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The Story of Carolyn Ulrich

Origins of Systematic Serials Control
Remembering Carolyn Ulrich

Reference Services Review, 1988, vol. 16, issue 2. Reprinted with permission from Pierian Press .

Charles D. Patterson, Column Editor, Landmarks of Reference
Patterson was professor of library science at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge

"The public demand will soon force upon our attention the fact that libraries must provide a method adequate to the tremendous task of making immediately accessible the vast amount of material contained in current periodicals, and also that libraries must maintain a staff adequate to assist the research worker. The future of the large current periodical room lies in blending the aspect of a reference library and a general circulating library." (CUR, October, 1926)

The January 1987 issue of Access , a quarterly update from R.R. Bowker Company, contains a brief article entitled "Ulrich's: A Prime Source in Any Format." This short piece tells us that 1987 marked the silver anniversary of the founding of Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory and that we have good reason to celebrate. The reason is that Ulrich's, and its sister publications, Irregular Serials and Annuals and Bowker's Serials Database Update , are now available on CD-ROM and known as Ulrich's PLUS . The article states that "this electronic disc format offers high speed access, multiple search points and ease of use." The article also informs us that data for Ulrich's are continuously revised and updated by no less than thirteen editors who have multilingual skills and whose combined efforts provide indepth profiles of seventy thousand serials and thirty-five thousand irregulars published worldwide, that there are updates for more than sixty-five thousand entries, and that there is a "descriptive analysis of the content and point of view of each publication." And, finally, that all periodicals are subject indexed. 1

This statistical information is impressive and one marvels at what modern technology combined with creative know-how has done with an idea that began in the mind of one librarian whose first monographic publication was known as Periodicals Directory: A Classified Guide to a Selected List of Current Periodicals Foreign and Domestic . 2 A volume of this directory was first published in 1932, and since then it has flourished and grown to monumental proportions. The year 1987 marked the fifty-fifth anniversary of its first publication.

It is perhaps not generally known that many of the basic reference books found in the collections of all libraries were created by librarians, librarians who recognized the need for access to a certain kind of information but found no readily available means of retrieving the information. Thus a file or listing of information was created. Such a file was used primarily by the members of the library staff to locate quickly information that in many cases was needed by a staff member or needed to answer an inquiry made by a patron. Because of such efforts, we have the many indexes, bibliographies, guides, handbooks, and directories that have become indispensable in our work and have become essential in maintaining efficient library operations and providing effective reference service. Unfortunately, many people who use the library take these reference works for granted, neither realizing nor understanding the amount of research required to compile a reference book of this type.


As all librarians know, the author of Periodicals Directory: A Classified Guide to a Selected List of Current Periodicals Foreign and Domestic was the former chief of the periodicals division of the New York Public Library (NYPL), Carolyn Ulrich. Writing in the preface to the first edition of the Directory, Ulrich states that "The need for an up-to-date classified list of foreign and domestic periodicals has long been felt." 3 Simply stated, it is because Carolyn Ulrich responded to that need that we now have Ulrich's Plus .

Who was Carolyn Ulrich? She was a librarian, to be sure. Her record of employment can easily be traced through such standard biographical works as Who's Who in Library Service and Who's Who in America , and her writings are to be found in the issues of Library Literature published between 1922 and 1947. 4 However, virtually nothing seems to have been written about the woman whose name for over half a century has been associated with what has become an essential and major reference source. This fact prompted my intense interest in, and my eventual investigation and examination of, materials relating to the life and contributions of the woman who pioneered efforts in the management and bibliographic control of serial literature.

Carolyn Farquhar Ulrich was born in Oakland , California , on 16 August 1880, the daughter of Lina Linck (Hartman) and Rudolph Ulrich. Little is known of her childhood. It is believed, however, that she had a brother. At some point following her birth, the family moved to New York . Ulrich entered Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn , New York , in 1897. She received her diploma in 1901. While in high school, she studied both French and German, in addition to the regular curriculum. 5 Later she was also to study Latin. Ulrich apparently had an interest in the arts, for following graduation from high school, she attended Pratt Institute Art School for one year. Her interest in library work became evident between the years 1901 and 1906, and in 1906 she began working as an assistant in the Brooklyn Public Library. At this point she had had no formal library training. Undoubtedly feeling the need for such training, she attended the Albany Summer Library School during the summer of 1907. Fortified with this experience, she remained an assistant at the Brooklyn library until 1912. In 1913 she became "first assistant," a position she held until 1917. Ulrich apparently continued to be concerned about improving and continuing her education, for during the years 1912 and 1914, she registered for, and completed, extension courses in literature and in Chinese and Japanese art at Columbia University and New York University .

In April 1917, at the age of thirty-seven, 6 Ulrich applied for admission to the certificate program in library science at Pratt Institute, an established program of library education, which had been founded in 1890. At the time she applied she was living at 34 Jefferson Avenue in Brooklyn . 7 When queried about previous library experience on the application for admission, she of course stated the Brooklyn Public Library, and specified "9 years--41/2 as first assistant (Eligible for Branch Librarian)." 8 Another question inquired about the character and extent of the applicant's reading habits. To this question her response was "Varied and extensive--Interested in Art, Philosophy and representative writings in all Literature." 9 Her year at Pratt Institute must have been an exciting one, and her previous practical library work augured well for her life as a student. A student information/evaluation form describes her dress as "absolutely correct in taste and style. Sport clothes types." Ulrich was also described as having a "good social manner;" a "cultivated voice;" "good looking presence," and as being in "excellent health." 10 Other comments described Ulrich and her work as "gracious and very efficient, lots of enthusiasm and great energy, unfailing tact, unusual literary taste, and has good sense." 11 Apparently cataloging was not a strong area; in this area Ulrich was described as "a little careless but turns work off rapidly." 12 The person completing the form could not recommend her for either cataloging or for work with children but could recommend her for "executive work or organizing." 13

Ulrich completed the requirements for the certificate program in 1918 and joined the "Graduates' Association" of the school. 14 In June she accepted a position with the Bridgeport ( Connecticut ) Public Library as chief of the circulation department and branches (extension work) of the library, at a salary of one thousand dollars. 15 The following year, she was listed in the Bridgeport City Directory as an employee of the public library and as domiciled at 369 Golden Hill Street , Bridgeport . 16

The Municipal Register for Bridgeport , Connecticut , for 1919 states that Henry N. Sanborn was the city librarian, and that Ulrich was chief of the circulation and branch department in the library system. 17 It is also of interest to note that in the Register a Marion Cutter is listed as "Chief of the Children's Department, High School Reference and School Departments," 18 also in the Bridgeport Public Library. Cutter and Ulrich seem to have been destined to become good friends as this seems to have been the beginning of an enduring association that would extend over the next five decades.

