Skip Navigation Links The Library of Congress >> Researchers
European Reading Room: European Division, Area Studies
  Home >> Online Publications >> Slavic Catalogs

Union Catalogs for Slavic Publications
in American Libraries, 1931-1980

Angela Cannon
Reference Specialist for Russian and South Slavic
This article traces the development of a union catalog for Slavic Cyrillic publications held by North American libraries. The Slavic Union Catalog, begun by the Library of Congress in 1931, went through several iterations and two micro-publications. It was conceived initially as a supplement to the National Union Catalog, but after World War II became a critical project for Slavic studies funded by the United States Air Force and the CIA. Such outside funding was critical to the development of the catalogs, for Library of Congress funding waxed and waned over the decades. During the Cold War era and before the advent of bibliographic databases, online catalogs, and the Internet, the Cyrillic Union Catalog and its supplement, the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog, were primary reference tools for Slavic scholars working in the United States, but they are little used today.
Included are the results of a usage survey in 2012 among Slavic librarians and a random sampling of both catalogs for overlap with WorldCat. The emphasis of this article is on tools for bibliographic control of monographs, not serials.
The author would like to express her gratitude to the following people for their help in reviewing the text: Barbara Dash, August A. Imholtz, Jr., Harold Leich, Michael Neubert, and Charlynn Pyne. A special note of thanks goes to Cheryl Fox, the Library of Congress archivist, for her help in locating pertinent documentation, and to Harold Leich, Russian Area Specialist at the Library of Congress, for serving as a sounding board for ideas and discoveries, and for his help with the searching of the random samples.
Originally published in Slavic and East European Information Resources vol. 14, no.1, Jan-Mar 2013, pp.3-71. This article is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Opinions stated in this article are those of the author and not of the Library of Congress.


It is hard to imagine a Slavic project of such magnitude and with such significance for Slavic studies as the Cyrillic Union and Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalogs. These catalogs took decades of preparation at enormous cost, but became foundational tools for identifying Slavic materials in the United States. The project for a Slavic union catalog began in the 1930s when the field of Slavic studies was still in its infancy. Basic reference tools are critical to the development of research in any discipline, and the growth of the union catalog for Slavic initially mirrored the growth of the discipline it was intended to support. Although it was an offshoot of the National Union Catalog, for years it was maintained separately with its own staff, sought its own funding, and ultimately produced its own products, albeit with some overlap of content with the National Union Catalog. In today's terms, it would be as if the Google Books project had decided to scan all library materials except those in Cyrillic script, and Slavic librarians were able to use the idea and procedures of Google Books, but had to find their own funding, hire their own staff, and do their own digitizing. In the story of the catalogs' development presented here, only a scant few Slavic librarians are mentioned by name. But it took an army of unsung Slavic catalogers in the U.S. to produce the union catalogs. The history is recounted deliberately with some mundane detail to help the reader understand and appreciate the tremendous effort involved in such a massive bibliographic project in the pre-computer era, and why such an effort will probably never happen again. Certainly no such project is needed in Slavic studies today, given that the foundational work is now done and that the discipline has matured to such a sophisticated level.1 This detailed account also will help the current users of the catalogs to understand the historical decision-making that led to the final organization of the catalogs and their publication in microformat, a decision that we can see in restrospect led to the ultimate demise of the catalogs.

The Beginning of Union Catalogs at the Library of Congress

Have you a catalogue? ---- William Shakespeare, Coriolanus 2

The idea for a union catalog of publications in American libraries took shape in 1901 when the Library of Congress (LC) agreed to exchange cards with several other libraries - the Boston Public Library, Harvard College Library, John Crerar Library, and the New York Public Library.3 The intention was to have a "complete record of books in American libraries"4 in order to assist researchers in finding the materials they needed. Interlibrary loan was starting to become accepted as a new necessity for libraries since no library could collect everything being printed, although it did not become an important activity until the 1920s. In addition, expanded collection development on a national level was also a primary goal.5 The union catalog would reveal not only what was held in American libraries, but also what was not held.

The desire for a union catalog coincided with the development only a few years earlier of a card catalog, as opposed to a printed book catalog, for LC holdings. Many important American university libraries already had begun not only creating their own card catalogs, but also sharing cards with each other; thus LC was a little behind the times in waiting until 1898 to create its own card catalog system. That system comprised both an official catalog for the use of staff and a public catalog for the use of researchers. This was also the year LC received its first cards printed by the Government Printing Office.6 In 1901 the union catalog was added to the nascent card catalog system. Concomitant with these innovations were the development and refinement of new systems of classification, cataloging, and subject headings.

It was not stated clearly if any cards for books printed in Cyrillic were included in the initial years of the card exchange with other institutions, but this author located a very old set of Cyrillic cards dated May 7, 1902 from the Boston Public Library. Thus we shall assume that Cyrillic cards were part of the early card exchange. See Figure 1. Even before the purchase in 1906 of the Yudin Collection by LC and before the founding of the LC Slavic Section in 1907, some cards for Cyrillic materials, albeit in partial transliteration, began to be included in the early LC Official Catalog. These cards were for items that had been received mostly via gift or exchange, rather than via purchase.

Figure 2 depicts Official Catalog cards for materials cataloged in 1904, 1905, 1905, 1905, and 1914, respectively. The cataloging dates appear either on the front of the cards or on the back or in both places. All of them, similar to the Boston Public Library cards in Figure 1, show that the main entry was transliterated, but the rest of the bibliographic data was in Cyrillic script, standard practice at the time in U.S. libraries for materials printed in non-Latin alphabets. This practice enabled filers who did not know the foreign languages to file the cards in proper order by main entry.7 Many cards were handwritten, for there was no Cyrillic typewriter at LC in the early 1900s. Cards A and C show LC Cyrillic cards that were printed by the GPO.

Cyrillic card set from Boston Public Library dated 1902
FIGURE 1.  Cyrillic card set from the Boston Public Library, cataloged May 7, 1902. The card set is included in the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog in the Library of Congress. Photograph taken by the author. (click on image to enlarge)

LC Official Catalog cards for Russian titles cataloged in 1904, 1905, and 1914; and a Serbian title cataloged in 1905
FIGURE 2.  LC Official Catalog cards for Russian titles cataloged in 1904, 1905, and 1914; and a Serbian title cataloged in 1905. Photograph taken by the author. (click on image to enlarge)

By 1926 the size of the Union Catalog was approximately 1,800,000 cards, far larger than initially predicted. Also by 1926, the desire for a national level finding list of books in American libraries was even more apparent. The LC Union Catalog was recommended as the foundation for the new national catalog and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. supplied the financial support. He gave $250,000 to implement Project B, as it was called. Project B had two elements: expanding the contents of the Union Catalog and locations of the holding libraries; and creating an index of special collections in the U.S. In order to accomplish this goal, the staff took numerous steps, including increasing the voluntary card contributions of additional libraries, adding LC cards to the Union Catalog (in the initial years only non-LC cards were added), cutting up printed catalogs and photostating catalogs, pasting those entries to cards, and adding them to the Union Catalog. Project B was wildly successful, increasing the number of cards by over 6,000,000. The cards consisted of author and title entries. In addition, the staff created separate card catalogs of books held by foreign libraries.

From its inception to 1932, the union catalog effort was a special project rather than an integral part of LC cataloging operations, and it relied mainly on voluntary contributions from participating libraries. As the success of the project was noted and the operation grew, Congress gave LC funds to continue the work as part of the Library's regular duties, albeit far less money than had been available under Project B. On September 1, 1932, the Union Catalog Division in LC was created to administer and expand the catalog. From 1932 through 1941, because of insufficient funding and reduced staffing levels, only 2,811,955 additional cards were filed. These included many temporary cards representing LC's holdings, for LC did not have the staff to catalog properly all of its materials. Among LC arrearages for which there was little representation in the catalog, were Russian and other Slavic materials.8 One task that was undertaken during this decade was the comparison of materials in regional union catalogs to those in the National Union Catalog (NUC)9 , with many additional entries added to the latter. The catalog was open to the public, and staff frequently performed searches for librarians and researchers outside of Washington, DC, but this service too was limited because of insufficient funding. For a timeline and definition of the various catalogs under discussion in this article, see Table 5.

Location of Union Catalog in 1927 on sorting deck (deck 27) of the Southeast stack of the Library of Congress
FIGURE 3.  Project B. Location of Union Catalog in 1927 on sorting deck (deck 27) of the Southeast stack of the Library of Congress. Photograph reproduced by Cheryl Fox, from: Project B. An Historical Record Illustrating the Work of Project "B." [Washington, DC, Library of Congress, 1932]. Library of Congress. Rare Book and Special Collections Division. (click on image to enlarge)

Adaptation of book stack for temporary location of Union Catalog.
FIGURE 4.  Adaptation of book stack for temporary location of Union Catalog. Photograph reproduced by Cheryl Fox, from: Project B. An Historical Record Illustrating the Work of Project "B." [Washington, DC, Library of Congress, 1932]. Library of Congress. Rare Book and Special Collections Division. (click on image to enlarge)

In 1926, with the advent of Project B, decisions had to be made about how to continue the work on the NUC, including resolving such problems as the filing arrangement, what to do with duplicate cards,10 creating a standard system of symbols for holding libraries,11 and how to handle cards in non-Roman alphabets such as Slavic and Semitic. At some point in 1930 or 1931, it was decided to give all non-Roman cards to divisions where there was language expertise to begin and maintain supplementary union catalogs for those languages.

The Slavic Union Catalog in the Slavic Division of the Library of Congress, 1931-1944

In 1931, Nicholas Rodionoff (1885-1964), chief of the Division of Slavic Literature at LC, reported:

A new permanent function was added to the division this year, namely, the care of the Union Catalogue of Slavic Publications. The division receives from the Curator of the Union Catalogue all Slavic entries and arranges them alphabetically in special card-catalogue cases. This Union Catalogue of Slavic Publications in American libraries gives exceptionally useful information to the division as well as to the public looking for the publications not found among the division's holdings. 12

Although Rodionoff used the word Slavic, only cards in Cyrillic were transferred to his division for the new Slavic Union Catalog (SUC). Cards for non-Cyrillic Slavic languages such as Polish, Czech, and Croatian were incorporated into the NUC. In the Division annual reports since 1933 the chief frequently reported how many cards were interfiled into the SUC. See Table 1.

Year No. of Cards Filed into
Slavic Union Catalog
1931No report*
1932No report
1935No report
1936No report
1937No report
TABLE 1.  Number of cards filed into the Slavic Union Catalog by the Slavic Division, Library of Congress. *There is no report of the number of cards delivered to the Division during the initial transfer in 1931.

Throughout the 1930s the Slavic Division maintained not only its own card catalog of Slavic materials in both Cyrillic and Roman alphabets, but also the new SUC. The cards in the Slavic Division catalog were all handwritten due to the absence of a Cyrillic typewriter. Annual reports of the Slavic Division always listed statistics on the number of cards prepared and filed into both the SUC and the Division catalog. Unfortunately, the Slavic Division did not do a good job of maintaining any of their catalogs. The Division was grossly understaffed and, it seems, did not work in tandem with the rest of LC in some respects.

By 1927 LC had amassed large quantities of Russian and Slavic materials that were not included in the main card catalog.13 In 1928, the chief of the Slavic Section, Alexis Babine (1866-1930), described in his annual report that many items in his division were "briefly cataloged," rather than fully cataloged.14 This was due to a shortage of staff, the overwhelming task of integrating all at once the 80,000 volume Yudin Collection (the founding Slavic collection at LC acquired in 1906), and increased new duties for the Slavic Division such as reference and translation, which quickly became primary rather than secondary duties for the Division. In 1930 the Slavic Division lost its catalogers to other units, which further hampered efforts to organize the collections. In the 1930s the Catalog Division temporarily increased its efforts to catalog Slavic materials, one step of which was to finalize in 1932 the transliteration schema for Slavic languages written in Cyrillic.15 Although many standards were still in flux when the NUC first was created, by the early years of the existence of the SUC, the tools were set, but the Slavic Division apparently was recalcitrant in using them, and LC had insufficient staff or will to catalog the Slavic collection.

Early in its existence, the chief responsibility of what initially was called the Slavic Section and later the Slavic Division, had been to catalog and classify its holdings. Since its inception in 1907, the Slavic Section had developed and used its own classification scheme which was still in use as late as 1940, while the rest of LC was heading in another direction. "The division preserves, in manuscript, a classification schedule worked out by Mr. Babine that has never been accepted as the official one of the Library. Some day or other all of the books now classified according to it will have to be entirely reclassified."16 In the mid 1920s as most of the LC classification schedules were finalized, the Catalog Division was using LC classification for Slavic materials held in various sections of LC, but the Slavic Division was using its own classification for those items held in its own Division, where the majority of Slavic materials were held. The LC classification schedule for the PGs (Slavic Philology and Languages), although completed by 1930, was not published until 1933, with an expanded supplement specifically for Russian literature as late as 1948.17

Another complication for the SUC was the initial trickle of contributions of Slavic bibliographic data by many volunteer libraries. For example, an important library for Slavic, the Hoover Institution, which began sending their general book data to Project B in May of 1930, reported that it hoped to begin cataloging its Slavic collections only in October 1930. It was going to begin with "current Soviet publications in the fields of social sciences."18 In spite of these plans, as late as 1949, Hoover's Slavic collection was still in disarray.19 It seems that during the early 1930s many large American research libraries, not just LC, were experiencing cataloging overload, resulting in arrearages and in fewer SUC entries being submitted than were truly representative of the breadth of their Slavic collections. Harvard and the New York Public Library were the heaviest contributors during this early period.

In the early 1930s, Project B staff had invited major U.S. libraries such as Yale, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Columbia, Vassar, Princeton, etc., to submit cards for all new foreign books that they acquired,20 but they suspected this was not sufficient to represent all foreign materials flowing into U.S. libraries. In 1936 Ernest Kletsch (1879-1937), director of Union Catalogs, produced a report that discussed future steps to be taken to expand the NUC. One step was to encourage all libraries to send cards for all their books in foreign languages.21 Although cards for foreign materials had been included since the inception of the NUC, it was recognized that this area of bibliography was being neglected. Certainly Russian and other Slavic language materials were included in the neglect. Kletsch also lamented the lack of proper funding for the catalog, stating that future expansion would depend on private donations.22

By the end of the 1930s the Librarian of Congress, Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), had begun to investigate a reorganization of the Slavic Division by bringing in outside consultants. In 1940 one consultant, Francis J. Whitfield (1916-1996), a Slavic scholar from Harvard University, compiled a preliminary inventory of the catalogs and cards in the Slavic Division. It seems that in addition to the SUC and its own catalog, the Slavic Division maintained catalogs of temporary author cards and temporary shelf list cards, as well as a disorganized array of other random drawers of cards. In Whitfield's inventory were listed three card catalog cases with twelve different catalogs or groups of cards, most unused by staff and the public because of their disarray. For example, there were index cards for some Russian periodicals, a safe catalog of rare books and Yudin's French erotica (both kinds of items presumably kept locked up, but not in an actual safe), "printed cards from the Soviet Union arranged in no determinable order," an author catalog for belles-lettres, a pseudonym catalog, the Slavic Division catalog minus belles-lettres (including both printed cards and temporary cards), and the union catalog, among others.23 Regarding the SUC, Whitfield wrote:

An attempt has been made to make this more than an author catalogue, but it is still far from a proper dictionary catalogue. There are two drawers of new cards from outside libraries not yet distributed in the catalogue. Above this case [No.] 3 are three boxes of cards in the usual condition, that is, bound up in rubber bands, clipped together and otherwise made unusable.24

In reference to a proper catalog of the Slavic Division's holdings, Whitfield wrote:

It may reasonably be asked why we do not by now have such a unified record. The explanation seems to lie as much in the indifference of the staff as in the technical difficulties involved. The important question is whether the staff would be able to make a good shelf list and catalogue within, say the next year. From this year's report of the Chief [Rodionoff] it would seem unlikely that the Division would care to tackle the job at the present moment. The work on the Union list of publications is already, he tells us, seriously hampering the staff in its efforts to process new acquisitions.25

The final comment probably referred to the compilation of the second edition of the Union List of Serials, rather than the SUC, the former a task Rodionoff resented, assigned as it was from above.

Rodionoff responded with a memorandum of his own claiming that there were three catalogs in the Slavic Division: a printed author, title and subject catalog, all classified by the Catalogue Division with proper LC cataloging and classification (12,000 cards); a temporary author catalog of monographs, with handwritten cards prepared by the Slavic Division with its own classification scheme (39,000 cards); and a temporary shelf list for periodicals (not newspapers) with handwritten cards (3,000 cards), about 300 titles of which were classified by the Slavic Division and 2,000 included in the first edition of the Union List of Serials.26 He made no mention of the SUC. Regardless of how many separate catalogs existed in the Slavic Division, it was clear that there was no systematic way for a researcher or library staff member to check on Slavic holdings at LC and that much of the collection was not fully represented by even the most minimal form of bibliographic description. The Slavic holdings of LC essentially were opaque.

