- New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2022.
- 7 x 10 inches
- cloth, dust jacket
- 360 pages
- ISBN: 9781584563945
Price: $110.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 138627
Featured in Yale Law Report, Volume 71, Number 1, Winter 2024 - "Richards '72 chronicles Yale University Librarys history, which begins decades before Yale College was itself established. I Give These Books explains why Puritan settlers first provided for a library in New Haven and narrates how the earliest staff safeguarded Yales books through political tumult. Richards traces the rise of professional librarians and describes the modern transformation of Yales holdings. His account sheds light on the librarys changing role in the digital era."
The founding, growth, organization, and expansion of a major American university library is revealed over three and a half centuries of its history.
First edition, of which this is one of 50 numbered copies signed by the author. The disparate stories of the libraries of the fledgling colleges in the colonies of the Eastern Seaboard, beginning more than one hundred fifty years before the Declaration of Independence, has been recorded occasionally in scattered scholarly journals, but never has there appeared a fully-fledged history of the library of one of Americas oldest universities from its founding through the present day.
The first gift for a college library in New Haven was made in 1656, almost half a century before Yale College itself was founded, with books from Europe and England brought by Puritans to Boston, seeking to found their own colony. They had travelled in 1637 in the same ship with John Harvard and his books, bequeathed at his death to a new college in Cambridge, Massachusetts which took his name. Most of Yale's ten founding trustees were themselves educated at Harvard, but these ministers of congregations along Long Island Sound deposited their vellum-bound volumes to form their schools first roomful of folios and quartos in New Haven in 1701.
In time, 18th-century tutors who acted as book keepers gave way to 19th-century librarians who labored to produce catalogues with classification systems that allowed the growing collections to be organized and retrieved. Those collections themselves were first solicited from overseas donors, then were augmented by personal libraries from faculty members, and then through alumni endowments began to be acquired by purchase in Europe, exchange with other institutions, and even through rare book auctions.
The struggles of the 18th century in acquisition gave way to the efforts of the 19th century, to house their expanding numbers in ever larger buildings. In the 20th century, the Yale University Library was transformed from a storehouse to a workshop, for faculty and student researchers alike in both Yale College and the university's burgeoning graduate and professional schools. Now, in the 21st century have arisen the new challenges of the digital world and the preservation and transmission of its products, which the Library is pioneering.
"Yale's libraries have a long and colorful past. I believe strongly that we must look back to go forward, and we are fortunate to have David Alan Richards as chronicler. He has mined the archival collections of the Library to tell its story with a level of rich detail unmatched in any previous history."
- Barbara Rockenbach, Stephen F. Gates 68 University Librarian, Yale University
"Yale is one of the world's great libraries. Its long history tells the story of how the library has been at the leading edge of innovation in the domain of knowledge. Richards account is full of wonderful stories and will surely become an essential tool for scholars charting the contribution of libraries to the worlds of learning, ideas and culture."
- Richard Ovenden, Librarian, Bodleian Library, Oxford University
"Great libraries inspire great histories, and I Give These Books is alive with stories of the people and books that made Yale, starting with the arrival in Boston in 1637 of the London libraries of John Davenport and Samuel Eaton. Richards skillfully draws us through 400 years of Yale's libraries, including the cathedral-like Sterling and the world-renowned Beinecke."
- Jessica Gardner, University Librarian, University of Cambridge
"The history of the Yale University Library is, in reality, the intertwined histories of several libraries created in Yale's past. And each library has its own story to tell, whether at the Divinity School, the Medical School, or the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Dave Richards captures it all with elegant prose and illustrations drawn from Yale's archives."
- Barbara Shailor, President of the American Trust for the British Library, former Deputy Provost of Yale and Director of the Beinecke Library
"David Richards makes a wonderful contribution to our understanding of the history of Yale and also of how libraries, collections, and librarians more generally have evolved over the past four centuries. His thoroughly researched book helps us see the way that libraries, at Yale and beyond, have always played a fundamental role in our civic life and educational endeavors and remain vitally important institutions."
- Thomas Hyry, Associate University Librarian for Archives and Special Collections, and Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library, Harvard University
With undergraduate degrees with honors in history from Yale College and Cambridge University, where he was a Keasbey Scholar, and a law degree from Yale Law School, David Alan Richards is the author of Rudyard Kipling: The Books I Leave Behind, Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliography, and Skulls and Keys: The Hidden History of Yale's Secret Societies. He is the president of the London-based Kipling Societyand was a longtime officer of the Grolier Club of New York City. Retired from the practice of real estate law in New York City, he lives in Stamford, Connecticut.
Listen to a podcast featuring I Give These Books on the New Books Network, hosted by Dr. Miranda Melcher, here: https://newbooksnetwork.com/i-give-these-books.