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F.D.R., the ALA, and Mr. MacLEISH: The Selection of the Librarian of Congress, 1939

Dennis Thomison
The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy
Vol. 42, No. 4 (Oct., 1972), pp. 390-398
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4306204
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
F.D.R., the ALA, and Mr. MacLEISH: The Selection of the Librarian of Congress, 1939
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Abstract

The retirement of Herbert Putnam in 1938 set the stage for a campaign by the American Library Association to influence the selection of his replacement. The effort was carried on while an ALA committee was engaged in trying to obtain the nomination of its secretary, Carl H. Milam. At no time did either the ALA or Milam admit that he was a candidate, although the efforts were very strenuous in his behalf. Failing to obtain a hearing with President Roosevelt, other efforts were made to affect indirectly the selection process. None of these methods were successful, and when Archibald MacLeish was nominated the announcement was heaped with scorn. The poet's lack of administrative experience and library training were the chief causes of complaint, although others outside the profession centered their attack on his "subversive" background. All efforts failed, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination. The episode was a stunning and embarrassing defeat for the association.

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