The SUC has been referred to by various names in the Slavic Division annual reports; the initial name was the Union Catalog of Slavic Publications in American Libraries, but, reflecting the predominance of Russian materials described in the catalog and the Russland über alles mentality of the staff of the Slavic Division during the pre-World War II era, it began to be referred to as the Union Catalog of the Russian Holdings in American Libraries. Finally, Nicholas Rodionoff, chief of the Slavic Division, reflecting his own resentment toward the Library administration, other Library units, and outside Slavic consultants, referred to it as the Union Catalog of Some of the Slavic Publications in Some of the American Libraries, with the words some underlined for derogatory emphasis. Rodionoff frequently complained about the lack of adequate staff to maintain the catalogs, shelving, classifying, and binding of the materials in the Slavic Division. In 1942 he lamented that "approximately 25,000 pieces of printed materials constitute the Division's steady arrears in the proper shelving of its materials and about 6,000 cards - in the proper filing. Our experience shows that we can run quite a large library without catalogs, provided that the proper shelving be constantly attended to."27 Clearly, maintaining a card catalog, a union list of serials, and a union catalog were tasks that Mr. Rodionoff considered a waste of his division's time. The arrearage of cards to be filed into the SUC had begun even before 1942. In fact, a "stock of accumulated undistributed cards" in the Slavic Division was mentioned two years earlier, in 1940.28

The consultant reports from the early 1940s make several concrete suggestions to reorganize the Slavic Division, increase its efficiency, change its previous procedures, and raise its profile in the field of Slavic studies.

The Library, in general, enjoys the prestige attached to its unique position among the libraries of this country. . . Through the excellent work of its Card Division and Union Catalogue it has become a clearing house for information on the reading and collecting of the whole country. These advantages are not at present enjoyed by the Library in the special field of Slavic studies . . . . Far from being a clearing house for information on Slavic holdings in this country, it is everywhere regarded as being the great mystery, still keeping secret the details concerning books it purchased over thirty years ago. 29

Regarding bibliographic control, there was a suggestion made in the report for the Slavic Division to "develop and maintain a single dictionary catalogue of its holdings and of other library holdings directly connected with its fields of interest."30 Whitfield also took aim at other divisions such as the Cataloging Division for cataloging so few Slavic materials and, in particular, at the Card Division for not producing many Slavic cards because they would not be money makers for the Library.

"The number of uncatalogued books in the Slavic Division remains almost as large as ever. Temporary cataloging, such as that carried out in the [Slavic] Division, is no satisfactory solution to the problem. Books catalogued only temporarily are not entered in the Library's depository catalogues throughout the country. They can, therefore, be made useful to outside scholars only by special request to the Slavic Division. The amount of time lost in the Slavic Division searching for books and answering these requests indicates that it is not economical to refuse to print cards just because they will not sell well. The cataloging of Slavic books should be undertaken as soon as possible."31

Another report by a different consultant also lamented the lack of cataloging resources for Slavic materials, and voiced support for union catalogs: "Extend specifically efforts of the Union Catalogue to cover the Slavic collections in and out of the Library of Congress."32 A concrete action regarding the SUC was withdrawn from recommendation after further discussion on the workflow of the Union Catalog Division. Whitfield initially wrote that "work on the small branch of the Union Catalog that has been assigned to the Slavic Division is another time-consuming task that is not properly the work of the Division. It should not be too difficult for the Union Catalog Division to assign an assistant with the very meager knowledge of Cyrillic letters and transliterations that would be necessary for filing cards received from other libraries."33 He amended his report with this sidebar:

Since writing this I have discussed the matter with Mr. Schwegmann. His experience has shown him that errors inevitably creep in when assistants without any knowledge of Russian attempt to transliterate and file Russian cards. We both agree, however, that it is desirable for the Union Catalog to have these cards which are now kept in the Slavic Division. Mr. Schwegmann says that his department [Union Catalog Division] could and would file the cards if the Slavic Division would do the necessary transliteration. This seems to be a practical solution of the problem.34

In spite of the compromise, no procedural changes were implemented while the SUC remained under the care of the Slavic Division.

Opposition to card catalogs in general came from Michael Z. Vinokouroff (1894-1983), a Russian cataloger who had worked for several years in the 1920s in the Slavic Division. By 1942 he felt compelled to offer his thoughts on the reorganization of the Slavic Division, a move, by the way, he did not oppose. Among his suggestions was to abandon temporarily the cataloging of new Slavic books, as well as all work on Slavic card catalogs. Vinokouroff believed LC and its users would benefit only from a printed dictionary catalog with periodic supplements (a technology certainly not abandoned, but becoming increasingly untenable with the enormous expansion of American research libraries), one for each Slavic language, and each printed in the original script of its language, rather than in transliteration. His rationale for such a drastic and expensive action was that card catalogs were fixed in Washington, D.C. and therefore inaccessible to most users, but a printed catalog could be used anywhere in the United States. And he believed that LC would waste money printing Slavic cards that in his view no one needed. Vinokouroff called attention to the original 1904 plan to publish a dictionary catalog of the Yudin Collection. The bibliophile Gennadii Yudin (1840-1912) himself had suggested that to Herbert Putnam (1861-1955), Librarian of Congress, and in 1911 Babine added his support for such a catalog.35 In hindsight, this idea may seem backward in comparison with card catalog technology, but the desire for a printed catalog for Slavic materials died a very slow death. As we shall see, it was resurrected repeatedly over the years. Even the much larger NUC card set was discarded only after it appeared in printed alphabetical catalog form with supplements over several decades, all the way into the 1980s.

Wartime needs greatly increased use of the Slavic collections and heightened dissatisfaction with the lack of bibliographic tools for Slavic publications. The War Service Section of the Legislative Reference Service at LC, precursor to the Congressional Research Service, felt compelled to draft a memorandum to its director regarding the difficulty of locating Russian materials to satisfy requests made by the War Agencies. This memo was forwarded to the Librarian of Congress with the hope that he would rectify the situation.

The Slavic Division is a library within a library. However, all the items in the Slavic Division are not listed in the general catalog of the library. Accordingly it is impossible to know the extent of the Library's collection of Russian material by merely consulting the catalog. Therefore it is necessary to go up to the Slavic Division in order to learn what Russian items are available in the library. However, the Division does not possess a public catalog. And while most of the material is classified and arranged on shelves a great deal is uncataloged and not arranged in any special order and record of it exists only on slips of paper in paper bags or envelopes, locked up in the desk of the director. The result is that not only is it no public knowledge what the library has in the way of Russian material, but it is also not easily available; it is found with difficulty and now and then not found at all.36

In addition to the difficulties in answering wartime queries, LC staff also suffered, as did staff of other American libraries, from disruptions in acquiring materials from Europe. An important example was the difficulty in obtaining scientific journals. To mitigate this problem, LC staff created special union catalogs of scientific periodical holdings. These included, for example, catalogs of Japanese, Russian, and Axis scientific journals. According to an LC report, "these records of holdings have served an urgent and important need of many war agencies."37 LC also participated in the OSS-run periodical republication program to gather and reproduce Axis science journals to fill U.S. and U.K. intelligence needs.38 During the war the NUC was evacuated from LC, but the SUC remained in Washington. This seemed a sensible decision, since the SUC was still fairly small, of minimal use, and shared a card catalog case with other Slavic card files, unlike its parent catalog, which had developed into an enormous entity and a major national bibliographic tool.

International Union Catalog

One idea that emerged as an offshoot of the NUC was that of an international union catalog. This idea took shape as various foreign libraries began to donate sets of their catalog cards to LC in advance of and during Project B. These institutions included the Public Library in Leningrad, the Russian Book Chamber, and the Vatican Library. These donated sets were not incorporated into the NUC or the auxiliary union catalogs, but were kept separately in card files and used as aids for catalogers. In 1942, William Jerome Wilson (1884-1963), the associate fellow of the Library of Congress in Medieval History, while writing about the incredible usefulness of union catalogs, envisioned what future technology might bring to bear: "a distant scholar, sitting in his own study before his television screen and turning the pages or flipping the cards by remote control!"39 Although an international union catalog never came about, Wilson was prescient, as the phenomenal development of online catalogs and international utilities such as OCLC, and the existence today of scanned card catalogs on the Internet testify.

A Slavic Center at LC

On March 27-28, 1943, a national conference on Slavic studies took place in New York City under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation. The conference was attended by Slavic librarians and scholars from institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and the University of Chicago. LC's representative at the conference was Luther H. Evans (1902-1981), chief assistant librarian and future Librarian of Congress. The focus of the conference was how to develop the field of Slavic studies, with particular emphasis on building library collections. Evans discussed the myriad problems with the Slavic collection at LC and sought advice from others on how best to address the needs of government and scholars in the field. All agreed that LC should play a leading role and that an assessment of Slavic collections in the U.S. needed to be conducted before implementation of any expanded collection development plans. Attention was also paid to the creation of bibliographic apparatus. Evans summed it up thus:

The third problem we face, in addition to having materials and cataloging them and processing them, is the problem of manufacture of various kinds of scholarly tools which give you special access to your resources. I mean by such things as current acquisitions lists, . . .special check lists in limited fields like scientific periodicals or newspaper check lists or indexes and abstracts, and any kind of scholarly tool that goes beyond the dictionary catalog. You have, then, your union catalog key to unlock the resources of additional libraries. On that front, the Library of Congress has done very little in the Slavic field except to put forth a special effort (and it took a special effort to accomplish it) to have our Slavic periodical holdings adequately recorded in the forthcoming union list of serials . . .40

Evans did not even bother to mention the SUC, possibly because it was so small and in such disarray that he considered it useless. But one year later in 1944, the union catalog, as we shall see, became the focus of attention and one of the major projects undertaken by Slavic librarians in the U.S.

After the conference, Evans won financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation to engage a scholar, Michael Karpovich (1888-1959) of Harvard, to assess the Russian collections at U.S. research libraries, compile a checklist of 12,000 basic Russian publications in many subjects, and add a union list component for fifteen libraries.41 Sergius Yakobson (1901-1979), consultant in Slavic History at the Library of Congress, and other scholars also worked on the project, which became known as the Russian Bibliography Project and resulted in the publication from 1944 to 1946 of Russia: A Check List Preliminary to a Basic Bibliography of Materials in the Russian Language. 42 This checklist consisted of ten sections: Belles Lettres, Economic Conditions and Social History Prior to 1918, Fine Arts, Law and Institutions Prior to 1918, Folklore, Linguistics and Literary Forms, Church and Education Prior to 1918, History of Russia, Theatre and Music, Soviet Union, and Reference Books. Although this work essentially was a collection development tool and a basic bibliography for scholars, it also was one of the earliest cooperative bibliographic projects involving Slavic materials in the U.S. Its contents and union listing, albeit ultimately only for LC holdings, eventually became part of the SUC. The most important result of the assessment, however, was the realization that "the national interest in Slavica required a more precise record and a more widely distributed knowledge of the Library's own holdings in that field."43

LC decided in 1944 to dissolve the Slavic Division for a time while consolidating plans to create a comprehensive Slavic center at LC that would play a leading role at the national level. The Slavic center would perform reference and collection development, compile bibliographies, and engage in outreach. Slavic reference activities at LC were transferred from the defunct Slavic Division to the newly founded Slavic Room, established as part of the Reference Department in April 1944, and headed by John T. Dorosh (1894-1981). Dorosh replaced Nicholas Rodionoff, who was demoted in terms of prestige, if not financial compensation, and transferred to the Processing Department to become a Slavic cataloger. Evans knew that congressional funding would be necessary to hire more Slavic staff, but he also knew there were limits on what would be provided. "You cannot secure from the Congress of the United States sufficient funds to place the holdings of a library as great as the Library of Congress under modern library controls. They will not pay for it."44 Evans also made the decision that once Slavic materials were cataloged at LC, they would be dispersed throughout the general collections, with only some materials being maintained in a future Slavic center or division. To facilitate cataloging, in April 1944, the materials in the former Slavic Division and its various catalogs, including the SUC, were moved to an area under the control of the Processing Department, the cataloging unit in LC.

The first step to creating a Slavic center was the cataloging of LC Slavic materials, and this would be no easy feat. "To this end the Library has assigned all available qualified personnel, which can be spared from other duties, to the cataloging of Slavic material."45 LC also requested funds from Congress to hire two Slavic catalogers and the money was approved for 1945. But the lack of other appropriated funds slowed down the progress toward the establishment of a Slavic center. In the immediate post-war years, the federal budget had begun to shrink from its all-time highs during the war, even though it never returned to its lower pre-war levels. To cope with its new needs, LC again planned to appeal for grants or donations. Future grants could be used to pay for consultants and to produce bibliographies once the Slavic center was established. "Slavic studies are merely beginning in this country and the Library of Congress should play a decisive part in their steady and sound development. No better way can be found by a library than the preparation of basic bibliographies and other publications designed to open up the great storehouse of material available."46 Progress in this direction would become achievable after the war only with a change in emphasis from the upper echelons of the LC administration. After years of understaffing and underfunding, LC finally made Slavic a top priority.

The Slavic Cataloging Project, 1944-1946

The push to catalog Slavic materials became known as the Slavic Cataloging Project. A list of LC staff already in the Processing Department and qualified to work on the project was drafted. Seven staff members plus two newly appropriated staff would come from the Descriptive Cataloging Division, while three more would come from the Subject Cataloging Division.47 In addition, LC applied for funding from the Rockefeller Foundation to catalog 50,000 titles, representing the estimated extent of the uncataloged Slavic material at LC. "The receipt of this grant would enable the Processing Department to prepare an author catalog of the collection within the next one or two years. Should the grant not be forthcoming, all possibilities will be exhausted to further the same project by the fullest possible use of existing personnel."48 The cataloging of 50,000 titles from LC would serve two purposes: it would enable LC to participate in the survey of Slavic collections agreed upon in 1943, and it would enrich the SUC with LC Slavic collection catalog cards, which hitherto had not been included. A tertiary benefit would be the inclusion of Slavic author cards for LC materials in the LC Official and Public Catalogs. A grant for $47,800 was approved and made available at the end of 1944.

The Rockefeller Foundation was known for supporting many Slavic projects in the U.S. in universities and libraries, including LC. The grants to LC were part of its basic ideology, "the need to build infrastructure from the ground up: it had to find ways to train future teachers, create pedagogical materials, and build up holdings at the Library of Congress as well as at campus facilities . . .the Rockefeller Foundation was already looking far beyond the war."49

The Slavic Cataloging Project officially ran from December 11, 1944 through December 31, 1946. The Project became a temporary part of the Descriptive Catalog Division in the Processing Department. Herman H. Henkle (1900-1987), the director of the Processing Department, bore ultimate responsibility for the project, but the position of head of the Slavic Cataloging Project, in charge of the day-to-day management, was established with grant funding. Benjamin A. Custer (1912-1997), formerly employed by UCLA, was appointed to the position in December 1944.

It was decided that an assembly-line procedure was the only way to accomplish the task at hand. In order to catalog such an enormous amount of material, too much time could not be spent on any one item, thus "expensive but unessential perfections of the entries" were to be avoided.50 The emphasis would be on accuracy, the use of other libraries' records, and also speed. During the project, decisions also were made about discarding duplicate items discovered during the cataloging process. The assembly-line methodology was as follows: arrange all the titles in one catalog under author in the same alphabetical order; verify or establish all author entries; check all entries in the LC Official Catalog; transcribe bibliographic data for entries found in the Official Catalog; send unlocated titles to searchers for verification in various catalogs or reference books such as those of the Russian Book Chamber, the Leningrad Public Library (now the National Library of Russia), the British Museum, the SUC, etc.; for author entries still not located, establish the entry, create an authority card, and forward to catalogers; catalogers would adapt entries prepared by other institutions or, following LC brief cataloging rules, create the description without subject headings; revise entries; forward revised entries for typing and duplication. Figure 5 shows an Official Catalog authority card created by the Slavic Cataloging Project in 1945, with notes indicating that the title had been checked in the SUC and the Malaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia [Brief Soviet Encyclopedia]. The grant paid for additional staff, but LC provided the main cadre of personnel, office space and equipment, and the purchase of Cyrillic typewriters, which previously had not been available in the Slavic Division. Besides Custer, the original members of the team who worked on the project were Anna Dantzig, Lucia M. Borski, Dimitry D. Tunceff, Tatiana Lambrin, Nicholas R. Rodionoff, Vsevolod L. Joukowsky, Michael Z. Vinokouroff, Boris Berlant, Ethel Blitzstein, Ludmilla Floss, Tatiana Sciugam, Elizabeth Souleyman, and Sonia Towne.51

Official Catalog authority card from the Library of Congress, created during the Slavic Cataloging Project
FIGURE 5.   Official Catalog authority card from the Library of Congress, created during the Slavic Cataloging Project, showing the reference tools checked before establishing the heading. Photograph taken by the author.