Henry Sanborn must have been extremely pleased to have the executive insights and organizational abilities of Ulrich at work on the library staff. The "Thirty-Eighth Annual Report of the Bridgeport Public Library and Reading Room" contains a section that reflects a flurry of activity in the library's circulation department, all of which was undoubtedly the result of Ulrich's forceful influence. The passage reads as follows:

The administrative system of this department has been almost wholly reorganized. With branches it was necessary to install a system of central registration so that a borrower's card may be used at any branch or at the main building. The method of reserving books was changed. The number of books allowed a reader at one time was increased from two to four. The manner of notifying readers of books overdue and of collecting fines was much simplified. Rules and directions for the guidance of the staff were drawn up; and the assistants were given elementary training in the work of the department.

The binding is also at present being cared for in this department; both binding of magazines and unbound accessions and rebinding for all the departments in the main library. During the year, 3479 volumes were bound. 19

Concerning the extension work of the library, the report says the following:

The establishment of traveling libraries in factories and institutions was begun in 1919. Some of the stations having been started as late as May. At present there are 1803 volumes in these collections. Arrangements are being made to establish stations at the Crane Company, Columbia Graphophone Company, American Chain Company, Lake Torpedo Boat Company. Total number of books circulated 1,255 (during four months).

Books are circulated by the Custodian one half hour each week. At three factories they are starting to circulate them one half hour three times a week owing to the increased demand.

In two of the factories, classes for Americanization have been started and the library has been put in the classroom and circulated from there by the teacher in charge. The collection at these two factories consists of books on Americanization and Aids to Foreigners, Elementary technical books on the things the factory produces and books for recreation. 20

This portion of the annual report clearly outlines Ulrich's areas of responsibility. The reference to binding is of particular significance in that this task provided Ulrich with invaluable experience in working with serials that she would later use in her position as chief of the periodicals division of the New York Public Library, a position she held for many years.

In the thirty-ninth annual report of the library, which appeared in 1920, Sanborn and Ulrich are still listed in their respective positions, but Cutter had apparently resigned her post as chief of the children's department. 21 In this report we again see what at that time must have been an innovative change in the operation of the circulation department, which was still under Ulrich's leadership. A portion of the report details the change as follows:

The most apparent change at the Main Building has been the rearrangement of the Circulation Department so as to give the public free access to all the books on the shelves. Although the old-fashioned high wooden shelving is not well adapted for public use, the public seems very willing to put up with this inconvenience for the privilege of consulting the books on the shelves. The reclassification of the Library has now progressed so far that, with the shelf labels, the users can easily find the classes they wish.

The rearrangement of the circulation department has made it possible to render much better service desks, outside the charging desk, at which are stationed attendants especially qualified to assist readers in using the catalog and finding the particular books or subjects they wish, leaving the attendants at the charging desk free to charge and discharge books and attend to the registration of new borrowers.

The opening of the shelves to the public, the new privilege of borrowing any number of books at a time, the privilege of reserving any book, even a new novel, and the removal of the requirement of a guarantor, have done much to make the public feel that the library is theirs and that it is not tied up with unnecessary red tape. 22

When Ulrich applied for admission to the certificate program in library science at Pratt Institute (1917), she was asked whether she would consider accepting a position, if qualified for it, anywhere in the United States . Ulrich's response was "Yes, preferably in vicinity of New York ." 23 It may thus have been a desire to return to New York that caused Ulrich to change positions sometime in October of 1920. The job that lured her back to the city was acting head of the central circulation branch of the New York Public Library. This was a challenging position, but it was one for which she had had excellent training while she was on the staff of the Bridgeport library. As it turned out, she was to hold this position for two years. In 1922 she became chief of the Periodicals Division of the NYPL, a position she held until she retired on 31 March 1946. Her retirement address was 1170 Valencia Ave. , Winter Park , Florida . 24


Articles and Reviews
Carolyn Ulrich published throughout most of her professional life, and her articles and reviews reflect the range of her professional experience. Most of her writing concerns periodicals and serials management and was published in Library Literature. As chief of the circulation department of the Bridgeport Connecticut Public Library, she no doubt contributed reports that ultimately were included in the annual reports published from 1918 to 1920, and she no doubt contributed to the annual reports of the New York Public Library when she was a member of that staff. At the NYPL Ulrich was an active member of several committees, including the welfare, constitutional, and publicity committees, and an active member of the executive board; she was also president of the NYPL library staff association. This information has been preserved in the Staff News, an inhouse publication of the NYPL. 25

Ulrich's name appears in the pages of the ALA Bulletin as early as 1920 when she is listed as vice-chairman of the American Library Association (ALA) Lending Section. 26 At that time she was in charge of lending (circulation) at the Bridgeport Public Library. When Ulrich returned to New York and the NYPL, her position was acting head of central circulation. It is logical then that she would address the Lending Section at the ALA Detroit Conference on the importance of psychological contacts with the reading public. Ulrich declares:

To adjust oneself to the conduct of others and to manipulate the work in connection with the conduct of others to the best advantage, is the great criterion in the business world, and instruction along this line has not been a part of the librarian's training. The training of executives to be trainers in the psychological contacts of library work is the great need in order that the assistant may be taught to meet arising situations through channels of reasoning instead of being told to be tactful.

