1841 Library.doc


USMA Library, 1841-1961:  Part 2 of History


USMA Library Time Line:

Leading faculty member, Professor Dennis Hart Mahan, promotes the library

November 5, 1841- March 8, 1894:  Assistant Librarian Andre Feis, longest serving USMA Library         staffer,         52 years.

1838 – 1841:  Library located in the Academy Building, south end of third Academic Building.

1850’s library activities

April 23, 1856:  Act of Congress the USMA Library becomes a government depository.

1872:  First USMA Library Board established by General Orders Number 61.

October 12, 1901:  Renovated library occupies ground floor, space increased to 29,000 square feet and         had 200 seats.

July 1902:  Dr. Edward Singleton Holden, First full time librarian.  An Act of Congress provided for a         Librarian to be appointed from civil life.

October 1908:  Electric lights installed in library.

May 7, 1912:  First telephones installed in the library.

Major Elbert Eli Farman, Jr., librarian

1930:  Large room on ground floor in East Academy Building used as a literature room

Dr. Sidney Forman, historian, first archivist and librarian

February 1946:  Position of archivist created at the U.S. Military Academy

1952:  U.S. Military Academy Sesquicentennial and the library

May 11, 1954:  U.S. Military Academy Archives established with General Orders No. 6, Headquarters,         U.S.M.A.

October 26, 1955:  Moore Wing dedicated

1841 building

The library would be the heart and soul of the academy from 1841 to 1961 in the same building.  In the building designed for “the library and Philosophical Apparatus,” erected in 1838-1841 and originally named the Observatory and Library, the red sandstone structure, two stories high was originally planned by a board of engineer officers presided over by Superintendent, Major Richard Delafield (Class of 1818).  Delafield led the designing of an English Tudor style with the military motif of towers, battlements, and narrow windows.   The building bids by civilian contractors were more than allotted.  The library building cost at the time was $50,216.86.  Therefore Superintendent Delafield personally supervised the construction by soldiers from the post’s Corps of Engineer Detachment.  The 160 foot front and a 78 foot depth, castellated and corniced building on the southeast corner of the plain was the first battlemented structure to be built at West Point.   The library occupied the east wing.  It was a 46 square foot room with a 31 foot high ceiling set apart for a library with a gallery and two tiers of cases.  All rooms were originally lighted with gas and heated by steam.  Books were arranged on shelves alphabetically according to subject and retrieved by attendants.1  

1841 Library building shared many functions

 The new building was considered one of the best examples of collegiate gothic architecture in the country.  It was originally designed for four purposes.  The library occupied the east wing of the first floor.  The Cadet Headquarters contained the offices of the Superintendent, Adjutant, Quartermaster and Treasurer of the Academy was on the first floor of the west wing.  The Superintendent with his staff moved out of the building in 1871 when the new Headquarters was completed.  Above the library and administrative offices were the lecture hall and apparatus of the Department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy located in the building until 1895 when the department moved to the new West Academic Building.2

The building had other multiple uses.  The Academic Board held its meetings in the library until the end of the last century.  General-in-Chief, Winfield Scott occasionally used the reference room as his office.  General Orders of that period bear the heading, “Headquarters U.S. Army, West Point, N.Y.”  During the summer months from 1861-1866 during his retirement Lieutenant General Winfield Scott made use of the library as his office. 

“Many strangers visit the library every summer.” Tourist and summer residents of the Hudson Highlands who escaped the hot and unhealthy cities in the summer frequently visited West Point.  Visitors would watch the activities of the cadets encamped on the plain and came to the library to view Thomas Sully’s acclaimed portrait of President Thomas Jefferson and ten other Sully portraits of West Point professors that hung in the library as well as historic documents on display.  Noted visitors included authors James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving and Samuel Clemens [Mark Twain] and the annual distinguished Board of Visitors.  Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Simpson Grant (Class of 1843) visited the USMA Library.3 Visitors were often met by the Assistant Librarian André Freis.

Assistant Librarian André Freis

 The key member of the library staff through most of the 19th Century was André Freis.  Freis was a highly esteemed Alsace immigrant who was fluent in English, French, and German.  He enlisted at West Point on May 1, 1841 and began his service in the Quartermaster’s Department.  Because of his language skills and pose he was assigned on November 5, 1844 to duty as the assistant librarian.  Private Freis enlisted thirteen times.  He is the longest severing U.S. Military Academy Library staff member - 52 years ten months (November 5, 1844 – March 8, 1894).  Freis was known and respected by all officers who have been graduated and by others connected with the library for over half a century.4

Captain Stephen Vincent Benét wrote to the adjutant on September 4, 1863 recommending that the Assistant Librarian, Freis “be ordered to proceed to the city of New York for the purpose of visiting the different Libraries with a view to the examination of their records of military operations during the Revolution, and the War of 1812, and also to examine into their systems of cataloging, and such other matters connected with Libraries as may seem to him of importance…”  This is the first recorded library staff member approved library visit to improve professional skills and abilities.5

 In a letter to Captain Stephen Vincent Benét, December 26, 1863 A. Fres, Artillery Detachment, Asst. Librarian wrote:

             I have been over 22 years in the United States service as a private soldier, and have

served in the capacity of Assistant Librarian at the U.S. military Academy this past

20 years.  I found the Library of the Institution in a bad condition, and without a

Catalogue.  My first step was to classify the works, and to prepare a Catalogue of

the Library; to which I devoted all my own spare time, and only received $100, as a         compensation for the work; no other capable individual would have done it for less

than $1000.  It has been acknowledged by good authority that the system followed

in re-paring the Catalogue is a very excellent one, and use has been made of it as a


              My daily duties are very laborious.  The Library contains now over 20,000

volumes, and besides my official duties attending to all the Professors, officers,

and a corps of cadets of about 260 to 270- members, and a very large number of

visitors during the summer season, I have to do all the policing and to kindle the

fires of 3 stoves in the Library.  For all this valuable work, I receive only the pay

of a private soldier.  In any other Library in the United States, the Salary of an

Assistant Librarian is generally from 1000 to 1500 dollars.  I may mention the

Library of Congress where there are 3 Assistant Librarians with a Salary of $1800,

each, one Messenger with a Salary of $500, each.  During the whole time that I

have been connected with the Institution I believe that I have performed my

duties to the entire satisfaction of the Librarians, Superintendents, Professors,

officers, etc…6

Finally in 1871 Congress began to appropriate annually $1,000.00 for compensation to Private André Freis, who performed services as the assistant librarian.  It was at the time an appropriate salary for a clerk performing similar functions rather than an enlisted soldier’s pay.7

Professor Mahan and the USMA Library

 Fries knew Department of Civil and Military Engineering Professor Dennis Hart Mahan (Class of 1824) well.  Mahan was the most prominent professor at West Point during his tenure and was a strong supporter of the library.  A major concern of Mahan’s, particularly in his early years as professor but generally throughout his lifetime, was ensuring the procurement of suitable reference and illustrative materials.  He was interested in a properly stocked library.  The thorough academician, Mahan in the twilight of his career urged the members of the graduating class to cultivate humbleness in assessing how much they had learned.  Having studied longer than any of them, yet he never entered the USMA Library, he said, without a feeling of shame at the realization of how little he knew of the sum of human knowledge represented in the books therein.

 Obtaining the necessary books for that library became one of his early crusades.  The new professor did not agree with Boards of Visitors which categorized the holdings of the library in military science as excellent.  But during Superintendent Rene Edward De Russy era (Class of 1812, Superintendent, 1833-1838), when annual appropriations for the increase and operating expenses of the library dwindled from $1,400 to $600, there was little he could do about it.  What was left in the De Russy years would not even respectively maintain a private library.  As a librarian later pointed out, about $400 annually was required merely for binding and repairs.  Previous to 1846 a $1,000.00 was annually appropriated.  However, $1,500.00 was appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1849.  The library could only purchase absolutely necessary books.  With the arrival of Superintendent Richard Delafield (1838-1845 and 1856-1861), therefore, Mahan immediately raised the “very important” questions of the holdings of the library.

 In both books and periodicals pertaining to civil and military engineering, architecture, and the science of war, he charged the institution with being “nearly five years in arrears… a deficiency which cannot too soon be made up.”  He wanted both American and European publications culled for useful additions, to help not only his instructors but also “the pupils in my department” so that they might stay abreast of the “state of those arts.”  However, the regulations of the academy still severely restricted the cadet’s use of the library, Mahan’s statement is significant from an academic viewpoint.  When his plea was supported by the superintendent and as the annual appropriation was gradually enlarged by allocating funds directly to instructional departments in addition to the library, Professor Mahan furnished several lists of required books to Delafield.  Initially he concentrated almost entirely upon engineering publications, but as he obtained catalogs of French and English works he expanded more into the science of war.  By 1844, the holdings of the library were becoming more diversified, and the impact of the increased attention to the problem was apparent.  Within a few more years, the librarian was annually preparing a consolidated list of works wanted by the departments, and Mahan continued to make significant inputs to these lists.  His emphasis was still on engineering works, however, probably because of an understanding with the instructor of Practical Engineering who generally included several treatises on the military art of his lists.  During one period (1845-1847) when no funds were allocated for the library, the professor privately purchased references he required and then, later, cannily turned them over to the library and sought reimbursement.8

  Volumes contained in the U.S. Military Academy Library, 1844

 Category                                 Total                Duplicates                   Single

                                                Volumes          in total                         copies in total

 Military engineering              2,327                2,120*                            207

Artillery                                     508                    346                             162

Military art                                692                    149                              543

Military history                          876                     94                              782

Civil engineering                       638                     36                               602

Mathematics                              969                   322                               647

Natural philosophy                    835                   134                               701

Chemistry, medicine, etc        1,645                     95                           1,550     

Geography, topography             475                     53                              422

History & biography              2,518                    190                           2,328

Miscellaneous literature         3,081                    145                           2,936

Totals                                   14,564                 3,684                         10,8809

 *Of this number, 2,073 volumes were O’Connor’s translation of Gay de Vernon, A Treatise on the Science of War and Fortification.  See Appendix D for the U.S. Military Academy library collection growth between 1844-1961.

