Guide to the Joseph P. Breedlove papers, 1913-1950
Breedlove was appointed Librarian of Trinity College in 1898 and oversaw the growth of the libraries after Trinity expanded to become Duke University. He served as Librarian until 1939 when he was named Librarian Emeritus.
The Joseph P. Breedlove papers document the expansion and management of the Duke University Library after the General Library opens in 1930. The papers contain some annual reports of the Trinity College as well as an undated Guide to the Trinity College Library. Correspondence with Library Council member B. Harvie Branscomb includes a June 14, 1937 feasibility report of the resources needed to convert the Library classification scheme from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress. The collection also includes a history of Wiley Gray medal with a list of winners.
- University Archives, Duke University
- Breedlove, Joseph Penn, 1874-1955
- Joseph P. Breedlove papers, 1913-1950
- Language of Material
- 2.0 Linear Feet, 2000 Items
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
The bulk of the Breedlove papers document the expansion and management of the Library after the General Library opens in 1930. Some annual reports from the Trinity College era can be found in Box 1 and an undated Guide to the Trinity College Library is located in Box 3. Box 3 also contains speeches and articles by Breedlove as well as a report on library instruction for freshmen. Of particular interest is a folder in Box 1 containing Breedlove’s correspondence with B. Harvie Branscomb. Branscomb was a member of the Library Council and served as Director of Libraries (a faculty appointment) from 1934 to 1941. A June 14, 1937 feasibility report of the resources needed to convert the Library classification scheme from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress can be found in the Branscomb folder. In addition to materials about the Library, the collection also includes documentation of Breedlove’s campus activities with the Trinity Class of 1898 and a history of Wiley Gray medal with a list of winners.
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Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Joseph P. Breedlove was born July 15, 1874 in Granville, N.C., to John Henry and Susan Caroline Breedlove. A descendant of John Penn, one of North Carolina's signers of the Declaration of Independence, Breedlove attended Horner's Military School in Oxford, N.C. He went on to the University of North Carolina in 1894, but transferred after his freshman year to Trinity College, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1898 and a Masters of Arts degree in 1902.
Breedlove was appointed Librarian of Trinity College in September of 1898, when the Library occupied a single room in the Washington Duke Building. Breedlove received his Library training in the summer of 1900 at Amherst, where he studied under William I. Fletcher, who was a pioneer in the field of library education. While at Amherst he also met Charles A. Cutter, who developed the Cutter classification system. Breedlove continued his library education in the summer of 1902, when he did a practicum at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.
By 1902 the Trinity College Library had grown to 15,000 volumes and moved to the newly completed Library over the Christmas break. Until September of 1914 when he was able to hire a staff member to assist with cataloging, Breedlove handled all aspects of Library operation with minimal student assistance. Library operations grew substantially after Trinity College expanded into Duke University. During the period of 1924 to 1930, Library operations grew to include the General Library (West campus) and the Woman's College Library (East campus) as well as the libraries for the schools of Law, Medicine, and Religion. Under Breedlove's direction, the General Library was organized into the divisions of Reference, Circulation, Periodicals, Newspaper, Serials, and Continuations, Reserve Books, and Graduate Reserve as well as the departments of Catalog, Order, and Manuscript.
Breedlove served as Librarian until September 1939 when he was named Librarian Emeritus. In the years after his retirement he continued to work on library projects and wrote a history of the Library entitled Duke University Library, 1840-1940.
[Identification of item], Joseph P. Breedlove papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
The Joseph P. Breedlove papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1955-1974.
Processed by Tim Pyatt, July 2006
Encoded by Kimberly Sims, September 2006
Accessions were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.
Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and our local Style Guide.
This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.