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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Curator of Rare Books
609-258-9942

This collection of pamphlets, books, and printed ephemera was re-housed and sorted during 1999. Consisting of about two to three thousand items, the material was collected over many years, probably by librarians working in the reference departments at Princeton before Firestone Library was built. Much of the material dates from World War II or the immediate post-war years, and many items appear to have been collected because of a desire to have a representative collection of propaganda. Indeed, there was a call by the university to alumni at the beginning of World War II for contributions of such material. A brief item in the November 24, 1939 issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly under the headline "Propaganda" reads as follows:

Many Americans are receiving propaganda from abroad these days some of it sent by friends merely as a matter of interest, more of it from individuals and governments in an effort to influence opinion. The natural inclination of many recipients is to throw the propaganda material away or, in some cases, to burn the stuff. But the Princeton library asks any alumni on the receiving end of these intellectual transactions to do neither, but to send the pamphlets on to Princeton. The library is attempting to collect propaganda of all sorts bearing on the present conflict. The assistance of alumni in saving this ephemeral but important source material will be greatly appreciated not only by the present library staff, but by future historians.

Several issues of the Princeton University Library Chronicle acknowledge such gifts. "Pieces of propaganda on the war, sent in response to the notice in the Alumni Weekly, have been received from the following Friends: Jasper E. Crane '01, Alexander R. Fordyce Jr. '96 and George McCracken '26," says an article in the February 1940 (Vol. 1, No. 2, page 28) issue. The November 1941 issue of the PULC (Vol. 3, No. 1, page 30) notes a gift "from Sterling Morton '06 further additions of pamphlets and periodicals on current problems." While it primarily contains material from around the Second World War, there are many earlier items, some stretching back into the 19th Century. There is a cache of Civil War pamphlets and many 19th Century items from France and Germany as well as the United States. There are few items in the collection from the late 1940s onward. After being stored in one of the library annexes for many years, the collection eventually found its way to Firestone and the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

 

The pamphlets are divided into two groups, as follows:
First group: at ReCAP under call number D810.P6 .P356. See online catalogue record with title "Pamphlet collection chiefly from Civil War down to the start of World War II" (97 boxes)
Second group: at ReCAP under call number D810.P6 .P766. See online catalogue record with title "Propaganda relating to World War II, including pre- and post-war years," [55 boxes, arranged in three series. This group is organized in three series: 1) File folders arranged alphabetically by country or region (6 boxes); 2) File folders arranged alphabetically by topic, such as 'Books and Reading,' 'Peace,' etc. (7 boxes); 3) Materials dated in the 1940's from the United States, Great Britian, Germany, German Library of Information, Czechoslovakia and regarding Education (42 boxes, see link below).]

For particulars see the URL http://libweb2.princeton.edu/rbsc2/pamphlets/