 Between 1830 and 1871 Mahan noticeably outstripped anybody else at West Point in withdrawals.  He stressed his own professional areas, history, and current periodicals.  Largely because the holdings of the library were partial to French authors – this situation was not remedied during his lifetime – but also because of his own bias and the French reputation, Mahan concentrated upon French works in his reading of military subjects he frequently used historical illustrations in making his points.10

Napoleon Club

An association of West Point officers, better known as the Napoleon Club, comprised a group of officers who were interested in studying the military art.  Mahan was the only professor who belonged to the group and he was its driving spirit.  He presided over the meetings, assigned subjects to the members, and according to Professor Peter Smith Michie, “gave the members the benefit of his keen incisive criticism and instructive analysis in their studies.”  The exact date of the founding of the club is uncertain, but it was very likely between 1848 and 1850.  The group, its membership changing as officers came and departed the post, remained active to the eve of the Civil War.  The members themselves painted a large map of Europe (18’ x 11’) on the wall of the meeting room for use in their discussions.

 The Napoleon Club quite likely at Mahan’s urging elected to concentrate upon Napoleon’s campaigns, but they also briefly touched upon Frederick the Great.  The members generally met weekly to hear a paper whose author had spent from four to six weeks researching in the library and writing.  Mahan insisted that the papers and ensuing discussion concentrate upon thoughtful analysis of the generalship involved. 

Among the members who gathered “for mutual improvement in the science of war” were:  Barton S. Alexander, Absalom Baird, Henry F. Clarke, Henry Coppee, George Cullum, John G. Foster, William B. Franklin, John Gibbon, Samuel Jones, Quincy A. Gillmore, Dabney H. Maury James, George B. McClellan, James B. McPherson, John A. Mohane, John Thomas H. Neill, J. Reynolds, Fitz John Porter, Edmund K. Smith, Gustavus W. Smith, William F. Smith,  George H. Thomas and Camus Wilcox.  Some of the campaign studies presented were:

                 George B. McClellan – Wagram Campaign, 1809

Gustavus W.  Smith – Russian Campaign, 1812

George H. Thomas, Frederick’s campaign – 1760-176311

USMA Library in the 1850’s

During this period the Military Academy library was one of the foremost collegiate libraries in the country. By 1850, a survey by the Smithsonian Institution noted that the U.S. Military Academy Library had grown to 15,000 volumes making it the 22nd largest library in the country.  The detail inventory included four volumes of manuscripts, 100 charts and maps, fifty-five volumes of engravings, four busts and ten portraits.  On the eve of the Civil War over 18,000 volumes were in the library making it the 11th largest college library in the United States.   The 1850 United States Census Data sorted by state estimated that of the 232 college libraries totaled only a little more than 910,000 volumes.  The Library became the largest and most important library in the United States in the field of military technology and the related subject areas of the mathematical and physical sciences.  The library was in a position of pre-eminence which it held until at least to the end of the century.  The library became one of the major vehicles through which European, particularly English and French, artillery, fortifications, ordnance technology, civil engineering, physical sciences, and mathematics were introduced into American society.  Its resources in books, manuscripts and maps serves the world of scholarship interested in military history and form one of the important cultural heritages of the American people.12

But the role that the library played in the West Point curriculum, and the use made of its books was even more important than its numerical size.  The goal of the library was

…to furnish the professors and instructors in the institution, with the most complete

information on the subjects which they teach, and the greatest facilities for

imparting instruction.13

 Although leading privileges were limited, in keeping with the customs of that period, in number of hours open as well as in accessibility to the entire student body, the West Point library was superior to any college in the country with the possible exception of Harvard University.  Under the librarianship of Henry Coppee the book collection broadened, adding “cheap editions” of both fiction and poetry.  Henry Coppee was the first U.S. Military Academy librarian to participate in the first librarians’ convention ever held.  Coppee addressed the conference about the “Library of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York” on October 7, 1853, in New York City.14

Government depository library

The library became a government depository library with the Act of Congress dated April 23, 1856 that provided “That the Secretary of the Senate furnish annually the library of the Military Academy at West Point with a copy of all documents published by the Senate.”  The maps in the government document collections in particular are highly valued.  The legislation was expanded with the Printing Act of 1895 that established the federal service academy libraries as depositories for publications of the U.S. Government, making them part of the national network of such institutions.  The U.S. Military Academy Library has continued as a partial depository with only subjects obtained to support the current curriculum.15

Librarian Captain Stephen Vincent Benét

Captain Stephen Vincent Benét was assigned to be the librarian from 1861 to 1864. His grandson of the same name was a prominent poet and short story writer.  On one occasion Captain Benét wrote about the cadet discipline in the library:

 Jan. 26, 1863… Capt. E [dward] C [arlisle] Boynton (Class of 1846) Ajutant U.S.M.A.

             Sir/As you are aware the Library was used on Saturday evening last for a Cadet

concert, with the understanding published to the Corps that the Cadets were to

“refrain from bringing in any unnecessary dirt, and not defile the floor of the

Library with tobacco.  After an inspection of the         Library this morning I have

the honor to report the following facts:

  1. The floor matting is defiled in several places with tobacco spite (sic.) but

especially at the entrance to the alcove.

  1. The large desk containing periodicals was found covered with mud.  Very

much scratched, a side strip loosened, and some of the periodicals defaced. 

This was done by Cadets standing on the desk in their muddy shoes.              

  1. The book cases in the alcove are without doors, and the books necessarily

exposed.  By using the shelves as a stair way, Cadets climbed into the

gallery through the well or opening of the old stair case.  Some were seen in

the gallery during the concert.  The prints of their feet in mud, are plainly

visible on the shelves and books.  One of the books found torn.

             The understanding with the Cadets having been thus shamefully violated by them,

even to the wanton destruction of property.  I have the honor earnestly to

recommend to the Superintendent that Cadet Concerts be no longer held in the


Very Respectfully Yr. Obdt. Servt/S. V.         Benét/Capt. Ordn/Librarian16


The library received a steady flow of gifts and acknowledged the donors.  On February 4, 1864 Benét wrote to the Superintendent, Colonel Alexander Hamilton Bowman (Class of 1825) regarding library donor gifts:

         Upon relinquishing my position as Librarian, being under orders for another station,

 I desire to call your attention to the following:


The Military Academy Library is in the frequent receipt of contributions from

individuals and         Libraries.  To reciprocate these marks of friendly recognition, it has

been the practice heretofore to distribute Catalogues and Cullum’s Register of

Graduates.  For this purpose, among others, 250 copies of the latter were purchased

by the Academy.  As these have been entirely exhausted, and the book is now out

of print, it seems to me proper that some suitable work be kept on hand for the

purpose indicated.  I can suggest none as appropriate as Ca[ptain] Boynton’s

History of West Point, the merits of which have been acknowledged and commended

by those best able to judge.  It contains a fund of valuable information, not elsewhere

found, which cannot but exercise a wholesome influence favorable to the Academy. 

A few copies might be procured from the publisher, at cost price, and I respectfully

recommend this suggestion to your favorable consideration…17

 Although gifts were welcomed the library needed to adjust their priorities.  Two thousand additional dollars of appropriated funds were requested for science books and another $1,000.00 for printing the current library catalog in 1869.  The following year the Board of Visitors report recommended a revision of acquisitions.  A systematic approach to the purchasing of histories of value and standard works was needed.  Also noted that appropriations needed to be raised to meet the cost of the present high price of books and binding.18

 The “Father of the Military Academy” (Superintendent longer than anyone else, 1817-1833) Sylvanus Thayer died on September 7, 1872.  Thayer willed 2,000 of his books, atlases and plates that have been cataloged to the Thayer School of Civil Engineering, Dartmouth, New Hampshire.  His other books were divided and willed to the Braintree, Massachusetts Public Library, Dartmouth College and to the U.S. Military Academy Library.  The remaining books to his friends Asa French and George Augustine Thayer.19   Additional measures are taken to strengthen the library. 

Library Board

The first U.S. Military Academy Library Board was established by General Orders, No. 61, 1872.   The board was composed of four professors of the academic board who selected books to be purchased. Quarterly reports were submitted to the Superintendent for approval.  Preference was for books of a scientific and military character relating to subjects of instruction at the academy.

 The following year, the Board:

privileges are, in the opinion of the Board, entirely too much restricted by the present

regulations, according to which a cadet is allowed to take out a book on Saturday

afternoon only, to be returned on Monday.  Under such a regulation the library is of

very little benefit.  A fee use of the library by the cadets is regarded by the Board as

a matter of great importance….The present regulation is, in the judgment of the

Board, altogether unreasonable, and renders this fine collection of books of very

little use to those for whom it was principally intended.  The Board recommends

the repeal of this regulation, and that each cadet is allowed to take out any time at

least one volume from the library, to be retained for a week or some other reasonable


 The 1881 Report of the Commission to review the Academy suggested that Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, the Westminster Review, the London Quarterly Review, and the Revue des Deux Mondes be added to the abundant scientific periodicals already available.  These and many other literary and political periodicals appear in the library catalogue for 1873.21 

Astronomical observatory in the 1841 library building

 The three domes mounted on top of the three library towers were a landmark.  West Point’s prominent astronomical observatory was similar to European observatories of the day.  The observatory was one of the first three in the United States (The other two were located at Albany, New York and at Washington’ D.C.’s Naval Observatory).  The middle tower contained the observatory equatorial telescope.  The telescope was in a circular dome 27 feet in diameter, surmounted on a traveling dome, resting on six 24-pound cannon balls that turned in cast-iron grooves.  The east tower contained the transit instrument.   The west tower had a mural circle.  The Astronomical Observatory was moved in 1883 near Lusk Reservoir.   The construction of the West Shore Rail Road Company’s 2,741 foot tunnel underneath the West Point plain disturbed the observatory’s instruments.  The tunneling under the plain on which the library was located caused an-uproar.  The railroad tunneled through the rock at the plain and the vibration of the passing trains ruined the usefulness of the astronomical instruments in the library towers.  The railroad recognized its responsibility and contributed to building, in 1882, a modern astronomical observatory on a rock eminence below Fort Putnam, which soon became known as Observatory Hill.  The library thereafter began to plan a needed expansion and renovation.22

Inside the library, Assistant Librarian, André Freis, a major fixture in the library operation, passed away on March 8, 1894.  The search for a successor with academic and library credentials to replace him was not easy.  Dr. Otto Plate, a Ph.D. from Strassburg, Germany, who was also familiar with foreign languages, became the assistant librarian for the next seven years.  Plate’s salary was increased to $1,500.00.  Plate began classifying USMA Library books.  Books were previously un-cataloged and arranged by broad subjects and alphabetically by author with oversized books, atlases and maps shelved separately. The library’s collections were nearly all cataloged by 1899.23   Library changes were to take place with the new century.