Psychology should be taught in the library schools in order to equip graduates to bridge the existing gap between execution of routine work and application of the ideal requirements in daily relation with people. Psychology is a part of the training for other professions, why not for the library? 27

Ulrich clearly recognized it was not only extremely important but also necessary that members of a library staff working in the areas of public service fully understand the significance of a favorable relationship with the library patron and that:

The loan desk is the medium between the book and the borrower and since it is the aim of the library to develop the thought of its community, it is essential that the loan desk be awakened to the realization of the important mental contacts about it. 28

By 1926 Ulrich had been chief of the NYPL periodicals division for four years. In her remarks before the Periodical Round Table at the ALA fiftieth anniversary conference held in Philadelphia and Atlantic City in October, she discussed the "Future of Periodical Work." Ulrich stressed that magazines are a powerful factor in the diffusion of knowledge and have a tremendous influence upon the reading millions of the country, that magazines had changed greatly in the past fifty years, and finally that:

The public demand will soon force upon our attention the fact that libraries must provide a method adequate to the tremendous task of making immediately accessible the vast amount of material contained in current periodicals, and also that libraries must maintain a staff adequate to assist the research worker. The future of the large current periodical room lies in blending the aspect of a reference library and a general circulating library. 29

Ulrich reiterated, and expanded upon, these remarks when she read a paper before a gathering of librarians of small libraries at the same conference. The full text of this address, "The Future of Periodical Work in Libraries," was published in the 15 December 1926 issue of Library Journal. 30

Ulrich was to become a familiar figure at library meetings. At the June 1927 ALA Toronto conference, she spoke about "A Current Periodicals Room in a Metropolis" before the ALA Periodical Round Table, which she chaired in 1927 and 1928. 31

By 1931 Ulrich had been chief of the NYPL periodicals division for nine years, and that year she served as acting chair of the ALA Periodicals Section. 32 One of her earliest articles, however, did not appear in a professional library publication, but in one called Sales Management. In a 1931 article entitled "Executives Seek More Help from Business Papers," Ulrich describes the work of the periodicals division in meeting the mercurial needs of a very active business community, which relied heavily upon the library for current journal information. Ulrich states that "Today, about two-thirds of our patrons come for help in their work, and the trend is toward a still greater proportion of reading with a purpose." Half of the more than two thousand newer titles in the division, reported Ulrich, were in the fields of business and trade. These journals, according to Ulrich, were increasing not only in quantity but also in quality, and more specialized titles, such as titles devoted to plastics, were emerging. 33

The July 1935 issue of Library Journal contains an article written by Ulrich. Although the article deals with periodicals, it is directed, not to librarians, but to the publishers of periodicals. The title is "The Plea to Publishers of Periodicals," and the article calls for a uniformity of imprint information so that materials will be more accessible and easier to use for the library user as well as the librarian. 34 Ulrich continued to be active in ALA and at this time was chair of the Joint Committee on Standardization of Periodicals, whose activities were reported in the September 1935 ALA Bulletin . It is reasonable to assume that Ulrich was concerned that publishers be fully cognizant of their responsibility to standardize reference data for periodicals.

In 1936 Ulrich published an article in the Journal of Social Hygiene . The article was called "Social Hygiene in a Large City Library." Contrary to what one might expect, given the title of the article and the journal in which it appears, the article focuses upon the great need for the library to provide recent printed materials on subjects that are often problem centered, such as prospective parenthood, sex hygiene (for children), delinquency and criminology, venereal diseases, and prostitution. Although these materials are essential to social workers, health officials, lawyers, penologists, law enforcement personnel, and others whose professions are concerned with improving the social order, Ulrich points out that such materials also should be available to the lay person, whose attitude had changed and who had become less self-conscious about these subjects generally. As Ulrich states, "social hygiene is an active topic not only in its own specific field but [it is] spreading out into the larger field of public health and seeping through the allied fields of medicine, education, psychology, industry, etc." 35 Although this article was written more than a half century ago, the same problems and concerns confront us today.

In June 1941 Ulrich read a paper at the Boston ALA conference entitled "Some Problems Presented by Current Development in the Periodicals Field," which appeared later that year in the July issue of the Library Journal . As chairman of the ALA Serials Section and representative from the American Standards Association and the ALA to the International Standards Association Committee on Documentation, Ulrich, writing in the shadow of U.S. involvement in the world crisis, argued the importance of having ready access to the diverse information contained in periodicals and government reports, as well as in typewritten and mimeographed news sheets. She also stressed the need for, and desirability of, greater cooperation among library staff members, particularly members of the reference department, in acquiring, disseminating, and using these materials. Among her suggestions was that libraries create a detailed union catalog of serial-type materials using subject headings selected and based upon current usage of the day, rather than on the headings used for books. 36

Ulrich's interest in information about new serial publications became evident with the appearance of the first of a series of annotated bibliographies of new periodicals and serial titles that were published in College and Research Libraries . From June 1940 until April 1946, the month following Ulrich's retirement, these bibliographies were included in the journal from time to time. 37

The first six bibliographies arranged the serials in alphabetical order and included a cross-section of subjects and disciplines. The annotations were quite short, consisting of only a sentence or two. Periodicals selected for inclusion were not limited to English-language periodicals; French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Ukrainian publications were included.

Beginning in 1942, the bibliographies changed to a narrative or article format, and descriptions of titles were arranged under specific subject headings. Actually, Ulrich provided bibliographical essays that observed and commented upon a range of topics facing the nation and the world, as revealed in the new periodical and serial publications. A complete list of the titles discussed is found at the end of each bibliographical essay. The Second World War had an effect on the production and acceleration of publications relating to the war effort. Thus, a number of technical and scientific publications, and publications dealing with economic production emerged. Ulrich's articles reflect this trend, but there are also discussions of titles in the natural and social sciences, and the humanities. Ulrich states that because of the continuing war, few newer periodicals of importance appeared and that eventually the magazine world would ultimately suffer. 38 And it did. As publication costs increased and as paper became rationed, the publication of some titles ceased, or was suspended for the duration of the war, and libraries found it extremely difficult or impossible to complete files of serials.

