A multi-faceted collection makes the TAPPI Information Resource Library a unique asset for the industry.
With a focus on papermaking history and technical information, the TAPPI Information Resource Library has taken a tremendous amount of effort to organize and curate. It is located in a dedicated space at the TAPPI Headquarters building in Peachtree Corners, GA. Under the leadership of TAPPI President Larry Montague, the multiyear project was initiated in 2008 to reassemble a collection of TAPPI products and general technical and historical materials. This process is still on-going.
The library has the usual industry-specific journals and books, plus a large collection of past TAPPI conference proceedings, course notes, and training material. It also has a small but important collection of historical books, some dating back into the 1800s. One particularly unique aspect is the library’s collection of company or institute history and anniversary books; this collection exceeds 50 volumes.
After several years of organizing, most of the collection is now catalogued and searchable online. TAPPI uses a web-based system called LibraryThing, which is designed for small libraries, is easy to use and keep current, and offers online browser access. To search the library catalog, go to the TAPPI home page (tappi.org), enter the term “library” in the search box, and a link will be provided to the Information Resource Library page; or open the members page to find a link to the Information Resource Library.
Much of the library has come from industry and individual donations TAPPI has accrued over many years. “We want to make sure that the library remains a true resource, with a carefully curated collection that showcases our industry’s rich history,” says TAPPI Librarian Marlene Harris. “That’s why we must be very selective about what we can accept.”
A PEEK INTO THE STACKS
Volumes in the TAPPI library include the rare book collection donated by the late James d’A. Clark. Some members of the industry will recall that Clark wrote the well-known textbook Pulp Technology and Treatment for Paper. He was also the 1963 recipient of the TAPPI Gold Medal. His collection was donated to TAPPI in 1983, just a few years before his passing.
James Clark was an avid collector of historical books on pulp and paper topics. He also had a passion for the subject of handmade paper and collected rare and limited-edition books on the subject. His collection includes many handmade paper samples from various parts of the globe. Included in the donation was a collection of Dard Hunter first edition books as well as limited-edition hand printed books on papermaking.
One recent and significant donation is a collection of Paper Trade Journal magazines dated from 1878 to 1924. These issues were saved from destruction by Rich Townley, Middletown, OH, a long-time TAPPI member and collector of historical papermaking and engineering books. With this generous donation, TAPPI now has one of the largest collections of PTJ in any library, only missing a few early years and the last two and a half years of publication. (Learn more about this donation on page 29 of this issue.)
One of the oldest publications in the library is Dard Hunter’s bibliography on hand-made paper and watermarks, which was published by the TAPPI Bibliography committee in 1917. In total, the TAPPI Information Resource Library has 17 of the original Hunter publications. But who was Dard Hunter?
William Joseph “Dard” Hunter was born in Ohio in 1883 and learned about the publishing business from his father, who was in the newspaper business. While on a trip through Europe, Hunter and his wife visited an exhibit of hand papermaking and watermarks at the London Science Museum in 1911. This exhibit changed his career path forever and he began a lifelong pursuit of papermaking knowledge, especially about hand papermaking and watermarks and papermaking materials in other countries. He built a small papermaking mill in Marlborough, NY, in 1913, where he made paper, printed it, and bound the pages into books. In 1919, he moved back to Chillicothe, OH, where he purchased an 1850s-era house on a high bluff overlooking the city. He converted part of the house to a printing studio and set up a hand papermaking mill in the basement; he called his workshop Mountain House Press. For the next 46 years he traveled the globe collecting papermaking materials and paper samples, and authored 20 books. Eight of these books were printed at Mountain House Press on paper Hunter made himself using type he struck himself in a font that he designed. Dard Hunter was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in 2008.
TO LEARN MORE
Use of the library is a TAPPI member benefit and is currently not open to nonmembers. The library gives TAPPI the opportunity to preserve some industry heritage through its old papermaking book collection, as well as offer research opportunities with the books and journal collection. We hope this article helps make members aware of this valuable resource so that its utilization will increase.
For questions about what is available through the TAPPI Information Resource Library, or to arrange access to the collection, contact TAPPI Librarian Marlene Harris at [email protected]. Members who have reference questions or in-depth research needs that can be answered by a “deep dive” into the TAPPI Resource Library can also contact Harris to get their questions answered or their project started.
Tom Rodencal is president of Tom Rodencal and Associates, a consultant to the paper industry and allied companies. Contact him at [email protected].
The TAPPI Information Resource Library features a varied collection of historical books and documents.
One recent donation is a collection of Paper Trade Journal magazines dated from 1878 to 1924.