The original plan was to produce by early 1947 a published catalog for Cyrillic Slavic publications held by LC, but the vision grew into a printed catalog based on a newly enriched SUC with all U.S. library holdings to be printed by the Government Printing Office. To this end, LC conducted a survey of the fifteen libraries participating in the compilation of the Russian checklist for their critiques of the plan. Along with the survey, LC sent a sample printed page of the future catalog. LC asked about the value and justification of such a catalog, about the sample page of entries, and whether the catalog should be a union list representing just the current fifteen libraries or whether it should be expanded to include all possible locations. The sample page showed main entries and see references in transliteration, with titles and other bibliographic data in Cyrillic.52

Responses to the survey were very positive. A respondent from the University of Chicago wrote: "I can think of no single step any more useful in this field than the one the Library of Congress is proposing to take. If carried through, it will be a magnificent contribution."53 Most libraries favored adding locations beyond the original fifteen, provided such information did not slow down the publication of the catalog. Many were very interested in receiving the catalog as soon as possible. Some pleaded for LC card numbers to be added to the records. Others wanted subject headings included on the cards. The Cleveland Public Library wanted non-Cyrillic Slavic publications in the catalog, questioning the alphabet rationale behind including Serbian, but omitting Croatian titles. The University of Pennsylvania wanted Baltic, Polish and Czech titles included.54 Avrahm Yarmolinsky (1890-1975) of the New York Public Library wanted the catalog to have only Russian, Ukrainian, and White Russian publications, but not South Slavic at all if Croatian would be omitted. Yarmolinsky also was disturbed that the LC Slavic cards would not be distributed by the Card Division along with other non-Slavic printed LC cards, but rather would appear only in the printed SUC. He greatly preferred, if money was an impediment to both actions, to have the Cyrillic cards be part of the regular distribution rather than part of a printed catalog.55 A different version of the plan revised the procedure and stated that the cards would be available for distribution and that, in exchange for their participation in the union catalog project, the fifteen original libraries would get two sets of Cyrillic cards, one to record their holdings and return to the project and one for their own purposes.56

When the Slavic Cataloging Project took custody of the SUC from the former Slavic Division, the catalog needed some preliminary sorting to get it ready to serve as the foundation of an expanded SUC. It contained approximately 50,000 entries for Cyrillic books. The entries had all been created by U.S. libraries other than LC. It did not contain the 10,000 LC printed cards for Cyrillic titles and had a backlog of about 4,000 cards to be filed. It was estimated that it would take ten staff members three full days to arrange the catalog properly.57 The staff also spent many weeks putting in order other card files from the former Slavic Division and arranging the books and serials in the Slavic collections on the shelves before the process of searching and cataloging could begin.

The plan for a printed catalog directly affected the decisions about what bibliographic data would be included on the cards. Keeping in mind the immensity of the task, the grant deadline, and, in particular, the expense of printing such a catalog, it was decided to limit or exclude extraneous information such as subject headings, subtitles, most notes, and series information. The entries were to be as brief as possible without hindering identification. The data to be included were: author (in transliteration), title (in Cyrillic), edition statement (in the language of the book), imprint (abbreviations okay), collation, series (at the discretion of the revisers), notes (used sparingly if at all), and contents (for certain collected or selected works only).58 By mid-March 1945, the preliminary activities were completed and the team was in place to begin searching. The only thing impeding the project was language in the congressional appropriation act that did not allow for printing cards in book format.59 LC asked for a change in the language to allow for such an eventuality and the cataloging aspect of the project commenced in late June 1945.

Although the assembly-line method was the most efficient way to achieve the goal, the staff disliked it, for it required them to do the same task for weeks at a time before moving to a new task. For example, shelving and arranging books for weeks, then filing cards for weeks, then searching for weeks. There was also some squabbling among the staff and high turnover. The morale problem was first reported in June 1945,60 but it plagued the project throughout. In August 1946 as Custer was ending his term as the head of the Slavic Cataloging Project, he submitted a detailed report not only on the accomplishments of the project, but also on the achievements and difficulties of individual staff members. He wrote of ten factors contributing to strong production versus lack of production. The former included the hard work of the staff, the assembly-line procedure, simplified cataloging rules, and the "periodic jettison of desirable but non-essential features of the work;"61 we will discuss "non-essential features" shortly. Factors contributing to poor production included inexperienced staff, staff turnover, "staff temperaments and jealousies," delays in obtaining equipment, outside assignments and poor planning.62

Some of the staff apparently were quite collegial, some referring to themselves as the "Church-Slavs." Others in LC referred to the project staff as the "Russians" or the "Slavs."63 Regarding the staff, Custer believed that "the 'Russians' have been accused by many, including myself, of not knowing how to apply themselves and get the work done. But some of them have been very devoted and conscientious workers."64 The lack of experience in library work, and cataloging in particular, was a problem. Very few people who knew Russian and had such experience were available, so LC had to hire people with little to no experience. Their training was time-consuming. The turnover of staff also was a significant issue. "Of 30 people at one time members of the Project, only 14 will remain with my [Custer's] departure."65 Turnover resulted from boredom with the assembly-line method, but mostly from the fact that the staff were not interested in library careers. For instance, many were wives who left the project after their husbands returned from military service. Mr. Custer spent some time writing about the personalities of his staff and how they contributed to or hindered the success of the project.

One old saw had it that one Russian is a genius, two Russians are a disputation, three Russians are a revolution; and another calls all Russians "mad." Be that as it may, the staff of the Project has been beset by far more jealousies and dislikes and shows of temper and temperament than the average office is subject to. It would be futile to list all of them . . . 66

He then continued his report with a list of all staff and his assessment of their performance. This document is extremely amusing, for Custer was as sharp in his criticisms as he was lavish with his praise for those whom he considered deserving. Some examples are:

[He] . . .was a sorry failure because he was unable to discipline and apply himself." "[She] . . . is by far the best cataloger in the section." "[He] . . .is a first class research man. But he doesn't know how to work, and reminds me of a boy playing with his books . . .He snoops around . . ." "A perfect gentleman, he, too, does not know how to work, and likes nothing better than to converse by the hour." "[She] . . . was quick and eager, intelligent and resourceful. Her command of Russian was amazing, considering that she had never studied it." "[She] . . . was first rate." "[She] . . .remained with us one day, which in itself characterizes her.67

Custer also cited poor planning as a detriment to the Slavic Cataloging Project. A direct effect of poor planning involved the union listing and the cards from the Russian Bibliography Project sent to the fifteen libraries. By mid-February of 1946 enough cards had been produced by the Slavic Cataloging Project that LC sent out its first shipment of two cards for each title to the fifteen participating libraries. The libraries were encouraged to continue sending their cataloging entries to LC for inclusion in the SUC, and LC soon after began regular shipment of Cyrillic cards to the libraries.68 It seems, however, that the participating libraries were not following instructions to avoid double searching of titles listed in the checklists, so much time was wasted by the Slavic Cataloging Project staff searching the same titles twice. In addition, some of the libraries had no time to check the cards from the checklists at all. During the first phase of the project, the SUC again suffered from neglect. Although many cards were produced and received, they were not filed in a timely manner. In August 1946, the situation was described this way:

In addition to approximately 10,000 entries from Yale University, there is a filing arrearage in ordinary current receipts of about 5,400 cards, of which 2,800 have been entirely or partially alphabetized. As for editing the [Slavic] Union Catalog, that is in an even worse state. I should like to urge that it be recommended to the Union Catalog Division that it appoint someone to work on this catalog.69

By the end of the project in December 1946, the staff had managed for the most part to complete the filing of the cards into the SUC, but they had done no editing.

As we saw, one factor that Custer considered a positive step toward improving production was what he called the "jettison of desirable but non-essential features of the work." This meant, among other things, that in order to fulfill the terms of the grant, the project would not catalog old books, except reference books, would discontinue all full cataloging and prepare temporary cards only, and would limit research in establishing names.70 Regardless of the problems, the project accomplished much by the end of the two-year grant. There were 53,343 preliminary entries prepared, 3,918 titles fully cataloged with descriptive cataloging, 66,003 titles searched, and 5,538 duplicates established. The arrearage was reduced to 15,107 titles, in addition to the numerous uncounted Slavic titles that were in other divisions of LC.71

The Slavic Union Catalog in the Union Catalog Division, 1947-1949

By 1947, some tasks remained to conclude the planned work of the Slavic Cataloging Project. Initially work continued, albeit on a smaller scale. Appropriated rather than grant funds were used to continue cataloging the Slavic arrearage. In addition, cards for the SUC continued to be received and produced. These became the responsibility of the Union Catalog Division, which absorbed some of the Slavic Cataloging Project staff. Division staff integrated the SUC with a card file of temporary LC entries, resulting in "180,000 cards before the elimination of duplicate entries, --83,500 Library of Congress printed and temporary entries and 96,500 cards from other libraries."72

Unfortunately, the project also highlighted the enormous quantity of work still to be done that was not covered by grant funds and the fact that the goal of producing a printed catalog for Slavic materials with union listings sometime in the year 1947 had been unrealistic. Because many more temporary entries than full entries had been prepared, LC needed to estimate how much work and time it would take to create full entries, including classification and subject headings, and then to print the catalog. For subject headings, classification, and shelflisting of approximately 90,000 LC titles, the estimate was 135 man-years, and an additional eight to ten man-years to edit the cards and file them in proper order. The cost estimate for the printed catalog was $100,000. The staff also estimated that there were 90,000-100,000 titles in other U.S. libraries for which they still had no cards in the SUC, so the catalog would be quite incomplete as a record of Slavic holdings in American libraries.73

The suggestions for possible future action included classifying the LC titles, but not providing subject headings; ceasing to print cards and instead focusing on a printed catalog; continuing to ask other libraries to supply their bibliographic records; working with the other libraries to get another grant from the Rockefeller Foundation that would help the other libraries provide their data, would help LC finish their cataloging, and also would help subsidize the cost of printing the resulting catalog. A final suggestion was "that the program as a whole be understood to contemplate the beginning in the immediate future of a cumulative union catalog of current Slavic imprints intended to serve as a supplement of the basic catalog."74 In spite of the recommendations, LC was aware that it probably would not be able to continue work on full cataloging of Slavic materials because it lacked funding for additional staff. LC also was aware that it needed to overhaul some of its cataloging practices in order to avoid future backlogs. The past practice of cataloging only half of every year's new receipts, with the remainder becoming part of the backlog (not just for Slavic, but for all materials at LC), had to be improved.75

What was to become an important factor in the processing of the Slavic arrearages and the creation of bibliographic tools at LC was the interest of military and intelligence agencies. On April 19, 1948, a meeting initiated by the Aeronautical Chart Service took place, and the topic was the development of a project to locate, catalog, translate, and abstract Russian materials. Present at the meeting were representatives from numerous agencies such as the CIA, Army Map Service, Office of National Defense, State Department, Hydrographic Office, Air Weather Service, Map and Photo Branch of G2, and LC, among others. An ad-hoc committee was established to investigate the problems with fulfilling the information needs of the agencies, the main obstacle to which was the lack of staff with specific language skills, with proper training in cataloging, abstracting, and other library tasks, and the lack of funding to hire additional personnel. Any kind of bibliography project with annotations and translations would be expensive due to the labor intensive nature of the work. Several representatives pointed out that the agencies collectively needed to inform Congress of their interest in LC's properly cataloging its Slavic collections and to urge Congress to appropriate more funds for this purpose. LC also mentioned the SUC, as well as its plans to begin issuing that very month a monthly list of Russian acquisitions.76 This was the Monthly List of Russian Accessions,External link and it contained the new acquisitions not only of LC, but also of thirty-three other U.S. libraries, although the holdings of other libraries did not start appearing until the later issues of 1948. It was not a true union list, but rather an attempt to provide information to researchers as quickly as possible on what Russian publications were available. All libraries, not just LC, acquired some items unique in the U.S. and thus were able to contribute unique bibliographic data. A true union list would have delayed publication in order to consolidate entries and holdings. The Monthly List was, like so many other LC projects, initially funded by grants, in this case partly by the Rockefeller Foundation and partly by the American Council of Learned Societies. Later it received its support from the United States Air Force and the CIA.

Another indication of federal intelligence interest in Russian bibliographic projects came from the Research and Development Board, a group established by the National Security Act of 1947 to coordinate and inform technological research of interest to the National Military Establishment. In January 1948, the Working Panel on Geology of the Research and Development Board sent a representative to LC to explore the possibility of receiving from the Library a translated list of scientific titles and tables of contents from journals from which they could choose works to be abstracted. It was made clear to LC that "plans are going forward among several agencies to provide bibliographic control of Russian material independent of any participation by the Library of Congress," and, in fact, "these agencies, in furtherance of their aims, are ready to interfere with the acquisitions program of the Library of Congress if it becomes necessary to get materials for the bibliographic program they are planning."77 Although in this case, the interest of the agencies resulted in the development of a number of special bibliographic projects, for example the Central Catalog of Slavic Translations and Abstracts, a short-lived project begun at LC in 1950, their interest undoubtedly spurred further funding and development of the SUC as well. The Central Catalog of Slavic Translations and Abstracts was a quasi-union catalog of translations prepared by federal agencies. The agencies were to submit bibliographic data to the Union Catalog Division at LC and could also request searches for translations they needed.78 The project was unsuccessful and disbanded after just a few years, ironically, for lack of sufficient agency cooperation. This failure may have been due also to the many competing technical translation projects that were more successful.

The Slavic Union Catalog in the Air Research Division, 1949-1951

As of 1949 the Slavic Division had not yet been resurrected at LC (this would not happen until 1951). The SUC and responsibility for maintaining it were transferred to a newly created unit in the Library, the Air Information Service (AIS) of the Air Research Division,79 a division heavily funded by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). The purpose of the AIS and its parent division, the Air Research Division, was to provide the USAF with the research and publications it needed in aid of the national security and defense policies of the U.S. Government. The AIS consisted of three sections: the Abstracting Unit, the Cataloging Unit, and the Bibliography Unit. In order to fulfill USAF needs, the division also paid out of its funds the salaries of approximately a dozen catalogers who worked in other divisions of LC "in turn for priority cataloging 'in terms of Air Force interests.'"80 Clearly, Slavic publications were in the interests of the USAF, for they paid almost $6,000,000 over a seven-year period (1948-1954) for "exploitation" of the Slavic collections at LC, which included cataloging. See Table 2 which documents the sustained and increasing interest of the Air Force in Slavic-related research, bibliography, and cataloging.

TABLE 2.  Air Force funds transferred to the Library of Congress for the exploitation of Slavic materials. Data taken from a report by Dr. Burton W. Adkinson (1909-2004), Director of the Reference Department, entitled "Expenditures in the Slavic Field, 1940-1954," dated January 18, 1954. Library of Congress Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.
YearAir Force Funds Transferred

In the late 1940s, the cataloging of Slavic materials had become a priority, and, with outside help, finally had adequate funding. One of the divisions that benefitted from the influx of USAF money was the Descriptive Cataloging Division, which established a new sub-unit in late 1949, the Slavic Language Section. "For the first time in the history of the Library of Congress, the cataloging of its Russian materials is in the hands of well-qualified personnel."81 Some of these staff included Nathalie P. Delougaz, Boris I. Gorokhoff, Elena Gabris, Dora Frejlich, Zelma Ozols, and Edward D. Wolski.

In December 1948 Seymour Lubetzky (1898-2003), former chief of the Catalog Maintenance Division, was appointed temporary head of AIS to get the section up and running. During the first year, staffing for the AIS, and for the Bibliography Unit in particular, was a problem. LC personnel were transferred from unit to unit, and although there was money to hire additional personnel, very few qualified applicants emerged. After six months the AIS had fifty employees in its three units, but funding for seventy-seven. The SUC, which was now a government priority, finally had adequate funding, but its planned expansion still suffered from lack of trained personnel. Very fortunate for the AIS (and the SUC) was the appointment of Rudolf Smits (1907-1972) as the director of the Bibliography Unit on August 15, 1949.

Lubetzky, in a restricted report on the control of Slavic scientific publications, stated that the federal government was the largest collector of Slavic materials in the U.S. He also emphasized the lack of proper reference tools for Slavic including a dearth of subject bibliographies, national bibliographies, catalogs of Slavic collections, etc., and stressed the lack of proper cataloging for such materials in U.S. libraries, including federal institutions. "Few of the major American collections of Russian scientific materials are adequately cataloged and many of them are so poorly arranged it is difficult, if not impossible, to locate desired items."82 For dealing with the lack of bibliographic control for Slavic scientific works, Lubetzky recommended as a top priority the expansion and editing of the SUC.83 The catalog had become his new responsibility, as the Bibliography Unit of the AIS had been put in charge of the catalog. During the first three months of the AIS approximately 6,000 cards were edited and filed into the SUC. During the first year with Smits as director of the Bibliography Unit (August 1949-June 1950), 201,840 SUC cards were reviewed, 25,850 were revised, and 81,401 were filed. Smits and his unit had a massive job before them, for the SUC "was in a deplorable state when it was transferred to AIS from [the] Union Catalog Division early in 1949."84 The problem that Whitfield and Schwegmann had identified in 1940, having people with minimal Russian skills filing cards, occurred during the time that the SUC had resided in the Union Catalog Division. When the SUC was transferred to AIS, it came with a backlog of 50,000 unfiled cards. Besides all of the other work the Bibliography Unit did, they also wrote holding library symbols on 20,996 cards from outside libraries and performed the tedious duty of comparing LC cards with SUC cards to add reference cards and missing LC cards to the SUC. All this was in advance of a systematic revision of the SUC planned to begin in 1951.85

In 1951 SUC staff identified and added more previously missing reference and LC cards. They reviewed 301,226 cards for errors, corrected them, and reviewed their filing order, removed 20,876 duplicate cards, and added library symbols to 12,473 LC cards. In 1951, 44,595 new cards were filed into the SUC.86 The estimated total number of cards in the SUC as of 1951 was 248,278.87 The tremendous attention paid to the SUC while it was part of the AIS finally resulted in a catalog that was highly useful to staff and researchers. In fact, further expansion of the catalog was envisioned.

