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<5 — 4,
LOOKING BACK AT SIXTY:
Recollections of Lawrence Clark Powell,
Librarian, Teacher, and V/rlter
Interviewed by James V. Mink
Completed under the auspices
Oral History Program
University of California
Copyright (c) 1973
The Regents of the University of California
This manuscript Is hereby made available for research
purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript,
including the right to publication, are reserved to the
University Library of the University of California at
Los Angeles. No part of the manuscript may be quoted
for publication without the written permission of the
University Librarian of the University of California
at Los Angeles.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TAPE NUMBER: VII, Side Two (November 11, I969). . . 359
Concept of branch libraries — Engineering
Library — Johanna Tallman — Biomedical: Louise
Darling — Industrial Relations: John E. Smith
--Gordon Williams, collection builder —
V/illiams at the Chemistry Library — Planning
Research Library — Fighting for capital funds
TAPE NUMBER: VIII, Side One (November 19, 1969). . . 386
Establishing the Friends of the UCLA Library
--Seeking alumni support — Gold Shield
assistance--!'/. V/. Robinson--Buildlng Special
Collections--Relations with faculty and
chancellors--Franklin Murphy — Appointment of
Alice Humiston — Ben Custer — Catalog Department
TAPE NUMBER: VIII, Side Two (November 19, 1969). . . ^l6
Law Library — Aid of J.A.C. Grant — Problems
with Dale Coffman--Tom Dabagh — Acquisitions:
Richard 0'Brien--Betty Rosenberg — Ray Swank
TAPE NUMBER: IX, Side One (December 1, I969). . • • ^^3
Teaching library administration--Theory of
administration--Administrators : Ray Swank
— Nathan Van Patten — Ed Castagna--Librarians '
Association--Librarians and faculty status--
California State Llbrary--Mabel Gillis — Ed
TAPE NUMBER: IX, Side Two (February 17, 19 70). . . .^72
Irving Stone — Henry Miller — Richard Aldington
— Literary friendships — Zeltlin's bookstore
as cultural center--Irving Stone collection
— Robert Payne--Harold Lamb — Writing on the
Southv/est — Arizona Highways — Westvjays —
Bibliography on writers of the Southv;est--
Southwest Broadsides — Influence of UCLA
TAPE NUMBER: X, Side One (February 2^1, 1970). . . . 504
Cultivating authors — Commitment to
literature — Importance of Southwest studies
[Second Part] (June 5, 1970) 513
Southwest Broadsides— Comfort's "A Man is
at His Best"— Pat Paylore's Up in Coconino
County — Frank Dobie — Haniel Long — "Pao Por
Aqui" by Mary Austin — Henry Fountain Ashurst
— Lummis report
TAPE NUMBER: X, Side Two (February 2'4, 1970). . . . 529
Southwest Broadsides — Lavender's Bent 's
Fort — Dobie 's Vaguero of the Brush Country
— Harvey Fergusson — Paul Horgan — Inscription
TAPE NUMBER: XI, Side One (March 10, 1970) 5^^
Creative writings — Influence of literary
critics — Importance of travel and reading
— Early poetry — Ward Ritchie — First novel--
Novella: A Personal Record — Critical writing
— Quintet — Letter from Henry Miller
TAPE NUMBER: XI, Side Two (March 10, 1970) 570
Quint et --Unfini shed novels — Criticism of
TAPE NUMBER: XII, Side One (April 23, 1970) 58l
UCLA School of Library Service — Composition
of faculty — Seymour Lubetzky — Barbara Boyd
— Tenured' appointments — Robert Hayes —
Recruitment of faculty— Teaching methods--
TAPE NUMBER: XII, Side Two (April 23, 1970). . .
Danton-~Accreditation of the library school
— ALA Accrediting Committee — Retirement
from the deanship — Relations with Vosper—
With Gustave Arlt--Foster Sherwood--Inf luence
of wife. Fay
TAPE NUMBER: XIII, Side One (June 25, 1970) 63^1
After retirement — Writing — Office in Powell
Library — Trip to England, Wales > Ireland,
Yugoslavia--Travels in California on
Guggenheim Fellowship — Fellowship at Wesleyan
— Neal Harlow — Drive to New England--Center
for Advanced Studies at Wesleyan — Teaching a
seminar on the Southwest — Students' projects
— Visit with Neal Harlow
TAPE NUMBER: XIII, Side Two (June 25, 1970) 663
Trip to father's birthplace — Visiting the
Hockings in Maine--Teaching at Simmons
College — Course at Loughborough, England--
Writing projects — Selection of Los Angeles
City Librarian — Future plans: professorship at
the University of Arizona — Postscript
Errata: p. 679a exists to correct the pagination
TAPE NUMBER: VII, SIDE TWO
NOVEMBER 11, I969
MINK: In the late 1940s there came along the beginning
of the branch libraries, and I suspect that in some de-
gree this was due to the student explosion after the
war, students coming back and the need for additional
collections in various areas. Could you discuss for
a minute the concept of the branch library and when you
first began to realize the need for it? Of course, the
Engineering Library was the first official branch li-
POWELL: Was it?
POWELL: Didn't chemistry become one earlier? Or did
we still call it a departmental?
MINK: I think it was still a departmental library at
this point. The Engineering Library opened on July 1,
1946 to become the first official branch library with
Johanna Allerding Tallman as the head.
POWELL: Yes. Well, departmental meant that the depart-
ments, that is, chemistry and agriculture, paid the ex-
penses of maintaining it. A branch library by definition
meant that the library assumed all the costs of staffing
and equipment and additions. And chemistry and agriculture
both were interested in becoming branch libraries for
the simple reason that they could unload the budget costs
MINK: You had to resist this.
POWELL: Well, I thought, "If they're happy--in a sense
they've got the books they want--let them pay for them."
I suppose I did resist them. But when engineering came,
there was a total new budget that everybody could dip
into and Boelter, the new dean, apparently had all that
he could do in staffing and instructing and researching,
and he was willing that I should assume responsibility
for the library.
MINK: Were your relationships with Boelter cordial?
Did you find him an easy man to work with?
POWELL: They were always cordial, I think, although
sometimes slightly strained, because all through his
administration he kept making noises about seceding from
the library system and having an independent engineering
library; his faculty did not want this and voted him
down time and again. We met in a jovial sort of banter-
ing way, and I knew that I had the balance of power be-
cause his faculty wanted what I wanted and I had Johanna
Now she was a classmate of mine at library school.
We were at Berkeley together. When she read in the
newspaper about 19^5 that an Engineering School had been
established at UCLA, she either phoned or wrote me and
applied for the job. She came out to see me. We didn't
have the job yet, because the school existed only on
paper. But I had a half-time job, as I recall, in the
reference department, and I appointed Jo Tallman to that
job, half time, and her other half time was to be spent
in planning an engineering library. You'd have to inter-
view her for the details of this, and she'd remember
them right down to the last toothpick. She's never for-
gotten anything; I'm a little fuzzy about it. But es-
sentially this is what happened; and Jo worked here on
the reference desk and also with Dean Boelter.
Now, our success in this area was due to Jo, not
to me, because Jo was German, Boelter was German, and
they understood each other perfectly. That is, Jo was
born in Hamburg, as I remember, and she has all the vir-
tues and vices of the North German square-head--tenacious,
stubborn, humorless, dynamic. And Boelter found in her
an ideal person, just as Staff Warren found in Louise
Darling the ideal person to carry out his wishes. But
he didn't reckon, I think, in the beginning, with Jo's
also very deep and strong sense of loyalty. I'd appointed
her, and therefore her basic loyalty was to me, v;as to
the University Librarian. She never swerved from this.
A weaker woman would have been seduced by Boelter, as
some of the later weaker appointments in some of the
professional fields did, and they would have attempted
to connive with him in pulling the library out of the
MINK: Would you say that the same situation pertained
to Louise, or would you say that with her it was more
loyalty to the UCLA Medical School over the years?
POWELL: Oh, no, no, no. I never questioned her loyalty
to me, and there was never any question of pulling out.
Staff Warren wouldn't have wanted it.
MINK: He wouldn't have wanted an autonomous medical
POWELL: No. Louise had a passionate devotion to the
medical school; but, my God, she was always, as far as
I can determine, completely loyal to me and to what I
stood for. Oh, they were both marvelous girls in dif-
MINK: Well, it was said that when Mr. Vosper became li-
brarian in 1961, then he had to do a little wing-clipping
POWELL: Well, this could be.
MINK: There was a little more control over her budget.
POWELL: Yes, this could be. I know my last two years,
I put a hell of a lot of time in fighting for Louise's
position, to break it out of the classification and
make it a separate position called the biomedical li-
brarian, in order that we could pay her a higher scale
than librarian V, which she was in. Now this was impor-
tant, Jim, to me and to Page Ackerman. She and I did
this together because Louise was getting offers from
other medical schools. She'd risen up to the top in
the country as one of the leading medical librarians,
and she also would bring in salary scales for other
medical librarians showing how far behind we were. It
was very important. Just as doctors and professors in
the medical school were on a different scale than the
ordinary faculty, she argued that the biomedical librar-
ian should be. And by God, I had to fight this through
the personnel office.
MINK: Where did you get the most static?
POWELL: From the personnel office at Berkeley.
MINK: Nothing comparable in the system.