As the war drew to a close, the emphasis, as reflected in new periodicals, was upon postwar planning and the peacetime application of the technological advances that had been made during the war. Before the end of the war in Europe and the holocaust of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , United States efforts had been centered upon scientific research and experimentation that would aid and support the war and lead to its eventual cessation. Following the war, attention turned to the wartime research that could be used in developing technological advances that would enhance the lives of individuals and society in a peaceful environment. Writing in 1945, Ulrich states that "Sociological interests, however, are now taking an especially prominent place, and there is a more established viewpoint toward race problems, housing conditions, changes in educational curricula, and similar matters concerning the general welfare in a changing world." 39 By 1946 peace had brought many changes on a global scale. Once again attention was focused upon traditional interests and values, and these concerns were reflected in the publications that emerged in a postwar world.

By the time Ulrich published her first book reviews, she was a seasoned and strong advocate of serials librarianship. One may assume that with fifteen years as chief of the NYPL periodicals division and active participation in the American Standards Association and the ALA Serials Committees, Ulrich not only possessed a deep understanding of serials management but also had attained national prominence in this specialized field. In 1937 Ulrich reviewed two publications dealing with serials. Both reviews were published in the Library Journal. The first review was of J. Harris Gable's Manual of Serials Work . Ulrich both praised and criticized the book, and in her review wrote:

Excellent and valuable as extensive articles discussing serials have been, they have not given the comprehensive survey of the large field of work with serials which the author has found possible to provide in this small volume. It is a welcome tool to be used by libraries both large and small and by library schools in furthering interest in serials and in instruction in the handling of them.

While praise should be given for the general idea of the book many details are disappointing [sections of the book] are sketchily written and sadly inadequate when the immense and important field of Serials is taken into consideration and the part that every type of periodical plays in the current development of the world.

It is regrettable that the subject of binding, cataloging, clipping files, furniture and lighting of reading rooms, and preservation of newspapers has been omitted. In spite of these limitations, the Manual is a direct service to libraries. Also, this volume is such a welcome contribution to the study and use of serials that it should go a long way toward developing the effective use of them and toward a wider study of them. Its merits far outweigh its faults and it will take an important place in the literature of its field. 40

In two instances in the passages quoted above, Ulrich mentions the usefulness of the book to library school students studying serials work. Her sensitivity to the instructional dimensions of the book was undoubtedly kindled by the fact that since 1920 she had served both as assistant instructor and lecturer in various library schools, principally the NYPL library school and the library school at Pratt Institute. 41 Familiar with serials work literature, Ulrich understood that students had to have a thorough knowledge of serials management, and that this book would assist in providing students with that knowledge.

The second review was of a national bibliography of serial holdings. This book, entitled Union Catalog of the Periodicals Publications in the University Libraries of the British Isles , provided, for the first time, a comprehensive list of serial titles giving complete bibliographic information and their location in university institutions throughout the British Isles . Of this catalog Ulrich wrote:

The usefulness of periodicals in research work has long been undenied, but the development of adequate reference tools of periodical literature is comparatively recent and the union lists of serials which have increased rapidly in the last decade indicate the widening need of information in this field. In the past our work has been largely with individual libraries and their special development, but the great value of drawing together and organizing printed material is becoming more and more important.

Cooperation, first regionally, then nationally and internationally is bound to necessitate a uniformity of method in recording and utilizing knowledge so that one and the same system is used the world over. It is a pity that such a plan of uniformity is not already established for with great national volumes as this being published throughout the world, if they all conformed to a universal plan, the economic saving would be enormous. 42

Because of her committee work with the American Standards Association, Ulrich fully understood the importance of uniformity of entry among national catalogs of this type, and as England had no publication comparable to our Union List of Serials (which dates from 1927) or a central catalog of its resources like our Library of Congress, Ulrich realized the immense value of the bibliographic endeavor the Union Catalog represented.


Carolyn Ulrich had a catholicity of reading interests, which she had expressed as early as 1917 when she applied for admission to Pratt Institute. Since Ulrich worked with periodicals and serials at the NYPL and was in touch with a variety of these subjects on a daily basis, it is understandable that she would focus her attention upon one or more of the topics that in her opinion lacked ease of access and adequate bibliographic control. One such topic was the graphic arts. According to Ulrich, graphic arts had become so diversified that specialization within this broad topic was necessary. Specifically, she was concerned about the growth of the journal literature devoted to printing and the book arts. This concern was shared by Karl Küp, who was then chief of the prints division and responsible for the development of the Spencer Collection of illustrated books at the NYPL. Ulrich and Küp collaborated and produced Books and Printing, A Selected List of Periodicals, 1800-1942 , which was published in 1943. This bibliography represents not only an examination and subsequent description of the serial holdings of the NYPL, but also an examination and description of the serial holdings of other libraries:

Much time was spent listing and checking the periodicals on subjects possibly belonging or related to the book arts. The New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, Harvard, Columbia and Yale University libraries, the Grolier Club, and the Newberry Library generously put their holdings at the disposal of the editors in order that each item might be carefully examined and considered for inclusion. Unfortunately, the War made it impossible to search the great European collections, such as the St. Bride's Foundation and the British Museum in London , the Plantin Museum at Antwerp , the Gutenberg Museum at Mainz and other significant collections on the continent. 43

The foreword to this volume was provided by Frederic G. Melcher and reads in part as follows:

This volume is perhaps not only a new and needed bibliography, but also an example of a new type of bibliography. It is not just a listing of the sources of materials on the graphic arts but a practical grouping, under familiar headings, of the best and most useful material.