1841 Library renovations

By the turn of the century the building which housed the library had outlived its usefulness and required internal reconstruction and fire proofing if its use was to be extended.  Earlier measures such as the rigging of a chandelier in 1892 with a cluster of five new incandescent lamps helped.  Previously the library only had lights around the walls and had never been used at night for reading.  The Board of Visitor’s in 1893 recommend the remodeling of the interior of the library.  The wooden interior fittings of the library needed to be fireproofed as well as the wooden roof trusses, rafters and slate covering to protect the “very old and much valued” book collections.  The library’s shelving space had not been increased since 1844 but the collections had tripled and required new and additional shelving to adequately rearrange the collections.  Poor ventilation, a leaky roof especially during winter snows, a lack of both shelving space and overcrowding meant that a renovation was needed.  The first major library renovation planning began with Mr. Reuben Harrison Hunt and succeeded after his death by his son R. H. Hunt, Jr. of New York City.  A sum of $70,000 was appropriated for the library’s renovation.24

Captain George Washington Goethals [Class of 1880 and later builder of the Panama Canal] in command of the USMA Engineer Detachment was charged with the supervision of the renovation work on the library.  Colonel Charles William Larned [Class of 1870] Professor of Drawing rendered the plans for the fireproofing the structure, removing the old towers, and altering the observatory wing.  New furniture and book stacks were provided at a cost of $15,000.00.  Bids for completely renovating the old building, making it a fireproof structure, were opened on September 4, 1899.  The estimates of the architect, used for securing the necessary appropriation, were based on current prices at the time the estimates were prepared in 1895.  The rise in prices of all materials was such that the lowest bid in 1899 exceeded the amount available, and the renovation by contract had to be abandoned.  Authority was granted by the Secretary of War to have the alterations made by day laborers and building materials purchased by the Academy on the open market.  The renovation began in October 1899.  Books were moved to a large room on the ground floor of the “new” or West Academic Building for two years.  However, the least used volumes were stored in (Memorial) Cullum Hall.25  

Library in 1890’s

Until the end of the century, the regulations governing the library remained restrictive in character.  The rules were in keeping with older library practices no longer current, and also reflected the fact that the traditional methods made no great demand on the book collection.  A cadet had to call on the librarian or assistant librarian for such books as he wished to use, and was authorized to draw one book at a time, to be kept not longer than one week.  Members of the Academic Board were privileged to borrow a maximum of eight volumes.

The book collection received annual increments of standard works related to the curriculum with particular emphasis on military subjects.  It retained its unique character and national reputation because of the special nature of the collection.  Its main appeal was to the academic staff.  For these readers each academic department also began to accumulate a special library of books pertaining to the work of the department.

Superintendent Albert Leopold Mills (Class of 1879) in his annual 1902 report commented the library’s role was

In addition to exhibiting the complex profession of the soldier in its various

ramifications in the arts and sciences, it should also do what the college library

does for the college student.  

Mills noted the academic year marked

…a distinct and most important epoch in the history of the academy library.  For it

was in that year that the building renovation was completed (October 12, 1901),

and a new policy for the administration of the library was established under the

direction of a new librarian, Dr. Edward Singleton Holden (Class of 1870). 26


Dr. Edward Singleton Holden

The July 1902 Act of Congress provided for a Librarian to be appointed from civil life.  Dr. Edward Singleton Holden (Class of 1870) was the first full time U.S. Military Academy Librarian and was included in the “Roster of the Academic Staff.”   Professor Samuel Escue Tillman (Class of 1869), Head of the Department of Chemistry, was instrumental in convincing Holden to fill the library position.  Prior to Holden’s appointment it had always been the custom for one of the professors to hold this honorary office which was attended to in spare moments.  Because of the pressure of other duties, most of the incumbents gave only a general supervision to library affairs.  The work of receiving and issuing books, keeping the records, maintaining the catalogue, etc., was in the hands most of the time to the assistant librarian.   Tillman was of the definite opinion that the Academy needed an able full-time librarian and his thoughts on the matter were eventually concurred to by both the Superintendent and the Board of Visitors.  Dr. Holden had previously served as president of the University of California, and was a man of international scientific reputation as an astronomer.  He had tremendous powers for reading, assimilating and organizing information.  He was forward-looking, and was willing and even eager to accept the new position.  Although confined to a wheelchair and was assigned an aide he converted the library to a curriculum and cadet centered institution, reorganized the catalog system, and initiated the practice of giving new cadets a lecture on the best method of utilizing the library collection.  Holden doubled the book collection from 46,000 volumes when he became librarian in 1901 – and built it up to more than 93,200 before he died, March 16, 1914.  Under Holden’s administration, the library came to be considered as equivalent to an academic department, supporting and supplementing the curriculum.  The rules regarding cadet use of the books were liberalized and the library hours were extended to 81 hours per week during the academic year.  During his 13 years as librarian he changed the “once chaotic state as to cataloging, arrangement, and references to one of the best equipped and most convenient of all college libraries.”  During his tenure he added shelves of standard literature and publications, records, charts and historical sources.  

Upon accepting the librarianship, Holden adhered to the doctrine that “the library is the principle of life of every institution of instruction, whose tone can never rise higher than the means for teaching its instructors.”  Based on this concept he devoted his entire efforts to insuring that the USMA Library would meet the needs of every instructor and cadet.  He supported this theory by obtaining the most recent works available for each respective academic department.  Additionally, Holden believed that the USMA Library should make every effort to have closer relationships with all other acknowledged important libraries throughout the world.  His chief contribution, however, was placing the library in proper relationship to the academic departments, cadets, officers, and dependents residing on the post.  Holden’s services at the academy can be summed up by stating merely that his presence as librarian gave the library a prominence in the literary and scientific world that it had never before enjoyed.27

The library before Dr. Holden arrived was typified by books that were signed out and checked in for two hours each week.  No recreational reading was considered.  Fiction was considered frivolous and was not acquired until the twentieth century in any numbers.  Cadets and faculty were encouraged to confine reading to mathematics, science, and “subjects of an improving nature”.  

Dr. Holden initiated many dynamic changes to the library and was well supported by the superintendents and officers who made up the faculty.  Holden kept a “question box” in the library for cadets could drop reference questions in it that the library staff would research the answers to.  By direction of the Superintendent a lecture to the fourth class of cadets was given on October 11, 1902, by the librarian, on the best methods of utilizing the library’s collections by cadets…  The lecture was printed in the Journal of the United States Artillery.28

Dr. Holden instituted many modern library practices in cataloging and classifying books, and serious collection development to support the work of the academic departments.  One of his first official acts was to set apart the most suitable room in the library building as the “Military Room.”  The Military Room was located on the east side of the third floor.  The room was the former officer study.  Holden coordinated over 20,000 volumes on military subjects be placed in the room.  He also provided had a set of reference books and card catalogues in this room:  the idea being to facilitate special studies by the officers stationed at West Point, between eighty and ninety in number.  Easy chairs and two long oak tables for writing or reading were found in the room.  On one of the tables was a rack containing many of the latest military journals.  “The special facilities afforded here have borne fruit.”  His report as Librarian for 1913 shows about 25% of the younger officers did volunteer work for the library and that more than one-third of the officers of the post were there engaged in serious work and many more at their own quarters.  “The new Army requires students.  At no other place in the service are such facilities available as at West Point and very full advantage has been taken of them.”29

U.S. Military Academy Library at the turn of the century

Probably the first thing that caught the eye of one entering the room was the marble bust of George Washington.  Immediately above the bust was Conrad Wise Chapman’s Civil War oil painting, Quarter Guard.  On the bookstand to the left was another of his oil on canvas, Picket Post.  Both of these paintings of life in a Confederate camp were drawn on March 8, 1863 at Diascund Bridge, New Kent County, Virginia.30

Several steps were taken to modernize the library.  Electric lamps were placed in the library.  The high chandeliers of the main room were lowered four feet for additional light.  The library was first open at night in 1904.  By October 1908 electric lighting was completed in the library.  No longer were the hours of operation limited to sunset or earlier.  The Superintendent in September authorized the extension of the hours to 9:30 p.m. on week days.  Steam heat was also added to the library room’s having a north exposure.  On May 7, 1912 the Quartermaster installed three telephones in the library connecting the library with the central telephone system.  Electric clocks were installed in the library in 1914.31    Library patrons were pleased with finding reference sources for looking up books and magazine articles in the library.

Library organization in 1900

Libraries at the time had not been developed and standardized in the United States; so Dr. Holden invented various systems of cataloguing and indexing, especially in the departments of Military and Naval Arts and Sciences. A special collections section was started consisting of incunabula, cartography, public documents, and memorabilia of West Point, the U.S. Military Academy and graduates of the Academy.  A bookcase with locked glass doors was built in the west entrance hall to accommodate the library’s unique 500 volume set of books about West Point and the U.S. Military Academy, and the 332 volumes of text-books used at West Point from 1802-1907.  Dr. Holden’s plans were ambitious and only a man of unusual executive ability, scholarship, and capacity for work could have planned and executed as he did.  The card catalog was redefined and upgraded.  The Dewey decimal system was followed in the classification of all books but fiction, biography, periodicals, and military works.  The military classification at the time was unsatisfactory and Holden worked out a new scheme for changes with Dr. Melville Dewey, New York State Librarian (1870-1931), and creator of the Dewey Decimal system.  Dr. Dewey reviewed the scheme of classification of military books at West Point.  