POWELL: There was nothing comparable in the system,
because at the other medical library at San Francisco
the librarian was Dr. J. B. de C. M. Saunders, and
the librarian, Carmenina Toramassini, was simply a fig-
urehead, paid probably L-III scale. And I kept pointing
out to the personnel office that Louise Darling did for
the Biomedical Library at UCLA what John Saunders did
for the San Francisco one--set policy and v/as the key
person. They couldn't correlate her with Carmenina
Tommassini, but they wanted to. They always wanted to
have this kind of parity, you see.
And, Christ, I went to Berkeley, and Page Ackerman
and I drove from Sacramento to Berkeley at the time of
the CLA conference to keep an appointment with the per-
sonnel officer. We had a university car and drove all
the way down, and we had really a stirring meeting there
with the Berkeley personnel officer. It wasn't Boynton
Kayser, it was some woman in the office. This was the
last big fight I ever waged in the personnel office, and
I waged it along with Page because it needed my prestige
and my office to do this, and we won it finally. Well,
I suppose Vosper came in then and inherited Louise just
as she'd been reclassified, and she had big ideas. But
I left a lot of other problems for him, too, didn't I?
Well, Goodwin left them for me!
POWELL: This is the old chain of problems.
MINK: About the same time, the Institute of Industrial
Relations more or less became a branch library. It was
originally located in the main library, and I believe
John E. Smith was the first industrial relations li-
brarian. How did John come to the staff?
POWELL: Well, here again, wasn't he one of Debbie King's
proteges in the Reserve Book Room as an undergraduate?
He went on to library school, went into the Portland
Public Library, the Army, came out of the Army, went to
work for Ralph Shaw In the [United States] Department
of Agriculture, decided he wanted to come back where the
oranges hang on the boughs, and he came to see me one
Wednesday at the Clark Library. I interviewed him there
in the drawing room, and I hired him back. What the hell
did he come back for--I think as agriculture librarian,
POWELL: Betty Rosenberg moved over to the Acquisitions
Department, and John came in, I think, and was agricul-
ture librarian, or departmental librarian in agriculture.
Is that right , Jim? Do the records show this?
MINK: I believe that's correct; and eventually he went
into the IIR.
POWELL: He went into IIR because, God knov7s v;hy, it was
a promotion. And Paul Dodd had ha.d John as an under-
graduate student. Paul Dodd was running it in the be-
ginning; he was the first director, I think. And John
moved into it, and then, of course, Helen Schumacher
succeeded Vosper as head of acquisitions, and when Helen
left, her Army husband took her to Japan. I think John
moved in from industrial relations to head of acquisi-
MINK: Did you feel at that time that he was qualified
to become head of the Acquisitions Department?
POWELL: Jesus J I don't know, Jim. I think he was a
likely candidate because he had had experience buying
for agriculture, for IIR, and he'd worked in order v;ork,
I think, in the USDA, and he was lively and personable
and aggressive. What more could you ask?
MINK: Did he get along with the faculty in his appoint-
ment? This is the essential thing for the acquisitions
POWELL: Hell, I don't know. Why don't you ask John?
[laughter] He'd say yes. I don't know; I never had
anybody come in and say get rid of that son of a bitch,
I don't think. I think he probably stepped on more toes
than Bob Vosper did. He wasn't Bob's equal in tact.
You're leading up, I know, to ask me why John ended up
as librarian of the Santa Barbara Public Library.
MINK: Okay, why did he? [laughter]
POWELL: Well, I'll give you. . .
MINK: Shall we close the windows?
POWELL: No, I'll give you an honest answer.
MINK: Remember that any of this that you want sealed
can be sealed.
POWELL: Yes. No, I don't think I should give you any-
thing but honest answers all the way through. I'm very
fond of John and his wife Lucille. We used to see them
socially, and I found something in John that probably
reminded me of myself before I'd gone on the wagon. In
other words, under the influence of alcohol, I, in the
early years, and John as I observed him socially, be-
came indiscreet. I was a little concerned about this.
And he got wild at times at parties and talked too much.
At parties, I guess, when I wasn't there, John was given
to even wilder talk about how he was on the way up, and
if Powell ever left, why, he was cinch to succeed him.
This came back to me, and I didn't like it. This of-
fended me, not personally, but just that a person would
get so out of line and talk this way publicly in a sense.
It was wrong. And besides, I knew it wasn't true, that
it wouldn't happen. John wasn't of university librarian
caliber on this campus as I saw it. This would never
happen. Well, it set me to thinking a little. I was
always interested in seeing young men advance; if they
wanted to be head librarian and it didn't seem likely
here, then they ought to be encouraged to be head li-
brarian somewhere else. I suppose that's the way my bene-
volent little mind worked, and at the same time I was
in touch, for one reason or another, with Monroe Deutsch
the former. . .
MINK: Provost at Berkeley.
POWELL: . . .provost, but he had retired and was living
in Santa Barbara and had become chairman, I think, of a
citizens' committee on the Santa Barbara Public Library
and its future. We were in touch through things I'd
written, I guess, or maybe I had met him up there at a
Library Council meeting when he came in, sitting in as
an invited guest at a council meeting. Anyway, he came
to see me, I think, down here at UCLA once, and he said,
"Powell, we need a public librarian. Have you got a bright
young man who would qualify for this job?" My little
computer mind thought, "Well, John Smith. Here's a
chance for John." He'd been in the public library in
Portland. That's all I could find in the way of quali-
fied experience; but he was personable and democratic
I think I called him in and left him and Monroe
Deutsch together in my office. And that's the way it
happened. John got the job and he did well. He stayed
eight or nine years in Santa Barbara. He was very active
in civic groups and in politics as a good Democrat. I
think he did a hell of a lot of good things for the
public library that he wasn't able to do here because
the job was too narrov;. He was a good politician. He
left there, I think, for the same reason that some others
have left Santa Barbara--the future was nailed dovm tight
on them. They were classified along with the chief of
police and the fire captain. There was just no future
there, and then the ambivalence of the community between
the rich and the poor, I think, began to get on John's
nerves. And you remember he went away twice overseas--
once to Iran and once to Pakistan as library specialist.
That led finally, I think, to his appointment at Irvine.
MINX: Right. Did you have anything to do with his ap-
pointment at Irvine at all?
POWELL: I think I had a little something to do. I think
the chancellor, Dan Aldrich, talked to me about this, and
I think John had expressed interest in leaving Santa
Barbara when he was in Pakistan. I may have recommended
him for some other things, too; I don't remember. I
didn't play the same kind of role that I did in his go-
ing to Santa Barbara, but I did have something to do with
it. And I think he's been a good person and done well,
as far as I know, at Irvine.
MINK: Did your philosophy of collection building coin-
cide with his, or did he have a philosophy that he ex-
POVffiLL: I don't remember, or at least he didn't have it
in the same way that Vosper had. He wasn't a collection
builder in the Vosper sense. He was more of a--don't
misunderstand! --chief clerk and operational man in keep-
ing the machinery going. Now keep in mind that at the
time he was head of acquisltionsj wasn't Vosper the as-
POWELL: Well, you see, this had led to a little static
between me and Helen Schumacher when I promoted Vosper
to assistant librarian. To justify that job and to get
it approved statewide, we pulled collection building and
that responsibility with it off of Acquisitions Department
into the assistant librarianship. In other words, it
enhanced the new position and it decreased the old po-
sition. Now, acquisitions under Vosper was classified
L-IV, which was the top classification then. Then Helen
Schumacher, who had been his assistant head, I appointed
to be head acquisitions librarian, and when she got her
paper work on it she saw herself classified as Librarian
III. My God, she came into my office in tears and said,
"Well why aren't I an L-IV the same as Mr. Vosper?" And
I said, "Well, my dear girl, first of all, you haven't
the qualifications." (I transferred her from Reference
Department, I think, to have that job.) "And in the
second place, the job isn't the same as when Mr. Vosper
had it. He's creamed off that job, now. You're an L-III,
and don't forget it, sister." And she was in a real pet,
"but I was absolutely right, and she had to reconcile
herself to this.
Well, Smith came into that L-III, but v/e were able
then, because the whole library program had grown so, to
build up the position again to L-IV after a year or two
with John. But the real collection policy v/as carried
by Vosper. And when he left, he was succeeded first of
all by Neal, but then Gordon Williams really took that,
and Williams was the collection policy man for the li-
brary as assistant librarian. So, this is the way you
created new positions.
Keep in mind, Jim, it was not easy to get additional
administrative positions because always statewide per-
sonnel looked at Berkeley--what do they have? We had
to go through this time and again; it had to look like
what Berkeley had. I was developing positions that were
entirely different in concept from Berkeley's. My assis-
tant librarians (we ended up with two and then finally
three) did things that Berkeley's didn't do, because I
gave them responsibilities that Coney never relinquished.
His assistant librarians were by and large a bunch of
cheap clerks a lot of the time. But here they were peo-
ple of stature, and we had to sell this to personnel.
MINK: Hard to do.
POWELL: Damn right, it was hard to do.
MINK: Now, when Mr. Williams came in, what qualifica-
tions did you feel he had for assuming the role of col-
lections builder in the library.
POWELL: Well, he was a bookman. I found him on the
curb, literally on the curb downtown at Brentano's which
he'd been managing. Brentano's bookstore had closed up.
