This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
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|Abstract||The Acquisitions Department, formerly the Order Department, was responsible for the receipt and routing of new materials for the library. The two main components of the department were the Order Section and the Gifts and Exchanges Section. The head of the department reported to the Associate University Librarian for Technical Services. The Order Department was formally organized around 1924 and continued to be known by that name until the late 1950s, when it became the Acquisitions Department. Records include correspondence and other files relating to the acquisition of materials at the University Library, including 100 ledger books listing accessions. Included are some records that pre-date the formal establishment of the Order Department.|
|Creator||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Acquisitions Department.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
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The Acquisitions Department (formerly the Order Department) was responsible for the processing of the majority of the book materials acquired by the Academic Affairs Library through purchase or gift. The department's major divisions were the Order Section and the Gifts and Exchanges Section. The department head reported to the Associate Librarian for Technical Services.Back to Top
Records include correspondence and other files relating to the acquisition of materials at the University Library, including 100 ledger books listing accessions. Included are some records that pre-date the formal establishment of the Order Department.Back to Top
This series includes the annual narrative and statistical reports of activities for the Acquisitions Department and its subsections.
This series includes lists and registers of gifts to the Library predating the establishment of the Acquisitions Department. See also Records of the Library Gifts and Exchanges Section, a separate records group in the Archives.
List compiled by David L. Swain as part of the manuscript volume "History of the University of North Carolina."
From 1894 until the middle of the twentieth century, the University Librarian and later the Acquisitions Department accessioned library acquisitions numerically in ledgers. The ledgers include the date of acquisition, title and author, number of volumes, size of volumes, publication data, and source of acquisition. There are two series of ledgers: Series 1 for the Main Collection and Series 2 for the Serials Collection. The North Carolina Collection and the Law Library maintained separate acquisition ledgers, which continue to be held by those agencies. In December 1948, the Order Department (predecessor of the Acquisitions Department) discontinued using registers for Main Collection materials and began recording accession numbers on shelf list cards. The Serials Registers were maintained until 1955.
While the registers of both series run chronologically, there are many breaks in the numerical sequences. It is probable that blocks of numbers were assigned to the North Carolina Collection and to the Law Library. However, in most cases, no explanation is given in the registers. For a fuller discussion of the accession registers, see the following memorandum by Louis Round Wilson:
Memorandum Concerning Series of Large and Small Accession Books
The series of large accession books was begun in the fall of 1894 and it and the volumes which succeeded it contain the record of current acquisitions received after that date until the keeping of accession books was terminated.
The questions may arise, why did it begin with number 24,401? The answer is simple. It began with that number because at the time the accession record was begun in 1894 it was estimated, or established by count, that the University Library, after merging with the Di and Phi libraries, contained 24,400 volumes. None of them had been accessioned. So the new accessions began at that point.
It may also be asked why did the series of small accession books which began in 1901 start with the number 1? Again the answer is simple. No accession record had been kept from 1795 up to 1894. The small accession book series was begun so that there might be a list of the books received from 1795 to 1894 by the Societies and the University which were merged in 1892-93 or about that time.
That is a part of the answer. The other part of the answer grows out of the fact that in the summer of 1901 the Library began to reclassify and recatalog the books in the merged library, of which 24,400 had never been accessioned and about 8,000 of which had been accessioned since 1894.
In recataloging it was customary to put accession numbers on the main author cards. Consequently, as sections of the Library, such as Economics and English, which contained many unaccessioned books, were recataloged in the summer of 1901, it was necessary to enter them in the small accession books so that accession numbers could be placed on the main author cards. The desirability of this can be seen in the case of a set of books, some of which had been acquired before 1894 and others after. It was supposed that in the course or recataloging all of the numbers up to 24,400 would be used. And that was about what happened with one exception. After 1914, with new assistants taking over accessioning, some titles acquired after 1894 crept into the record, and in 1938 someone who had no knowledge of the facts set forth above saw some blank pages at hand and filled them up, duplicating numbers from 24,400 to 25,000!
Two further facts may be noted. In March 1919, after the purchase of the Weeks Collection of North Caroliniana, the North Carolina Collection began keeping a separate accession book; and in March, 1922, the serials department did likewise. I understand that the Law School did likewise at a later date. The librarians of those units turned in to the Library annually an account of the number of accessions so they could be included in the total used by the Main Library in reporting its annual acquisitions.
Now a comment about another mystery which is related to the large accession books recording entries for 1901, 1902, and 1903. The total at the end of December, 1903, is indicated as 34,519. But my printed report in the December Record for 1903 shows the total as being 41,288. How can the difference of 6,769 be explained? It cannot be explained exactly, because the dates in the accession book are not set down sharply showing exactly where the years began and ended. Then there could have been errors in printing. But the main increase of 6,769 volumes was due to an actual recount of all books in the University in the summer of 1902. The recount included in addition to the merged collections in Smith Hall all unaccessioned books in the professional school and departmental libraries, in the North Carolina Historical Society Collection, and in the Di and Phi Halls and elsewhere in the University. The count was made by two student assistants and myself. The total arrived at in 1902 with this addition has been used in computing totals since. Discrepancies may be found, but this represented the Library's complete holdings.
Louis R. Wilson
2 October, 1954
The general correctness of my foregoing explanation of the number of volumes in the Library at the end of 1901 as contrasted in the number indicated in the accession book for that date is largely borne out by the following excerpts from the Report of Richard Wyche, the Librarian, in the Minutes of the Trustees, 1891-1898, pages 515-516, on February 17, 1896, which I have just discovered. The Report covered the period from September 1, 1894 to December 28, 1895. Wyche estimated at that time that the Library contained 36,000 volumes.
"The gifts for 1894-95 were not all counted, but probably 125 volumes would be a fair estimate, giving a total of 857 volumes for the year."
"The books catalogued and those not catalogues, but arranged on shelves, were counted about a year ago and found to be about 24,000. These leaves and allowance of 11,000 to cover duplicates, public documents, and others upstairs and in closets, and the Elisha Mitchell Library."
When the 857 volumes are added to the 35,000 noted above, they give a round figure of 36,000. Wyche could easily have overestimated the number of duplicates and of unaccessioned volumes in the public document collection and the Mitchell Society Collection and the books outside the main room of Smith Hall such as the departmental libraries, the North Carolina Historical Society Collection, the Shakespeare Club Collection, and a number of books retained in the Halls of the Literary Societies. A number of the duplicates were sold or otherwise disposed of about the middle of the 1890's. I did not find as many books unaccessioned as Wyche estimated. My count exceeded the accession record by 6,769, Wyche's by 11,000. As I have suggested, some of the unaccessioned books in 1895 may have been accessioned prior to the end of 1901, and some of the duplicates may have been disposed of. The North Carolina Room has a list of duplicates that were sold, but there is no record, so far as I know, of any other disposition of them.
Louis R. Wilson
Chapel Hill, NC
1 December, 1954
Volumes 1-5 record the accessions of library holdings acquired prior to 1894. They were compiled in 1894, at the time of the consolidation of the University, Dialectic Society, and Philanthropic Society libraries. Accession numbers 1-24400 were reserved for this purpose.
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