"World War II. Records."
by Rose Demorest, March 1945.
"World War II. Records." by Rose Demorest, late Librarian, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
The collection of records covering World War II as it affected Pittsburgh was started the day after Pearl Harbor. It was decided to use two forms as a beginning, and the most obvious source, the newspapers of the city, were used as a basis to form a clipping collection and a series of scrap-books. [qr974.886 C21p, Newspaper Clippings & Pictures on War Activities in Pittsburgh, Oliver Room.] A third form using the same source for information, was a card file of organizations, listing their headquarters, telephone numbers and chief officers of all the various organizations which were established as local agencies or as branches of one of the many U. S. agencies. This file was of particular value in the beginning and during the early days of organization the listing we had probably furnished the City with the chief source of information on the subject.
After some consideration of the responsibility of this Library toward preserving records which do not normally fall within our field, the Library authorities agreed that we should continue with the plan and policy which had been started. We are therefore not attempting any project such as collecting files of draftees and many other records, which other libraries can do so well when they can serve as a center for all community activities. With a city as large as Pittsburgh it would have meant a re-organization of work and a much larger staff.
We were relieved from any of this larger plan by the organization of an efficient Council of Defense who were well-equipped to assume many of the obligations undertaken in other places by libraries.
Our clipping collection is maintained according to the usual method for permanent filing. The clippings are mounted on manila sheets, assigned subject headings and filed in pamphlet boxes, which keep them relatively clean and free from air. The scrap-books are 14 x 12 inches in size and we are adding to the fifth volume. The articles are arranged chronologically and the highlights of the leading events, as they occur, are used for this purpose, embellished by colored emblems and some pictures. These scrap-books furnish a quick picture of how Pittsburgh faced the change from a peace-time to a war-time condition, and especially the interesting and colorful way it affected the people.
The clipping collection furnishes the same type of information, but with more detail on each subject, and so far has proven to be of a great value.
A third contribution to this vital period of Pittsburgh's history is the collection of pictures to show in a pictorial way the products and life of the time. This collection, while an interesting one, is very limited at present, as many subjects, especially industrial pictures have not been permitted to be printed. We are hoping as time goes on, some way will be found for adding more fully and more consistently to this valuable part of our collection.
We have been able to continue the program which was started and trust it will prove adequate for the future. Each library has to evolve its own plans according to local conditions and based upon previous experience and its best judgment. Time only can tell whether we are preserving the most essential records.