They had a close-out sale. They had been run out of
business by Broadway's, Bullock's, and Robinson's book
MINK: They really had been run out of business; Williams
didn't run them out?
POWELL: No, no, it was the old cruncher by them. They
were undercutting and Brentano's never--no, it wasn't
Gordon's fault; it was a sinking ship, I think, when
he came. But I went down on the last day, and I'd met
him in the bookshops at Dawson's and at Zeitlin's. I
sensed in him a very bookish person, and I said to him
as we stood out in front of the shop, "Have you ever
thought of library work?" "No," he said, "but I'd be
interested." "Well," I said, "the only thing I can
offer you is a job on hourly wages in the periodicals
department of the Reference Department." So he came out
as a clerical, as I remember, at whatever v^e paid an
hour. It wasn't very much then. V/hen was this, Jim,
in 1948 or 1949?
MINK: Yes, it'd be 1948, 1949, or 1950.
POWELL: Yes, well he came out and worked then as a
clerical assistant and became interested. This was a
trial to see if he was interested in library work, and
he showed a flair and he got a fellowship and he went
to Chicago to take his library degree. And when Vosper
left (when I came back from Europe and Vosper went to
Kansas), this meant that Horn moved up, and I needed
an assistant librarian then under Horn, wasn't it, that
would be in charge of acquisitions. And everything that
Williams had done at Chicago was in this line, because
he'd worked all through his studies in the John Crerar
Library. He was assistant to Herman Henkle. And he
was doing collection work for the Crerar Library in
Keep in mind Gordon's original major at Stanford
was in psychology and behavioral sciences. He had a
master's degree in one of the sciences--I guess, psycho-
logy from Stanford. This was a new area in collection
building that no one in the administrative echelon had
covered. They'd been humanists and classicists or his-
torians--that is, Harlow and Horn and Vosper and myself,
Gordon bringing in from Crerar, from Stanford, from his
own flair, some responsibility working v^ith the science
departments in acquisitions^ collection, filling out, and
So I persuaded him to come, and of course I got in-
to the same kind of hassle then that I got in with Har-
low. Herman Henkle tried to hire Williams to stay full
time at Crerar after Gordon had accepted the job from
me, and I had to push Henkle 's teeth down his throat and
tell the son of a bitch to stay out, that Williams had
already agreed, and this was unethical in the highest
degree to come in after Gordon had accepted my position.
Gordon was firm; he said, "You're right." And Henkle
backed down. I never liked Henkle; I think he was a
slippery son of a bitch, just to look at him.
At any rate, Gordon came out. Now you see, the as-
sistant librarian in charge of collections always was my
liaison with the Library Committee. He acted as secre-
tary of the Library Committee; he met with the Senate
Library Committee, and he did all the paper work for
the Library Committee. This was Williams' flair, this
and the building programming. But he didn't have, as
you know better than I, this rapport with staff,
MINK: How well was he able to work with the science
POWELL: Well, he handled a terribly hot one with psycho-
logy, I knov/. They were raising hell with me. They
wanted a branch library. They're a bunch of crooks,
anyway, those psychologists, Jim; they stole from each
other. The graduate students are the most dishonest,
I think, next to theology students in the entire aca-
demic world. They stole and destroyed and mutilated,
and they weren't to be trusted. You gave them a jour-
nal file over there in their department and the graduate
students ripped it to bits. It's strange that they
draw to them a very unethical type of person. Gordon
handled this with [Howard] Gilhousen and with--oh hell,
I don't remember who else was in the psychology depart-
ment; but he went over there and faced them and negotia-
ted and manipulated and kept the bastards from taking
over and shelving in the department everything that we
had, which is what they wanted to do. And I knew that
was sending it down the drain. We told them to buy
their stuff out of departmental funds and butcher their
own stuff, but leave the main library's material alone.
He was effective in this kind of thing; he was a hard-
The reason he didn't have staff rapport--I knew
perfectly well what it was. It was not a lack of feeling
for people; it was a blindness of concentration on what
he was doing. He got so wrapped up in what he was doing
that he never saw anyone else. He'd v;alk by you on campus
I used to walk with him and with other staff members
across campus^ one place to another, and I think if I
had any gift it was for recognizing people and greet-
ing them, no matter who I was with. If I was with the
Lord himself, and I was walking across campus and old
Billy McKeown, my binder and custodian, passed me, I'd
say hello to Bill. I'd see him! Gordon, v;hen he v/as
walking with someone else, never saw anybody that passed
him, and he would snub unconsciously all kinds of people
that would resent this. Not only on campus, but in the
library building, when we'd walk through the building,
he wouldn't see his colleagues and they didn't like this.
And I suppose, he tended to be a little ex cathedra in
his pronouncements. Well, you know better than I, Jim;
you worked with him.
MINK: What about the Chemistry Library then?
POWELL: I don't know--what about the Chemistry Library?
Let me interview you.
MINK: Well, the understanding I had was that when he
was brought to the Chemistry Library for the first time
and saw it, the chairman of the department v;as along and
he said, "Well, this is nothing like in the John Crerar,"
and so-and-so and so-and-so. And the chairman got turned
off. Did you get any flack from there?
P0V7ELL: I don't remember if I did, but I think this was
probably characteristic of Gordon. He'd just come from
the Crerar, and it was one of the great science libraries
of the country, but he shouldn't have told the chairman
of the chemistry department at UCLA this. Yes, he could
be tactless; I'm sure this is true.
MINK: I think maybe that's the word that would best de-
scribe Gordon--a lack of tact.
MINK: And then his demeanor in conferences was very in-
formal, like putting his feet up on your desk.
POWELL: Yes, this burned women on the staff; I got com-
plaints about this in acquisitions and in reference. Of
course, Debbie hated him. He was oversupervising her,
and she was always raving, "He didn't know what he was
talking about." He probably didn't!
MINK: Is this why we lost Debbie's successor?
POWELL: Stubblefield? Possibly, but I think primarily
we lost Louise Stubblefield because she was just not
tough enough to follow into that place that chews people
up, really, in circulation work; it's a rough deal, and
she was a lady.
MINK: But wasn't it true, though, that this word "over-
supervising" might again be applied to this situation?
POWELL: I don't kjiow, Jim, but I think probably you're
right. But that was a complex situation because there
were members of the staff there and particularly the
MINK: Don Wilson.
POWELL: He was still very loyal to Debbie, and he and
maybe one or two others were still reporting to Debbie,
and Debbie was meddling, too; she didn't pull out really
in the total sense. Stubblefield had an impossible situa-
tion from that point of view.
MINK: Did Debbie approve of Miss Stubblefield as a suc-
POWELL: I don't know; I never asked her. I never ap-
pointed people with the approval of the ones they were
to succeed; you just can't operate that way.
MINK: No, you can't.
POWELL: I appointed her because I'd been at Columbia
that semester in 195'^.
MINK: You got acquainted with her there?
POWELL: I got acquainted with her; she was head of the
loan department at Columbia. I saw her at work, and I
saw her supervising students, and I saw her running it.
Second, Ardis Lodge, who had worked a year at Columbia,
had been her roommate, lived with Miss Stubblefield, and
Ardis recommended her highly; so I appointed her on the
basis of those qualifications. But she never made it.
Now, on Gordon, yes, I think that I've said that
his great contribution here was the Research Library,
and I've given him credit for that (I don't know that
anybody else has around here). But the credit for that
new Research Library, its nature and its location, are
entirely Gordon's. We were trying then, you remember,
to enlarge this building, to put another wing, a south
wing, or an additional building out there on that slope
between the west side and the gym. Those were the plans
that we'd always had.
MINK: You were trying, too--were you not? --to utilize
existing space in other ways than it had been.
POWELL: That's right. And the A[rchitects] & E[ngineers]
did two or three trial runs on this, on developing and
on articulating old and new construction. God knows how
much we spent on making preliminary drawings. And every
time they failed; they just weren't workable. Then we
found that plans for developing south of the library
would not give us space there. The other buildings--the
cyclotron and the history department and social sciences,
which had planned to build a building where the physics
extension is, where Knudsen Hall is now--were squeezed
out by physics, and the physical sciences got a higher
priority on that land.
All right, that also weakened the claim for develop-
ing the Research Library in that area and extending it
out in that area. We realized we couldn't build and
articulate out on this slope to the gym. The A & E
wanted to keep that a green space. Social sciences then v;e
found all of a sudden had emigrated to the north campus
over there with humanities, with arts, v;ith business
administration. And I don't know, one morning, I think,
Gordon came in with his drawing board and said, "Well,
why don't we follow them? Why don't we build a nev/ re-
search library over in that area which would serve hu-
manities and social sciences?" Well, that was opening
Pandora's box. Jesus, everybody was against it. At the
heads' meeting, or whatever we were having, they all
talked him down. But Gordon was stubborn about this and
kept developing ideas, and A & E got interested. We won
over the library staff, as I remember, and then we had
the problem of winning over the schools and faculties.
We had a whole series of meetings with divisional deans,
with letters and science, Franklin Rolfe, with departments
of all kinds. And Gordon and I generally attended those
together, and he carried the argument. And by God, he
did it well.
MINK: What were the major objections that v;ere raised
by the professional schools?
