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Victory Book Campaign records

Collection Data

Description
The Victory Book Campaign (VBC), originally named the National Defense Book Campaign, was established in 1941 by the American Library Association, the American Red Cross, and United Service Organizations (USO). The Campaign's purpose was to collect and distribute books to members of the armed services. The VBC was dissolved in 1943. Collection consists of correspondence, minutes, press releases, posters, photographs, and other materials relevant to the activities of the Victory Book Campaign. Organization series contains correspondence, lists, manuals, and reprints of photographs of New York Public Library World War I book drive. Operations series includes minutes, budgets and related records. Collection & Distribution series has reports, lists, statistics, and other documentation pertaining to the handling of books. Transportation & Warehouses materials consist of correspondence, bills of lading and lists for the shipment and storage of books. Also, correspondence between VBC headquarters and regional offices; publicity materials including correspondence, posters and press releases; and photographs of Campaign events and participating celebrities.
Names
Victory Book Campaign (Creator)
New York Public Library (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1941 - 1944
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 3164
Topics
Books
World War, 1939-1945 -- War work
Victory Book Campaign
Genres
Photographs
Posters
Correspondence
Documents
Notes
Biographical/historical: The Victory Book Campaign (VBC), originally named the National Defense Book Campaign, was established in November 1941 by the American Library Association, the American Red Cross, and United Service Organizations (USO). Its founding was prompted by the need for reading matter among U. S. troops, whose number had been greatly increased by the Selective Service and Training Act of 1940, extended in September 1941 in anticipation of U. S. involvement in World War II. The campaign's purpose was to collect and distribute books as a supplement to the library service maintained by the Army and Navy in forts, camps, posts, stations, and on ships, as well as to supply books to the USO houses outside the camps and to the American Merchant Marine Library Association. Eventually the VBC also supplied books to servicemen in prisoner of war camps. The first director of the VBC was Althea Warren, city librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library. John M. Connor assumed the directorship in May 1941. An executive board comprised two representatives and one alternate from each sponsoring organization. An advisory committee was composed of the executive board members and one representative from each of the following cooperating organizations: American Merchant Marine Library Association, Boy Scouts of America, Camp Fire Girls, Inc., Catholic Library Association, Girl Scouts, Inc., National Congress of Parents and Teachers, National Recreation Association, Special Libraries Association, and the Work Project Administration's Library Service Division. The actual collection campaign was organized on a state plan with directors for each of the 48 states and the District of Columbia. The campaign, which was headquartered in an office in the Empire State Building in New York City, officially began with a celebrity event at the New York Public Library, January 12, 1941. In its two years of operation, the VBC collected 17,000,000 books, distributing 10,000,000 of them. The executive board chose, however, to dissolve the VBC December 31, 1943, following the War and Navy departments' decision to allocate funds for 35,000,000 books for overseas distribution.
Content: Organization consists of correspondence, lists, manuals, and other material relating to the organization of the VBC. It includes reprints of photographs of a New York Public Library World War I book drive event. Operations include the minutes of the VBC, budgets, and other records relevant to the campaign's functioning. Collection & Distribution are reports, lists, statistics, and other documentation pertaining to the actual collection and distribution of books. Transportation & Warehouses include correspondence, bills of lading, and lists for the shipment and storage of books. Correspondence with Service Commands, States, is the correspondence between VBC headquarters and regional liaison librarians and state and local campaign directors, arranged alphabetically by state. Publicity consists of files on cooperating organizations and individuals and includes correspondence, posters, and press releases. Pictures are primarily photographs, although there are also a few photostats of VBC posters. Many of the photographs are of the opening campaign event at the New York Public Library and such celebrated individuals as Kitty Carlisle, Lewis Gannett, Katharine Hepburn, Fiorello LaGuardia, Gypsy Rose Lee, Chico Marx, and Wendell Wilkie. With the exception of those in the Picture series, all folders were labeled by the VBC.
Acquisition: Received from Victory Book Campaign (?)
Physical Description
Extent: 5 linear feet (5 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Type of Resource
Text
Identifiers
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11992519
MSS Unit ID: 3164
Archives collections id: archives_collections_3164
RLIN/OCLC: NYPW94-A389
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): c2cd85f0-c90c-0138-3387-0f777ab4d564
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