Previously, books were cataloged on a purely arbitrary system.  The system, devised

many years ago, had in time broken down, so as to be always inconvenient, and often


The International Bibliographic Bureau was also consulted about the proposed Dewey changes for military books.  Mr. Solis-Cohen, of the New York State Library School, reclassified during the summer of 1904 over 2,500 titles with the assistance of Sergeant James Maher military history books using the Dewey Decimal system.  From September 15 – February 9, 1905, Mr. Joseph Martini assisted Dr. Holden in cataloging a large number of miscellaneous military books.  For other books it was found convenient to use Henry William Parker compiled New System of Classification and Numbering in Use in the Mechanics’ Institute Fee Library to catalog the existing book collections using authors’ names, from its numbers.32

Helpful aides to finding information in the military collections were coordinated by Dr. Holden.  About a third of the faculty volunteered to assist Dr. Holden into improving the library.  Subtitle cards were added to the card catalog.  The subject indexing of military periodicals since 1896 was begun by Lieutenant Thomas A. Roberts, Lieutenant Robert C. Davis, Captain Cornelius de W. Willcox and Captain Albert J. Bowley.  Card catalog battle entries were initiated by Lieutenant Frank C. Jewell.  These added subject entry catalog cards saved time and were considered a bonus when researching military topics.

More catalog cards were added to improve finding books in the collection.  The Library of Congress made the USMA Library a depository of Library of Congress printed cards in 1907.  One card for each book and for each subject for military science, military history, description and topography of countries, technology, the United States civil war, military fiction and sociology.   Additional printed library cards came from the American Library Association.  These cards gradually replaced earlier written cards.  A dictionary catalogue had duplicate card catalogue cards interfiled and was kept in the officers’ study for their convenience. Between 1901 and 1908, 2,600 out of an estimated 12,000 maps were cataloged and cards were prepared as a finding aide to the map collection.33

Cadet class photograph albums

Popular chemistry Professor Henry Lane Kendrick (Class of 1835) very valuable collection of

cadet photograph albums were willed to the library.  These albums were the precursor of today’s academy

yearbook (Howitzer).   The cadet albums start with 1857 and end in 1909.  The album for 1858 was

restored by copying by Mr. William H.  Stockbridge, Department of Drawing, because of its fading

condition.  Only the album for 1860 was lacking.  However, the rapidly changing events of the beginning

of the Civil War moved the June 1861 Class ahead of schedule and a class album was never done.   Each

album varies as the annual Class Album Committee contracted the photographer each fall.  The class

albums starting in 1857 were first photographed by a Cambridgeport, MA (across from Boston)

photographer, George Kendall Warren (1824-1884).  He began making photographs for college “class

books” or yearbooks in 1857 (for West Point from 1857-1862, 1864, 1866 and 1868).  From 1857 till his

death in 1884 he traveled the north east making photographs at Harvard, Williams, Brown, Wesleyan,

Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, Dartmouth, Union, and West Point.  He was selected by the senior class at

these schools year after year because of the high quality and strength of his portraits.  At the same time

he photographed the campus and surrounding area of each school.  J. E. Tilton and Company was

selected for the 1863 class album and Mathew Brady’s New York City Photography Studio took the 1865

cadet album.  Later album photographers include Jeremiah Gurney for 1867, Napoleon Sarony (1821-

1896) and company photographers for 1870, and Howell photographers for 1873.  However, Gustav W.

Pach and Brothers (1869 and 1875-1909) photographed the most cadet albums.  Each cadet created his

own memories.  Many  traded pictures of instructors, fellow cadets, added notable celebrities and West

Point scenes.  Album portraits were often autographed by cadets, sometimes providing the only early

autograph of later famous generals.   Albums purchased individually as standard, deluxe and in a few

cases a combined family and military academy photograph album.  Some album photographs are

identified, some albums are indexed but not all are arranged alike.    However, the Kendrick class albums

were annotated by faculty volunteers:   Colonels Samuel E. Tillman, Gustav J. Fiebeger, and William B.

Gordon.  Cadets and faculty members who purchased albums could select a variety of West Point scenic

views and notable celebrities to include in their customized album.  Class panorama group photographs

exist for 1871, 1874-1878, 1880, 1887, 1893, 1913-1916 and 1920-1925.  Today, many of the albums are

digitized and available through the library’s web site. The class albums were replaced officially by the

current HOWITZER in 1904.  An official academy photographer from about 1900 through the 1930’s was

William H. Stockbridge, who was also the head of the Department of Drawing.  T. J. Manus in 1912 did

photographs of cadets and images for the Howitzer but most of these images from 1912 through 1966

were done by the commercial firm of White Studio of New York City.  Subsequently photographs were

then produced starting early in World War II to by the Signal Corps Photography laboratory at West

Point. 34  

Library books and services

A subscription service providing recent fiction books was tried in 1903.  The library subscribed to the Tabard-Inn Library of Philadelphia and had the right to keep up to 125 recent fiction books a month in circulation.  The best novels in the year were purchased.  However, this rental of fiction books service and another, the New York Society Library was dropped.  It proved to be too costly.  The library was renting one hundred volumes of current fiction which was changed at interval but was not acquiring any titles in the program.  During this period the library was removing obsolete and duplicate books in the library.  Many multiple copies of fiction in English were de-accessioned.35

The Library Committee of the Academic Board in 1906 consisted of the professors of drawing, chemistry, modern languages, and engineering.  Purchases continued to be made by the USMA Quartermaster Department until the library’s Technical Services Division assumed responsibility for the purchase, processing, and accountability of book material for all academic departments in 1960. The Library Committee took over all library duties of the Academic Board in 1911.   All important matters were decided by them on the recommendation of the librarian.36

Dr. Holden’s library and West Point publications

Dr. Holden liked to write and promoted the U.S. Military Academy Library among service personnel.  Dr. Holden selected and compiled a column, “Contributions from the Library of the U.S. Military Academy” from 1906-1907 published in Army and Navy Life magazine that printed copies of military manuscripts or extracts from rare pamphlets belonging to the U.S. Military Academy.

Dr. Holden is the author of the Supplement to Cullum’s Register of Graduates, giving the history, from 1890 to 1900, of all graduates of the Academy.  It was at his suggestion that, under the supervision of a Committee of the Academic Board, the Centennial History of the Academy, 1802-1902, was prepared.  He personally edited and supervised the production of a two-volume set of books commemorating the centennial of West Point in 1902.  Volume I, consisting of articles from many pens, give a living picture of the old academy, the academy of Thayer, Totten, Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Schofield.  Holden himself not only contributed a chapter on the origins of the academy plus a list of all the textbooks that had been used in the first hundred years of existence, but also prepared for the second volume bibliographies of writings about West Point (1524-1902), the Military Academy (1776-1902), and of the writing of all graduates (1802-1902).  These are standard sources for all early histories of the U.S. Military Academy.37

Another publication about the library was approved on April 25, 1912:  That a Bulletin of the U.S.M.A. Library be published under supervision of the Library Board on or about the first day of each month during the academic year in which shall be given a classified list of the books added to the library during the preceding month and any other information which may be deemed valuable.  The Bulletin also includes short bibliographies of the books and articles in the library bearing on some topic of current interest.  This Bulletin was to be distributed to residents of the post and cadets for their information.38

James McNeill Whistler Memorial

Other library recognitions came in the form of memorials of former cadets.  The Copley Society of Boston made a gift to the U.S. Military Academy on October 26, 1907.  Superintendent Hugh Lenox Scott (Class of 1876), formally accepted a marble memorial to James McNeill Whistler (x-cadet, Class of 1855).  Whistler later became a prominent international artist.  The Whistler memorial was originally erected in the east entrance hallway of the library.  The memorial designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the architect of the Lincoln Memorial, and Henry Bacon, an architect and designer.  Whistler was the grandson of a British Royal Engineer in the American Revolution.  He was the son of George Washington Whistler (Class of 1819) an eminent civil engineer, who was invited by Nicholas I of Russia to build the first railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg (1842-1849).  However, James Whistler’s conduct and deficiency in chemistry put an end to his cadetship.  He retained however, a life-long fondness for the academy, and often said that “If silicon had been a gas, I would have been a major general.”  The quotation on the memorial is from Whistler’s 1885 lecture, “Ten O’Clock.”39

Edgar Allan Poe Memorial

Another famous cadet library memorial was initiated in 1908 by Mr. Henry Bacon.  Edgar Allan Poe (x-cadet, Class of 1834) marble tablet and door way memorial, to the prominent mystery and short story writer was funded by subscriptions of friends of the academy.   The memorial was originally placed against the north wall by the entrance.  Poe had risen to the rank of sergeant major at Fort Monroe, Virginia before receiving his appointment to West Point, and was taken aback to learn that he was expected to complete a four-year course.  Finding military discipline not to his liking, he left after less than a year. Poe was however popular with his fellow cadets, who raised the money by subscription in 1831 to publish his first book of poetry, which Poe dedicated to the Corps of Cadets.  The quotation on the arch is from his poem, “To Helen”.40

First library policy

The first library policy was developed in 1910 that covered collection development:

  1. What may be called a university or college library.  All books likely to be of

service to the instructor and cadets in the pursuit of studies of our special


  1. A special military library.  The library ought to contain substantially every

military book printed in America; every important military book printed

elsewhere; all military manuscripts that can be accumulated with bear on

the history of the American Army, especially during periods of war; and

a sufficient collection of military and other maps.