POVJELL: Well, for engineering, for example, it would
take out of the Research Library here and place v;ay over
on the north campus the key classifications, the T's
and various things, and the life sciences v;ould lose
the Q's. They thought that the research collection
should stay in the center of the campus, you see, and
be within the College Library, but not go over to the
north. Those were their primary objections: that it
would force them to develop T's and Q's in their own
locations. Well, we said, good, all right, this was
to our advantage, because it meant more library resour-
ces in more places. We were not going to give them all
the T's and the Q's out of the Research Library. We
wanted a lot of those for general service.
All right, so there was that argument. Then there
was the other argument. The chief spokesman of it was
Franklin Rolfe, that this would fragment the collections,
There would be a collection here and a collection there,
and they would have to walk back and forth. Rolfe never
gave up; he fought down to the last. VJe met on it right
up to the highest level. Gordon and I met, as I recall,
with the chancellor's Committee of Deans, presenting
this argument, McElvey with us.
Then we had the problem of funding it. Oh, and
then we really got screwed. We went up to Sacramento,
Gordon and I, I guess; and Tom Jacobs, I think (the
chemist) was chairman of the Library Committee, or it
might have been Tom Jenkin, the political scientist.
Anyway, it was some Tom--an Uncle Tom. And we went
up to argue this capital improvements item for a new
research library and the remodeling of this before the
California House Assembly Ways and Means Committee, at
which the state architect was present, Jim Corley, vice-
president in charge of lobbying. Paul Miles, not Gor-
don Williams, went up with me. We flew up in rain, and
we had an evening meeting in the capitol. And the thing
that really screwed us, Jim, was when they asked me,
"Why do you need more library resources at UCLA?" I
said, "Well, because we're far more than a campus ser-
vice now. We're serving the whole southern community,
including USC graduate students." I didn't know it,
but I learned it mighty quick, that the chief architect
of the state with the engineering department was a USC
graduate. Oh, he burned up then. He said, "What do
you mean you're serving USC? We've got libraries; we're
doing our own work. Don't try to ride on our coattails."
He lit into me, Jesus!
Well, we went down the drain; we all adjourned then
to the Hotel Senator bar. Jim Corley, Paul Miles, Tom
Jacobs. Corley set up drinks for everybody, even me
and my tonic water, and they all toasted Powell who went
down nobly, talking to the last. (You ought to interview
Paul Miles on this. He was there and he could give you
a blow-by-blow account of it.) Anyway, we were screwed
but good. That was cut out.
Then the problerr was to justify this capital expan-
sion, and I then "ate crow" and asked to come back to
UCLA a man that I was h xving a kind of a running fight
with in the Associatio.i of Research Libraries, none other
than Keyes Metcalf. I'd always been troubled with him in
ARL, because we were both on the advisory committee at
the same time. And Keyes was always saying, "ARL should
have special conferences and get special consultants and
do all kinds of special things." And I said, "Well, why
don't we do it ourselves." I was always saying, "We're
the specialists." So we never agreed. I thought he was
kind of a glorified housekeeper, and I said so. He wasn't
interested in books, and he gave a seminar at Rutgers on
library management and they didn't talk about books, and
this pissed me off.
MINK: So Keyes was really one of the many people you
had this running confrontation on library managers ver-
POWELL: Yes, that's right. He was always the guy I was
shooting at. So I end up kissing his ass. And I did it
with. . .■
POWELL: . . .great finesse. I did it with finesse! And
I got him on the phone and asked him if he'd come out as
a consultant on this building program, and he said, "Of
course I will." He said, "I always like a dirty job.
I understand this is a mean one, and I need a chapter
in my book on a dirty job." And he did. Well, then I
had trouble getting the university to agree to it. I
had a stormy meeting with the A & E and the chancellor
and Bill Young, the vice-chancellor in charge of build-
ing development, who said that it was nonsense.
MINK: I'll have to ask him why, because I'm interview-
POWELL: Well, interview the son of a bitch! At one
time in the Administration Building I said, "Look, you
either agree to what I want on this, or you get another
university librarian." I said, "This is that important
to me. If you don't do this, I quit." I was so mad at
them, and they agreed. And we got him out here in 1959
or i960, I guess. I know I was in Tokyo on that trip
around the world for the Air Force, and Page Ackerman
phoned me and said, "Bill Young's trying to sabotage this
VJhat's your understanding?" I straightened it out on
Keyes came, and he really brought it off by his
authority and his quiet way. V/e had meetings here in
this building and over in the Administration Building
with the state architect, with the whole Sacramento
echelon, on this capital improvement item. Paul Miles
and Keyes Metcalf led all these buggers on a tour through
the old library. They ended up getting lost, and that
finally convinced the state people that it was imprac-
tical to spend any more money on the old building. At
the end of the tour, when we finally emerged alive in-
to daylight, the big Sacramento wheel said, "Powell,
you win. Go ahead and build your goddamn research
library on the north campus." And we did!
TAPE NUMBER: VIII, SIDE ONE
NOVEMBER 19, 1969
MINK: One of the things that appeared in the ten-cent
notebook had to do with the idea of establishing some
sort of a friends organization.
MINK: And I noticed that in 19^5, right at the outset
of your administration, you appointed an Alumni Commit-
tee to look toward the establishment of the Friends of
the UCLA Library. Friends organizations at that time
didn't exist as far as I know anywhere in the United
States. Do you think this was a unique thing with you?
POWELL: No, there were friends groups, weren't there?
There were the Yale Associates.
MINK: Yes, but are they the same really?
POWELL: Well, their object is the same--to get the stuff
MINK: I suppose.
POWELL: Well, I think, I was not pressured, but approached
by John B. Jackson, who was secretary of the UCLA Alumni,
as you know, and I'd done an article for him in the UCLA
Magazine on exhibits. And we'd gotten acquainted, and
he thought it would be great if there was a friends group.
So I said, "Well, it's too early." It's just like Dickson
who wanted the library school right away, I think Jack-
son v;anted a friends group right away. I said, "Give
me a little time; but in the meantime, let's have a com-
mittee with you and Hansena Frederickson and Ann Sumner."
And I think Gold Shield--I recognized Barbara Lloyd,
Theresa Long, who had been Ernest Carroll Moore's secre-
tary, and Margaret Duguid Michel. You notice they v/ere
all pretty girls.
MINK: Ah, yes, that kind.
POWELL: Yes, there were some pretty ones at the time.
I think Margaret Michel was one of the prettiest.
MINK: Ann Sumner was no slouch.
POWELL: Ann Sumner was a pretty girl and Hansena had a
lot of "it." They were a swell group. Theresa Long
with her wonderful copper-red hair. Well, they were a
fine group, and Johnny and I used to meet quarterly with
them, and go through the library and have lunch. And I
was trying to arouse interest and enhance the library
image with the alumni, which I'd started to do in that
magazine article. I went out and talked to Bruin Clubs;
I talked to the Westwood Bruin Club every year. I went
out to Covina. I went over to Hollywood and did a lot
of outside v;ork when Johnny would set it up. I didn't
mention any of this in my book and it's important.
MINK: This is sort of grass-roots support then. . .
POWELL: That's right.
MINK: . . .for the library among the alumni.
POWELL: I said it would take some time and v;e would
have to counteract the "little-red-schoolhouse" kind
of propaganda. Of course, I didn't help it any when
I turned out to be a Red; but they knew I wasn't really.
I was really a dyed-in-the-wool, rock-ribbed Republican.
MINK: Were these addresses you gave to the Bruin Clubs
prepared addresses, or were they extemporaneous talks?
POWELL: Well, both. I always had notes. I don't think
they were manuscript affairs, but they were from notes
on what we were trying to do--on the building program,
on the collecting program, on some of the things that
we had. They were great fun to do, because I found the
I'm going to talk next month out at Riverside, I
think I told you, at their 500,000th volume ceremony.
Ivan Hinderaker and Tom Jenkin asked me to speak. And,
as you know, their new librarian there is Don Wilson.
I'm going to speak about the importance of the library
being carried to the alumni and to the community.
Now in the 1950s and early 1960s, every year the
university sent out a team of its faculty to tour the
state--it was an annual tour, wasn't it? --and I spoke
time and again to Sproul and to Clark Kerr that a library
spokesman should be included. Of course, I probably
meant myself. I would have been willing to do it if
I'd been asked, but I never was.
MINK: What would they say?
POWELL: They said, "Great idea." But they never did
anything. They sent around physicists and agronomists
and anthropologists and a lot of distinguished men, chief-
ly from Berkeley. But I thought it was great opportunity
to present the library program to the people. I'm going
to say at Riverside next month that this should be done
now. There should be a library spokesman go out, because
cyclotrons go obsolete, but the library never does. Ath-
letics are ephemeral; the library is lasting. So I was
trying to do this, I suppose, for UCLA; and, by God, I
I carried the word, and I found the alumni tremen-
dously responsive. Fred[erick F.] Houser, who was lieu-
tenant governor, John Canaday, who is a regent now, and
Paul Hutchinson and Frank Balthis were excellent. We
always invited the alumni president of a given year out
to lunch, and we recognized Gold Shield and the Affiliates.
And remember, at the Clark Library Founder's Day, v/e com-
bined it the first year with the Alumni Homecoming Day.
This is something that I felt was very important, and I
still do. And I think Vosper has som.e of these ideas.
but the trouble is now there's too much going [on]. It was
simpler in our time, Jim. UCLA wasn't what it is nov;.
It wasn't as large and complex and as demanding.