If we are able to pursue successfully the combination of bibliographical and indexing projects outlined above, there should be but one major step left to give the Library the most comprehensive, the most flexible, and the most useful bibliographical control over Slavic materials achievable in this country. This final step involves a subject approach to the Slavic Union Catalog.88

The subject approach would be very helpful to researchers, for most knew the subjects in which they were interested, but not the authors of books on those subjects. Also, in the 1950s the Soviet Union had barred from export copies of the national bibliography, Knizhnaia letopis' [Book Chronicle], which provided very general subject access to current Soviet books.89 The researcher in the U.S. had virtually no subject access to the vast majority of Russian publications, with the exception of the newly received titles printed in the Monthly List. Sergius Yakobson (1901-1979), the chief of the newly established Slavic Division, first recommended a subject catalog for the SUC in a memo on February 27, 1951. Several years earlier in 1948, he had recommended a subject catalog for Russian publications at LC,90 but this suggestion had not been implemented. In the 1951 memo Yakobson also proposed beginning an East European Accessions List,External link akin to the Monthly List, but for works from other countries of Eastern Europe, not the USSR. The East European Accessions List began publication in late 1951 with outside money from the National Committee for a Free Europe (itself funded by the CIA) and the Rockefeller Foundation.91

Besides maintaining the SUC, the Bibliography Unit also compiled other bibliographies based on Slavic materials, as well as bibliographies on demand according to the wishes of the USAF. In addition, it assumed responsibility for the Monthly List, which it expanded and even indexed by subject. The Monthly List, the funding for which initially came from grants, soon after began to receive its funding from the USAF. After receiving positive feedback from CIA personnel, in 1949 and 1951 LC requested funding from the CIA to continue and expand the publication. The funding request also included money to create subject access to the SUC.92 An estimate of $78,487.20 for the cost of creating a subject catalog for the SUC was prepared by Smits in March 1951. It showed the main costs would be to hire personnel to file, search, catalog, and supervise, with another large cost to microfilm the SUC to produce working copies of the cards.93 A later estimate for $176,371 described the procedures in more detail and greatly increased the estimated amount needed for personnel.94 The CIA funding for both projects was granted in fiscal year 1952 (July 1, 1951-June 30, 1952), but it is unclear how much was allocated. In the official announcement of the plan to create the subject catalog, the funding source was not mentioned,95 and the Processing Department Annual Report for 1952 stated simply that the "Library obtained funds from an outside source."96 It is clear from other documents in the LC Archives, however, that the money came from the CIA.97 The secrecy regarding the funding source stemmed from a request by the CIA to LC. "It is appropriate, in the matter of security, to reaffirm that CIA's identification with these projects should be limited to the very minimum number of people on your staff who must have this information."98

The Cyrillic Union Catalog and the Cyrillic Union Subject Catalog, 1952-1956

On January 1, 1952 the Cyrillic Union Catalog Section was established in the LC Processing Department to prepare the Cyrillic Union Subject Catalog (CUSC) and to continue producing the Monthly List of Russian Accessions. Sub-units were created to administer each project. Rudolf Smits, who so ably had managed the enormous projects of the Bibliographic Unit of AIS, was appointed Chief of the new section. Eric T. Schuler (1901-1989) was appointed the head of the CUSC unit, and Peter A. Pertzoff (ca.1909-1967) was named editor of the Monthly List. It is not clear why these two projects were transferred out of AIS. Perhaps it was because of the change in funding source from the USAF to the CIA, but also possibly because of a new focus in AIS on more specific bibliographic work, rather than compilation of large, general bibliographies such as the SUC and the Monthly List.99 What is clear is that by increasing the growth of the projects, LC was acting on recommendations stemming from its 1951 Special Committee on Eastern European Publications on how to expand bibliographic control of Russian publications based on growing interest from other federal agencies and from researchers.100

The CUSC project would progress in three phases: first, focusing on LC titles for which there are printed cards; second, focusing on LC temporary cards; and third, focusing on cards for works held in other libraries. The procedures called for microfilming the SUC,101 which at this time was still only an author catalog, and printing off working copies of the cards without dismantling the catalog and making it temporarily unusable. This would also enable staff to mail copies of problem cards to holding libraries for subject cataloging help without risking loss of cards.

The CUSC would provide a subject card with two subject headings, a title card, and an English translation of the title for every one of the approximately 220,000 author cards. The plan was to complete the work in one year. The idea of publishing the catalog in printed form also was under consideration, and this desire determined some of the work procedures. For example, all entries should be consistent, with uniform presentation of data in a printed catalog, thus all of the cards in the SUC would need to be retyped in transliteration and on multilith mats to facilitate reproduction by multilith printing. The multilith process did not represent a reduction in costs, but it had other benefits. " . . .The multilith system has the advantage of being neater in appearance and of enabling the entire catalog eventually to be published in book form."102

Hiring qualified personnel was once again one of the sticking points with the new project.103 There simply were not enough competent Slavic catalogers in the U.S., so people with language skills, rather than library skills, were hired and trained. In April 1952, in order to elicit help from other libraries, Smits traveled to New York City to a meeting of the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies of the Social Science Research Council and also visited Columbia and Yale. After his trip, the following libraries agreed to provide subject headings for the Russian titles in their collections: Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, New York University, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota, University of Washington, Stanford, Berkeley, University of Southern California and University of California in Los Angeles.104 The libraries were paid for their work on a contractual basis.

Work on the SUC continued at a brisk pace in 1952, with 52,511 cards filed, 25,511 duplicate cards removed, and upgrading of LC temporary cards with fully cataloged and printed cards. For the entire year the total number of cards increased by 27,000.105 Translation of titles from the bibliographic record into English was done for all titles except belles lettres. Retyping of the cards in transliteration had begun. The bottom of each card was printed with the words "Library of Congress" on the left and "Cyrillic Union Subject Catalog" on the right. LCCNs appeared on the bottom right. On the title cards a unique CUSC number was assigned and printed on the bottom right. The combined author, title, and subject catalogs would eventually be called the Cyrillic Union Catalog (CUC).

Work on the subject catalog also continued at a high level in 1953. Sufficient staff had been hired, except for typists who could read Cyrillic and convert the data into completely transliterated cards. Books published after 1917 became the priority for the team because of the ideological interest in Soviet era publications. The initially planned work was almost completed after the first year of operation except for typing and reproduction of cards. 105,907 post-1917 titles were added to the CUC with subject headings. 41,847 pre-1917 and belles lettres titles were given subject headings. 18,943 unclassified LC titles were cataloged and classified. Of all of the titles that received subject treatment, only 56,978 were typed and duplicated and only 33,950 completed cards were filed into the catalog. Once cards were completed and reproduced, the call numbers were added to the original SUC cards. Even with all this work, this catalog would still not cover all of the Cyrillic materials in the U.S., for many pre-1917 titles were not completed and currently received materials also were not included. Funding from the CIA was extended for fiscal year 1953 (July 1, 1952-June 30, 1953) to complete the project, but no materials acquired after July 1, 1952, were worked on by the Cyrillic Union Catalog Section,106 that is until more funding was found at a later date. For fiscal year 1953 the CIA supplied $314,698 to support the Monthly List, the CUSC, and a biographical project.107 For fiscal year 1954 (July 1, 1953-June 30, 1954) LC received $292,959 from the CIA to support the three projects. Of that sum $112, 015 was allocated for the CUSC. For fiscal year 1955 (July 1, 1954-June 30, 1955) LC requested from the CIA $219, 434 for the three projects, only $42,247 of which was intended for the CUSC as the project was nearing completion.108 It is unclear if the requested funding for fiscal year 1955 was granted, but the earlier years of support were based on good reports to the CIA from its personnel as attested by a letter to Luther Evans, Librarian of Congress:

The Library of Congress is to be congratulated on the quality of the work being performed on the two projects. The review of the programs occasioned by the development of fiscal support for the coming year has brought to our attention much evidence of the value of the product to intelligence programs.109

During 1953 work also continued on the SUC. In 1953 the catalog was divided into two sections, cards received before and after July 1, 1952. Staff already were anticipating a possible supplement or continuation of the CUC, so the newly received cards were microfilmed to make working copies that might be needed, and the cards were filed into the second part of the SUC. In 1953 a total of 47,825 cards were filed into the SUC (35,100 LC cards and 12,725 cards from other libraries), while 3,745 cards were removed because they represented duplicate titles, and 12,922 symbols for holding libraries were added to pre-existing SUC cards.110 If an LC card existed, it was always preferred over cards from other libraries, with holdings added to it and other cards discarded. See Table 3 for the estimated growth of the SUC over several decades. When the number decreased in 1952, it was due to removal of duplicate cards as mentioned above. Removal of cards also occurred in 1969 and is described below. The periods of stasis represent the financial crisis of the late 1960s when the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project was disbanded, and the temporary cessation of filing into the SUC in the 1970s right before the decision to publish the catalog on microfiche.

Year No. of cards        Year No. of cards
1951248,278 1966699,731
1952237,354 1967746,912
1953268,337 1968746,912
1954315,349 1969746,912
1955334,689 1970380,000
1956340,986 1971393,909
1957370,823 1972396,834
1958389,653 1973404,699
1959415,449 1974411,494
1960435,889 1975411,494
1961464,740 1976411,494
1962522,481 1977411,494
1963549,820 1978412,003
1964594,172 1979442,456

TABLE 3. Estimated number of cards in the Slavic Union Catalog. Figures are extracted from the annual reports of the Librarian of Congress. The figure for 1970 reflects the removal of 366,912 post-1955 cards. All figures after 1970 encompass only pre-1956 titles.

The CUSC slowed during the second half of 1953 because the project had achieved its main objectives, but had not yet received additional funding to complete cataloging of pre-1917 books. This funding of $63,000 came through at the beginning of 1954 from the Ford Foundation. Work continued at a high level after funds were procured, but the editing and typing of the cards again were a problem due to lack of typists proficient in Russian and transliteration. In 1953 it became clear that the catalog would be arranged into the three parts that still exist today: author, title, and subject. The subject catalog was of paramount importance to the unit, but work continued on the other parts as well. In addition, copies of all finished cards were added to the SUC. Besides the amended cards coming from the CUC/CUSC project, new cards were being received from other libraries for an increase to the SUC of 42,862 cards during fiscal year 1954. Beginning with the 1954 annual report of the Cyrillic Union Catalog Section, one can also trace the number of cards received from each contributing library for inclusion in the SUC. For example, from July 1953 through June 1954 Hoover sent 577 cards, Harvard sent 1,665, Harvard Law sent 180, the University of Illinois sent 165, while the University of Virginia sent only 3 cards. In comparison, LC added 24,211 of its own cards, but this count included not only main entries, but also added entries, cross reference cards, and preliminary cards.111 Similar work and reporting on the SUC continued in 1955 as well.

During 1955, funding for the completion of the CUC/CUSC was received from both the Ford Foundation and the regular LC budget. Funding also was sought and received from the Ford Foundation for the publication of the catalog. The title catalog was completed in 1955 and consisted of 178,226 cards. Many of the cards in the title catalog were reproductions of author cards with the author crossed out in pencil, rather than freshly printed ones with a different arrangement of data on the cards. 106,149 of the title cards were for titles in the LC collections, while 72,077 were from the 185 other libraries contributing their data to the project. The title catalog was important for researchers and catalogers because of the multiplicity of possible main entry headings for various types of materials. The subject catalog, with 327,500 cards, was the second part of the catalog to be completed in 1955. The author catalog, comprising 202,400 cards, was completed last. The grand total of all cards in the CUC/CUSC was 708,126. The cut-off date for inclusion in the CUC was February 1956. All cards received after that time were placed into the supplement. Some minor work was undertaken in 1956 and the entire catalog was completed, resulting in the closure of the catalog and the reorganization of the Cyrillic Union Catalog Section on March 1, 1956. The section was renamed the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Some of the personnel working in the CUC Section were transferred to the new unit, while others were sent to other units to deal with the huge influx of Russian materials flowing into LC at this time.112 After the closing of the catalog, the term CUSC was no longer relevant and all three parts were simply called the CUC.

Complete set of cards from the Cyrillic Union Catalog
FIGURE 6.   A complete set of cards from the Cyrillic Union Catalog. Photograph taken by author. (click on image to enlarge)

Figure 6 depicts four cards from the CUC for a simple title, the collected works of Egor Nechaev, and its original SUC card submitted by the New York Public Library. All of the CUC cards were edited and retyped from the SUC card. Cards A and B are from the author catalog. They show the main author card and an added entry card for the editor. Card C is from the title catalog and it has the author manually crossed out to save time and money by not re-typing title entry cards. Card D is the subject card from the CUSC, albeit with only one heading, as was typical for a work of fiction. Non-fiction cards typically had two subject headings. Note that all cards have the same unique CUSC identification number, 120,396, on the bottom right. The final card E is the original SUC card with some editing to make the Romanization conform to LC practice.

The closing of the catalog was precipitated by two factors: the fact that funding dried up and it was believed that current acquisitions would receive proper bibliographic coverage in the Monthly List. At some point the CIA stopped funding the CUC/CUSC project and grant funds were used instead, but towards the end of the project, these funds too had come to an end. The Monthly List and the East European Accessions List had been prepared under a vigorous program of bibliographic control and acquisitions. The lists were deemed to be quite valuable to other libraries and federal agencies, so they were given a higher priority for recording data on current receipts. In spite of the closure of the CUC/CUSC, there were still tasks that could be done to make it better. For example, only the title catalog had been properly edited. Even though the CUC was closed, new Cyrillic cards kept being produced or received and these were filed into the SUC, a main entry only catalog, which, subsequent to the CUC, was considered the master file and was still active.113

Unfinished Russian cards from the Cyrillic Union Catalog.
FIGURE 7.   Unfinished Russian cards from the Cyrillic Union Catalog. Photograph taken by author. (click on image to enlarge)

Figure 7 reproduces cards that had been in the SUC, but apparently did not get processed in time to be included in the Microprint edition of the CUC. At the end of the original author catalog, which is currently housed in LC's European Division, there are several drawers of unfinished cards in Bulgarian, Russian, and Serbian. They show the variety of forms, details, alphabets, and editing involved in creating a unified union catalog from disparate entries. Card A is a temporary LC card. Card B is a printout from the microfilm copy of the SUC showing a handwritten Cyrillic card from Princeton University. Card C is a printout from the microfilm copy of the SUC of a printed Cyrillic card from Harvard. Card D is a printout from the microfilm copy of the SUC of a transliterated printed card from Hoover, with editing performed by CUC staff. Card E is a printout from the microfilm copy of the SUC of a combination Cyrillic and transliterated, printed card from the National Library of Medicine (formerly the Armed Forces Medical Library and the Library of the Surgeon General's Office). Card F is a slip of paper glued onto a card from Hoover. Cutting up printed catalogs or lists and pasting the slips onto cards was a common early technique for populating union catalogs.

Cyrillic Bibliographic Project, 1956-1963

The Cyrillic Bibliographic Project took over responsibility for the Monthly List, the East European Accessions List, and the SUC and CUC. The SUC continued to be maintained as usual, with new cards from LC and other libraries being interfiled into it. In addition, on March 1, 1956, the project began to compile a supplement to the CUC that consisted of the same three parts as the CUC: author/main entry, subject, and title. (At some point the new subject part of the catalog was abandoned, for it is not mentioned again in the sources, and it never became part of the final catalog.) A full set of cards for each LC title was printed and filed into the supplement with 13,688 cards (approximately 2,000-3,000 titles) added to the supplement as of June 30, 1956. For cards from other libraries, two photostats were made; one was filed into the author catalog and the other was put aside for transliteration or editing at a future date, eventually to be filed in the title catalog. Some 1,000 cards from other libraries received this treatment during 1956.114 From the time the CUC was closed, cards received for works published in 1956 or later were not kept by the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project, but were forwarded to the Union Catalog Division for eventual publication in the NUC.115 These newly established procedures continued for a number of years; all new cards regardless of publication date were added to the SUC; cards from other libraries were copied; the pre-56 cards from other libraries were kept separate for the eventual CUC supplement; post-55 cards from LC and other libraries were sent to the NUC. See Tables 3 and 4 to track the growth of the SUC during this era.

TABLE 4.  Cards added to the SUC and SCUC from 1955-1967. Data taken from the annual reports of the Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Library of Congress Archives. *LC cards include cards for main entries, added entries, cross references, and preliminary cards, as well as cards for items unique to LC.
Fiscal Year Cards Received
from Other Libraries
Pre-1917 Books Participating Libraries LC Cards Filed* Net Increase to Catalog
1955 21,355 4,129 81 23,117 20,499
1956 20,964 2,030 83 24,123 25,692
1957 36,940 2,980 107 29,723 29,837
1958 30,213 1,249 129 25,894 18,830
1959 38,616 2,073 144 26,710 25,796
1960 39,032 2,216 140 23,974 20,440
1961 42,798 1,343 193 22,379 28,851
1962 69,089 2,619 210 29,879 57,741
1963 90,000 5,648 183 27,336 27,339
1964 70,864 14,396 246 33,846 44,352
1965 87,092 4,928 238 17,241 49,446
1966 104,474 5,734 260 22,599 53,220
1967 90,764 4,283 316 28,169 47,181

In early 1957, planning for the publication of the CUC finally began, but 1957 was a momentous year for Slavic studies in the U.S. for a far more significant reason - Sputnik-1 was launched on October 4. Although bibliographic and acquisitions work on the Soviet Union and its satellite countries was already at a high level after World War II, the three Sputnik launches in 1957 and 1958 caused an even greater spur to such activities. In Table 4 one can trace the steady increase in the number of participating libraries and cards received for the CUC/SUC after the Sputniks.