Though much of the best literature of the graphic arts has been put into books, and collections of such volumes are widely available, there is a still more varied literature in periodical form. All this can now be easily traced and put into use through the labors which find fruition in this book. 44

Books and Printing was reviewed in the Library Journal and the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, among other publications. The former review, written by George L. McKay, curator of The Grolier Club of New York , is primarily descriptive. The latter review, written by Lawrence Clark Powell, director of the library at the University of California at Los Angeles , is both descriptive and evaluative, and notes several errors Powell determined in the book. Overall, however, his remarks are positive. He concludes his review by stating that the "work is nobly conceived and brilliantly executed." With the 1940 observance of the five hundredth anniversary of printing from moveable type recently having taken place, the publication and availability of this bibliography must have been welcomed by bibliophiles the world over. 45

Ulrich again collaborated, this time with Frederic J. Hoffman and Charles Allen. The book was The Little Magazine, A History and a Bibliography and was published in 1946 by Princeton University Press. Explaining the volume's purpose, the authors state in its preface,

This book is an attempt, first of all, to give to each of these little magazines the attention it merits and the credit it deserves, as an important source of information about twentieth century writing; secondly, to give to the subject as a whole--to all of the magazines--an order and pattern which will help us discover them and learn the special value of each. For, as most of these magazines enjoyed an erratic career, they neither courted the plaudits of conventional critics nor concerned themselves over the efforts of scholars to find them or librarians to collect them. The authors of this book are confident therefore that it will be of considerable value to the many who are curious about the literary history of our century and to the large and ever-growing number of students and critics who want specific information about a number of subjects related to little magazines. 46

In the late 1930s and early 1940s Allen had published a series of articles on the little magazine that appeared in American Prefaces (a little magazine) and so was very familiar with its important "contribution to the social history of our century and a valuable addition to the serious development of its aesthetic awareness." 47 Hoffman also had published an article on the little magazine that had appeared in Saturday Review of Literature and was likewise writing about a subject with which he was familiar. 48 Though not unfamiliar with the history of the little magazine, Ulrich's major contribution to this volume was no doubt the extensive bibliography and its supplementary listing, which combined totaled more than 600 annotated entries. Hundreds of little magazines had been published since the early part of the century; selecting the titles to be included must have been a difficult and arduous task. To be included "a magazine must have had, in the authors' estimation, some importance in the history of modern literature or have published some work of merit." 49

The search for titles for inclusion in the bibliography of The Little Magazine involved an examination of the serial holdings of the NYPL as well as public, private, and academic libraries in other areas of the United States . Ulrich received a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. 50 The resulting publication was described by one reviewer as "the first comprehensive work which covers the period beginning around 1910 and going to 1945. This book very properly covers not only publications in America and England , but also those brought out on the Continent by Americans or Englishmen...." 51 The book was extensively reviewed and, with a few minor exceptions, the reviews were favorable. The general opinion was that the work filled a long-felt need. In 1947, the year following publication of the book and the year in which Ulrich retired, a bibliography of little magazines was published in the Bulletin of The New York Public Library . This list, a collaborative effort of Ulrich and Eugenia Patterson, also a member of the periodicals division staff, was assembled with the aid of The Little Magazine but drew heavily upon the little magazine holdings of the NYPL, one of the largest collections of such materials in the United States. 52


Ulrich had been the head of the NYPL periodicals division for ten years when the first edition of the Directory was published in 1932. One may say with confidence that throughout its fifty-five year history, this publication has been one of the most popular and highly respected titles in the reference literature. One may also say that the Directory has been unique among all the works of this genre. From the beginning, the Directory met with approval and applause both in this country and abroad. The reviews published over the years faithfully document its acceptance and continued growth.

The first edition of the Directory consisted of 6,000 titles arranged under 183 subject headings, had 323 pages, and sold for $10.00. The second edition, which appeared in 1935, sold for $12.00. The new edition increased the number of titles to 8,200 and had "the added feature of bibliographies which are entered under each subject following the list of the current periodicals," as well as "subject heading[s] printed in italics as a sort of running-title at the head of the first column of each page....additional indexing services....[and] various characteristics of the periodicals listed...indicated by symbols and abbreviations." 53

The third edition, published in 1938, had 10,200 titles arranged under 148 subject headings. In his comprehensive review of this edition Rudolph Gjelsness writes:

The limitation as to the type of publication to be included remains about the same as in previous editions. Only titles which appear at regular or stated periods of less than a year have been considered and primarily those which follow the custom of periodicals to form volumes annually or more frequently and which have a distinctive title. This has excluded from consideration annual reports, many proceedings and transactions, monograph series, and publications of government bodies. 54

The fourth edition (1943) was published during World War II and was called the inter-American edition because of its emphasis upon Latin American publications. Gjelsness quotes Ulrich, who had reported in 1941 that because of the difficulty in obtaining up-to-date information about periodicals from European countries affected by the war:

an attempt [instead] would be made to cover more adequately than had been done in previous editions, the periodicals of the Western Hemisphere . This has been accomplished for the countries of North, Central and South America, the West Indies, and the Hawaiian Islands . 55

Although this was a smaller volume, having only 6,000 titles as compared with the 10,200 in the 1938 edition, the price increased to $15.00 dollars.

The fifth edition was published in 1947 and was known as the postwar edition. This was the last edited by Ulrich, who had retired from the NYPL staff in March of the preceding year. The edition was once again global in scope. There were other changes as well. For example, the bibliographies introduced in the second edition were discontinued.

Because of the exhaustive treatment of current bibliography now covered by the Bibliographic Index published by the H.W. Wilson Company, the practice of recording bibliographies following each subject group has been discontinued. 56

Dorothy Comins, in her review of this edition, reports:

An interesting feature of this latest edition, which one may guess will not be repeated, is an 18-page list of Clandestine Periodicals of World War II from fourteen European countries prepared by Adrienne Florence Muzzy. 57

Muzzy had also been a member of the NYPL staff.

There seem to have been no reviews for the sixth, seventh, eighth, or tenth editions of the Directory. None were uncovered in an extensive search of the literature. The former three editions were edited by Eileen C. Graves and continued to increase in both size and cost as follows:

1951 - 6th ed. 534p. $17.50

1953 - 7th ed. 684p. $20.00

1956 - 8th ed. 730p. $22.50

The ninth edition, published in 1959, had 15,000 titles grouped under 181 subject headings, consisted of 825 pages, and cost $22.50. In his review, Harold Lancour notes that

The preface does point out that, in keeping with the times, the new edition provides an expanded coverage of periodicals published outside of the United States including over 400 Slavonic titles. One finds also representations from the newly developing countries of Africa and the East. 58

and that

The final feature of the ninth edition and unique to it, is a selected list of current newspapers both of the United States and of foreign countries, compiled by S.J. Riccardi, Chief of the Newspaper Division of The New York Public Library. 59

The tenth edition was published in 1963, had 20,000 titles, and cost $22.50.