MINK: I think that's true. Did you realize any dreams
from these talks for the library in terms of collections,
books and so on?
POWELL: Well, yes. We had gifts from Gold Shield; we
had gifts from Gold Shield later to the library school,
a fellowship. We had an athletic fund gift, I think,
and we had books given us. Of course, they weren't al-
ways Gutenberg bibles, but the idea was important, not
the actual take, but simply the idea. The word got
around, anyway, that the UCLA Library was something.
MINK: Did you make any contacts per se?
POWELL: Do you mean, pretty girls? Yes, we made many
contacts, Jim. Yes, we rubbed flesh.
MINK: You know what I mean. [laughter]
POWELL: I don't remember, but I must have. Yes, what's
that print collection [Grunwald] over in the art depart-
ment--you know, the prints and etchings and engravings.
MINK: I know it; I can't think of it; we can get it
POIfELL: Well, at any rate, the man who gave that turned
up in my office one day, Fred Grunwald. He was a rich
shirtmaker. He turned up in my office one day and said.
"My son is just graduating from UCLA and we've read about
the library in the alumni magazine and we've heard you
speak;, and I want to give a book in honor of my son's
graduation." He was an immigrant^ mind you, either
Polish or Czechoslovakianj who had made his fortune in
shirts. And he said, "I have two books here that I want
to give. I want you to choose." Well, one was--who was
the Greek writer on medicine? Not Hippocrates, but the
other one. Great writer on medicine. Anyway, this was
the original text. Who is it, Jim? For God's sake, the
Greek writer on medicine after Hippocrates. [Claudius
Galen] We both know and we can't say. At any rate,
here it was, an Aldine imprint, I think, in italic type,
and a beautiful edition. The other was some lesser item,
and I recognized of course the important, valuable book,
and I chose it, and the man was terribly pleased. We
have it now; it's probably in Biomed[ical Library],
I think of another example: Ray Morrison, the
novelist who wrote Angel' s Camp , and gave us the manu-
script of it. I think I reached him through an alumni
talk. I'd have to go back through my files here. There
must be others. That led eventually to the Friends of
the Library. You know v;e founded it in 1951j wasn't it?
MINK: Who would you categorize, beside yourself, as a
leading spirit in the actual founding of the Friends of
POWELL: I think W. W. Robinson, the first president,
was very much a part of It. He represented the commun-
ity and he was willing to take on the first assignment.
Here within the library, I think the strongest supporters
were Neal Harlow and Bob Vosper.
MINK: Could we talk about Robinson for a minute? When
did you first meet Will Robinson?
POWELL: He says that we first met when I worked at
Jake's. He came in during 193^^ with a copy of my book
on Jeffers. You remember Robinson was a poet in the
beginning and published one or two books of poetry. He's
a very interesting and complex man. And that was our
first meeting, according to him^ but I don't remember
him then. I remember him when we both joined the Zamo-
rano Club at about the same time around 19^^©, and our
friendship developed from then--from 1940 until now,
thirty years — through a mutual interest in writing and
in California and in libraries and in books, and then
when he edited Hoja Volante , the quarterly of the Zamo-
rano Club and persuaded me to write for it. Those were
the first bookish writings I did, those essays in Hoja
Volante which we collected into that little book called
Islands of Books . It was my first book of essays.
He's one of my closest and oldest friends, really.
in the community. He still is, nov;, as he approaches
eighty. We see each other frequently, and as you know,
he's been good to the library all through the years in
what he's given us. Incidentally, he just gave his col-
lection of my books and writings to Scripps College at
my suggestion. They didn't have many and he placed
everything out there, but his correspondence with me
and mine with him is here in Special Collections.
MINK: Was he as instrumental in getting people to join
the Friends as the library itself? Was it the library
that went after it, or did these people like Robinson and
others really go out and beat the bushes?
POWELL: I think Robinson's name was important. He may
not have done any bush-beating, but his name on the ori-
ginal announcement carried great weight in the community.
I think a great many people came in because of him. And
secondly and equally important, I think, from the alumni
was the work of John Jackson and Hansena and Ann and the
others of the Alumni Library Committee. And then there
was the library itself, but I think those two groups,
Robinson and the community group and the alumni groups,
were the chief recruiters.
MINK: There's been a criticism leveled at the Friends
of the Library, which may be their fault or it may be
the fault of the library, that unlike, for example, the
Friends of the Bancroft Library, who raise large sums for
the purchase of distinguished collections, this group
tends to get together every so^ often for a dinner and
speech and does actually very little in support of the
library in an extramural way.
POWELL: Yes, I know it.
MINK: Would you like to speak to that?
POWELL: Yes, it's a problem; it ' s a real problem. I
recognized it from the beginning. First of all, the
matter of competition, that is in the field of Califor-
niana (a field which we wanted to develop here and in
which we're reasonably strong), we were outshadowed by
the Huntington Library and by the Bancroft. We simply
couldn't compete with them. We didn't have the prestige
of holdings or the prestige of antiquity to compete. What
fields did this leave us? Fine printing? Children's
books, which I thought was a field that we could get into
and there wouldn't be competition, has perhaps been one
of our most successful ventures, and it started, as you
know, with our purchase of the Olive Percival collection
in 19'^5. I guess it was one of the first purchases I
made here of a collection en bloc.
Secondly, there was the problem of a general univer-
sity library of the state going out competing for private
funds, v;hen the headlines called attention to the size
of its budget and the state appropriations and so on.
Now the Bancroft is part of the state university, but
it doesn't have special funding and it could appeal for
private funds. Here in the University Library where we
had very good legislative support, it's a problem going
out and asking for private donations. Someone said, "Why
don't you found a Friends of the Clark Library."
MINK: Who said that, Larry?
POWELL: Well, different members of the faculty or of
the community or of the library staff. There our problem
was that we're richly endowed. I thought we needed the
private support more in the field of the general library
than in the Clark, so we never pushed the Clark as a
friends recipient. And finally, the success of a friends
group inevitably depends upon the imagination and the
energy and not necessarily the wealth of a few individuals
Now the Bancroft had the enormous benefit of Susanna
Dakin, who not only was an enthusiast and a talented, mag-
netic, wonderful woman, but she was also a rich woman.
You put all these things together and you can see what
it did to the Bancroft. Before they had the trouble
with him, they had the backing of Carl VJheat. They had
George Harding. They had a number of people in the Bay
area. They also had this rich Jewish philanthropist
tradition in the Bay region to call on. The most
articulate spokesman for It was James D. Hart, v/ho fi-
nally has become director of the Bancroft. All of this
they drew on.
Now in Southern California, the Friends of the Hunt-
ington were drawing not on the Jewish community neces-
sarily, but the total cultural community was being very
richly tapped by the Huntington, in spite of the fact
that with their $12 million capital endowment, they still
were bringing in thousands of dollars a year from the
friends group, and this is a tough one to compete with.
We had Claremont, USC, Occidental, Southwest Museum, all
these other friends groups going.
At UCLA, we had some distinguished presidents. We
had Dwight Clarke; we had Viola Warren, Harold Lamb,
Marcus Crahan. But I think the most effective and the
best individual supporter we ever had was the late Majl
Ewingc He did for us all the things, in a lesser way,
that Susannah Dakln did for the Bancroft. He provided
taste, intelligence, and money. And it's a great tra-
gedy, Jim, that we lost Majl. If he could have survived
Carmelita and come into a little more affluence, God
knows what he might have done for us. One of the last
talks I had with him was in London in I966 . He dined
with us in Dolphin Square, and we had a long evening on
some of his hopes and dreams for Special Collections.
MINK: Larry, what did he propose to do? Can you remem-
ber, because this is probably an undocumented and unre-
POWELL: He wanted to transfer the Victorian and twenti-
eth-century V7riters from his ovm collection, of course,
which we have now, eventually. But he wanted to use them
as nuclei on which to build Special Collections. He just
wanted to see a building-to-strength program go on on a
lot of his own collections.
MINK: Of course, you weren't in any position at that
point to promise him anything, because you were no longer
POWELL: I was no longer librarian, but he came to me
as the old friends that we were. And I will say that
he had great feeling for Bob Vosper, great affection
for him, great belief in him, and wanted to see him flour-
ish, and he was very fond, of course, of VJilbur, too.
I ought to speak here of the only time that I fell out
with Majl Ewing, and it was a tough one. It was along
in the last years of my library administration, I guess,
and I was under mounting pressure from the Faculty Li-
brary Committee to achieve parity with Berkeley, to get
more appropriations. Sam Herrick and Ivan Hinderaker,
Tom Jenkin, John Galbraith and others on the Library
Committee were very unhappy at the size of our acquisitions
and our budget vls-a-vls Berkeley's. And they particu-
larly wanted to see all spending for the library chan-
neled through the Library Committee. They didn't approve
of the librarian going out and getting money on the out-
side, either from the community or from the administra-
tion, at the expense of the appropriations to the depart-
ments. This was a sticking point between us. I wouldn't
agree with them. At least in the community, I thought
I should have absolute freedom there. But as far as
going to the president or to the chancellor and asking
for special funding, they persuaded me that I should do
this only with great reluctance.
