Publications: Viewpoints, 1919-1925

From 1919 through 1925, the American Library Association produced a series of resources to support popular topical reading in libraries in innovative subject bibliographies known as Viewpoints: Essays in Interpretive Bibliography. Each publication is a bibliography rich with recommendations and summaries of publications available in many public libraries. Read on to learn more about Viewpoints!

In 1919, Viewpoints in Travel was published. Written by Vice-Director of the Pratt Institute Josephine A. Rathbone (A.L.A. President 1931-1932), this publication includes 64 pages of book titles sorted by subject, ranging from “adventures” to “women in many lands”. At the book’s end, there is an author index (from K. M. Abbott’s Old Paths and Legends of the New England Border to Zeynep Hanım’s A Turkish Woman’s European Impressions and a geographical index (from Africa to Zanzibar) too. The cover art was drawn by A. L. Gustill. The recommended books were selected from previous A.L.A. resources and some of the supplementary notes were borrowed from the Buffalo Public Library‘s Open Shelf List too.

In 1921, Viewpoints in Biography was published. Written by New York Evening Post librarian Katherine Tappert, this publication includes 53 pages of book titles sorted by subject, ranging from the “Adams Family” to “The West”. At the book’s end, there is an author index and a biographical subject index too. Some of the recommended titles were selected from Anna Robeson Brown Burr’s The Autobiography: A Critical and Comparative Study to Waldo Hilary Dunn’s English Biography.

In 1922, Viewpoints in Essays was published. Written by Los Angeles Public librarian Marion Horton, this publication includes 47 pages of book titles sorted by subject, ranging from “Observations and Reflections” to “Collections of Essays”. At the book’s end, there is an author index and a book title index too. The recommended titles were selected from many contemporary library resources, including A. L. A. Catalog and Supplement (Record Series 13/15/12), Booklist (Record Series 13/3/4), Book Review Digest, Best Books, Buffalo Public Library‘s Open Shelf, the Pittsburgh Catalog, and Monthly Bulletin. In fact, the author attributes “part of the preliminary collection of titles” as the work of the Los Angeles Library School Class of 1920!

In 1925, Viewpoints in Modern Drama was published. Written by Brown University assistant librarian Francis K. W. Drury, this publication includes 93 pages of play titles in English (from “Abraham Lincoln” by John Drinkwater to Stefan Zweig’s “Jeremiah”) and books on plays too. At the book’s end, there is a single alphabetical index which includes both book titles with author names. The recommended titles were compiled from earlier bibliographies, including John M. Clapp’s Plays for Amateurs, as wells as both Samuel Marion Tucker’s many contemporary bibliographies and those of Clarence Stratton too.

For half a decade, the Viewpoints series, under editor Josephine Rathbone, produce a variety of interpretative bibliographies for librarians and libraries alike. Equally as various as the publications themselves, were the authors and their collaborators from across the U.S. in libraries everywhere.

Copies Available at Your ALA Archives

Physical copies of Viewpoints are available for viewing at the ALA Archives. Please view the Record Series 13/10/21 database record entry, for more information.

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