With the publication of the eleventh edition of the Directory came a significant change in format: the work was divided into two volumes. Volume one, published in 1965, covered scientific, technical, and medical periodicals; volume two, published in 1966, covered the arts, humanities, social sciences, and business. The two volumes contained 28,000 titles and sold for $30.00. Dividing the Directory into two volumes according to subject presented some problems, and to partially alleviate the inevitable "gap" in both time and titles, R.R. Bowker decided to begin issuing separate supplements. The first of these included about 2,000 entries. In addition to listing new periodicals, the supplement also covered journals that had ceased publication and journals that had undergone changes of title or address. The eleventh edition was a "landmark" in that it was the first time the word "International" appeared in the title. Writing in the Library Journal , reviewer Robert Krupp observed that "there is now a periodical abbreviation section, a subject guide to abstracting and indexing, and the addition of eight new subject classifications such as air pollution, seismology, speleology and, most important, meetings and congresses." 60

With journal literature beginning to proliferate, R.R. Bowker published its first edition of Irregular Serials and Annuals in 1967.

The twelfth edition of the Directory, now edited by Marietta Chicorel, was also published in two volumes. Volume one covered scientific, medical, and technical journals, and appeared in 1967; volume two covered the arts, humanities, business, and social sciences, and appeared in 1968. This edition, the first to be produced with the aid of a computer, contained comprehensive listings of United States little magazines and underground newspapers, and an international list of military periodicals.

The thirteenth edition, published in 1969, also consisted of two volumes, but the volumes were no longer divided on the basis of subject content. They were arranged and divided alphabetically by title. In all, some 40,000 titles were arranged under 223 subject headings, and both volumes sold for $34.50. A supplement to this edition, consisting of some 5,000 new titles, appeared in 1970.

When the fourteenth, two-volume edition of the Directory was published in 1971, an unprecedented 50,000 periodicals published throughout the world were represented. The set consisted of 2,000 pages, and the cost had risen to $42.50. A feature of this edition was the expanded coverage of titles from India , Japan , and Latin America . The work contained a separate listing of 1,400 titles that had ceased publication since the previous edition.

The fifteenth edition returned to the single volume format and covered the years 1973-1974. The work included 55,000 titles arranged under 249 subject headings and sold for $46.50. An important new feature of this edition was the inclusion in the main entry of the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) and an indication of sources of microfilm. In addition, suggested Dewey numbers were included for the first time. This edition was extensively reviewed. The longest review appeared in Booklist and states in part:

Classifications have been updated since the last edition. Ten new subjects have been added; 10 others expanded with additional subheadings, and 20 have been dropped or incorporated with others. Housing and Urban Planning is an new section with 380 entries, and Women's Interests is another with 207. The number of environmental journals has been increased by 25 percent; ethnic interests which includes black interests and American Indian interests, by 50 percent; communications, by 10 percent. 61

In his American Reference Books Annual (ARBA) review, Bohdan Wynar quotes a study by Elliot Palais, which cites a number of pitfalls ( Ulrich's frequent inaccuracies in citing foreign indexing and abstracting services) in this edition, but Wynar concludes his review by stating that "critical comments are not meant to belittle this truly outstanding reference tool." 62

The number of periodicals indexed in the Directory constantly increased. The sixteenth edition (1975-1976) included 2,000 more titles than the fifteenth edition. There were, however, fewer pages (2,289 compared with 2,706). The reduction in the number of pages was achieved by using a three-column instead of a two-column format, together with a smaller type font. Another important feature of this edition was the inclusion of an index to publications of international organizations and an ISSN index. The cost of this edition was $50.00.

The seventeenth edition (1977-1978) of the Directory consisted of 2,096 pages, included 60,000 titles arranged under 250 subjects, and cost $57.50. Janet Littlefield in her ARBA review of this edition states that:

existing features were expanded, especially to provide more information about microform availability and abstracting and indexing ser-vices. Since March 1977, Ulrich's is no longer supplemented by Bowker Serials Bibliography Supplement, an annual publication. Ulrich's Quarterly has superseded the Supplement, providing a more continuous source of information about new serial titles, title changes, and cessations. 63

As had earlier editions, this edition included a list of periodicals that had begun publication since the previous edition; there were 9,000 titles in this category. There was also a listing of those titles that had ceased publication; in this group, there were 2,502 titles.

As mentioned above, R.R. Bowker published the first edition of Irregular Serials and Annuals in 1967. The fifth edition, now called Irregular Serials and Annuals: An International Directory , covered the years 1978-1979. Consisting of 1,396 pages and including 32,500 journal titles, the volume sold for $52.50. 64

The eighteenth edition (1979-1980) of Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory contained information on 62,000 publications (of which 8,500 were new to this edition), consisted of 2,156 pages, and sold for $64.50. The nineteenth edition was published in 1980, consisted of 2,212 pages, and cost $69.50. Reviewing this edition, Booklist states:

The format of this latest edition is the same as that of previous issues, a classified list of some 62,000 serials, alphabetical by title under subject headings; international in scope; and identifying, at the very least, frequency, publisher, country of publication, and Dewey Decimal Classification Number. Many, if not most, entries also include such data as International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), price, availability of microform formats, editor's name, circulation, special features, previous title(s), index(es) or abstracting service(s) that include the title, etc. An alphabetical Title Index appears at the end of the work. Cross-references are numerous within the classified list and the Title Index refers the user to all listings for each title, numbers in italics identifying the main entry with most complete information. A list of subject headings (used with see and see also references) appears in the introductory matter, keywords not used are listed with cross-references. Since the work is international in scope, the French, German, and Spanish equivalents to the English terms used as subject headings are printed adjacent to the English terms. 65

This extensive review closes with the following:

Ulrich's can be generally regarded as an easily used, authoritative, and fairly comprehensive source of information on periodicals, although Ayer Directory of Publications is usually considered a better source for newsletters, in-house organs, and the like. Ulrich's remains an almost indispensable tool for most libraries. 66

The twenty-first edition (1982) returned to the two-volume format. It included information on 65,000 journals arranged alphabetically, an increase of 3,000 titles over the previous edition. The set sold for $89.50. With a cross index to keywords, entries were arranged alphabetically by subject. Ulrich's continued to be updated on a regular basis by Ulrich's Quarterly , which had commenced with the publication of the seventeenth edition. The twenty-second and twenty-third editions of Ulrich's , published in 1983 and 1984 respectively, continued the now familiar two-volume format and sold for $110.00. A feature of the twenty-third edition was the inclusion of subject headings about computers and related topics, and their application to such fields as agriculture, archaeology, and law. The 64,800 journal titles, of which 40,000 had been updated, and some 6,800 new titles were arranged under 556 subject headings. New to this edition was the listing of the telephone numbers of the U.S. and Canadian publishers.