So, Majl Ewing came to me and said, "There's
a chance that we can buy the remaining D. H. Lawrence
manuscripts for $12,000. Will you go over and see the
chancellor and ask for this money?" And I said, "No,
I won't do it; it'll have to come through the Library
Committee as a request from the Library Committee." And
he became terribly angry with me and we had a very un-
pleasant and stormy scene in my office, just the two
MINK: Well, didn't you explain to him why you were in
POWELL: Yes, and he said I had Just turned into a god-
damned bureaucrat and that I should be willing always
as the librarian to bypass the Senate Library Committee
and go when I thought necessary and ask for special funds,
And he'd already phoned Chancellor Ray Allen and put in
an appeal, and when he found that I hadn't followed it
up, he was even madder. I know Wilbur was involved in
this, too. And as a result, Berkeley bought the D. H.
Lawrence collection for $12,000. Well, it was a residue
collection, which I explained to Majl. It wasn't the
cream; it was what was left after the Frieda Lawrence
manuscripts had been picked over. That was another rea-
son I didn't think it was absolutely distinguished and
worth going after.
But Ewing, oh, he made a lot of threats, then, that
he was going to cut UCLA and everything out of his will.
He wasn't going to do anything more for us. He just
raised hell; he walked up and down. I was upset, too,
I guess, and I tried to persuade him that I was doing
what I thought was right, and we were both of us vir-
tually in tears with distress and anger and everything
else. It was a real fuck-up!
MINK: Larry, you know this brings up naturally a point,
that Vosper has thought nothing of asking for Regent's
Contingency Funds, for Chancellor's Emergency Funds, for
special funding for Turkish manuscripts or the Mennevee
collection, vfhich O'Brien found in Europe, or a number
of other collections which are all in the record. How
do you explain this? Did you ever discuss this with
POWELL: Well, it's easy. . .
MINK: Well, the problem you had with the Library Com-
POWELL: Yes, of course we did, and he's referred to
it, I think, particularly in the first talk he gave to
the Friends when he came back from Kansas, a little pamph-
let called, "A Word to the Wise and Friendly." He speaks
of the troubles that Powell had in his closing years
with bureaucracy, and he meant the Library Committee.
MINK: They weren't named.
POWELL: They weren't named, but that's what he meant,
and I had to do all this. And the reason, Jim, is be-
cause we had a weak chancellor, you seeo We had Ray
Allen in those closing years of mine, who was weak, vis-
a-vis Dykstra or Sproul or Murphy. He didn't operate
as a strong persono Now, Vosper came in, of course,
with an absolute fireball of a chancellor, namely Frank-
lin Murphy, and a tradition of operating which they'd
developed in nine years at Kansas. They simply trans-
posed this to UCLA, and the Senate Library Committee
recognized this, that if they didn't get tough with
Vosper that he'd get far more in a direct relationship
with Murphy than he would get channeling everything
MINK: Well, wouldn't they still continue to be resent-
ful of what they considered support from the administra-
tion for the library at the expense of their own depart-
POWELL: Well, one of the smartest things Murphy did--
you see, I worked a year with him as librarian before
Vosper came back. I was serving as dean of the nev;
school and University Librarian for that year. And he
was a smart operator. We talked about this back in the
winter of I959-I96O, when he was considering the job
here. He came to see me twice, and the second time I
had breakfast with him at the Bel-Air Hotel; he was out
here to negotiate with the regents and we talked of
all the problems. He asked me what the problems were,
and I said, "One of them will be the Library Committee."
And he said, "How should I meet this, because," he said,
"I intend to deal directly with you whenever it seems
advisable." I said, "Well, I think one of the smartest
things you could do would be to meet straight off with
the Library Committee and explain that there'll be more
for everyone if they allow him to operate v;ith the li-
brarian." So Murphy asked the Senate Library Committee
if he could meet with them, and this was very soon after
he came to campus--that is, July 1, 196I. And we had
a long session in my office. Murphy and the Library
Committee, I can't remember who was chairman of the
MINK: It's in the record.
POWELL: Yes. Bill Lessa, perhaps, the anthropologist?
Anyway, Murphy put all his cards out. He said, "Look,
I want more money for everybody and I'm going to get
it. ' He said, "I want more money for your Contingency
.Fund, I want more money for your departments, and I want
more money for special purchases, and I want if neces-
sary to be able to deal directly with Larry Powell."
One of the nice things that he told Hansena was, "Al-
ways put Larry Powell through when he phones because
I know it will relate to books." This was always true.
I could always get through no matter, except in a regents'
meeting, but anytime else. And, Lord, I played this
for all it was worth as librarian and then in my remain-
ing years as director of the Clark. I went to see him
and this was with the blessing of the Library Committee.
And he always informed them. Murphy played rough, but
he played fair. He'd inform people what he v;as doing.
He'd say, "Look, stand back; I'm going to hit you." He'd
give them a chance to get ready.
I bought a number of things for the Clark. Oh, we
had some marvelous times, because I was buying the Eric
Gill, then, like mad from the estate, these great op-
portunities that came along. I remember once I went
over to see Murphy with an offer from Bertram Rota of
about 500 volumes, I think, from Eric Gill's own library;
it was some $2,000 or $3,000 that we were to pay for it.
I was waiting in the outer office to see Murphy and Vice-
Chancellor Foster Sherv/ood came along. He says, "What
are you up to, Larry?" I said, "I want some money from
Murphy." "How much?" he asked. "I want about $3,000 to
buy this collection of books." Sherwood said, "Why are
you always running to Murphy? Why don't you come to me
sometimes?" I said, "You mean you'd give me $3,000?"
"Well," he says, "I'll show you." God, I walked into
Foster's office; he called up Beverly Liss or Jerry
Fleischmann, whoever was doing the bookkeeping work, and
he said, "Transfer $3,000 to the Clark Library fund for
this purchase." Foster said, "You don't need to bother
Murphy with these chicken-shit things." So I got the
money out of Sherwood.
Well, this was improvising, and I didn't do it
again; I didn't go back to Sherwood for money. I knew
that this was a kind of a gesture on his part to enhance
his own position and ego, and I went right along with
it, but I didn't go thereafter every time to Sherwood
when I wanted money. Well, Murphy was great, and of
course he and Vosper played this to the utmost, and
that'll be a history when you interview Vosper--what
Murphy did for him--that'll be a story.
MINK: Well, I hate to ask you this question, but I'm
going to ask it anyway, because. . .
POWELL: I hate to answer it, but I'll answer it.
MINK: Why then at the convocation on your retirement
as dean of the library school, as it appeared to many
of us, that Murphy gave a rather, shall I say, down-
grading Powell speech. Really, it shocked many of us.
POWELL: Is that what it sounded like? I couldn't hear
him very well, of course.
MINK: It was a bad room. Didn't people come to you
afterwards and express surprise?
POWELL: No. What did he say 3 for Christ's sake, Jim?
MINK: I can't remember in context, but it left me with
the impression that what had gone on before was pretty
much small potatoes, but now we can look forward to a
great era in library development.
POWELL: Jim, I don't think so. Of course, I'm terribly
thick-skinned. I have a great, built-in protective
skin, and if anybody's shafting me, it's got to be an
awfully sharp shaft for me to feel it. But I didn't feel
any pain. Of course, it was a kind of a euphoric day.
And keep in mind also that Murphy was mad about two
things: one, the lousy lunch; and two, the loudspeaker
system which they didn't check out right. He was mad
as hell. But he was working on the talk right then be-
fore he began to speak. I sat with him and he was jot-
ting things down on his little 3^5 cards and was in
pretty good humor with me, and he asked me a couple of
questions--when did we get this, when did we get that?
No, I didn't have this feeling, Jim. Of course, there's
no text, is there, to go by, and we didn't record it.
MINK: No, we didn't; we probably should have. We've
gone straight through here with the Friends and com-
munity support into Murphy.
POWELL: Let me just interrupt here while we're on this.
If I thought any speech that day was not lukewarm but
was not all out, it was Vesper's. That was the one
that didn't turn me on. Remember his was an amusing
speech about Vosper and Powell always being taken one
for the other. It was humorous and ironic, but it ac-
tually didn't have anything to say, really, about my
contributions or what I had done. Nothing. But it
was an amusing speech, and Vosper is very cagey in
these matters. Inevitably I think it comes out of
his deep subconscious as it does out of the subconscious
of a number v/ho have v/orked for me; I'm thinking of
Neal, I'm thinking of Johnny Smith, I'm not thinking of
Andy Horn. It's a sort of subconscious resentment that
they did work for Larry Powell, and he beat them with a
club sometimes and chewed them out. And I suppose this
is the way that they express this. It isn't a resent-
ment, but it's a kind of an irritant that's in their
system. Do you know what I mean?
MINK: A little needling effect.
POWELL: Yes. Maybe you feel this same way, Jim? [laugh-
ter] I gave you trouble.
MINK: Man, you discovered me.
POWELL: Hell, I didn't discover you; we did it together.
MINK: Well, I just wanted to say that this has all been
in the way of discussion of getting funds for the library,
and I wanted now to go back to the area where we were in
time and ask you about the appointment of Alice Humiston
as permanent head of the Catalog Department in 19-^5.
And this would have been one year after you'd been here.
You came on July 1, 19'^4, right?
MINK: You came as University Librarian, so you immediate-
ly appointed Miss Humiston. Did you recognize in her
great abilities as a cataloger? y
POWELL: Good God, no!
MINK: Good God, no?