Due to the growing interest in Soviet publications already mentioned, serious proposals have once again been raised to publish the Cyrillic Union Catalog . . . The matter is still under consideration, particularly the problem of obtaining funds for this purpose. However, it already has the recommendation of the Association of Research Libraries nd the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies.116

After years of planning and negotiations, it was agreed in 1961 that Readex Microprint Corporation would publish the CUC. There were two sponsors for the publication, the NUC Subcommittee of the American Library Association's Resources and Technical Services Division Committee on Resources, and the Coordinating Committee for Slavic and East European Library Resources, which was associated with the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies of the Social Science Research Council and the ARL Committee on Slavic Resources.117 LC signed an agreement dated March 21, 1961, with the ALA NUC Subcommittee that allowed ALA to select the publisher of the CUC. ALA would obtain $10,000 from the publisher and then funnel the money to LC as a gift to prepare the CUC for reproduction. LC did not want to select a publisher or conduct the negotiations.118 The roundabout procedure with ALA was modeled after the publication of the 1952-1955 part of the NUC.119 With the new influx of funds, the staff of the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project began to check to make sure the cards were in the correct alphabetical order. No other editing would take place before publication in 1963.120

Once again, outside funding was critical to the projects related to Slavic materials. Without the $10,000 for the final preparation of the catalog for reproduction the catalog would not have been published. In 1962 Readex microfilmed the CUC as a preliminary step to producing a Microprint copy. While the CUC once again was receiving support, the other two publications produced by the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project were in danger. In March 1961, Herner and Company, a consulting group, produced a report criticizing the two accessions lists. As a result of this report, funding was cut off for the East European Accessions List, and the title ceased with volume 10, number 8, 1961. The East European Accessions List cost $362,000 per year to produce, but the Herner report found that only 8% of experts in the field actually used it. The consultant probably was hired by a government agency involved with funding, most likely the CIA, and not by LC; for the next year, LC hired a different consultant, Diebold Group, to produce its own assessment of the Monthly List. This report was quite favorable, and the Monthly List continued publication for another seven years, until 1969, but its companion publication was lost. An interesting and unexpected outcome of the Diebold report was that the National Science Foundation would take over the funding for the Monthly List, since, as it was revealed during LC's annual congressional budget request, the report proved that many of the users of the Monthly List were sci/tech experts.121

The Microprint edition of the CUC was published on December 1, 1963, on 1,244 Microprint cards, each card containing printed images of approximately 585 cards, and an accompanying pamphlet detailing the contents and use of the catalog, as well as a brief history, was published in 1964. Even at this time there was still discussion about publishing a printed version of the catalog, but it never materialized. The printed catalog was the ideal, but the Microprint was issued to avoid even more delays in the release of the information.122 The published CUC was the result of monumental effort on the part of LC and the 185 participating libraries, but unfortunately, the format of its publication led to its virtual demise several decades later.

Why Microprint?123

The first mention of producing the CUC on Microprint instead of as a printed catalog was in 1954. The rationale was the prohibitive cost of printing the catalog, estimated at $700 for the set. It was felt that such an expense would put it out of the price range of many libraries. An estimate from Readex Microprint of $150 was more affordable for more libraries.124 The impetus to work with Readex did not stem from the CUC project, however, for Readex already had a history of Microprint publishing with the U.S. government, and in addition, the U.S. Government and the scholarly community had a history of publishing on microopaque.

In 1953 Readex began to issue non-depository U.S. Government documents in Microprint format.125 In 1956 it began publishing the depository items listed in the Monthly Catalog including the U.S. Congressional Serial Set on Microprint. In fact, other microopaque publishers had reproduced government titles years earlier. For example, possibly the first U.S. Government title to appear on microopaque was the Annals of Congress, published in microopaque in 1949 by the Microcard Foundation, a non-profit publisher of microcard materials. Another microopaque producer, the Microcard Corporation, was the publisher of the technical reports distributed on microcards from the Office of Naval Research and the Armed Forces Technical Information Agency Reference Center, part of the Technical Information Division of LC. The reports began to be issued on microcard in 1951 and this service provided direct experience for LC with microopaque. There was even a proposal to publish the enormous NUC either on microcard or Microprint, which ultimately was rejected.126

The use of microcards generated many comments from librarians, scientists, and engineers who served and used them. The vast majority of these comments were positive, even raves, especially regarding the ease and speed of distribution of the reports and the space-saving of cards versus paper reports. There also were a few negative comments concerning the lack of available machines for reading the cards, the necessity for darkness when using the machines, and the reproductive quality of the cards. Another complaint about the cards was that it was easier to make printouts from microfilm than from microcards. One comment from a supervisor of report files in a Navy contract laboratory was quite severe. "Microcards, like microfilm, do not seem to please the scientist as a substitute for the actual documents. As one scientist said: 'Librarians seem to be spending their time thinking up ways to make it more difficult for scientists to read reports.'"127

By 1957 Readex had issued on Microprint over one million pages of British public documents from the House of Commons and the House of Lords.128 When Readex got involved with Microprint publishing of U.S. Government documents, they selected initially non-depository and then later also depository materials from the Monthly Catalog and used many depository copies in LC to make their reproductions.129 The GPO and documents librarians were a driving force behind the increased use of microfilm and microopaque for government issued publications.130 See Figure 8 for the final CUC product produced by Readex.

Cyrillic Union Catalog on Microprint.
FIGURE 8.   Cyrillic Union Catalog on Microprint. Photograph taken by the author. (click on image to enlarge)

LC was not alone in its acceptance of the new micro-technologies. There was a Microcard Committee, established in 1944, with members from large American research libraries as well as library associations. The committee worked to set standards for microcards and to encourage their use. Although microcards and Microprint are both printed on paper, they are not produced by the same technology, the difference between the two being that microcards are printed using a photographic method on photographic paper, whereas Microprint is mechanically printed on non-photographic paper, a less expensive process. The card stock for the two is different in another way as well. Readex used a much sturdier paper that met the preservation requirements of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards for retention of documents for 300 years, which has probably prevented the curling of the cards that is so common among microcards and was occurring already in the early 1950s.131 The other difference is that a microcard is the same size as a catalog card, 3 by 5 inches, whereas a Microprint card is 6 by 9 inches. By 1955, when the Joint Committee on Slavic Studies of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies accepted the idea of a Microprint version of the CUC and agreed to help identify monies to facilitate the publication, Microprint and microcard had become established, hot technologies.132 For instance, in the 1950s so many publications had been produced on microopaque that a union list of microopaque titles was published.133 The New York Times was issued on Microprint, as was the Cumulative Subject Catalog of the Library of Congress.134 A major push for Microprint publications of Russian titles also was in progress by the time of the CUC decision. Readex, in conjunction with the American Historical Association, was selling Microprint copies of a series entitled Russian Historical Sources, which included some 800 volumes of Russian bibliographies, dictionaries, and journals such as Russkaia starina [Russian Antiquities] and Russkii arkhiv [Russian Archives].135 The American Council of Learned Societies had teamed up with Cornell University to issue classic Russian reference tools such as the Russkii biograficheskii slovar' [Russian Biographical Dictionary] on microcard in 1962. Contemporary Russian science journals were being issued in print by the Soviets, but on microcard by the Microcard Foundation. Examples include Biokhimiia [Biochemistry] and Zhurnal fizicheskoi khimii [Journal of Physical Chemistry].

Microfilm was also an existing technology at that time, in fact, microfilming was one of the steps to producing Microprint, but Microprint was less expensive to produce for mass distribution than microfilm because of the medium on which it was printed - special paper as opposed to film. Microprint was also less expensive than microcard because of the mechanical (non-photographic) printing process, but also because it came with its own protective boxes, whereas microcard had to have special cabinets to house the material - an ancillary expense. What was even more important for the CUC was that Microprint was much less expensive than printed volumes. Although microforms today are generally considered just a form of reproduction for preservation purposes, microopaque in its early years also was touted as a new form of publishing.136 Besides using microopaque for reproduction of previously printed works, new titles were to appear first in microopaque only, rather than ending up in a miniaturized format after appearing initially in some other format. A non-Slavic example is the series Microcard Publications of Primary Records in Culture and Personality from 1956. It was believed that the titles included in this series would not have been published at all in print due to low interest.137 Likewise, original publication in microopaque was the situation with the CUC. It appeared initially and only in Microprint, to the chagrin of Slavic librarians today. Microprint may have been the hot technology in the 1950s, but today it has become an outmoded and inconvenient format for most users and librarians.

The Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog, 1964-1980

The Cyrillic Bibliographic Project at LC continued until 1969, with its focus on the Monthly List, a biography project, the SUC, and the supplement to the CUC. Throughout its history, work in the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project continually was plagued by slowdowns owing to a shortage of Russian typists, but in 1964-1965 backlog problems at the GPO also were a contributing factor to slower production. GPO could not print the cards in a timely fashion.138 And once again there were problems with filing cards into the SUC. The number of cards was too overwhelming for the staff to file all of them, resulting in backlogs of this work, too. Beginning in 1965 LC temporary cards ceased to be interfiled into the SUC because of lack of time and staff.139

Other problems started to surface in 1966. The funding agency for the whole section, not just the Monthly List, indicated that there would be reductions. The biographical project was shelved and the usefulness of the Monthly List was called into question, for it cost $478,000 in 1966. Although the NSF was partially funding the Monthly List, the main sponsor of the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project was an unnamed defense agency.140 What agencies had sponsored which Slavic projects at LC during the post World War II era has been difficult to ascertain, for funding was added, cut, transferred, etc. Clearly, the defense and intelligence agencies wished to keep their involvement quiet, which explains why the paperwork trail is fragmented.141 On January 1, 1963, the Defense Intelligence Agency took over from the Air Force Intelligence Center the funding of various confidential projects at LC. This could have included funding various parts of the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. In the annual reports for the project, the sponsors were referred to in vague terms such as "the sponsoring agency" or "outside funding." In 1966, when the "sponsoring defense agency" pulled its support from the Monthly List, LC tried to incorporate the costs into its own budget, but the House committee overseeing LC vetoed the plan. All staff of the project were sent pink slips indicating that their jobs were to be eliminated on July 3, 1966. A campaign of protests from interested parties ensued and funding was restored, but this time it came from the Office of Education. Supporters of the Monthly List included the American Chemical Society, the ACLS, the Slavic and Soviet Area Studies Committee of the University of Kansas, the Modern Language Association, the U.S. Navy, the Association of Research Libraries, as well as many individuals and university libraries. Even though the Cyrillic Bibliographic project and its projects were saved, the uncertainty caused many staff to find employment elsewhere. As a result, work slowed and arrearages continued to accrue. By mid 1967 more than 100,000 cards had not been filed into the SUC.142 1969 became the final year of the Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. The protest campaign saved the Monthly List for only another two years, as it ceased with the May 1969 issue. The title page of the final issue stated that the publication was ceasing due to fiscal constraints at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

The budgetary situation of the U.S. Government in the late 1960s was problematic. Inflation was rising and the government was running up deficits, ultimately resulting in budget cuts. All the while costs in libraries also were increasing, especially in the area of bibliographic control. Grant money for library projects became scarce. One librarian wrote that she "heard the vice-president of a major foundation, formerly known for its support of libraries, characterize libraries as a 'bottomless pit.'"143 Funding aside, times were changing in libraries for other reasons, such as the introduction of automation in bibliographic control. MARC was developed in the mid-1960s at LC, and by the end of the 1960s, it had become the new method of bibliographic control. In 1967 OCLC was created. Although at the time no one could foresee how essential OCLC and automated catalogs would become, it was clear to leaders in the library field that automation, not card or printed catalogs, was the way of the future. In light of fiscal constraints and new technology, it is not surprising that the SUC and other Slavic bibliographic projects would wind down and Slavic materials would start to receive standard treatment along with materials from the U.S., Western Europe, and elsewhere.

In 1968, with the end of project funding, LC discontinued current work on the SUC and decided to keep it only as a supplement to the pre-1956 NUC. "This decision was based primarily on the fact that post-1955 Slavic titles are included in the National Union Catalog. It is expected that, when funds and staff permit, the Slavic Union Catalog will be liquidated by publishing its titles and locations in the National Union Catalog and the Register of Additional Locations."144 In 1969-1970 all cards for imprints published after 1955 were removed from the SUC. See Table 3. The idea of a CUC-like supplement was abandoned and the actual SUC became known as the supplement to the CUC. All work on the SUC did not cease, however, for new cards for pre-56 titles produced by LC or received from other libraries continued to be added to the SUC, albeit not on a regular basis. This included many previously uncataloged titles from the Yudin Collection at LC. The plan for publishing this time around was to incorporate the contents of the SUC into the NUC, not to produce a solely Slavic product.

By the mid-1970s, LC ceased to be the driving force for the continuation and publication of the SUC, but Slavic librarians in other U.S. libraries, in particular at the University of Illinois, took up the cause. The University of Illinois Slavic Reference Service (SRS), founded in 1976, served as a clearing house for Slavic reference requests for libraries around the U.S. Even before that, Illinois was hosting a Summer Research Laboratory, which helped scholars identify needed materials in U.S. libraries. To help their scholars, SRS staff frequently called the NUC section of LC in which the SUC was housed to ask for bibliographic assistance and locations of holding libraries listed in the SUC. In fact, the SUC was critical to their operations. LC had a draconian procedure for providing lookups to outside libraries, so onerous in fact that LC published a book on how to properly submit requests for assistance.145 The need for such a book reflected the tremendous volume of requests LC was receiving not just for SUC lookups, but also for NUC lookups. For instance in 1966, the NUC, not counting the supplements such as the SUC, received 40,937 requests for locations, a figure that had been increasing steadily since the 1940s.146 Although the SUC, NUC, Union List of Serials, and other union catalogs had been compiled with the assistance of hundreds of U.S. libraries, LC was sitting on the information while it went through the lengthy publishing process.

LC allowed only three requests per day to be submitted via only one phone call per day. Marianna Tax Choldin, the head of the SRS, realized that this situation was unworkable for her staff. The 1970s were the heyday of Slavic studies in the U.S. The SRS was inundated with requests for Slavic materials, and Choldin made several trips to LC to try to work out a better arrangement for obtaining information from the SUC, with the ultimate goal of getting the SUC published.147 Her partner at LC in these endeavors was David H. Kraus (1923-1997), acting chief of the European Division.

Choldin had to tread lightly, for the SRS needed LC's help with SUC locations, but one LC supervisor in the NUC Reference Unit greatly resented Illinois calling every day with requests. There was a Slavic searcher in the unit, but Slavic was not her only duty, and Slavic requests often were distributed to others with minimal Slavic skills. The Slavic searcher estimated that about 85% of their Slavic requests came from the SRS.148 In her efforts to bend the three-requests-per-day rule, Choldin stressed in her meetings that the SRS was not really just one institution, that they represented the requests of many libraries.149 Discussions with various higher-ups at LC calmed the tensions somewhat, but the Slavic searcher continued to have to "sneak around in order to handle more than three requests per day for us [SRS]."150 All of this would become fodder for pressuring LC finally to publish the SUC.

One of Choldin's discoveries during her 1977 visit was that the Cyrillic cards submitted to the NUC were not immediately transferred and interfiled into the SUC, rather they were allowed to accumulate in piles of 60,000 cards before the transfer. "This was quite a revelation, because although most of those cards do not represent new locations, they do represent additional locations, and this is vital information for us, since so much Slavic material in this country was formerly held only by NYPL, Harvard, and Hoover, all of which are difficult or impossible to borrow from."151 As a result of Choldin's visits and the SRS' numerous requests, the NUC Reference Unit began to check the hold file as well as the body of the SUC for Illinois' requests. They also started forwarding the accumulated piles when they reached 40,000 instead of waiting until 60,000 cards were ready. As we have seen, the neglect of interfiling of cards was typical throughout the history of the SUC and it continued right up until the closing and publication of the SUC.

During the 1970s, LC experimented with networking to provide bibliographic data online and to other libraries. For example, LC had projects to make the Register of Additional Locations (RAL) and the LC in-process files searchable online, as well as making available online the National Referral Center, and the LC Online Catalog. Choldin saw these during her visits to LC and expressed interest in having some SRS involvement or access. These projects represented the future direction of librarianship, but at the time, the publication of the SUC was the most critical action needed by Slavic librarians. Having to make daily phone calls, come up with work-arounds to bypass recalcitrant staff, and rely on others who may or may not have the necessary language skills, was cumbersome and inefficient, to say the least. Slavic librarians around the U.S. needed better and immediate access to the SUC. Choldin began a campaign to spur LC to publish the SUC. She encouraged her fellow members on the Bibliography and Documentation Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies to write letters to LC and express their need for the SUC. In fact, during her meeting in 1977 with Robert Holmes, the assistant director for Processing Services in the Processing Department, Holmes had a file in front of him filled with letters from Slavic librarians asking LC to publish the SUC.152

Based on an earlier conversation with David Kraus, I was afraid that the Library would decide to opt for a fancy form of publication, such as a G.K. Hall type, and I wanted to impress upon Mr. Holmes that what we need is a 'quick and dirty' microfiche which could be updated regularly. Fortunately, he was sympathetic to this point of view; indeed, he said anything more elaborate would be too expensive . . ..It was an amiable meeting, and I came out with the feeling that we will be successful, but I'll have to keep after LC with expressions of interest from the profession, or I may have to retire before we hold the microfiche in our hands!153

In the 1970s the only work done on the SUC was the occasional interfiling of cards and noting of new locations. In 1979, a decision was finalized to publish the catalog on microfiche with Rowman and Littlefield, the same publisher that produced the NUC 1956-1967 volumes. The timing of the decision was not random. Besides Choldin's multiple visits to LC, two years before the SUC publication, in 1977, LC had decided to stop maintaining its public and official card catalogs beginning January 1, 1980. The era of maintaining card catalogs was at an end. The company began to film the SUC in September 1979.154 At the point of publication, the SUC received its new name, the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog (SCUC). In some of the documentation for the catalog the title is represented with parentheses as Slavic (Cyrillic) Union Catalog with its original name of the Slavic Union Catalog and a qualification as to its Cyrillic-only contents. In late 1978 or early 1979, before the publication on microfiche, in keeping with the publication plan to include the SUC contents in the NUC and RAL, unique numbers were affixed to the SUC cards that had been received from other libraries. LC cards in the SUC had LCCNs, but non-LC items did not. The SCC numbers, similar to LCCNs and the unique NUC numbers, were developed to track them in the RAL. SCC probably stands for Slavic Cyrillic Catalog.