  1. Library of Congressional documents.  

  1. A small and select library of the general principles of law, including

all the publications of the United States on law. 41

An agreement with the Library of Congress to lend books to the U.S. Military Academy Library was initiated in 1910.  The Library of Congress started a policy of transferring to the academy duplicate military books.  This was another major step for the library to maintain its status as world class military affairs collections.

During this period of time the library at this time annually issued cadets dictionaries and

reference books in March and September and received them back in June:

        Webster’s International Dictionary

        Standard Dictionary

        Labberton’s Historical Atlas

        Century Atlas

        Times Atlas

        Willcox’s Military Dictionary (French)42

Librarians appointed after Dr. Holden

James Edward Runice, a Major of Volunteers (Class of 1879) was appointed to succeed Dr. Holden.  Major Runice was the librarian from 1914 to 1919.  However, he was absent much of the time because of World War I assignments.  Unfortunately, the dynamic tempo of the library during the Holden years is not repeated.   From 1919 to 1921, there was no librarian and William L. Ostrander, the assistant librarian, was often absent due to a terminal sickness.  

From 1914 to 1919, Dr. Holden’s successor was absent much on war work.  A backlog kept piling up and records became more confused.  However, lists of new books were sent to the commandant regularly, and these lists were published in the Daily Bulletin, so that the cadets could know what new books were available.  The published lists of new books were prepared in the effort for the academic departments to encourage and at times require the use of the library in connection with their courses.  However, during the 1920’s the library was not easy to get into.  A cadet was “skinned” if they entered the library except during their release from quarters which was a half hour before dinner each day of the week.  On holidays, Saturdays and Sundays the library was opened from 2 to 6 p.m.  Library class assignments were never made.  But by 1931 cadet class use of the library was noted for research work from the Departments of English, Economics, Government and History and Military Engineering.43

From 1921 to 1926, the library was in charge of Miss Margery Bedinger, a trained librarian.   A start was made at bringing some order out of chaos.  The deluge of writing on the World War caused the Library of Congress system to be extended so that it became the very best for cataloging the military and naval arts and sciences and World War I.  Accordingly these subjects were re-indexed and arranged under this system.  Bedinger reviewed the library during the early 1920’s and reported that

…books, properly selected, housed and administered can give important assistance

to the Academy’s purpose.  …the library should be…a storehouse, and by this I do

not mean a Dump, but a well arranged place of deposit for printed and written matter

of all kinds, including photographs and maps dealing with the history, science and

art of war, and the history of the United States, especially West Point, and the

Military Academy.  It is to this library that inquirers and scholars from all over the

United States and indeed the world has a right to look for material in these subjects.

           …The general collection of literature, history and biography, science, philosophy,

art and travel is an excellent foundation one, for the most part well selected and

sufficiently full…The reading of good modern English improves one’s ability to

write and speak well, and books with strong, well draw characters, giving accurate

pictures of everyday life is a distinct aid in character building and the broadening

of one’s viewpoint...there is no better way to learn to understand human nature

than to read good fiction, and biography, and without understanding men, one

cannot lead them.   The library proposes therefore to keep a good working

collection of the better sort of modern fiction…


          The building and equipment are in good shape, but the library proper is very far from

           that happy state.  The whole building is clogged with worthless material which takes

           up needed shelf room and serves to bury the valuable and useful matter.  Not only are

           there many books and pamphlets which are worth only what they might bring as old

           paper, but large quantities of magazines and unbound material of all kinds that come

           in hap-hazard fashion, have been found filling up whole areas in the basement and the

          attic.  Before the library can be got into proper shape for real service, the first thing to

          do is to get rid of this useless trash.

The card catalog was revised draw by draw of duplicates, superfluous cards, obsolete cards and cards for books that are no longer at the library.  Books were weeded that had no value.  The library needed house-keeping and a constant changeover of library trained enlisted personnel because of slow promotions added to the challenges the library needed to overcome.44 

The academy officials were looking for a suitable retired officer to be the librarian in 1926.  Since 1901, the library staff consisted of one librarian, and one assistant, and since 1922, a stenographer, to do all the technical work and handle all correspondence.  Four or five enlisted men were detailed to help at the circulation desk, handle mail, read shelves, and do manual labor.  Generally these men did not possess an elementary school education nor the inclination or aptitude for library work.  With the above staff, the library was in a care taker situation after Dr. Holden’s passing.  

A place to go to for visitors

Aside from its place in the institution, the library must also be regarded as a public monument, a shrine of American tradition and patriotism. The library building, erected in 1841 and remodeled in 1900, was still one of the show places on the post.  It was visited weekly during the spring, summer, and fall by hundreds of people.  Its maintenance and care was more difficult than if the building was new and properly designed.  The Library Board was directed by the Superintendent to be responsible for the upkeep and repair of the library building.  An additional appropriation of $3,500.00 has been requested for the fiscal year 1928.  The annual appropriation of $1,000.00 was made to maintain and repair the building.  A new roof was placed on the library in 1909.  Glass panels on the roof were painted blue.  Library operations continued despite the setbacks.

The library was no longer adequate

Talk began that the existing library building was not suitable for a library.  It had three entrances and naturally it has three exits.  …”It is believed that many books are taken away through carelessness or for other reasons.”  “The library building is too small.  It is now rather crowded and we often refuse to receive gifts because we have not available space in which to place them.”  The Post Quartermaster and the Library Board had different ideas on who should take care of building repairs such as leaks and repainting and lighting.  More thought was given to the construction of an additional space for shelving needs.45

The question of how the book should be cataloged in 1928 resulted in divided opinions.  Lieutenant Colonel William A. Mitchell (Class of 1902), Chairman of the Library Board changed the Library of the Department of Engineering to the Library of Congress from the Dewey Decimal system.  He found it unsuitable for engineering, military biography and military art and history.  Mitchell opposed the idea that the library maintains the Dewey decimal system because it is a meant for a public library.  Mr. C. H. Hastings, Chief of the Card Division of the Library of Congress, cataloging expert of the United States wrote…”It is my belief that the only reason that all libraries do not adopt it is because they have not the money or the courage to face the situation.”  Mitchell argued that

Every year that we delay in changing to the Library of Congress system puts us some

1,000 more books in the hole, and I feel sure that we shall eventually come to this

system.  I feel sure that Dr. Holden would have changed to this system, if it had been

available when he controlled the West Point Library. 46


The Library Committee decided to compromise:  no change was made in the existing system of classification of books in the library except in the special classes of military and naval arts and science, and the European War. The library administration delayed converting completely to the Library of Congress System until the 1970’s.

A major periodical acquisition decision was made in 1929 when the list of periodicals subscribed to was reduced by cutting out those which were rarely used and which were not of value as permanent records.  The superintendent, by endorsement of May 7, 1929, approved the general policy that “when books and magazines are of so technical a nature that their use is practically limited to a few instructors, they should not be purchased by the library.”47

Major Elbert Eli Farman, Jr.

Major Elbert Eli Farman, Jr. (Class of 1909) was the U.S. Military Academy Library director from August 24, 1928 to December 18, 1942.  He had a very alert mind and was a fountain of information regarding the history of West Point.  When the Great Depression and the overall reduced Department of the Army budget during the 1930’s impacted the library, Farman wrote a memorandum to the Superintendent (William Dorward Connor (Class of 1897) that “In view of the greatly reduced appropriation for the coming fiscal year I recommend the following:

  1. That all the different departments of the Military Academy which habitually

subscribe for magazines and the officers’ Mess work out their magazine

subscription list together.

  1.  The library will be forced to reduce the cost of its magazine subscription

this year by about $200.  It is believed that by agreements with other

departments which subscribe to magazines this reduction could be

made without seriously impairing the value of our periodical room.

  1. That any person who does not return a book when due contribute a small

amount which will be used for the purchase of books or magazines for the


  1. A great deal of work is caused by the failure of people to return books.

The cards themselves on which overdue notices are sent cost about

$20, a year.48

The library expanded in 1930 into a large room on the ground floor of the East Academy

Building.  The area was known as the library’s literature room.  The connecting corridor

provided a useful location for a periodicals room.  These spaces helped the financially tight

times and also gave more room to the expanding library collections.

Farman observed in his 1938 annual report to the Superintendent that

We are unable to purchase many books which are in demand at the time they are

published, but have to wait nearly a year in order to get them at marked down

prices.  In addition we always have a long list of books which are wanted and

which we are unable to purchase.49

Cadet Library used also as a post library

Before there was a post library a children’s library was instituted by the Library Committee.  The library catered to the families of the post and maintained a special section for children’s readings under the stair case in the library.  The purchase of 100 books got the program started.  An addition 300 children book donations were accepted from West Point families or turned over by the Major Farman.  A children’s section of 400 books was opened at the library on March 10, 1934.  A list of additional books was available for teenagers over 16 from other shelves were also provided.  A table in the southwest corner of the main room of the library and a few nearby sections of the wall shelves were reserved for the collection. Children of the ages of 10 and above whose parents are authorized to draw books from the library.  Children could take out one book at a time by signing the book card at the desk in the regular way prescribed for adults.  Children under 10 accompanied by an older person when visiting the library were not allowed to sign for books.  Books desired by children had to be taken out for them by their parents or be used in the library.  Children under 14 years of age were confined in the library to the immediate vicinity of the children’s section.  The custodian at the desk was assigned the addition responsibility to assist children in finding the books they wanted and instruct them how to sign for books.  The Library Committee hoped to received more donations to enlarge the children’s section and expressed its thanks to all who have contributed to the cause – their enthusiasm and support have been greatly appreciated.50

Library instruction in the 1940’s

A new plan was tried the summer of 1940 for the first time whereby the 4th Class came to the library for an hour’s instruction during the summer.  A careful check during the winter indicated that this gave excellent results.  It appeared that the 4th class was, on the whole, much better at finding the material they wanted in the library than the 3rd Class which did not have this type of instruction.  Although Dr. Holden did a similar program in 1902 with favorable results the lack of a library staff to continue the program was an on-going concern.51

An auxiliary library for cadet use while in summer training was set-up at nearby Camp Popolopen.  First Lieutenant Lloyd C. Appleton, the Special Service Officer at Camp Popolopen praised the library staff setting up a temporary camp library:          

…last summer I want you to know how much I appreciated your co-operation in

establishing a branch library out there.  As indicated by the large amount of cadet-

reading which took place the project was very much worthwhile and proved to be

really an essential.