POWELL: V/ell, this was simply a matter of expediency,
Jim. First of all, she'd been acting head of the Cata-
log Department, because Ben Custer, then head of the
department, was on war leave. Now, Ben Custer, God bless
him, v/as a real prick.
MINK: That's Arlene's husband.
POWELL: Well, I don't know that he was that kind of a
one, but as a bachelor here he was a bad actor. He was
always pinching the girls and fooling around with them
in the corridors.
POWELL: Yes, nice when you could get it, but they aidn't
like it, and there was a lot of resentment against him.
He was a mama's boy. Remember, he lived with his mother
here. He'd had one marriage that Mother came to live
with them, and the wife went home. This was before
Arlene (Kern) Custer. At any rate, it was a blessing
when Ben Custer went on war leave, and he was still on
leave when I became librarian, and I encouraged him not
to come back.
MINK: How did you do that?
POWELL: Well, he took a better job, I think. Where was
it? It was in Washington. The correspondence would
show this, because it's in the records . I think I wrote
him that I couldn't help, or maybe he wrote me and asked
if he came back as head of Catalog Department, would
there be an advancement there for him (he was thinking
of an assistant librarianship) , and I think I wrote
back and said, "No. There won't be."
MINK: Well, you'd had a chance to observe him in action,
and what kind of an opinion had you formed of him? Is
this what you said?
POWELL: I thought he was good technically and a good
worker, but he was emotionally immature--that is, he
was a mama's boy, and he couldn't have had the respect
of the women that were working for him. He didn't have
it when he was here and he wouldn't have had it when he
came back. So I encouraged him not to come back. Well,
I had the problem of my coming in as an upstart of recog-
nizing the old guard. And here was the old guard really,
three of them: Miss Bryan, and Miss Coldren and Miss
MINK: Miss Coldren.
POWELL: Fanny Alice. There was no problem with her
because she was competent. She was an excellent refer-
ence librarian and her department was outstanding. Miss
Bryan I knew we'd run into problems with eventually, but
there was nothing to be done about it until she started
it. But with Miss Humiston, I thought, she'd been act-
ing head for a year and a half, and it would have been
tad not to continue her. Second, there was no one in
the department then who was outstanding, I think. The
chief classifier was the brainiest person, then--Sadie
McMurry--but she wasn't an administrator; she didn't
want to be one. Mate McCurdy was still at the Clark
Library. Jeannette Hagan was too young. Rudy Engelbarts
was a Mr. Milktoast. So it seemed the expedient, rational,
and the political thing to do was to continue Miss Humi-
ston, but right away I saw that she'd need help--well,
not right away, but soon thereafter. And you remember,
I appointed what I called an Administrative Committee
to help her run the department, and this v;as Mate McCurdy,
who'd then been transferred from the Clark, and I think
it was Sadie McMurry and Jeannette Hagan.
MINK: Did she welcome this?
POWELL: She welcomed everything that I did, at least in
her meetings with me. God knows what she thought or
said elsewhere, but she was discreet and cooperative.
I don't know that I ever trusted her completely. Cer-
tainly I never confided in her, but I told her this is
what was going to happen. It had to; she couldn't run
the department by herself; and so that committee really
MINK: Mate McCurdy was on it.
POWELL: Mate and Sadie McMurry and Jeannette Hagan,
and eventually Rudy, and then that led to Rudy's suc-
ceeding her as head cataloger.
MINK: The spokesman for the old guard. Miss Bryan, would
have indicated that Miss Humiston was a sell-out and
that she supported you ; therefore, you made her head
of the department.
POWELL: I think that's one way of putting it. Yes, that's
quid pro quo.
POWELL: And basic in administration: you never appoint
anyone as an administrative assistant who wouldn't sup-
port you, for God's sake.
MINK: In other words, when you came in, there was much
opposition to you, hut she immediately went over to your
side and this was her reward.
POWELL: No, that's an exaggerated statement because
Miss Humiston never did anything in a positive way. Ev-
erything was passive with her and she was passive. They
all were passive--Miss Coldren, too. "Well, wait and
see; watch and wait." They were right, Jim. Mine was
an unprecedented appointment and a potentially dangerous
one, I suppose, my being a man.
MINK: They felt.
POWELL: Yes, well, I think they were right, the appoint-
ment of an inexperienced administrator.
MINK: Well, did you feel that Miss Humiston carried out
her work satisfactorily, that she did a good job in the
Catalog Department while she was head of it?
POWELL: She worked at it, Jim; I can say that. She
worked long hours. She was conscientious, she reported
regularly and in certain depth, and I felt with the as-
sistance she had--I'm thinking of Sadie McMurry, who v/as
a woman I respected very highly.
MINK: Very sound.
POWELL: Yes, very sound and who really had a tremendous
grasp of the Library of Congress classification. You
see, I had observed her for years when her desk was in
the Bibliography Room between the Catalog and Acquisi-
tions Department. I did lots of checking in there. I
watched Sadie McMurry through those five years, at work
in her quiet way, and I went to her many times with ques-
tions about the collection. If she had had more adminis-
trative get-up-and-get-at, I'd certainly made her head
of the department, but she didn't want it; she wouldn't
have accepted if it'd been offered to her.
MINK: Well, I think it's a foregone conclusion that the
catalog section of the library attracts people who are
passive and to a certain extent introverted. It also
may attract people from time to time who clash with one
another. Would you think that Miss Humiston 's role v;as
that of a peacemaker, and did you ever have that in mind
at the time that you made the appointment?
POWELL: Well, I thought it would be an acceptable ap-
pointment to the department. She had their respect--and
affection, even--and I thought she would be kind of a
MINK: Were you aware of the in-fighting in the Catalog
Department at the time?
POWELL: I don't think I was. No, I don't think I was.
MINK: And therefore, you did not appoint her with this
MINK: That is, as a peacemaker.
POWELL: No, because I'd never had a pipeline into that
department in the sense that I had through Debbie or
through my own experience in acquisitions, or in Ardis
Lodge in the Reference Department, the way I had contacts
with the younger staff members who were perceptive. I
had none in the Catalog Department, since Engelbarts was
not articulate. (Ah, there's a guy hugging a girl out
there, Jim, that's distracting me out on the steps.
That's one of the advantages of this location.)
MINK: You're giving the editor a hard time, now. [laugh-
ter ] And so am I. Well, I think that Miss Humiston did
play this role. But let me ask you another question:
you weren't really turned on by cataloging and really
didn't know too much about it and weren't really in-
terested as much in the Catalog Department as well as it
ran--would that be a fair statement?
POWELL: That's an absolutely fair statement , yes. This
was true then, and it was true all the v;ay through. I
simply didn't have the knowledge or interest, and I
think this is true also of circulation work. I think
Debbie used to say so. She'd say, "Well, really you're
an acquisitions person; that's your chief interest, build-
ing the collection." And I said, "I know it. I have
good people like you to run the other shows."
MINK: You really saw this as the role of the librarian
POWELL: At that time. At that time, sure, and it was
my bag, too. It was what I was best fitted for. In
other words, I didn't fancy myself as a universalist,
as another--what ' s his name in Newark? Dana--I wasn't
another John Cotton Dana. I wasn't a universal brain
in librarianship. I was a kind of specialist, and I
recognized it. This was a weakness, too. I think a bad
decision I made later in the cataloging was not to include
subject holdings in the branch libraries in the main
library catalog. You know that still haunts me.
MINK: It'll haunt you, but wouldn't it be fair to say
that this declsion--was this decision arrived at after
much discussion in a long series of weekly head meetings?
POWELL: Yes^ sure it was.
MINK: So you were taking into account the advice of the
department heads on this?
POWELL: Yes, that's right.
MINK: Or were they all saying, "No, no, no." And you
supported the other side.
POWELL: No, I think it was a consensus, as I remember
it; the minutes would show it. But we had a survey of
the catalog by a faculty questionnaire, and I think we had
a task-force kind of survey of the public catalog. And
did we have an outside consultant in?
MINK: I don't remember if we did.
POWELL: I don't remember.
MINK: The records would show.
POWELL: Not the way we had Swank. But at any rate, then
we had a look at the general assistance budget, what we
had for costs of maintaining and developing the catalog,
and it just seemed that this was just one thing that we
couldn't do, and so we didn't do it. I think a man like
Coney at Berkeley, who was administering the Berkeley
library, and who was much more interested in his grasp
of cataloging and classification, might very v;ell have
come to a different decision. I didn't have the knowledge.
really, to either discern that they were wrong and over-
ride them. I think it was a consensus that I went along
with. Wasn't Gordon Williams then in charge?
MINK: He was a very strong advocate , and he was in
charge of technical processes.
POWELL: That's right. I was depending on Williams'
advice on this. And, God knows, we kicked it around
in the heads' meeting week after week. The minutes
would show this. There was endless discussion of this.
TAPE NUMBER: VIII, SIDE TWO
NOVEMBER 19, 19^9
POWELL: I went over what I did say in the autobiography
with Ralph Rice, incidentally, of the lav; school.
MINK: This is in relation to whom?
POWELL:, Coffman, what I said about Coffman, led to his
dismissal. We toned it down a little, x didn't want
to get caught with a libel suit.