The SCUC appeared in 1980 on 174 microfiche for $495. It contained approximately 400,000 cards, 315,000 titles and 750,000 locations, 175,000 of which were for LC and the remaining 570,000 for 185 other libraries in the U.S. and Canada. It was estimated that about 90,000 titles and 250,000 locations were unique to the SCUC. Most of the titles were monographs, but there also were 16,500 serial titles in the SCUC.155 One microfiche contains about 2300 catalog cards versus 585 cards on one Microprint card. The catalog was promoted as a unique, retrospective reference tool with significant holdings information not available in other sources.

The fact that somewhat more than half of the SCUC entries appear in one form or another elsewhere (Cyrillic Union Catalog, National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 National Union Catalog) does not detract from its value as a reference and research tool, in as much as the other citations are either considerably out-of-date or have incomplete location information. The additional location information is nearly as valuable to the researcher or research library as the listing of the title itself.156

Choldin was one of the first to get hold of the new microfiche publication. It was so important finally to have the SCUC that special arrangements were made for her to get her copy as soon as possible. Kraus organized a delivery of the SCUC microfiche to a warehouse at the Philadelphia Airport, where it would wait for Choldin to pick it up on a stopover on her way to Europe. Not only would she prove to be "a good salesperson . . .in Germany and England,"157 she also represented one of the heaviest users of the SUC and was extremely influential in seeing the catalog published. Of that moment, Choldin recalled, "It was like a miracle. It was a very important step in gaining access."158

After publication, the SUC/SCUC was closed. Discussions had occurred about future supplements to the SCUC, for OCLC still had not entirely supplanted published catalogs. No supplements were produced, however, because additional reports of pre-1956 Cyrillic titles appeared in the continuing NUC compilations and the RAL. Choldin and Kraus were satisfied with the new arrangements.

As I understand it, as soon as the Slavic Union catalog (SUC) has been filmed, it can become a dead file because LC will begin at that time to include pre-1956 Cyrillic imprint reports in the NUC. There may be a short gap at the beginning, but the reports will be filed . . . along with all other reports (i.e., no longer in a separate pre-1956 Cyrillic file) and we can access them there by phone as we do now.159

The catalog mainly contained cards for works in Russian, but also included Belarusian, Bulgarian, Church Slavic, Macedonian, Serbian, and Ukrainian. Although it was a Cyrillic catalog, non-Slavic Cyrillic languages of Central Asia and elsewhere were not included. Nonetheless this author did come across one card in Cyrillic Mongolian, whose inclusion was obviously a mistake.160

Figures 9 through 12 represent actual catalog cards from the SCUC, the CUC, and some drawers of unfinished cards that are currently kept in the LC European Division as part of the original CUC. Figure 9 depicts cards for the same titles as they appear in the SUC/SCUC and in the Romanized CUC. Card A shows more information in the SUC/SCUC than in the CUC, reflecting the streamlined procedures employed in creating and editing the CUC. The CUC card for the same title shows a subject heading, "Russian newspapers," that the other card lacks. Card B shows an LC temporary card printed on colored cardstock which did not reproduce well in this photograph or in the microfilmed version of the SCUC. All of the dark, unreadable images on the microfiche are from colored cards. The main entries in the CUC cards are crossed out because the cards were taken from the title catalog. Figure 10 also depicts cards for the same titles as they appear in the SUC/SCUC and in the Romanized CUC. These cards show the dramatic difference in the number of holding libraries on the SUC/SCUC cards compared with the CUC cards, reflecting the approximate twenty-year time lapse from the closing of the CUC to the closing of the SCUC. Figure 11 compares unfinished SUC cards that were intended for the CUC with the original cards found in the SCUC. The unfinished cards are all copies made from the microfilm-printouts of the working copy of the SUC, whereas the SUC/SCUC cards are the originals with some additional holdings information and SCC numbers. These cards prove that the SUC cards were incorporated into the SCUC, not discarded. Finally, Figure 12 demonstrates that the SUC original cards were not retained if an LC card existed. These unfinished SUC cards were not added to the SCUC, and if these cards had not been preserved in the unfinished drawers, it would have been impossible to demonstrate how preference was given to LC cards during every stage of the creation of the union catalogs.

Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and the Cyrillic Union Catalog.
FIGURE 9.  Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and the Cyrillic Union Catalog. Photograph taken by the author.

Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and the Cyrillic Union Catalog.
FIGURE 10.  Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and the Cyrillic Union Catalog. Photograph taken by the author.

Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and drawers of unfinished cards of the Slavic Union Catalog.
FIGURE 11.  Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and drawers of unfinished cards of the Slavic Union Catalog. Photograph taken by the author.

Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and drawers of unfinished cards of the Slavic Union Catalog.
FIGURE 12.  Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and drawers of unfinished cards of the Slavic Union Catalog. Photograph taken by the author.

In order to keep track of all the different union catalogs and iterations discussed in this article, Table 5 is provided for the reader.161

TABLE 5.  All the catalogs discussed in the article with dates of coverage and contents notes.
Catalog Dates of Catalog Creation Language
of Items
in Catalog
Dates of
Items Included
in Catalog
Slavic Union Catalog (SUC) 1931-1979 Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Church Slavic, Macedonian (all in Cyrillic) Earliest printed Slavic books up to, but not including, 1956 Never published as SUC; information received as of February 1956 absorbed in transliterated form into CUC; most cards incorporated into SCUC; post 1955 cards weeded and discarded, but much of their information was recorded in NUC; catalog cards still extant in LC as SCUC
Cyrillic Union Catalog (CUC) 1952-1956 (published in 1963) 90% of catalog for Russian, 10% other Slavic - Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Church Slavic, Macedonian (all in Cyrillic) Earliest printed Slavic books up to, but not including, 1956 Published in 1963; outgrowth of SUC; published on 1244 microprint cards; still extant in LC, except part of subject catalog; edited and retyped in transliteration; CUC duplicates the SUC for materials reported to LC through February 1956. 178,000 pre-1956 titles located in the US and Canada on 700,000 cards; arranged alphabetically in three parts: author/added entry, title, and subject.
Cyrillic Union Subject Catalog (CUSC) 1952-1955 (published in 1963) Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Church Slavic, Macedonian (all in Cyrillic) Earliest printed Slavic books up to, but not including, 1956 Part of CUC; published on microprint in 1963; most of catalog cards discarded in 1999, but cards for headings Russian Drama through the letter Z still retained
Central Catalog of Slavic Translations and Abstracts (CCSTA) 1950-1952 English Any, but most likely 1940s-early 1950s Translation of Slavic technical works into English by U.S. federal agencies; contained only a few thousand entries; this catalog could not be located at LC as of March 2012; possibly absorbed into another translation project; possibly discarded
Monthly List/Index of Russian Accessions Published 1948-1969 Mostly Russian, but also other languages of the former Soviet Union Currently received publications from 1948-1969 Bibliographic data for monographs and serials newly received in U.S. libraries from the former Soviet Union; includes some émigré titles; by subject; items are all at LC unless they say "Not in DLC;" tables of contents of periodicals frequently appear
East European Accessions List/Index Published 1951-1961 Albanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene Currently received publications from 1951-1961 Bibliographic data for monographs and serials newly received in U.S. libraries from countries of Eastern Europe; includes some émigré titles; arranged by country of publication and then by subject; union listing for libraries other than LC begins in 1953; items are all at LC unless they say "Not in DLC;" tables of contents of periodicals frequently appear
Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog (SCUC) 1956-1979 (published in 1980) Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Church Slavic, Macedonian (all in Cyrillic) Earliest printed Slavic books up to, but not including, 1956 Published on 174 microfiche; includes many original SUC cards, plus later SUC cards received after February 1956, but for works published before 1956; 315,000 titles on 400,000 cards; items from LC and 185 other libraries in US and Canada; 16,500 serials; arranged by author or title, not both; cards in Cyrillic, with some in transliteration; cards for LC Cyrillic 4 collection and some Yudin collection cards; LCCNs for LC titles; SCC numbers for non-LC cards
National Union Catalog (NUC pre- 56) 1901-1967, 1967-1977 (published 1968-1981) All Slavic Earliest printed books up to, but not including, 1956 LC Cyrillic printed (not temporary) cards included; Cyrillic or Romanized cards for other libraries appear in CUC/SCUC only; only some additional locations attached to LC Cyrillic cards; cards discarded after publication; explanation for not including Cyrillic cards from other libraries was that the NUC staff wanted all transliteration to be uniform
NUC (supplements for works 1956-1967, 1968-1972, etc.) 1956- (1956-1967 published 1972); (1968-1972 published 1973), etc. Ceased December 2002 All Slavic Books published from 1956-early 2000s; pre-56 titles cataloged after the pre-56 catalog was closed Cyrillic and/or Romanized cards for all libraries including LC; main entry transliterated, titles may be in Cyrillic or transliterated in the body of the entry, but somewhere in the entry is a transliterated title; cards discarded after publication
NUC Register of Additional Locations (RAL) Ceased December 1996 All Slavic Earliest printed books up to mid 1990s Initially published as supplementary volumes to pre-56, 1956-1965, etc.; later published on microfiche; included SCC numbers from the SCUC beginning in 1980; to find additional locations, note the unique number on the bottom left of card and look it up in the RAL; in later supplemental volumes the number appears on the bottom right, and even later, LCCNs are used in place of unique numbers

CUC and SCUC Today

Both card catalogs, the CUC and the SCUC, not just the micropublications, are still retained to this day in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The former, though not complete, is kept on Deck 13 of the European Division; part of the subject catalog was discarded in 1999. Only two physical catalog cases with 108 drawers of the CUSC with subject cards ranging from "Russian Drama" through the letter Z remain. The author and title catalogs are retained in their entirety with 285 and 221 drawers respectively. The SCUC is kept on Deck C of the Jefferson Building, and part of it is currently being used as a cubicle wall for an employee's office. This arrangement has rendered certain drawers temporarily inaccessible. See Figures 13, 14, and 15 for photos of the catalogs in their current locations.

Cards for the same titles from both the Slavic Union Catalog/Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog and drawers of unfinished cards of the Slavic Union Catalog.
FIGURE 13.  Part of the Cyrillic Union Catalog on Deck 13 of the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, European Division. Photograph taken by the author.

Part of the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog being used as a cubicle wall. Located on Deck C of the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. FIGURE 14.  Part of the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog being used as a cubicle wall. Located on Deck C of the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Photograph taken by the author.
 Second part of the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog with Harold Leich, Russian Area Specialist, and Cheryl Fox, Library of Congress Archivist, 2012.
FIGURE 15.  Second part of the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog with Harold Leich, Russian Area Specialist, and Cheryl Fox, Library of Congress Archivist, 2012. Located on Deck C of the Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Photograph taken by the author.

In late 2011 and early 2012 a random sampling of both card catalogs was performed to ascertain the current usefulness of the catalogs to Slavic librarians.162 An intern, who did not know any Slavic language and therefore would not favor or disfavor any particular titles, pulled cards from each drawer. (If this author had pulled random cards, no cards with common titles that are difficult to search like Uchenye zapiski or ` would have been extracted, and potential bias would have been introduced). For the CUC, only cards from the title catalog were sampled, for it was the only part of the catalog "fully edited to eliminate duplication" and "the most complete part, since it contains a card for every entry in the entire catalog, regardless of the way in which the entry has been catalogued."163 The total number of cards in the title catalog is approximately 178,000. For a confidence level of 99% and a confidence interval of +-4%, 1034 cards were needed to conduct the sampling.164 There are 221 drawers in the title catalog, so five cards from each drawer were extracted, leaving just about a dozen drawers unsampled, those at the very end of the catalog and a few in the middle that were stuck closed. True randomness was not enforced, rather the intern was instructed to pull five cards from each drawer, ignoring the first and last cards, and evenly spacing the selections from throughout the drawer.165 Only entry cards were selected and searched, not reference cards. The 1034 title cards were then searched by this author and double-checked by a colleague to determine which ones had bibliographic records in OCLC WorldCat. The searching process was used to determine the existence of bibliographic records for exact editions only, but for any format of the title.

This same procedure was used for the SCUC, which consists of just one part, a main entry catalog, in seven card catalog cases. The number of cards in the catalog was 450,000. The sample size for a confidence level of 99% and a confidence interval of +-4% was 1038 cards. There are 431 drawers in the catalog. Three cards per drawer were pulled from each drawer, bypassing those that were inaccessible, and leaving some drawers at the end of the catalog unsampled. In the case of both catalogs, placeholders were inserted for each card extracted to ensure easy re-filing after the end of the sampling. The results of the sampling are presented below in Tables 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

TABLE 6.   Results of a random sampling of the CUC and SCUC for duplication of records in WorldCat.

Catalog Titles in Sample Titles in WorldCat Titles not found in WorldCat % of Titles not in World Cat Titles in WorldCat, but not in U.S. Libraries % of Titles in WorldCat, but not in U.S. Libraries
CUC 1034 817 217 21% 47 6%
SCUC 1038 868 170 16% 29 3%
TABLE 7.  Subject breakdown of CUC and SCUC titles not found in WorldCat during the random sampling.
Subject of Titles
Not Found in WorldCat
Science/Technology/Medicine 64 69
Economics/Politics 41 30
Literature & Language 32 19
History 25 16
Agriculture 19 9
Law 12 4
Religion 9 5
Library Science 7 1
Education 7 7
Military 6 9
Music/Art 3 1
Chess 1 0
Total 217 170

TABLE 9.  Breakdown of titles not found in WorldCat by holding libraries.
Holding Libraries CUC SCUC
Library of Congress 72% 61%
NYPL 13% 11%
Hoover 4% 1%
National Library of Medicine 0 5%
Others 11% 22%
TABLE 8.  Chronological breakdown of CUC and SCUC titles not found in WorldCat during the random sampling.

Publication Date Range CUC CUC
No date410

TABLE 10.  Number and percentage of unique locations from the CUC and SCUC versus WorldCat. *The number of titles counted is the number of titles found in WorldCat during the random sampling as presented in Table 6.
Union CatalogCUCSCUC
No. of Titles817868
No. of Unique Locations in Union Catalogs461576
Total No. of Locations in Both WorldCat and Union Catalogs61896271
Percentage of Unique Locations in Union Catalogs7%9%

The sampling showed that 21% and 16% of the records in the CUC and SCUC, respectively, do not appear in WorldCat. The lower percentage for the SCUC is explainable by the fact that many of the cards were received at a later date - after the explosive growth of interest in Slavic materials in the post-World War II and post-Sputnik era. In that era research libraries throughout the U.S. were no longer ignoring the cataloging of their Slavic collections, nor were they collecting at a minimal level. They were cataloging and collecting at an all-time high, thus more cards flowed into the LC departments responsible for compiling the various Slavic union catalogs. In addition, some SCUC titles were cataloged already in the MARC era. With greater duplication of titles held in the U.S. because of expanded collecting and higher levels of cataloging of Slavic materials, there was a greater chance that some holding library would have done retrospective conversion and included their bibliographic data in OCLC.

The subject breakdowns of the titles not found in WorldCat are also revealing. Both catalogs had high numbers of unique scientific, technical, and medical titles reflecting the post-World War II push to exploit Eastern bloc materials for military and intelligence purposes. However, there are also high numbers for traditional subjects of interest to Slavists such as economics, politics, history, and literature. The combined totals of unique non-sci/tech materials missing from WorldCat but present in Slavic catalogs are 70% for the CUC and 60% for the SCUC, showing that these catalogs should not be dismissed by researchers in almost any discipline. Examples of some of the CUC titles not found in WorldCat include: Sergei Anichkov. Iprit [Mustard Gas]. (Leningrad, 1928); Ivanovo-Voznesenskaia guberniia [Ivanovo-Voznesensk Province]. (Ivanovo-Voznesensk, 1929); Petr Pospelov. Sovetskaia intelligentsia v velikoi otechestvennoi voine [The Soviet Intelligentsia in the Great Patriotic War]. (Moskva, 1942). All of these are titles of potential interest to researchers in the U.S.