        I want to also note my appreciation for all the work and the interest taken by the

assistant librarians.  They added many items to make the library a more interesting

place.  Many officers and cadets commented on what an interesting selection of

books had been brought out to us.  The trips to Popolopen by the assistant librarians

were in excess to their other duties, but they did it most cheerfully and efficiently.  

Their visits at Popolopen was always a busy time.52 However, the summer library was moved to Camp Buckner in 1945 to continue the successful cadet summer training program.  World War II and its aftermath resulted in changes in the library.

COL. William J. Morton, Jr.

        The last active duty officer to serve as the Librarian; Colonel William J. Morton, Jr., 1943-1957)

(USMA 1923); presided over the 1841 library when the Bryant E. Moore Wing was built in the 1955.  

Under his direction the allotment of funds for book purchases was increased and hours of cadet access to

the library was increased.

Dr. Sidney Forman

U.S. Army Corporal Sidney Forman, a Brooklyn born native, was assigned to the library in February 1943.  His interest and enthusiasm for books, history, and records led him to earning advance degrees at Columbia University.  He was promoted to civilian administrative positions after his discharge in February 1946.  Before World War II he had worked upstate New York before the war as a Works Progress Administration local historian.  After World War II his Ph.D. thesis was published as a book, West Point: A History of the United States Military Academy and it was reissued as a special edition for the U.S. Military Academy Sesquicentennial in 1952.  His history of West Point is considered a classic history of the institution.  During the Sesquicentennial, Forman, now librarian, thought of the idea of having a photograph of an Army mascot mule in the library looking over his shoulder while he had a book open in one hand and an apple in the other hand to attract the mule.  This was a great public relations photograph for the National Library Week and was widely copied by newspapers across the country.  Forman had earned his library science degree from Columbia University while serving as the librarian at the U.S. Military Academy Library.  The professionalizing of the staff and accepted library procedures such as fitting the collection to the curriculum began under his tutelage.  

Library increasingly being used

Increase book circulation figures began with the use of the library for assigned reports for the Department of English and the Department of Economics, Government and History.  The larger presence of National Guard and ROTC instructors from other colleges and universities assigned to teaching duties at West Point led to a an increase use of the library.  Cadet papers as well as instructor and staff preparations of thesis and articles for publication impacted on the library activities during World War II.  Not only was the library providing reading matter for the Corps of Cadets and the personnel of the post. It also furnished reference material for the academic departments, cadets and other interested in research.  It took part in certain phases of cadet academic instruction.  It evolved into the principal fact-finding agency for the Military Academy, and answered inquiries originating at West Point or addressed to the Academy from elsewhere.53

Library’s changing needs

By 1945 the library, evaluated in relation to the stated objectives of the Military Academy, as well as in relation to the standards achieved by comparable institutions, began to exhibits serious weaknesses.  Its staff was marked by an absence of education in library science, with only one member of the staff as a graduate of an accredited library school.   There were at least five positions for which qualifications would logically include specialized education in library science.

Although the building, an 1841 structure remodeled in 1900, was inadequate both in storage and seating capacity, excellent use was made of the available space.  Books were readily available on the open shelves, and the reading space was distributed throughout the building providing the same conveniences being stressed in the most modern library buildings – scattered book storage and reading areas.  However, there was no question of the need for enlarged quarters if a library program was to be developed.  Moreover, the total expenditures for the library were low on any scale of estimated requirements for a college level library program.54

Purchasing privately printed and overseas World War II combat unit histories provided an additional challenge.  The library desired to maintain its reputation for completeness in the military history field.  Many captured books and documents started to be donated to the library from combat officers, both graduates and non-graduates.  Documents about the graduates were also a concern to preserve and make useful.

USMA Archives

In February 1946, a new civil service position of Archivist was set up in the library (See Appendix C).  Dr. Sidney Forman, Archivist and Historian and Librarian filled the position.  Dr. Forman and LTC William Morton, the Librarian, saw the need to preserve the valuable records in the centralized area.  So they obtained permission from the Department of the Army and the National Archives to setup an archives at West Point.  Some records in storage in the Thayer Riding Hall that had little heat during the freezing winters and no air conditioning during the hot summers were removed.  The records began to be pulled to the Headquarters (Taylor Hall) and organized by the National Archives system as Series 412.  Other important archives sources were obtained through the Office of the Treasurer who had many historical documents because of financial accountability.  Department official records were identified and placed on a schedule to be held eventually in the new U.S. Military Academy Archives.  The formal establishment of the USMA Archives as a branch of the National Archives was initiated on May 11, 1954. General Orders No. 6, Headquarters, USMA, formally established the United States Military Academy Archives and made them independent of the library.  The U.S. Military Academy Archives mission statement directed that the Archives is to assemble and preserve the permanent records of the United States Military Academy, as distinguished from the Post of West Point, which have administrative, research, or legal value, for maintenance in accordance with sound archival principles.

In November, 1965 the USMA Archives were moved to the library.  In September 1976, the USMA Archives, covering the period 1802-1975, were officially accessioned by the National Archives; despite the transfer of legal custody, Record Group No. 404, which amounts to 840 cubic feet of 412 different series of records would remain at West Point.  Record Group (RG) 404 of the National Archives includes the historical administrative records of the U. S. Military Academy.  The collection’s primary purpose is to document the U.S. Corps of Cadets and the academic and military training given them at the U.S. Military Academy.  The records also document the general administration and management of the Academy, as well as unique aspects of the Post of West Point, including its grounds and architecture, historic cemetery, band, and special events.

A “Memorandum of Agreement between the United States Military Academy and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)” went into effect on August 17, 1988.  This agreement, signed by Brigadier General Roy K. Flint, Dean of the Academic Board, and Mr. Don Wilson, Archivist of the United States, formalized the conditions under which the Military Academy’s historically valuable records have remained on deposit at West Point in the USMA Archives.  In 1996 the USMA Archives evolved as an affiliated archive.  The USMA Archives functions under the provisions of a memorandum of agreement between NARA and the U.S. Military Academy, which details certain storage, collection integrity, and access requirements.  Compliance to the agreement is ensure through annual inspections by a member of the NARA staff.55

Post WWII library

The post World War II U.S. Military Academy Library was changing.  Library hours were extended from 7:15 to 9:15 every evening during the academic year.   Library instruction was initiated for both the English and Social Science Departments research papers, the West Point Debating Society and for cadet’s assigned topics for discussion in the Military Instructor Training Program.56  

Library recommendations in the 1950’s

The 1950 report issued by the Accreditation Committee of the Middle Atlantic States Association of Colleges recommended that an archival and rare book room be established.  Recommendations included construction of an addition, increasing the books and periodicals and their quality and to have a larger budget for purchasing.  Fluorescent lights replaced incandescent fixtures for improved lighting.  More easy chairs were placed in the reading room.  Where smoking was permitted, smoking stands were placed by each chair.  Smoking of pipes or cigarettes continued to be banned in the basement and the library’s attic.  

In 1950 the library started to participate in the annual Social Science Student Conference of the United States (SCUSA).  The Military Room was utilized for some of the first round table discussions.  The annual November event continues to this day with the library conference rooms and open areas utilized to facilitate the successful conference program.  Students and leading scholars from across the country are invited.57

Sesquicentennial and the library

During the Sesquicentennial of the U.S. Military Academy during 1952 the library prepared many special exhibits.  These included the display of the registration book and other mementoes of the Military Academy Centennial observance in 1902, cadet hop cards through the years, historical photographs and the Sesquicentennial medallion58

The library was the scene of the controversial unveiling in the reference room of Confederate General Robert Edward Lee (Class of 1829) portrait on his birthday, January 19.  A group of citizens presented the portrait.  Former superintendent, Lieutenant General Maxwell D. Taylor (Class of 1922) gave an address.  In 1930 an offer was made by the Daughters of the Confederacy to present a portrait of Lee in gray uniform to hang among former superintendents in the Mess Hall.  Two other R. E. Lee portraits were hanging elsewhere on post (Quarters 100 and the Superintendent’s Office area in Taylor Hall) but were painted in blue U.S. Army uniforms.  Two great-grandchildren, Miss Anne Carter Lee Ely and her brother, Hanson Edward Ely, III unveiled the portrait on the 145th anniversary of his birth and 100th of his appointment as the eighth superintendent in 1852.  The Lee portrait by Sidney E. Dickinson represents him as the Confederate General-in-Chief.  A compromise of sorts was worked out with having at the opposite end of the library reference room a similar portrait of Ulysses Simpson Grant (Class of 1843) who was the Union Army General-in-Chief.  The exhibition represents the present national unity in our country according to General Taylor.59

Poop file

Less controversial was the establishment in 1954 of the “Poop File” in the library for plebes required by upper classmen to memorize a great deal of nonsense.  Some of the material included all sorts of facts – some important, others foolish such as the number of light bulbs in Cullum Hall and the gallons of water of Lusk Reservoir.  The file built up with recurring questions.  This was a great boon to the harassed plebe, though the upper classmen tried to keep them in ignorance of the library’s charitable enterprise.

