. In my case, they did not think
that anything except the chest muscles were going to do much good, and they were
mostly disconnected. The other muscles were not going to be any sort of help. So
they were getting me used to being equipped with a tracheotomy except that I would
have to wear breathing equipment.
I assured them that if they would help I was not going to be that way, and they did.
We spent many hours strengthening my abilities. So, actually I did end up with only
the ability to put breath in my lungs through my chest expansion muscles, and it
spoiled my major fun of singing barbershop, because I did not have enough wind
capacity for that.
Also, one of the nice things [happened] down there. The Florida Barbershop Society
had its competition in the late fall that year [in Orlando], and Lib said, "Well,
something is going to happen. Keep your eyes open tomorrow." I did not know
what was going on. All of a sudden, here in the hospital room, all of these ladies
started coming in. The Sweet Adelines, the Gainesville Sweet Adelines, the ladies
barbershop chapter who were down there [for the competitions] had all come out to
the hospital and paraded into my room, packed in about thirty into this two-beds
room, and they sang about four or five pieces for me in the hospital. I had been
rather active with the mens barbershop [singers]. And they all sang. Pretty soon
everybody all over the hospital were all crowded out in the corridor saying, "Who is
singing barbershop?" They had gotten permission to come in and do it. That was
very nice. There were a number of things that really worked out very nicely down
there. I survived much better than they thought I was going to.
K: Then you came back as director.
H: And I came back as Director of Libraries and I actually got back into the office in
January of 1984, and went on until the following January.
K: Which was 1985.
H: It was 1985.
K: You retired and became a Distinguished Service Professor?
H: No. I was then given an appointment as Distinguished Service Professor by the
president, before retiring.
K: And then did Max Willocks take over as Director of Libraries?
H: Max took over as interim director, yes, and Jim Renz who was my associate
director. Max was Associate Director for Reader Services and Jim Renz was
Associate Director for Technical Services, [namely] acquisitions, cataloguing, this
sort of thing. And Max took on the additional title and was acting director, and Jim
Renz stayed on and continued his duties.
Then, sometime in January, [Robert Armistead] Bob Bryan [vice president for
Academic Affairs] said he wanted to see me some Sunday afternoon, [so I said,]
"Come out and talk with me." So he came out, and he said that he thought,
everybody thought, that it would be a good idea if I would step down as Director of
Libraries. And I could not argue with him because that spring I had been getting
around on campus and then, toward the end of the spring during the summer and on
through the fall, I had been trying to carry out my duties as Director of Libraries, but
it was pretty impossible.
[It was impossible] not just on campus, but because of the position of the University
of Florida Libraries among academic libraries in the country. You know, there is a
meeting once a month somewhere that I had to go to, and Lib went along that year
as my nursemaid, but the problem of getting on and off of airplanes, wheelchairs,
and hotelsjust really could not go on and I knew it. [I] could not complete my duties.
So that was when they gave me the position of Distinguished Service Professor of
Bibliography in the library. They also asked me what would I like to do when I got
out of the director's office. And I told them I would like to work building the German
collection. Max [agreed] and he set it up, and he became acting director for a few
months until the beginning of the summer. Then Dale [Brunelle Canelas, Director of
Libraries] was hired.
K: I was going to say, you have been doing that up until last year.
H: And I am still doing it.
K: But you officially retired.
H: I officially retired as of December 31. So I spent twenty-five years, essentially, at the
University of Florida of which the first fifteen, I came down in the fall of 1968, and
until 1983, were active [years] as Director of Libraries. Since then, an additional ten
years as a Distinguished Service Professor of Bibliography here, and retired as of
December 31, .