The twenty-fourth edition of Ulrich's , published in 1985 in the two-volume format and selling for $139.95, provided information about 69,000 current journals arranged alphabetically under 557 subject headings. Reviewer G.K. Dority summarized Ulrich's contents as follows:

Each entry contains title, frequency, publisher's name and address, code for country of publication, and Dewey Decimal Classification number. Editor, circulation, subscription price, availa-bility of microform version, and indexes are also noted when this information is available. A cessations index of some thirteen hundred entries, arranged alphabetically by title, is included for the periodicals which have ceased publication since the twenty-third edition. An index to publications of different international organizations lists four different categories with page references to the main entries. A title index completes the set. 67

Ulrich's Quarterly continued to update the basic work.

The major development in the twenty-fifth edition of Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory was that it contained a new section covering periodicals available online and an online listing of periodical vendors. 68 The Directory also contained information on 68,770 titles, which were arranged under 534 subject headings. Of the titles listed, 40,000 had been updated and 5,000 were new entries. As in previous editions, titles that had ceased publication were listed; there were 1,400 titles on this list.

A Bowker publication news release states that the twenty-sixth 1987-1988 edition of Ulrich's was published on 31 October 1987. This edition identifies 70,800 periodicals arranged under 542 subject headings and is available for $159.95. The announcement states further that 41,000 have been updated and that a cessations section contains 1,398 entries. The notice also indicates that the Directory is available online, in microfiche, and on CD-ROM.

The number of titles, number of subject headings, the number of pages, and the cost of the volume has been included throughout this summary of the various editions of the Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory . The purpose has been to draw attention to a comparison of the first edition (1932) with the most recent. When the first edition is compared with the twenty-sixth in terms of volume, a large increase in the number of entries, subject headings, and pages is apparent. With respect to the number of entries and headings, there were increases of 1,080 percent and 196 percent respectively. Although the number of pages increased 631 percent, it should be remembered that a lightweight paper and a smaller type font have been used in conjunction with a three-column format instead of the former two-column format used in recent years. The first edition sold for $10; the twenty-sixth sells for $160. In terms of constant dollars, however, the cost per entry is now approximately one-fifth of what it was in 1932. 69

This discussion now seems to have come full circle. What Carolyn Ulrich recognized as a need for the national and international library communities in 1932 has, with the aid of technology, grown far beyond what she could have imagined. There have been great and significant advances during the past fifty-five years in the area of bibliographic control of periodicals. What the future holds is certainly open to conjecture, but one may be sure that whatever the future holds, Carolyn Ulrich would most certainly approve.

Miss Ulrich died on 22 November 1969, in Winter Park , Florida , at the age of eighty-nine. Her obituary in the Orlando Sentinel reported that she was survived by a niece, Mrs. Josephine Ulrich Mealy and a nephew, John L. Ulrich. 70


1. "Ulrich's: A Prime Source in Any Format," Access 1 (January 1987): 5. See also Anthony J. Ferraro, "Ulrich's PLUS : A New Serials Reference Technology," Serials Review 13 (Fall 1987): 19-23.

2. Carolyn F. Ulrich, ed., Periodicals Directory: A Classified Guide to a Selected List of Current Periodicals Foreign and Domestic (New York: R.R. Bowker Company, 1932).

3. Ibid.

4 . See C.C. Williamson and Alice Jewett, eds., Who's Who in Library Service (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1933), 475; C.C. Williamson and Alice Jewett, eds., Who's Who in Library Service, 2d ed. (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1943), 612p; and Who's Who in America 26 (1950-1951) (Chicago: A.N. Marquis Company, 1950), 3347p.

5. Pratt Institute School of Library Science admission application dated 30 April 1917.

6. There is discrepancy here as biographical works list Ulrich's birthdate as 1880, yet in her own handwriting on the Pratt application she gives her age as thirty-five and not thirty-seven.

7. Pratt Institute application.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Student information/evaluation form from Pratt Institute.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.

16. Worksheet (city directory search) from the historical collection of the Bridgeport Public Library.

17. Municipal Register, Bridgeport , Connecticut , 1919, p. 356.

18. Ibid.

19. "Thirty-eighth Annual Report of the Bridgeport Public Library and Reading Room," Municipal Register (1919): 364-66.

20. Ibid.

21. "Thirty-ninth Annual Report of the Bridgeport Public Library and Reading Room," Municipal Register (1920): 26. 315.

22. Ibid.

23. Pratt Institute application, 4.

24. On a Pratt Institute alumnus questionnaire, Ulrich provides the name of Marion Cutter, listed at the same address, as the person, other than family, most likely to know of her whereabouts.

25. Record Group 9, Staff Association, Name Index. MSS and Archives Division NYPL.

26. ALA Bulletin 14 (1920): 333. Her name is spelled Caroline. Ulrich had been a member since 1916, see ALA Bulletin 10 (September 1916): 1673.

