Tisch Library Records, 1853 -- 2017


Title: Tisch Library Records
Dates: 1853 -- 2017
Bulk Dates: 1960 -- 1990
Creator: Wessell Library
Call Number: UA137
Size: 76.75 Linear Feet, 1 Volumes, 115 Digital Object(s), 91 Megabytes, Of the 115 digital objects, 90 digital objects comprise 91 megabytes.
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10427/48303
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


This collection contains materials pertaining to the Tisch Library, the libraries that preceded Tisch as the Arts and Sciences library, and related branches of the Tufts University libraries. The materials consist of artifacts, event posters, notes, meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, slides, publications, and photographs. The bulk of this material was created between 1960 and 1990. These records were created by librarians and other staff at the Tisch Library and other Tufts University libraries. This collection includes a complete collection of annual reports dating from 1862 to 1995. In addition, this collection contains a great deal of material created by former librarian Murray Martin and his predecessor Joseph Komidar.


The collection is organized into eleven series: Artifacts; Exhibits and events; Annual reports; Committee files; Buildings and plans; Correspondence; Subject Files; Undergraduate Research Award; Unprocessed accessions; 2019 accessions; and 2020 accessions.


Biographical / Historical

The Tisch Library (1860-present) opened in 1996 as the main Arts, Sciences, and Engineering library at Tufts University, made possible by a generous donation from the Tisch family. Between 1965 and 1996, the Arts and Sciences library was known as the Wessell Library. From 1908-1965, the library was known as the Eaton Library and was housed in Eaton Hall.

Prior to the 1860-1861 school year, the library began as the personal collection of President Hosea Ballou. In 1860, that collection was moved to Ballou Hall as a permanent library space for students to have easier access to the material. In 1886, the library moved to Middle Hall (later called Packard Hall) (Light on the Hill, 74). In 1906, Andrew Carnegie donated $100,000 to build the Eaton Library, in its own space. The Eaton Library, completed in 1908, was named after Crane Theological School graduate Rev. Charles H. Eaton, who was the Carnegie family pastor who graduated in 1874 (Light on the Hill, 201).

In 1965, the entire collection of the Eaton Library moved into a brand-new building, the Wessell Library, named for Tufts University President Nils Y. Wessell. The collection comprised of Crane Theological School materials temporarily moved into the Wessell Library in the mid-1960s, but the materials were transferred to the Harvard Divinity School in 1973 after the Crane Theological School closed in 1968.

The Wessell Library, which then became the main library for Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (the latter department moved its collection to Wessell Library in 1990 from the Lufkin Engineering Library). In 1996, the name of the library was changed to the Tisch Library after a donation from the Tisch family (Jonathan Tisch is an alumnus and is on the Board of Trustees). The library currently houses the collection for the Arts, Sciences, and Engineering departments.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are listed in the detailed contents list. This collection may require review before it is available for use. Please contact DCA for further details.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. Copyright to all materials created by Tufts University employees in the course of their work is held by the Trustees of Tufts University.

Preferred Citation

Tisch Library Records, 1853 -- 2017. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection was processed by Abigail Cramer under the supervision of Veronica Martzahl in October and November of 2010. Parts of this collection had been processed previously. These materials were combined with unprocessed materials to create the current collection. Arrangement of the previously processed materials was maintained. Additionally, materials related to the Ginn Library were removed and became a separate collection. Processing of accessions from 2017-2019 was completed by Leah Edelman. Materials were placed in archival boxes if the original housing was damaged, and loose materials were placed in folders where needed. Received order was maintained. File-level inventories and series-level descriptions were created and the finding aid was updated at the time of processing. Materials from the Lilly Music Library were processed by Records and Accessioning Archivist, Jane Kelly, in July 2020.


Transferred by Tisch Library, 2006 -- 2020.

Custodial History

The materials in this collection were originally multiple collections, the Tufts Libraries collection and the Tisch Library records. The provenance of the earlier materials is largely unknown; these materials were processed as the Tufts Libraries collection, but during the course of processing the Tisch Library materials it was decided to incorporate the Tufts Libraries collection into the Tisch Library records. In addition, the materials relating to the Ginn Library were removed from this collection and became the Ginn Library records (UA198). Materials which were in an obvious original order were maintained in that order, but the materials from the Tufts Libraries collection were not in their original order at the start of this project.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • University history
  • Academic Support -- Libraries, Galleries, Archives
  • Teaching and learning
  • Facilities
  • Curriculum and Instruction -- Scholarships, Fellowships, Awards
Related Material
  • Ginn Library records, 1931 -- 2010. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Series Description

  1. Artifacts, 1856 -- 2010

    This series contains artifacts relating to the Tisch (formerly Wessell) Library.

  2. Exhibits and Events, 1995 -- 2013

    This series contains materials relating to exhibits and events held at the Tisch Library.

  3. Annual Reports, 1862 -- 1995

    This series contains the annual reports of the Tisch Library. These reports were created annually from 1862 to 1995. The series is complete, missing only the 1929 and 1982 annual reports. These reports were created by the University Librarians of those years: A.A. Keen (1862-1866), William R. Shipman (1866-1868), Helen L. Mellen (1868-1907), Ethel Hayes (1907-1928), Raymond L. Walkley (1928-1955), Dorothy Union (interim 1955-1956), Joseph S. Komidar (1956-1981), Murray S. Martin (1981-1989), John E. Austin (1989), and David McDonald (1989-1995).

  4. Committee Files, 1908 -- 2006

    This series contains records for committees associated with the Tufts University libraries. Many of the committees are pan-library, but some are specific to Tisch Library. In addition, the second half of this series is committee files created by Michael Rogan, the Director of the Lilly Music Library.

  5. Buildings and Plans, 1940 -- 2009

    This series contains materials related to the facilities serving Tisch Library, its predecessors, and other libraries at Tufts. Most notably, there is considerable information regarding the Health Sciences Library facilities.

  6. Correspondence, 1853 -- 1989

    This series contains general correspondence files not associated with any individual librarian, the correspondence files of Joseph Komidar, and the correspondence files of Murray Martin.

  7. Subject Files, 1861 -- 2019

    This series contains subject files, including general subject files not associated with any individual librarian; University Librarian Joseph Komidar's subject files; University Librarian Murray Martin's subject files; Reference Librarian Margaret Gooch's subject files; University Librarian Wayne Powell's Subject Files; and Librarian Connie Reik's subject files; and Digital Library license agreements.

    1. 7.1. Reik subject files, circa 1990 -- 2017

      This sub-series contains files created or kept by Connie Reik, including correspondence, committee files and minutes, policy and planning information, and material related to exhibits. These files document Reik's work and the work of Tisch Library.

    2. 7.2. Digital Library deposit licenses, 2011, 2016 -- 2019

      These licenses pertain to faculty and student work stewarded by Tisch Library. Theses, dissertations, and other student work deemed to have permanent archival value are stewarded by Digital Collections and Archives and are kept in the DCA documentation files.

  8. Undergraduate Research Award, 2012 -- 2015

    This series contains the winning projects for the Tisch Library Undergraduate Research Award, an award recognizing outstanding undergraduate use of the library's collections and the development of expertise in the production of an exemplary research paper or project.

  9. Additional accessions
  10. 2019 accessions, 1980 -- 2010

    This series contains administrative records from Tisch Library, largely created by the Library Director's office, including meeting agendas and minutes, planning documents, committee and task force documentation, user surveys, events and publicity materials, building and construction documentation, and accreditation information.

  11. 2020 accessions, 1956 -- 2005

    This series contains photographs, scrapbooks, and clippings related to Tisch Library. The majority of the photographs document staff and library events.