The chronological breakdown by publication date of titles not found in WorldCat reveals that materials from all eras can be found in the two union catalogs and that there is no one era which has been neglected by retrospective conversion of records. The breakdown by libraries, however, is far more illuminating. It is clear that the Library of Congress by far has the most titles not included in WorldCat. This does not mean that the materials are uncataloged, rather it reflects the large number of older records from the Library of Congress' pre-MARC file that have never been loaded into WorldCat. Fortunately, these records are available in the Library of Congress online catalog if you know to look there as part of your research. The next library with the largest number of titles not found in WorldCat is the New York Public Library. This is not surprising since it is a large, historical Slavic collection that was participating in the card exchange with LC since 1901. The other libraries with titles not found in WorldCat from the CUC are fairly small in number - only fifteen, with most having just a couple of titles not found. For the SCUC the number of libraries with just a few titles not found in WorldCat is higher - twenty-nine, which reflects the growth in Slavic collecting in the 1960s and 1970s as well as the growth in participation in the Slavic union catalog compilation.

During the searching, it also became apparent that there was another category of unique information in both card catalogs that does not appear in WorldCat - analytics. Those analytics whose serials were available in WorldCat were counted as available, even though the unique article citation was not available. Most of the analytic cards came from the National Library of Medicine, and most of those from their old printed catalog, the Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office, which has been digitized and is available on their website. There were also a few analytics for articles provided by the New York Public Library, and after double-checking with the second edition of its Dictionary Catalog of the Slavonic Collection, it is clear that the analytics also appear in the dictionary catalog.166

One of the most important parts of the CUC and SCUC are the holdings locations for U.S. and Canadian libraries. The number of all locations in WorldCat and in the union catalogs was counted, as well as the number of locations unique to one of the union catalogs. The percentages of unique locations in the union catalogs among the total number of locations are presented in Table 10. For the CUC, 7% of all locations were found only on the CUC cards. For the SCUC, 9% of locations were unique to the SCUC. This aspect of the random sampling is the one area where errors and distortions might have occurred. It was more challenging to keep track of all of the locations without duplicating locations among multiple bibliographic records for one title. For example, certain libraries sometimes have multiple records for the same item or for different formats of the same item, such as a print volume and a microfilm copy. In such cases the location was counted only once. Additionally, some WorldCat locations were ignored during the count because they do not represent true library locations. These include vendor records and regional cooperative system locations, for instance for the California university libraries, in which there is a record for a book at Berkeley as well as a record for the regional system representing the book held by Berkeley. Different branches of the same library were counted as different locations, thus Harvard Law and Harvard Business each received its own count as did the main Harvard library. Records for electronic versions from Google Books and Hathi Trust were not counted because the bibliographic records for the original print volumes were counted instead. It was also difficult to find every possible record for a title, because of the variant transliterations. Europeans use different Romanization schema, and having to search hundreds of titles with all possible schema would lead to at least a few records being overlooked. Periodicals and analytics can be potential distortions to the numbers of locations, since one common periodical may be held by dozens of libraries. When an analytic was searched, it was counted as available when the journal title was located in WorldCat, but no attempt was made during the searching to verify holdings for the individual issue cited in the analytic. A good example was an analytic from New York Public Library for an article in the journal Znamia [Banner]. There are over 180 locations counted for this title in WorldCat, but the unique information in the SCUC card is not counted as unique. A final factor that may have contributed to errors in the counting of locations was that only one person did the location searching and comparison with no double-checking by a second searcher. Notwithstanding the potential for errors regarding the locations count, the trend is evident. There were many instances in which the holdings given in WorldCat did not match the holdings given in the union catalogs, so interlibrary loan librarians should avail themselves of all three catalogs when scouting for locations.

It should come as no surprise that the majority of items described in both the CUC and SCUC are in Russian. However, during the samplings, a count was taken of the number of titles in non-Russian Cyrillic languages. For the CUC about 6% of sampled cards were not Russian, with most in Ukrainian, some in Bulgarian and Serbian, and almost none in Belarusian or Macedonian. For the SCUC about 14% of sampled cards were not Russian, with most in Ukrainian and Bulgarian, some in Serbian, and almost none in Belarusian or Macedonian. The percentage of cards found in WorldCat but with no North American locations was 6% for CUC and 3% for SCUC. For both catalogs, the majority of these foreign locations were libraries in Germany, apparently reflecting a significant program of retrospective conversion in that country.

Survey of Slavic Librarians about CUC/SCUC Use

In February 2012 this author conducted a survey (using SurveyMonkey) of Slavic librarians via Slavlibs, the Slavic librarians' listserv, about their use of the CUC and SCUC today. The questions and results are detailed in Table 11. The most popular responses are in bold. Thirty-four librarians, 9% of the 368 Slavlibs members, responded to the survey. To summarize, use of the two catalogs is quite low, mainly because of the format, but also owing to lack of familiarity with the catalogs. Many librarians knew that the catalogs had unique information, but the formats rendered them too offputting to bother with. The SCUC on microfiche is used more often than the CUC on Microprint, mostly because of the format, but also because of confusion regarding potential overlap between the two catalogs. Most libraries owned both catalogs and had functioning equipment to use them. A majority of respondents would like to see both catalogs digitized, even though there was some confusion about the overlap of the two catalogs with each other and with WorldCat.

Question 13 addressed how long the respondents have been in the Slavic library profession. See Table 12. Approximately one third of the respondents have been librarians for fifteen years or less, while the other two thirds have been librarians for more than fifteen years. The usage of the catalogs has a rough correlation to the professional longevity of the librarians. In order to interpret the numbers it must be noted that while there were thirty-four respondents, there were sixty-four responses regarding usage, because there were two catalogs each with its own usage question. In addition, almost no one responded positively to using only the CUC, but not the SCUC, so essentially the librarians who use the CUC also use the SCUC, but the reverse is not necessarily true. Less than half of the younger two groups (3 out of 12) reported using one of the catalogs, with the newest members of the profession, those who have worked two to five years, not having used either catalog at all. Slightly more than half of the older group who have been in the profession for more than fifteen years (13 out of 22) responded positively to using one or both of the catalogs, but from those twenty-two, the usage is even stronger for those who have been in the profession for more than twenty-five years. Eight out of twelve of the most senior librarians reported using at least one of the catalogs. Regardless of longevity, the SCUC received more usage than the CUC. The correlation of longevity to use can be easily explained. Those who have been in the profession longer are more likely not only to know of the existence of the catalogs, but also are more likely to have needed and used them when they were critical tools, that is, when electronic resources did not exist or were scarce. They would be more aware of their usefulness when other resources fail to provide needed information. The younger generation most likely has not had as much Slavic bibliography training. If there were not a senior Slavic librarian in one's library, a new Slavic librarian would be learning on his or her own. As these two catalogs are rarely mentioned in public forums, discovery would be accidental.

TABLE 11.  Questions and results from the survey of use of the CUC and SCUC.
Does your library own a copy of the Cyrillic Union Catalog (CUC) (the one on microcard/microprint)? Yes - 64.7%
No - 20.6%
Don't know - 14.7%
Do you currently use the Cyrillic Union Catalog (CUC)? (the one on microcard/microprint)Yes - 23.5%
No - 76.5%
How often do you consult the CUC? (microcard/microprint catalog)Frequently - 6.1%
One time per year - 12.1%
2-3 times per year - 3%
More than 3 times per year - 6.1%
Never - 72.7%
Do you have a functioning microcard reader at your library?Yes - 76.5%
No - 5.9%
Don't know - 17.6%
Are your CUC microprint cards still legible?Yes - 48.5%
No - 9.1%
Don't know - 42.4%
Do you consider the CUC to be a valuable tool for your work? (microprint catalog) Yes - 45.2%
No - 54.8%
Does your library own a copy of the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog (SCUC)? (the one on microfiche)Yes - 75.8%
No - 15.2%
Don't know - 9.1%
Do you currently use the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog (SCUC) (the one on microfiche)?Yes - 48.5%
No - 51.5%
How often do you consult the SCUC? (the microfiche catalog)Frequently - 3.1%
One time per year - 25%
2-3 times per year - 15.6%
More than 3 times per year - 6.3%
Never - 50%
Do you consider the Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog (SCUC) to be a valuable tool for your work? (microfiche catalog)Yes - 62.5%
No - 37.5%
Do you currently recommend the CUC (microprint) or SCUC (microfiche) to your patrons for use?CUC only - 5.9%
SCUC only - 23.5%
Both - 11.8%
Neither - 58.8%
Would you like to see either the CUC (microprint) or SCUC (microfiche) or both digitized?CUC only - 9.1%
SCUC only - 15.2%
Both - 69.7%
Neither - 6.1%
Approximately how many years have you been a Slavic librarian?2-5 years - 5.9%
5-15 years - 29.4%
15-25 years - 29.4%
More than 25 years - 35.3%

TABLE 12.  Length of time in the Slavic library profession and the use of the catalogs.

Time in Profession No. of
Yes to
Yes to
2-5 years200
5-15 years10 2 3
15-25 years 10 2 5
More than 25 years 12 4 8
Total 34 8 16

Question 14 was a request for comments about the catalogs. Some responses were lukewarm, but a strong dichotomy also appeared. Regarding the CUC one librarian wrote: "It was a godsend in the olden days, especially for its subject section . . ..I think that CUC came as close as one could in non-electronic form to mimic access in an electronic version." Others wrote that "it is the most obsolete resource" and "I can understand why microprint never caught on." Regarding the SCUC one librarian wrote: "It is a great additional source for locating copies/solving bibliographic questions - even in this digital age," while another insisted: "It is a waste of time. Why would one use it?"

The Future of the Catalogs

With the ubiquity, convenience, and searchability of e-resources, utilization of these two catalogs will continue to decrease unless they appear in an electronic version, for even most librarians find them annoying to use in their microformats. Getting patrons, in particular younger ones, to use microcards or microfiche is a losing proposition. After all the hand-wringing during the 1940s-1960s about publishing a printed catalog, with hindsight, it probably was the best format available at the time for preventing the catalogs from falling into disuse and thereby protecting the enormous investment of time and money that went into the creation of the catalogs. The microformats doomed both catalogs to disuse, but even the original card catalog and printed formats would spell trouble today for the catalogs, because of the inherent strengths of dynamic data and searchable databases. The question for the future is whether it is worth digitizing the catalogs to rescue the unique information in them or even just for purely historical reasons, for the catalogs represent the history of Slavic cataloging techniques and Slavic collection-building in U.S. libraries, and the history of our professions as North American Slavic librarians. A version of this article was presented at the Slavic Librarian's Workshop in Urbana, Illinois on June 14, 2012, and one unexpected result of the discussions was that digitization may not be the most desirable path to preserving the unique information in the catalogs. Members of the audience proposed a retrospective cataloging project to get the information into WorldCat, rather than the creation of digital catalogs which would be yet two more resources or information silos to search for Slavic bibliographic information. This author would venture that after such a large initial investment, we certainly should spend a little more money either to digitize the two catalogs or to upgrade the cataloging of the titles to preserve the unique bibliographic and union listing information. This would ensure that the contents of two previously great analog tools are carried over into the future and reach new generations of scholars and librarians.

1The focus of this article is union catalogs for Slavic monographic publications, not serials or newspapers. A future article on union catalogs for Slavic serial and newspaper publications is planned.

2Coriolanus, Act III, Scene III. This quote came to my attention while reading Markus Krajewski. Paper Machines. About Cards & Catalogs. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011): 69.

3This brief history of the National Union Catalog is taken from George A. Schwegmann, Jr. The National Union Catalog in the Library of Congress. (Chicago: American Library Association, 1942). Another work that provided clarification on the history of card catalogs in the United States is: Charlynn Pyne. "Where Have All the Card Catalogs Gone? Some Are Still Around . . ." Unpublished manuscript.

4Report of the Librarian of Congress, 1909. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909): 59.

5Cooperative collection development was a national goal in which LC did not participate until years later, but a few libraries experimented with the idea during the 1920s and 1930s. For more information about the idea of cooperative purchasing, see Ernest Cushing Richardson, Cooperative Purchase and Other Lessons from "Project B." ([New Haven, CT, 1931]).

6Edith Scott, "The Evolution of Bibliographic Systems in the United States, 1876-1945," Library Trends (July 1976) 25 (no.1): 302.

7This practice continued all the way to the end of the 20th century in the various publications of the National Union Catalog.

8Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1927. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1927). On pp.174-175 is a discussion of the rationale for introducing temporary cards into the public catalog and a mention that Russian and other Slavic materials were among the arrearages for which there was little representation in the catalog.

9Although the LC Union Catalog had not been named the National Union Catalog until 1948, it will be referred to as such hereafter to avoid confusion with the Slavic Union Catalog and its subsequent iterations.

10Duplicate cards had intentionally been added to the catalog as a potential benefit to catalogers, for other libraries either were using their own methods or providing additional bibliographic information.

11In the end, they adapted the list of symbols used for the Union List of Serials.

12Library of Congress Archives. Library of Congress. Division of Slavic Literature. Annual Report. 1931, 17-18.

13Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1927. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1927): 174-175.

14Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1928. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1928): 170.

15LC Archives. Library of Congress. Catalog Division. Annual Report. 1932, 3.

16Francis J. Whitfield. Preliminary Report on the Slavic Division. Dated November 1, 1940, 4. LC Archives. Annual Reports.

17Alexis Babine was supposed to create the official classification scheme for Russian literature, but he died before he completed the work. Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1930. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1930): 263.

18Library of Congress. Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Project B. An Historical Record Illustrating the Work of Project "B." ([Washington, DC, Library of Congress, 1932]). This report is unnumbered but the content is arranged by state, city, and institution. The information cited appears in the report for Stanford University.

19Memorandum and report from Seymour Lubetzky to Dr. Burton W. Adkinson, Director of the Reference Department, dated February 28, 1949, entitled Survey of Russian Accessions. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

20 Library of Congress. Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Project B. An Historical Record Illustrating the Work of Project "B." ([Washington, DC, Library of Congress, 1932]). This report is unnumbered but the content is arranged by state, city, and institution. The information cited appears in the reports for the individual libraries.

21Ernest Kletsch. The Union Catalog of the Library of Congress. Extension of the Union Catalog of the Library of Congress. ([Washington, D.C., 1936]): 10.

22Kletsch, 11.

23Confidential memorandum from Francis J. Whitfield to R.D. Jameson, dated October 8, 1940. LC Archives. MacLeish-Evans Central File, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

24Ibid., 3.

25Francis J. Whitfield. Preliminary Report on the Slavic Division. Dated November 1, 1940, 3. LC Archives. Annual Reports.

26Memorandum from Nicholas R. Rodionoff, Chief of the Slavic Division, to the Librarian of Congress, dated October 14, 1940. LC Archives. MacLeish-Evans Central File, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

27LC Archives. Library of Congress. Slavic Division. Annual Report. 1942, 21.

28Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1940. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1940): 215.

29Francis J. Whitfield. General Remarks on the Projected Reorganization of the Slavic Division. Dated February 12, 1941. LC Archives. MacLeish-Evans Central File, Slavic Studies, Box 1073.


31Report of Francis J. Whitfield, Fellow in Slavic Languages and Literatures to the Administrator of the Consultant Service. Dated August 26, 1941. LC Archives. Annual Reports.

32 Memorandum dated September 27, 1940, from J.P.M. Marsalka, to the Librarian of Congress, entitled "A Suggestion for an Immediate Program to Expand the Present Russian into a Truly Slavic Division." LC Archives, Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1073, 1. Marsalka was a State Department employee who probably was acting as a consultant to LC.

33Francis J. Whitfield. Preliminary Report on the Slavic Division. Dated November 1, 1940, 4. LC Archives. Annual Reports.


35This paragraph is drawn from the Report from Michael Z. Vinokouroff, to Archibald MacLeish, Librarian of Congress. Undated, but probably written in 1942 based on the date of receipt stamp. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1071.

36Memorandum from L.M. to Dr. Ernest S. Griffith, Director of the Legislative Reference Service. Dated January 15, 1943. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

37LC Archives. Library of Congress. Reference Division. Annual Report. 1943, 31.

38Pamela Spence Richards, "Gathering Enemy Scientific Information in Wartime: The OSS and the Periodical Republication Program," The Journal of Library History (Spring 1981) 16 (no. 2): 253-264.

39William Jerome Wilson, "The Union Catalog of the Library of Congress," in Symbols Used in the Union Catalog of the Library of Congress. 4th ed. (Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1942): 7.

40Conference on Slavic Studies. March 27-28, 1943. Transcript of the Discussion. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1071, 32-33.

41Those libraries were: University of California, University of Chicago, Cleveland Public Library, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, University of Illinois, John Crerar Library, University of Minnesota, New York Public Library, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Vassar, and Yale. Project to Publish a Printed Catalog of the Library of Congress Collections of Publications in Cyrillic Letters; together with a Partial Union Catalog of Holdings of Libraries Participating in the Russian Bibliography Project. January 22, 1945. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

42Library of Congress. Reference Department. Russia: A Check List Preliminary to a Basic Bibliography of Materials in the Russian Language. (Washington, 1944-1946).

43Slavic Cataloging Project. Draft. Dated April 29, 1948. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

44Project to Publish a Printed Catalog of the Library of Congress Collections of Publications in Cyrillic Letters; together with a Partial Union Catalog of Holdings of Libraries Participating in the Russian Bibliography Project. January 22, 1945. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072, 32.

45Library of Congress. Press Release No. 183, March 29, 1944. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1073.