27. C.F. Ulrich, "Psychological Contacts," ALA Bulletin 16 (July 1922): 292.

28. Ibid, 293.

29. C.F. Ulrich, "The Future of Periodical Work," ALA Bulletin 20 (October 1926): 531-32.

30. C.F. Ulrich, "The Future of Periodical Work in Libraries," Library Journal 51 (15 December 1926): 1119-21.

31. C.F. Ulrich, "A Current Periodicals Room in a Metropolis," ALA Bulletin 210 (October 1927): 393. Ulrich's chairmanship of ALA Periodical Round Table is documented in ALA Bulletin 22 (September 1928): 444. Page 447 of this issue indicates that Marion Cutter was at that time associated with the Children's Bookshop of New York City.

32. ALA Bulletin 25 (September 1931): 571. The ALA Periodical Round Table became the Periodicals Section in 1929. See ALA Bulletin 23 (November 1929): 466.

33. C.F. Ulrich, "Executives Seek More Help from Business Papers, Says New York Librarian," Sales Management 26 (4 April 1931): 24.

34. C.F. Ulrich, "The Plea to Publishers of Periodicals," Library Journal 60 (July 1935): 561-63.

35. C.F. Ulrich, "Social Hygiene in a Large City Library," Journal of Social Hygiene 22 (June 1936): 250.

36. C.F. Ulrich, "Some Problems Presented by Current Developments in the Periodical Field," Library Journal 66 (July 1941): 597-98.

37. See the following issues of College and Research Libraries: 1 (June 1940): 286-88; 1 (September 1940): 377-78; 2 (December 1940): 90-93; 2 (March 1941): 176-78; 2 (June 1941): 277-78; 2 (September 1941): 364; 4 (March 1943): 128-33; 4 (September 1943): 317-21; 5 (March 1944): 156-60; 5 (September 1944): 335-40; 6 (March 1945): 142-47; 6 (September 1945): 332-34; 7 (April 1946): 152-55.

38. C.F. Ulrich, "New Periodicals of 1943--Part II," College and Research Libraries 5 (March 1944): 156.

39. C.F. Ulrich, "New Periodicals of 1944--Part II," College and Research Libraries 6 (March 1945): 142.

40. C.F. Ulrich, "Serials Work," Library Journal 62 (15 April 1937): 335.

41. Who's Who in America , 2796.

42. C.F. Ulrich, "Union Catalog," Library Journal 62 (1 December 1937): 908.

43. C.F. Ulrich and Karl Küp, Books and Printing, A Selected List of Periodicals, 1800-1942 ( Woodstock , VT : William E. Rudge), ix.

44. Ibid., vii.

45. See George L. McKay, "Printing," Library Journal 68 (15 November 1943): 950; and Lawrence Clark Powell, Bibliographical Society of America Papers 39 (January-March 1945): 76. For an additional review, see F.C. Francis, The Library vol. 1 of 5th series (June 1946), 85-86.

46. Frederick J. Hoffman, Charles Allen, and C.F. Ulrich, The Little Magazine, A History and a Bibliography (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1946), [v.].

47 . Hoffman, Allen, and Ulrich, [v.]. For Allens articles on the little magazine, see American Prefaces 3 (November 1937): 28-32; 3 (January 1938): 54-59; 3 (March 1938): 94-96; 3 (June 1938): 136-40; 4 (May 1939): 115-18, 125-28. See also "American Little Magazines: 1912-1944," The Indiana Quarterly for Bookman 1 (April 1945): 43-54.

48. See F.J. Hoffman, "The Little Magazines: Portrait of an Age," Saturday Review of Literature 26 (25 December 1943): 3-5.

49. Hoffman, Allen, and Ulrich, vii.

50. Letter to Patterson dated May 6, 1987. See American Council of Learned Societies Bulletin 36 (December 1944): 159. The specific amount granted is not indicated, only a range of two to five hundred dollars.

51. Lawrence Heyl, "The Little Magazine," Library Journal 71 (August 1946): 1039.

52. C.F. Ulrich, and Eugenia Patterson, "Little Magazines," Bulletin of The New York Public Library 51 (January 1947): 3-25. The Library Literature entry states that this bibliography was "also available as a separate."

53. See Rebecca B. Rankin, "Periodicals Directory 1935," Special Libraries 27 (February 1936): 58; and Lucy E. Fay, "Periodicals Directory," Library Journal 61 (15 January 1936): 68.

54. Rudolph Gjelsness, Library Journal 64 (15 January 1939): 60.

55. R. Gjelsness, Library Journal 68 (1 April 1943): 292.

56. David C. Mearns, "Ulrich's Periodicals Directory," Library Quarterly 17 (October 1947): 321.

57. Dorothy J. Comins, "New Edition of Periodicals Directory," Library Journal 72 (1 April 1947): 523.

58. Harold Lancour, "Expanded Guide to Periodicals," Library Journal 85 (1 February 1960): 523.

59. Ibid., 524.

60. Robert G. Krupp, "World Periodicals," Library Journal 90 (1965): 5370.

61. "Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory," Booklist 70 (15 July 1974): 1213.

62. Bohdan S. Wynar, "Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory," American Reference Books Annual 6 (1975): 12. For Palais' remarks, see "References to Indexes and Abstracts in Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory," RQ 14 (Fall 1974): 34-36.

63. Janet Littlefield, "Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory," American Reference Books Annual 10 (1979): 10.

64. For an extended review, see Pamela Bluh, "Periodicals Directories," Serials Review 4 (October/December 1978): 62-64.

65. "Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory," Booklist 78 (15 September 1981): 133.

66. Ibid., 134.

67. G.K. Dority, "Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory," American Reference Books Annual 17 (1986): 36.

68. For a detailed comparison with the Irregular Serials and Annuals and also the new EBSCO Serials Directory, see Booklist 83 (15 March 1987): 1102-04.

69. Per entry, the cost was $0.00167 in 1932 and $0.0026 today. But raw prices alone do not tell an accurate story. Because of the inexorable, upward march of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the cost per entry has in fact plummeted through the years. Using the base year, 1967, for CPI=100, the CPI stood at 40.9 in 1932 while in August 1987, it stood at 342.7. Using today's dollars, the cost per entry of the 1932 edition was $0.014. Over the years, then, the cost per entry has dropped $0.01174, or some 81 percent.

70. "Miss Ulrich, Editor Dies," Orlando Sentinel, 24 November 1969, 6 (D).