Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Thomas S. Shaw Collection of Covers and Correspondence

A few years ago I acquired a collection of several dozen covers (envelopes) and letters mailed to Thomas S. Shaw, a longtime Library of Congress staff member and later a professor at the Library School of Louisiana State University. They cover a forty year period starting in the early 1930s and going to the early 1970s. This was a major windfall for a collector of postal librariana. I wrote about the relationship of Shaw and George Elsey, an aide to both Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, on my Library History Buff website as a result of several items in the Shaw collection. The relationship between Shaw and Elsey involved Shaw's clandestine research for Elsey as a reference librarian at the Library of Congress on behalf of Roosevelt.  My Shaw collection also includes personal correspondence to Shaw from a number of Library of Congress staff members including former Librarian of Congress Luther Evans. The item from the collection which is shown in this post is a thank you note to Shaw from Blanche McCrum (1887-1969) who retired from the Library of Congress in 1955. McCrum is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography Supplement (Libraries Unlimited, 1990).  McCrum concludes her note to Shaw with: "Many thanks, too, for your unfailing professional kindness through the years.  You are never too busy to help, and you know those resources so well. May you live long and prosper in the great institution we both love." Shaw received the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award in 1968 for making a distinguished contribution to reference librarianship. It is a privilege to have a personal glimpse into the life of such a distinguished librarian of the not too distant past.

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