James Thayer Gerould (1872-1951; Librarian 1906-1920)

Gerould came to the University Library in 1906 after holding library positions in New York and Missouri. As the University’s first full-time librarian, Gerould brought a new energy to the Library and sought to meet the changing needs of research and instruction. Throughout the United States, faculty, scholars and students were pressing libraries for more books and easier access. Gerould increased the acquisition budget to $20,000, added specialized journals, and acquired library collections from Europe. During his administration, the collection grew from 50,000 to 400,000 volumes including Scandinavian holdings that formed the nucleus of today’s outstanding collection. In 1912, Gerould and reference librarian Ina Firkins launched the first University lecture series on the use of the library. At the end of Gerould’s administration in 1920, the Board of Regents approved construction of a new library building.

Gerould, a primary force in organizing the Association of Research Libraries in 1932, is best known in the library profession as the founder of the Association of Research Libraries statistics, a national compilation of library collection statistics. In 1920, Gerould became head of the Princeton Library. There he again faced the problems of building the collection and plans for a new library. After seventeen years, he retired to spend the rest of his life in Williamsburg, Virginia where he died in 1951.



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