Moore Wing

An addition to the southwest corner of the library in an existing courtyard prolonged the inevitable plans of constructing a new state of the arts library.  The new wing was named for Major General Bryant Edward Moore (Class of August 1917 and Superintendent, 1949-1951).  The Moore Wing was dedicated October 26, 1955.  General Moore died in a helicopter crash on February 24, 1951, while commanding the IX Corps in operations during the Korean Conflict.  He conceived this addition to the library of an 80,000 volume storage capacity and initiated the planning for its construction.  He had placed the project from the bottom to the top of the West Point building program.  The Moore Wing eliminated congestion in the Reading Room and made it convenient to find books without assistance.  Originally the wing consisted of a very large stack room and an office for the librarian and his secretary.  It increased book storage capacity 50%.  The cleared area created reading space that had been cluttered with stacks.60

Dr. Forman’s library legacies

Dr. Sidney Forman became librarian on May 26, 1958.  Many innovations were introduced by Dr. Forman.  A survey of a book and periodical collections’ adequacy was initiated by comparing the library’s holdings with such standard lists as the Lamont Library Catalog.  New acquisitions were more closely related to the curriculum and training program.  Book selection was based on coordination with the various departments of the Military Academy.  More detailed library statistics were kept as an index to library use.  The records indicated the various subject areas in which library materials are borrowed by officers, cadets and others entitled to use the library.  The records indicated the subject areas for new accessions.  During the course of the year studies were initiated or steps taken to improve cataloguing procedures, to establish a picture collection, to establish a music room, and to make a new military reading room in collaboration with the Department of Military Art and Engineering.

Sylvanus Thayer collection

A major effort was done to organize the collection of Sylvanus Thayer papers.  The “Father of the Military Academy,” had initiated the successful system that has endured to this day.   One of Forman’s first projects was identifying and pulling books procured on Thayer’s trip to France in 1815-1817 into a separate collection.  The more valuable books had been shelved upstairs in a room through the Assistant Librarian’s Office.  Glass cases and showcases displayed changing library exhibits.  Other locations included the Office of the Historian and Archivist, the basement of the Library building, and the book storage attic of the East Academic Building.  A program for new books that would be read by cadets was also implemented.

Expanding the collections

Modest branch libraries of approximately 200 books each were established during the fall of 1958 in each of the twenty-four cadet orderly rooms or company room libraries contributed to more cadets reading.  The title selections for these attractive paper bound copies of books and periodicals were chosen by all departments.  There was no apparent decrease in cadet out-of-library borrowing in the main library.

The following steps were taken to expand the library’s collections:  Two hundred and ninety-three new periodicals were requisitioned in addition to the one hundred and sixty-three subscriptions previously taken.  Many new reference works were acquired. Increased funding assisted the library.  Funds enabled the library to approach current library standards for the median number of periodical subscriptions.  New book acquisitions as established by the American Library Association for college standards were met by the library.

Dr. Forman also instituted an in-service training program in order to raise the level of professional competence of library personnel, and to provide a common doctrine in regard to USMA Library policy and procedure.  Weekly staff meetings were held to discuss current library problems and exchange ideas, and to keep up with the latest in college library administration and professional developments in the library field.61

Footnotes:  1841- 1961 U. S. Military Academy Library History 

 1 Boynton, Edward Carlyle.  Guide to West Point and the U.S. Military Academy with maps and engravings.  NY:  D. Van Nostrand, 1867:  44-45.

2News of the Highlands, July 29, 1899:  2.  Williams, Captain Charles A.  1889. Headquarters.  United States Military Academy.  Quartermaster’s Office, West Point, New York.  Letter-book.  1889 Description of Buildings:  31-32.  Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology, Jacob Whitman Bailey (Class of 1832) made a series of observations from the West Point observatory on the great comet of 1843.  Holden, Edward S.  1911.  Biographical Memoirs of William H. C. Barlett, 1804-1893.  Washington, D.C.:  181.  Loomis, Elias.  Astronomical Observatories in the United States,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, vol. 13 (1856):  25-52 Victor Prevost using the library’s observatory telescope made history in 1854 taking the first photographs of a solar eclipse.  Gladstone, William.  “Unpublished Prevost,” The Journal:  New England Journal of Photographic History, Number 128 (Summer 1990):  4-9. 

3Beard, James Franklin, ed.   The Letters and Journals of James Fenimore Cooper, vol. 1.  Cambridge, MA:  The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1960:  95-97.  Morton, Colonel William J., Jr.  “The Library of the U.S. Military Academy,” Constitution Island Association Annual, 1954.

4USMA Library (USMAL).  Special Collections and Archives Division (SCAD).  Library Letter Book, 1852-1871.  Letter dated Dec. 26, 1863 from Senator G. W. Newmith was received regarding Fres…

                Dear sir:/During your short visit here last summer, I took occasion to call your

attention to the         merits         of the Assistant Librarian of the U.S. Military Academy,

with a view to some legislation in the case.  You very kindly requested me to

bring the matter to your notice, and I therefore enclose a statement prepared

by the Assistant Librarian…  The present incumbent is considered admirably

fitted, by education and long experience, for the duties he performs; and

his industry and general efficiency are proverbial.  It needs no argument to

prove that the custodian of 20,000 volumes composing a library of scientific

works, should receive a higher compensation that the mere pay and

emoluments of a private soldier.  I should state the position of librarian is

always filled by an officer of the Army temporarily on duty at the post, but that

his duties are supervisory merely, and that the Assistant Librarian performs all

the duties and is directly responsible.  I trust that Congress may provide for

some extra compensation, and I take the liberty of appending the draft of a

section for insertion in the Bill for the support of the Military Academy…

 5Utley, George B.  Librarian’s Conference of 1853.  Chicago:  American Library Association, 1951.  USMAL.  SCAD.  U.S. Military Academy Library.  Letter Book, 1852-1871.

 6U.S. Laws, statues, etc.   Laws of Congress Relative to West Point and the United States Military Academy, From 1786 to 1877. comp. by Robert Henry Hall (Class of 1860).  West Point, NY:  U.S.M.A. Press, 1877:  49.  Superintendent’s Annual Report.  1910:  57-58. 

 7USMAL. SCAD.  U.S. Military Academy Library.  Letter Book, 1852-1871, Jan. 26, 1863.

8USMAL. SCAD.  U.S. Military Academy Library.  Letter Book, 1852-1871, Sept. 4, 1863.

9Board of Visitors Report, 1871:  12.

10USMAL. SCAD.  U.S. Military Academy Library.  Letter Book, 1852-1871, Jan. 26, 1863.

11Griess, Thomas Everett .   Dennis Hart Mahan:  West Point professor and advocate of military professionalism, 1830-1871.  Chapel Hill, NC:  Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1968:  164-168.

12Tabulation from Professor/Librarian Claudius Berard, Mar. 21, 1844 and attached to a letter from Chief Engineer Joseph G. Totten to Superintendent Richard Delafield, Mar. 15, 1844, USMA Letters received, 1840-1890, U.S. Military Academy Archives, West Point, New York.

 13USMA Library circulation records, 1824-1902.  Dennis H. Mahan to Delafield, Sept. 5, 1838.  USMA Letters Received, 1840-1890, USMAL. SCAD.  U.S. Military Academy.  Headquarters.  Orders No. 36, West Point, NY, Mar. 8, 1894.

 14Griess:  236-237.  Swift, Eben.  “Military education of General R. E. Lee,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 35 (April 1927):  107-108.  Dabney H. Maury, 1894.  Recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian and Civil Wars.  NY:  C. Scribner:  50; Peter Smith Michie.  1901.  General McClellan.  NY:  D. Appleton:  24. 

 15“1850 State Level Census Data – Sorted by State/County Name,” http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/censusbin/census/cen.plThe Annual Report of Board of Regents of Smithsonian Institution, with Report on Public Libraries, By Charles C. Jewett, 1849, CIS-NO:  564 Senate. Miscellaneous document 120:  99-100.  Only the American Philosophical Society, the Boston Athenaeum, Harvard, Yale, and Brown had more books than the U.S. Military Academy Library.

 16Superintendent’s curriculum study. 1958:  26.

 17Ibid., Feb. 4, 1864.

 18Board of Visitor’s Report, 1869:  319.  Board of Visitors Report, 1870:  14.  U.S.  Military Academy Library 1876.  Catalogue of the Library U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.... comp. by Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Robert Henry Hall.  Newburgh, NY:  Charles Jannicky, Steam Book and Job Printer.  Containing supplement from 1873.

 19 Kershner, James William.  1976.  Sylvanus Thayer:  A Biography.  Morgantown:  Ph.D. dissertation, West Virginia University:  328 and 334.  Eliot, George Fielding.  1959.  Sylvanus Thayer of West Point.  New York:  Julian Messner, Inc.:  186.  Eight hundred books and pamphlets from Colonel Sylvanus Thayer were presented to the library by the Thayer Public Library of South Braintree, Massachusetts in 1930.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1930:  4.

 20Board of Visitors.  1873:  12.

21Report of the commission… Washington, DC, 1881:  2, 6, 64 and 81.

22Searles, William H. “The West Point Tunnel,” Journal of the Association of Engineering Societies (Feb. 1889):  57-69 and Radske, Robert K., Francis J. Arland and Jeffrey C. May. “Rehabilitating West Point’s Tunnel,” Civil Engineering (Sept. 1990):  66-69.  Forman, Sidney.  West Point:  A History of the U.S. Military Academy.  NY:  Columbia University Press, 1950.  Superintendent’s Annual Report. 1882: 159.

 23Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1894:  4-5, 15-16.

 24Board of Visitors Report, 1893:  21.  News of the Highlands, February 25, 1892:  1. Superintendent’s Annual Report. 1893:  5-6 and 14-15.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1896:  5 and 186.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1899:  11 and 38.

 25 Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1900:  13 and 43.  Superintendent’s Curriculum Study:  Report of the Working Committee on the Historical Aspects of the Curriculum for the Period 1802-1945.  West Point, NY: 1958:  54.

26Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1902:  16 and 49-53.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1903:  52.  U.S.M.A. Superintendent.  1958.  Superintendent’s Curriculum Study:  69.

27Rapp, Kenneth W. “Edward Singleton Holden:  Astronomer and Librarian,” Assembly (Winter 1972), 36.  

28Journal of the United States Artillery (Nov.-Dec. 1903).

29Osterbrook, Donald E.  “The Rise and Fall of Edward S. Holden:  Part 1, Journal for the History of Astronomy, vol. 15, part 2, no. 43 (June 1984):  81-127 and Part 2, vol. 15, part 3, no. 44 (Oct. 1984):  151-176.  Davis, Captain E. G., “Distinguished Graduates of the U.S.M.A. in Civil Life:  Edward Singleton Holden, M.A., ScD. LL.D.,” Army and Navy Life, vol. X (1909): 474-482.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1913.  Washington, DC:  Government Printing Office:  65; Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1914:  63-65.