46Report from Dr. Lewis Hanke to the Librarian of Congress. The Slavic Center: Needs and Opportunities. Dated May 10, 1944. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33, 2.

47Notes Related to Conferences Held May 17, 1944 on Solicitation of Gift Funds for Development of Slavic Center and the Cataloging of Slavic Center. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

48LC Archives. Library of Congress. Processing Department. Annual Report. 1944, 20.

49David C. Engerman. Know Your Enemy. The Rise and Fall of America's Soviet Experts. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009): 20.

50Project to Prepare Catalog Entries for 50,000 Slavic Titles for the Union Catalog. Undated. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

51Slavic Cataloging Project. Report June 30, 1945. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

52Project to Publish a Printed Catalog of the Library of Congress Collections of Publications in Cyrillic Letters; together with a Partial Union Catalog of Holdings of Libraries Participating in the Russian Bibliography Project. January 22, 1945. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

53Summary of Responses of Libraries to Proposed Slavic Catalog. Undated. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

54Letter dated February 13, 1945, from Alfred Senn, Chairman, Department of German, University of Pennsylvania, to Charles W. David, Director of Libraries, University of Pennsylvania. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

55Summary of Responses of Libraries to Proposed Slavic Catalog. Undated. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

56Work Procedures for the Slavic Cataloging Project. Dated January 20, 1945. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

57Draft of "Slavic Cataloging Project." Undated, but probably from January 1945. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

58Cataloging Rules for the Slavic Cataloging Project. Dated March 14, 1945. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

59Memorandum from Herman H. Henkle, Director of the Processing Department, to Miss Morsch [Lucile M.]. Dated March 14, 1945. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

60Memorandum from Benjamin A. Custer to Herman Henkle, Processing Department, dated June 30, 1945, entitled Morale in Slavic Cataloging Project. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

61Memorandum from Benjamin A. Custer to Lucile M. Morsch, dated August 5, 1946. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33, 6-7.

62Ibid., 7.

63Letter from Anna G. Dantzig to the Librarian of Congress, Luther Evans, dated September 23, 1946. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

64Memorandum from Benjamin A. Custer to Lucile M. Morsch, dated August 5, 1946. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33, 7.

65Ibid., 9.

66Ibid., 9.

67Ibid., 12-14.

68Letter from Herman H. Henkle to James T. Babbs, Librarian, Yale University Library, dated February 9, 1946. LC Archives. Cataloging Activities. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Slavic Cataloging Project, Box 33.

69Ibid., 11.

70Ibid., 8.

71Slavic Cataloging Project. Progress Report. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, Jan 21-27, 1947, 3-4.

72LC Archives. Library of Congress. Union Catalog Division. Annual Report. 1947, 15.

73Tentative Proposal for Completing the Cataloging of the Slavic Collection. From Herman H. Henkle, Director, Processing Department. Dated February 3, 1947. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.


75LC Archives. Library of Congress. Processing Department. Annual Report. 1948, 38.

76Formerly Restricted Report from the Director of the Reference Department, LC, dated April 20, 1948. LC Archives, MacLeish Evans Central File, Slavic Studies, Box 9.

77Memorandum from Mortimer Taube, Chief, Science and Technology Project, to Luther H. Evans, Librarian of Congress, dated January 21, 1948. LC Archives, MacLeish Evans Central File, Slavic Studies, Box 9.

78Edward A. Finlayson. Note for Information Bulletin. April 21, 1952. LC Archives, MacLeish Evans Central File, Slavic Studies, Box 9; and Memorandum from George A. Schwegmann, Jr., Chief, Union Catalog Division, to John W. Cronin, Acting Director, Processing Department, dated April 1, 1952. LC Archives, MacLeish Evans Central File, Slavic Studies, Box 9.

79 The various air divisions and units changed names several times over the years. For simplification, the section housing the SUC will be called the Air Information Service.

80Robert Worden. "Federal Research Division." In John Y. Cole and Jane Aiken, Eds. Encyclopedia of the Library of Congress: for Congress, the Nation & the World. (Lanham, MD: Bernan Press, 2004): 253.

81LC Archives. Library of Congress. Descriptive Cataloging Division. Annual Report. 1950, 5.

82Memorandum and report from Seymour Lubetzky to Dr. Burton W. Adkinson, Director of the Reference Department, dated February 28, 1949, entitled Survey of Russian Accessions. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

83LC Archives. Library of Congress. Air Studies Division. Annual Report. 1949, 33.

84LC Archives. Library of Congress. Air Studies Division. Annual Report. 1950, 11.

85Ibid., 11-12.

86LC Archives. Library of Congress. Air Information Division. Annual Report. 1951, 13-14.

87Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1951. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1952): 135.

88Ibid., 14.

89Memorandum from Dr. Sergius Yakobson and Rudolf Smits to Dr. Burton W. Adkinson, Director of the Reference Department, entitled "Establishment of Slavic Union Subject Catalog," dated February 27, 1951. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

90Memorandum to Dr. Lewis Hanke, Committee on Library Service to Area Studies, from Dr. Sergius Yakobson, dated February 6, 1948. LC Archives. Descriptive Cataloging Division, Box 9.

91LC Archives. Library of Congress. Slavic Division. Annual Report. 1952, 2-5.

92Letter from Vernon W. Clapp, Acting Librarian of Congress, to Captain C. L. Winecoff, Executive Director for Administration and Mangement, Central Intelligence Agency, dated November 30, 1949. LC Archives. Letterbooks for 1949; Letter from Luther H. Evans, Librarian of Congress, to General Walter B. Smith, Director of Central Intelligence, dated October 8, 1951. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

93Memorandum from Rudolf Smits to Burton W. Adkinson, Director of the Reference Department, entitled Tentative budget for proposed Slavic Union Subject Catalog, dated March 2, 1951. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

94Letter from Luther H. Evans, Librarian of Congress, to General Walter B. Smith, Director of Central Intelligence, dated October 8, 1951. "Development of Subject Arrangement for the Slavic Union Catalog." LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

95Cyrillic Union Catalog Section Established. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, January 21, 1952, 10.

96LC Archives. Library of Congress. Processing Department. Annual Report. 1952, 3-4.

97The information about the CIA funding comes from three cross reference sheets dated February 19, 1952, August 13, 1952 and April 14, 1953 in the Slavic Studies boxes in the LC Archives. The files are restricted, but the summary of the contents on the cross reference sheets makes it clear that the CIA approved funding in 1952.

98Letter from James M. Andrews, Assistant Director, Office of Collection and Dissemination, Central Intelligence Agency, to Luther H. Evans, Librarian of Congress, dated October 27, 1952. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies 4. This letter was declassified in August 2012.

99LC Archives. Library of Congress. Air Information Division. Annual Report. 1952, 15-16.

100LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1952, 1-3.

101The SUC was filmed by LC to provide a working copy of the catalog, but as of March 2012 the negatives, if they even were retained, could not be located in the LC PhotoDuplication Department.

102Activity report for week ending January 25, from Rudolf Smits, Chief, Cyrillic Union Catalog Section, to John W. Cronin, Director, Processing Department, dated January 29, 1952. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1073.

103LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1952, 5.

104Letter from Luther H. Evans, Librarian of Congress, to John Marshall, Associate Director, The Rockefeller Foundation, dated September 23, 1952. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies, Box 1072.

105LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1952, 8.

106LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1953, 5-8.

107Letter from James M. Andrews, Assistant Director, Office of Collection and Dissemination, Central Intelligence Agency, to Luther H. Evans, Librarian of Congress, dated October 27, 1952. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies 4. This letter was declassified in August 2012.

108Letter from Verner W. Clapp, Acting Librarian of Congress, to James M. Andrews, Assistant Director, Office of Collection and Dissemination, Central Intelligence Agency, dated April 13, 1954. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies 4. This letter was declassified in August 2012.

109Letter from James M. Andrews, Assistant Director, Office of Collection and Dissemination, Central Intelligence Agency, to Luther H. Evans, Librarian of Congress, dated October 27, 1952. LC Archives. Central File MacLeish-Evans, Slavic Studies 4. This letter was declassified in August 2012.

110LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1953, 5-8.

111LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1954.

112LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1955 and 1956.

113LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1956.

114LC Archives. Library of Congress. Catalog Maintenance Division. Annual Report. 1956, 6.

115LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1958, 9.

116LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1959, 3-4.

117LC Archives. Library of Congress. Processing Department. Annual Report. 1961, 13.

118No explanation was found for why LC would not sign publishing contracts directly and the Office of the General Counsel at LC declined to comment. August A. Imholtz, former vice-president of Readex, speculated that LC might have been concerned about a publisher using government resources for commercial gain. (Personal communication with Mr. Imholtz, June 27, 2012). Regardless of the reason, the use of indirect publishing contracts was common practice at LC for decades.

119Letter from L. Quincy Mumford, Librarian of Congress, to Ralph E. Ellsworth, Director of the University of Colorado Libraries, dated March 6, 1961; and agreement between the Library of Congress and the National Union Catalog Subcommittee of the Committee on Resources, Division of Resources and Technical Services, American Library Association, dated March 21, 1961. Both items were found in the ALA Archives, Association for Library Collections and Technical Services Director's Subject Files, RS 31/2/6, Box 5, located in the University of Illinois Archives.

120LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1961, 3.

121LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1962 and 1963; Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1962. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1963): 107. Neither of these consultant reports was located, but the citations are as follows: Saul and Mary Herder. A Study of the Use of the Monthly Index of Russian Accessions and the East European Accessions List. (Washington, DC: Herner and Company, March 1961); Extent and Character of the Utilization of the Monthly Index of Russian Accessions. (New York: Diebold Group, 1962). LC is required to keep documentation on contractors for only five years. This could explain why neither of these reports is available today.

122John W. Cronin. Cyrillic Union Catalog of the Library of Congress. Description & Guide to the Microprint Edition. (New York: Readex Microprint Corporation, 1964): 3. This item is the booklet that accompanied the microprint edition of the catalog.

123There is some confusion concerning the terminology microprint, microcard, and microopaque. For the purposes of this article microopaque is used to refer to the generic form of micropublishing on paper rather than on film. This term encompasses both Microprint and microcard. Microprint is used to refer to Readex produced materials on 6 x 9 inch cards. Readex invented Microprint with the larger size, the sturdier paper and the non-photographic printing process, thus Microprint is capitalized as a brand name. Microcard is used for the 3 x 5 cards printed on photographic paper using a photographic process. In the early microform literature it is used generically like microopaque, but in this paper it refers only to the 3 x 5 cards, regardless of which company produced them. Mention should be made of several works that provided details or context for this discussion. They include: Kayla Landesman, "Readex Microprint: An Historic Perspective," Government Publications Review 15 (1988): 463-469; August A. Imholtz, Jr., "Albert Boni: A Sketch of a Life in Micro-Opaque," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society (2006) 115 (no.2): 253-277.

124LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Union Catalog Section. Annual Report. 1954, 9.

125The Readex Microprint Corporation. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, December 1, 1952, 14-15.

126ALA Board on Resources Committee on the National Union Catalog Proposal to Expand the L.C. Author Catalog to Include Union Catalog Cards for Entries for 1952 and Post-1952 Imprints. (December 27, 1954). ([Ann Arbor, Mich. : J.W. Edwards, 1954]): 14-15.

127Memorandum from Dwight E. Gray, Navy Research Section, Library of Congress, to Dr. Julian F. Smith, Office of Naval Research, Code 408, entitled "Critical Comments on ONR-NRS Microcards by Librarians and Documentation Personnel," dated July 30, 1951. LC Archives. Armed Services Technical Information Agency Reference Center. Box 3.

128Albert Boni, "Microprint 'Original Versus Microphotographed Editions of Documents'," American Documentation (Summer 1951), 2 (no.3): 150-152.

129U.S. Depository Set of Documents in Microform. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, November 14, 1955, 7.

130Roy Eastin, "The Point of View of the Division of Public Documents," American Documentation (Summer 1951) 2 (no. 3): 160-162.

131Edgar L. Erikson, "Microprint: a Revolution in Printing," The Journal of Documentation (Sept 1951) 7 (no.3): 184.

132LC Archives. Library of Congress. Slavic Division. Annual Report. 1955, 21.

133Eva Maude Tilton. Microcards: A Brief Survey of Their Development and a Union List of Research Materials in Opaque Microtext. Thesis (master's)--Kent State University, 1957.

134Erikson: 187.

135Russian Source Material. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, November 14, 1955, 7.

136The Microcard Bulletin (June 1948) No.1: 1.

137"News from the Microcard Foundation," Microcard Bulletin (Jan 1957) No.17: unnumbered page 5.

138LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1964.

19LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1965.

140LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1966.

141This author has had difficulty in obtaining documents which are still classified. For example, the annual reports of the Aerospace Technology Division apparently are classified, for the LC records management staff will neither admit nor deny their existence at LC. In April 2010 this author requested via the classified documents officer in the Manuscript Division that certain files from the 1950s relating to the CUC and the Monthly List be declassified. The CIA responded in August 2012 after more than two years by providing some interesting documents about the project, but not the specific documents requested by this author.

142LC Archives. Library of Congress. Cyrillic Bibliographic Project. Annual Report. 1967.

143Barbara Evans Markuson, "Bibliographic Systems, 1945-1976," Library Trends (July 1976) 25 (no.1): 317.

144LC Archives. Library of Congress. Processing Department. Annual Report. 1968, 43.

145The National Union Catalog. Reference and Related Services. (Washington, DC: General Reference and Bibliography Division, Library of Congress, 1973).

146"A Brief History of the Library of Congress Catalogs and the National Union Catalog." Adapted fom a paper by John W. Cronin, in The National Union Catalog 1956 through 1967. (Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1970). Volume 1: x. In this introductory article, there is a table reflecting the growth of location requests for the NUC.

147The details of Choldin's involvement in the publication of the SCUC stem from three unpublished trip reports from her personal papers. Her papers are held in the University of Illinois Library Archives, but Choldin graciously provided this author copies from her own collection. She also consented to a telephone call on April 10, 2012. The reports are: "Highlights of My Visit to LC, October 12-13, 1977," dated October 25, 1977; Memorandum to Larry Miller and Ralph Fisher, from Marianna Tax Choldin, entitled "Visit to the Library of Congress, 20-21 September 1978," dated September 28, 1978; Memorandum to Larry Miller and Ben Uroff, from Marianna Tax Choldin, entitled "Visit to the Library of Congress, 28-29 March, 1979," dated March 30, 1979.

148Choldin report, September 28, 1978, 1.

149Letter from Marianna Tax Choldin, Slavic Reference Librarian, to Ellen Hahn, Chief, General Reading Rooms Division, Library of Congress, dated September 25, 1978. Attached to Choldin report, September 28, 1978.

150Choldin report, September 28, 1978, 3.

151Choldin report, October 25, 1977, 1.

152Choldin report, October 25, 1977, 4.

153Choldin report, October 25, 1977, 4.

154LC Archives. Library of Congress. Catalog Publication Division. Annual Report. 1979, 2.

155The figures on the contents of the SCUC were taken from the advertising booklet from Rowman and Littlefield. Held in the LC European Division.

156LC Slavic Cyrillic Union Catalog to be Published in Microfiche. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, April 6, 1979, 128.

157Choldin report, March 30, 1979, 4.

158Telephone call with Choldin, April 10, 2012.

159Letter from Marianna Tax Choldin, Slavic Reference Librarian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to David Kraus, European Division, Library of Congress, dated March 30, 1979. Attached to Choldin report, March 30, 1979.

160There are no union catalogs for materials from the vernacular languages of Central Asia, but occasionally some records for Central Asian materials appeared in the Monthly List. In the African and Middle Eastern Division of LC there are some unpublished union card catalogs, such as a Hebrew Union Catalog and a Yiddish Union Catalog, but nothing for materials from Central Asia.

161Some information about the dates of creation of the NUC and its supplements was obtained from David A. Smith. "The National Union Catalog pre-1956 Imprints." The Book Collector (Winter 1982) and from John Y. Cole, ed. In Celebration: The National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints (Washinton, DC: Library of Congress, 1981). The sections in the table on the NUC, its supplements and the RAL include only information regarding Slavic materials. No attempt has been made to represent the entirety of the NUC's.

162In 2005 a study was published on a random sampling of NUC pre-56 volumes to determine what percentage of titles were not found in OCLC. 27.8% were not in OCLC, but the study did not select any records in non-Roman alphabets. Jeffrey Beall and Karen Kafadar, "The Proportion of NUC Pre-56 Titles Represented in OCLC WorldCat," College & Research Libraries (2005) 66 (no. 5): 431-435.

163Cronin, 3.

164The following website has a simple calculator to determine sample sizes: (accessed January 20, 2012). The author would like to thank David Hiller for pointing out this calculator. It made the task much easier.

165One potential corruption to the sample is that over the past several years, several thousand cards have been removed for a retrospective cataloging project. Although these cards have not and will not be discarded, they had not been refiled at the time of the sampling.

166The full citations for the two catalogs mentioned in this paragraph are: Index-catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office, United States Army. Authors and subjects (Washington : G.P.O., 1880-1932). 47 v. It is available at ; Dictionary Catalog of the Slavonic Collection. The New York Public Library, the Research Libraries. 2d ed., rev. and enl. (Boston : G. K. Hall, 1974). 44 v.

  Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Online Publications >> Slavic Catalogs
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  December 8, 2016
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian