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Periodically Speaking

The Legacy of a Librarian: Carolyn Ulrich's Little Magazines

Princeton University Press, 1946
The Little Magazine in Contemporary America
University of Chicago Press, 2015

The publication of a wonderful new book The Little Magazine in Contemporary America (University of Chicago Press, 2015),  is a  unique opportunity to celebrate and share the story of another book and the Librarian who co-edited it.   The book is The Little Magazine: A History and Bibliography (Princeton University Press, 1946)  and the librarian Carolyn F. Ulrich, who was Head of the Periodicals Division for some 20 years (mid 1920s-1940s). 

The Little Magazine,  considered a classic in the field, served as inspiration for the 2015 work and Ms. Ulrich herself an inspiration to the many Librarians that have followed in her footsteps over the years in the Periodicals Room—including me. 

Both books are collections of original essays and interviews by literary magazine editors and bring to life the literary, cultural and political landscapes intrinsic to these publications and deepen our understanding their immense significance.  These magazines are often the place where unknown writers are first published,  editors are willing to take risks and not necessarily interested in turning a profit.  Think T.S. Elliot's The Waste Land's early appearance in a 1922 issue of The Dial

Portrait of Carolyn Ulrich
Carolyn Ulrich

Today Ms. Ulrich’s significant contribution is reflected in the Library’s rich collection of little magazines and avant-garde and small press publications—one of the most comprehensive in the country.

On display in the Dewitt Wallace Periodical Room, through January 1, 2016, are first issues from the Library's collection of many of the magazines included in the new anthology, as well as three classic little magazine anthologies of the 20th century. 

Display in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room
Display in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room

Read more at Carolyn Ulrich, Library Luminary.


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