30Van Westenbrugge, G. T., “Military Room,” Pointer, vol. 23, no. 10 (Jan. 18, 1946):  9.  Art Inventories Catalog.  Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS)  http://siris-artinventories.si.edu/ipac.jsp?session=12773D64434J2.I561&profile=ar...

31Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1903:  9-10, Appendix H:  51-56.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1912:  59-62.  

32Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1904, 9, Appendix G, 41-46. Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1907.  Appendix G:  Report of the Librarian:  54-62.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1913:  66.  

33Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1908: Appendix G.  Report of the Librarian:  43-45.   A valuable map collection was donated by Mrs. Louisa P. Minis, Savannah, Georgia, daughter of General Jeremy Francis Gilmer (Class of 1839), Chief Engineer, C.S.A., presented to the library forty original maps made in the Engineer Bureau, C.S.A.  They are generally on tracing linen.  Other maps of this series are deposited in the Confederate Museum at Richmond, and in the Virginia Historical Society.  There maps were saved at Greensboro, N.C., by a brother of General Gilmer and kept at his plantation for many years.  The maps represent exactly the information at the disposal of the Confederate commanders.  A few of the maps are reproduced in the atlas of the Official Records but most of them are unpublished.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1911:  64-70.

34Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1904, 9, Appendix G, 41-46.  The U.S. Military Academy Class Albums, 1857-1909 were continued with the published yearbooks, Howitzer that began officially in 1904.    www.leegallery.com/warren.html.  Tozeski, Stanley P., comp.  Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Military Academy.  Washington, D.C.:  National Archives and Records Service, 1977, 90-91 and 104.

35Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1912:  59-62.  

36The duties are listed in paragraph 218, USMA Regulations 1911.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1911:  64-70.

37Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1906, Appendix H:  Report of the Librarian:  46-53.

38The Library Board was organized by Special Orders, No. 75, Apr. 10, 1912.  U.S. Military Academy Library (USMAL). Special Collection and Archives Division (SCAD).  Adjutant, May 7, 1912 from Library Board, Box 31, Records of the Library Board, 2 vols., 1902-1914.

39Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1907.  Appendix G:  Report of the Librarian:  54-62.   Aimone, Alan C., Carol Koenig, Susan Lintelmann and Deborah McKeon-Pogue.  The USMA Library:  A Walking Tour.  West Point, NY:  Defense Automated Printing Service, 1997:  12-13.

40Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1909. Appendix F:  Report of the Librarian:  46-54.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1910:  55.

41Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1910:  Appendix G:  Report of the Librarian:  50-56.

The USMA Library:  A Walking Tour:  14.  Russell, John Thomas.  Edgar Allan Poe, the Army Years.  USMA Library Bulletin No. 10.  West Point, NY: U.S. Military Academy, 1972.

42 Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1910:  Appendix G:  Report of the Librarian:  50-56.

43Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1931:  5.

44 U.S. Military Academy Library.  SCAD.  Library correspondence.  July 9, 1921 from the Librarian, U.S.M.A. Miss Margery Bedinger to Miss Rossalie Howell, Librarian, 2nd Corps Area, Governors Island, New York City, Apr. 18, 1922.  SCAD.  Library correspondence.   Librarian through Library Board to Superintendent, U.S.M.A. [June 30, 1923] 55.

45Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1928:  4.  SCAD.  Annual Report of the Librarian for Fiscal Year 1927-1928, June 20, 1928.  USMA Library, box 31.

46Mitchell, W. A. “Minority Report,” Apr. 19, 1928, Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1928:  4

47Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1929:  4.  Temple, Alan, “The Book house,” Pointer, vol. 22, no. 12 (Feb. 16, 1945):  5.

48USMAL SCAD, Library Correspondence.  Memorandum for the Superintendent, July 1, 1935, E. E. Farman, Lt. Col., U.S.A., Librarian.

49Annual Report of the Librarian for the Fiscal Year, 1937-38, June 28, 1938.

50USMAL. SCAD.  Holden library papers, Mar. 5. 1934.

51Annual Report of the Librarian for the Fiscal Year 1940-1941:  80.   Commuting patterns to West Point in the fall of 1940 began a dramatic change.  The opening of New York Route 9W and the transfer of Bear Mountain Bridge to the State of New York.  The changes extended the commuting distances to West Point.  Highland Falls and Fort Montgomery were not the only living options.  The 1.8 million dollar super highway (9W) was built over the 1,235 foot high Crow’s Nest and Storm King Mountains opened September 26.  Dynamited from hard rock provided a four lane Storm King Highway that was 46 foot wide as opposed to the 16 foot wide New York 218 that skirted around Crow’s Nest and Storm King Mountains along the west bank of the Hudson River.  Although one of the most scenic drives the road has a history of being a traffic hazard in bad weather.  On the same day, the transfer of the Harriman owned Bear Mountain Bridge to the New York State Bridge Authority for 2.275 million dollars was consummated.  Newburgh News, September 5, 1940:  1 and 11.

52SCAD.  Library Correspondence, 1st Lieutenant Lloyd C. Appleton, Special Service Officer, Camp Popolopen to Major William J. Morton, Librarian, Sept. 16, 1943.

53 Forman, Sidney.  1950.  West Point:  A History of the United States Military Academy NY:  Columbia University Press, 1950. Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1944:  25; Organization Chart of the U.S. Military Academy, 28 Aug. 1944, William J. Morton, LT. Colonel, F.A., Librarian.

54Superintendent’s Annual Report:  1945:  31.  Superintendent’s Curriculum Study, 1958:  94.

55Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1946:  32-33.  The library hosted its first Library meeting in September 1948 with the New York Library Association conference.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1954:  91-93.  Superintendent’s Annual Historical Review, 1 July 1988 – 30 June 1989:  19-24 and 62.

56Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1947:  33-34

57USMAL. SCAD.  Library instructions, 1905-1914.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1905:  11 and Appendix H:  44-47.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1950:  64-66.  

58U.S. Military Academy.  The Sesquicentennial of the United States Military Academy:  An Account of the observance, Jan. – June, 1952.  West Point, NY:  1952:  153.

59Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1952:  47, 79-80.  “Mars’ Robert returns:  After Almost a Hundred Years, R. E. Lee Is Returning to West Point – Bust This Time Only In Spirit, Pointer, vol. 29, no. 9 (Dec. 28, 1951):  4 and 14.

60Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1955:  26; Johnson, Robert K.   Air University Library Study of Libraries in Selected Military Educational Institutions:  The Library System of the U.S. Military Academy.  Maxwell Air Force Base, AL:  Air University Library, 1955:  Appendix IV.

61 Werner, Bob, “Rare book room,” Pointer, vol. 29, no. 4 (Oct. 19, 1951):  12 and 20.  “Dr. Sidney Forman Librarian, USMA,” Assembly, vol. 17, no. 3 (Fall 1958):  18-19.  Superintendent’s Annual Report, 1958:  26-27.   Forman, Dr. Sidney, “Paperbacks at West Point,” reprinted from Library Journal (Apr. 15, 1959).

Appendix C:  USMA Archivists and Assistant Archivists


Forman, Dr. Sidney, Appointed a member of the Superintendent’s Staff with duties as         archivist and historian, 1946 – May10, 1954; Archivist and Historian May 11, 1954 to         June 30, 1962

O’Donnell, Joseph M., July 1, 1962 – Dec. 16, 1968

Tozeski, Stanley P., June 1969 – Jan. 1977

Grove, Dr. Stephen B., June 1979

Leventhal, Dr. Herbert A., July 1979 - 1981

Cass, Dr. Edward C. 1981 – 1984; 1986-1987

Hellinger, Richard J., 1987- 1990

Christoff, Suzanne M., May 1992 – June 1998; Associate Director for Special Collections and         Archives, June 1998-Apr. 2006

Mauldin-Ware, Alicia, Archives Curator, Apr. 2006-.

        Assistant Archivists

O’Donnell, Joseph M., 1959 – June 30, 1962

Rapp, Kenneth W., July 1, 1962 - 1986

Christoff, Suzanne M., July 1991- May 1992.

Walker, Susan, May 1992-.July 1993

Sibley, Judith, 1995 – 1998, Archives Curator, 1998 – 2000

Appendix D:  U.S. Military Academy Statistic Growth, 1844-1961

          Year          No. of books    No. of pamphlets *        








































































 42 received as gifts

























17,024 total bound periodicals

















































25 national newspapers












1,894 reels




34 newspapers


 511 phonograph records; 356 slides, 3,000 tape anddisc rcordings




*Pamphlets are less than one hundred pages.

Sources for statistics:

Griess, Thomas Everett.  Dennis Hart Mahan:  West Point professor and advocate of military professionalism, 1830-1871.  Chapel Hill, NC:  Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1968:  164-168.

 “1850 State Level Census Data – Sorted by State/County Name,” http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/censusbin/census/cen.plThe Annual Report of Board of Regents of Smithsonian Institution, with Report on Public Libraries, By Charles C. Jewett, 1849, CIS-NO:  564Senate. Miscellaneous document 120:  99-100. 

U.S.  Military Academy Library Catalogue of the Library U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY... comp. by Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Robert Henry Hall.  Newburgh, NY:  Charles Jannicky, Steam Book and Job Printer, 1876. 

U.S. Military Academy.  Annual Report of the Superintendent.  West Point, NY:  U.S. Military Academy Press/Printing Office, 1871-1873 and 1877- 1962.   Appendix includes “Report of the Librarian.” Beginning in 1890 issued separately by either the Printing Office at West Point or the Washington, DC:  Government Printing Office.  Also available in the U.S. War Department.   Annual Reports of the War Department (Title varies:  Annual Report of the Secretary of War and Report of the Secretary of War to the President) Washington, DC:  Government Printing Office.