Special Libraries Association. Philadelphia Chapter
Held at: Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections [Contact Us]W. W. Hagerty Library, 3300 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Philadelphia Chapter of the Special Libraries Association began as a local library organization, the Special Libraries Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity, which was founded in 1919. It promoted the collection, organization, and dissemination of information to executives, research directors, and employees of industrial firms. It also developed the use of pertinent facts and technical materials in the operation of all types of business.
In 1933 the Council affiliated with the Special Libraries Association and became the Philadelphia Chapter. At that time the Special Libraries Association was an international organization of 5,000 special librarians. Its membership was composed of librarians and research workers who were actively engaged in the administration and interpretation of technical information in advertising and financial companies; in industrial firms manufacturing diverse products such as chemicals, electrical machinery, food, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, radios, steel, and textiles; and in governmental, educational, and social welfare institutions. The Council had active research groups within its membership such as the Science-Technology Group and the Social Science Group. These groups developed specific projects for the improvement of libraries and research organizations.
The chapter newsletter, the Bulletin, has been published since 1934 and is issued three to four times a year. It contains news of interest to special librarians. The chapter published the Directory of Libraries and Information Sources/Centers in Philadelphia and Vicinity from 1920-1999 in paper format. In 2004 the chapter unveiled its first online version of the directory. The chapter has operated an employment service since 1930 and currently posts job advertisements for special librarians in the Delaware Valley area. Regular chapter meetings are held from September to May in special library facilities or restaurants. The programs consist of panel discussions, featured speakers, demonstrations, or social occasions.
The collection provides a complete administrative history of the Philadelphia chapter of the Special Libraries Association from its founding in 1919 through the time it was donated to the Drexel University Archives in 2005. Records include chapter bylaws and procedural manuals; executive board meeting minutes; financial records; membership rosters; planning documents; and annual reports from various officers, committees, special interest groups. A large portion of the collection consists of the chapter’s publications, including the Bulletin, a chapter newsletter published four to six times a year beginning in 1933; a membership directory, issued sporadically since 1920; and a directory of libraries and information sources in Philadelphia and the surrounding region, published beginning in 1920 and updated every one to ten years.
The records indicate that the chapter conscientiously documented its history from its beginning. The collection was weeded in the 1940s, and again in the 1980s and 1990s, more extensively and in accordance with a records retention policy developed by the Special Libraries Association for its chapters. The collection was stored at the Free Library of Philadelphia from the chapter’s founding through the 1980s. In 1984, it was moved to Friends Hospital, where it stayed until 1994, when it was transferred to the library at QVC, Inc (librarians who worked for these organizations were officers of the Philadelphia Chapter of SLA at the time the records were moved there). The collection was transferred to the Drexel University Archives in 2005.
Original order in the collection has been preserved in the arrangement of series. The first series consists of general materials relating to the history and governance of the chapter and other miscellaneous records relevant to the chapter as a whole, some of which were added to this series by the archivist. The next three series consist of records created by individual chapter governing bodies and officers (executive board, president, secretary, and treasurer), committees, and special interest groups.
- Chapter Groups
- Associated Organizations
According to the records of the chapter's archives committee, the collection was kept from the founding of the chapter until the 1980s at the Free Library of Philadelphia. It was moved to Friends Hospital in 1984. Records indicate that the collection was weeded extensively over time in accordance with the national association's records retention policy.
Transferred to the University Archives by chapter member Marjorie Smink, May 2005. Deed of gift on file in office of university archivist.
- Drexel University: Archives and Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Kevin Martin
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Consult archivist regarding copyright restrictions.
Records pertaining to the history and governance of the chapter, including the original bylaws dating from 1920 and their revisions through 2002, procedural manuals, a chronology of the Special Library Association’s activities from 1909 to 1964. Some additional general materials that were found with the collection, such as newspaper clippings, miscellaneous correspondence, and a filmstrip presentation about special library resources in the Delaware Valley, have been included by the archivist as subseries 9-12.Physical Description
23 folders, 1 bound volume, and 1 35 mm reel
The minutes of the Executive Board’s meetings are included in this series, as are annual reports on the chapter’s activities from 1922 through 2001 (among the president’s records) and the chapter’s financial records (with the treasurer’s records). This series also contains lists of officers and committee chairmen.Physical Description
234 folders and 8 bound volumes
The records of the Strategic Planning Committee (subseries 29) include a strategic plan for the organization drafted in 2001. Also of interest are the records of the World War II Documents Committee (subseries 34), which speak to the role of libraries in national defense efforts during World War II.Physical Description
The records of the chapter's special interest groups.Physical Description
Records of conferences, professional development activities, retreats, and other activities that the chapter was involved in.Physical Description
22 folders, 1 scrapbook
Includes the Bulletin, the library directory, the membership directory, and other publications of the Philadelphia chapter, as well as several additional publications of SLA National and general publications. Researchers interested in using and citing particular issues of the Bulletin should note that its title has changed subtly over the years and should refer to the issue in hand for the proper citation format.Physical Description
28 folders, 37 bound volumes