MINK: Right, especially with a lawyer. Well, can we
begin then in this discussion of the Law Library, after
those off-the-cuff comments, with the actual establish-
ment of the law school. Word comes dovrn that the nioney
is being put into the coffers by the legislature, and
in spite of Robert Gordon Sproul, the law school is
MINK: So it's got to have a branch library. What were
the problems as they came up on the horizon?
POWELL: Well, I think on the horizon came J. A. C. Grant,
professor of political science, who was, I suppose, the
closest to a lawyer that the political science depart-
ment had, unless it was Charles Grove Haines. Grant did
a great deal of his research in the [Los Angeles] County
Law Library. He was the liaison with Tom Dabagh, the
county law librarian, and with the lawyers downtovm.
Grant appeared in my office and said, "Here's what has
happened--here's $50,000 to start a law library with.
How do we do this?"
MINK: How do we do this?
POVffiLL: Yes. And I said, "VJell, we need a basic buying
list." "Well, who makes it?" And how did we make it?
I think Tom Dabagh probably in the County Lav/ Library
was the chief helper, and Cliff Grant. They put together
a basic list. Who was head of acquisitions then?
MINK: Would it be Johnny Smith?
POWELL: Yes, and we either appointed or had on the staff
then a little gal named Molly Hollreigh. I don't know
whether we appointed her for this job or she was here
and we drafted her, but she was a little gal from the
Pacific Northwest, a graduate of the University of Wash-
ington Library School, and she had a lot of zip. She
was a kind of a little female Johnny Smith, and we gave
her the $50,000 and said, "Get out there and spend it."
And that's the last I heard of it. She and Smith and
the Acquisitions Department did a crash job. They were
based right about where you are now, Jim, down in that
basement corridor in one of those rooms; that's where
the temporary law library processing was.
And as I recall, the buying also took in mind what
we already had, but Grant (and this v/as the advantage
of having a member of our non-law faculty on the com-
mittee) protected the general library in political science
holdings and would not agree to transfer a great many
things. He said, "We'll have to duplicate a certain
number of things." Well^ I think then the appointment
of the law librarian was initiated and more or less
carried out by this steering committee on the law school.
That would be Grant and Paul Dodd, and I don't know who
MINK: Well, that's in the record. Were you consulted
by this committee?
POWELL: Yes — yes, indeed, ?nd of course Vosper was as-
sistant librarian then and was close to the faculty and
to Grant and to Dodd; we were consulted and warmly en-
dorsed. Of course, because we knew Tom Dabagh. We
knew him through Sydney Mitchell. He and the Mitchells
were great friends, you see, because Dabagh had been
at Berkeley as law librarian, hadn't he, before he be-
came county law librarian. He was Boalt Hall librarian
at Berkeley. He was a great friend of the Mitchells,
and we knew him in the — he'd been a member of the Li-
brarians' Chowder and Marching Society. V/e used to go
to it and we'd see Dabagh. We were pleasant colleagues,
and we knew Bill Stern, his foreign law librarian who
did lots of checking out here at UCLA in our bibliographical
sources. So that was entirely with our blessing, and
it was a wonderful appointment initially. But of course
what screwed it up was the dean, L. Dale Coffman, who
was on the surface a gentleman and a scholar, but under-
neath this he was a conniver and determined to establish
an independent law library.
MINK: At this point, what note would you make of the
fact that this is traditional in the United States, in-
dependent autonomous law libraries?
POWELL: I knew this, and yet I think I was persuaded by
the development at UCLA, the pattern that we'd estab-
lished here in a new place, that is, of biomediclne and
of engineering, that all of the emerging libraries should
be coordinated. I think here was a chance to do it, and
there was administrative backing to do it, and also the
wish of the law librarian and of Professor Grant that
this coordination be effected. In other words, I had
everything on my side at UCLA in administration, in facul-
ty, and in precedent to do it differently, because the
tradition had also been true of medicine that it be
separate, yet we were doing it effectively in a coor-
dinated operation. So I went ahead on that premise that
it would work. Well, it didn't. And there was a lot of
hassling and a lot of dirty pool. I hadn't been in Eng-
land more than a week, I guess, in September 1950, when
I had a cable from Paul Dodd. V/hy it was from Dodd was
because he was chairman of that committee that was run-
ning the university. Dykstra died in May of 1950, and
in the autumn there was. . .
MINK: This was the interim deans' committee: Dodd^,
Knudsen^ and Warren.
POWELL: And Dodd cabled me, "Is it true that before
leaving the United States you agreed with Dean Coffman
that the Law Library should withdraw and become its ovm
autonomous unit?" I cabled back, "Absolutely not; it's
a damn lie. I never made any kind of an agreement."
Well, this was the kind of tactics that Coffman follov/ed.
He lied about it.
MINK: He was taking advantage of the fact you were away.
POWELL: Of my absence. Yes. But Dodd was shrewd enough
to cable me, and of course I denied it. Well, then, it
went on back and forth with all kinds of trouble. And
Dabagh then became increasingly unhappy, because he
found that Coffman did not want him to remain loyal to
the library. He wanted Dabagh to join him, Coffman,
and Harold Verrall, and the others in the law school
who wanted to pull away. And Dabagh, a man of honor and
integrity, did not want to do this. Of course, it ended
up by Dabagh leaving, resigning, I don't remember the
details of it, but I know it was a great loss to us.
and Coffman's stooge, Louis Piacenza, became- -v;hat? act-
ing law librarian.
Oh, I had one marvelous blow-up. After Dabagh had
left, I'd come back from Europe and I v;as in my office
one day, and Louis Piacenza turned up with Miles Price,
who was the law librarian of Columbia University, really
the dean of American law librarians, and he was visiting
UCLA for some reason or another--probably on accredita-
tion for the Law Library kind of thing. And, of course,
Coffman kept saying, "We won't get accredited if it isn't
a separate institutiono " He kept saying this.
I hadn't seen Piacenza since Dabagh had left and
gone to Berkeley as Sproul's assistant. I just hadn't
seen him, and there he was in my doorway with Miles Price,
and I lost my temper. This was a very unfortunate thing
I did because Price was a guest. I remember I said to
Louis, "Any son of a bitch that's willing to put a knife
in a man's back the way you did to Tom Dabagh has a hell-
uva lot of guts to turn up in my office." I said, "If
you want to leave Mr. Price here, I'll talk with him, but
I won't talk with you." God, they were flabbergasted.
They both turned on their heel and walked out. (Brady
would verify this, because, my God, I was mad! )
That son-of-a-bitch Piacenza. He ran right back
and cried to Coffman. Coffman called up Ray Allen or
wrote him a letter and said^ "Our great visiting law li-
brarian from Columbia has been insulted by Powell." So
Allen called me on the carpet. I told him exactly what
I'd done: that I was sorry that I'd made this scene in
front of Miles Price, but I just couldn't stand the shock
of seeing that son-of-a-bitch Piacenza, and I'd blown
my top. And I said, "I'd do it again, I'm afraid. My
sense of loyalty to Dabagh was outraged by the whole
conduct." I walked up and down and Allen calmed me down.
I didn't lose my temper very often--and Brady would
vouch for this--one or two times, three or four, half a
dozen maybe; but it was generally over a question of loy-
alty. I believe in loyalty even though a son of a bitch
is involved. If Piacenza had been loyal and still been
a son of a bitch, I'd have forgiven him, but he was disloyal
and a son of a bitch. I know how hurt Dabagh had been.
Well, this had repercussions later. I turned up
at Columbia University in 195^ as a visiting professor
in their library school. Miles Price was on the faculty
of the Columbia Library School, and there v;e v/ere at
lunch and across the table from each other and I apolo-
gized to him then. I said, "Miles, I'm sorry I lost
my temper. This is why." He said, "Well, I understood,
but it was a shock." So we made it up there and he came
back and called on me later.
And believe It or not, Jim, I made up with Louis
Piacenza; we got back on a speaking basis. Do you know
how it came about? In a human way, through the big Mali-
bu fire of 1956--no, not through that, through the Bel-
Air fire, when Louis lost his house, but he saved their
dogs and at some hazard to himself. They're poodles, and
they brought them up to the kennels near us, the Malibu
kennels, where we boarded our dogs, and they told me what
Louis and his wife (his second wife, who was a very nice
person, incidentally) had done to save their dogs. And
I said, "Well, God, if that guy can do this for his poodles
he can't be such a son of a bitch," and I called him up
and I said, "Louis, sorry you lost your house; I'm glad
you saved your dogs." We had lunch together and we agreed
that we'd forget all the hard times.
Then of course when he died of cancer it was sad.
His problem was, Jim, that he was a small peg in a big
hole, and he knew it, you see. He had no law degree,
he had no library degree, he was just a clerk that Tom
Dabagh brought from the Columbia Library. Did you know
MINK: No, I didn't.
POWELL: Yes. He was a chief clerk in the Columbia Law
Library that Dabagh had recruited. That's what I meant
by a stab in the back.
MINK: You feel then that Piacenza worked with Coffman
to bring about Dabagh's resignation, to force it.
POWELL: Yes, definitely. Tom told me. And the other
snake in the grass was this Harold Verrall, a law pro-
fessor who was chairman of the Faculty Committee on the
Law Library. He was a rat.
MINK: I guess I was going to ask you, did you at any
time attempt to reason (because this is your technique)
with Coffman, to sit down and talk to him about this,
to try and get him to see the whole picture and to see
how the Law Library could benefit from its liaison with
the main library?
POWELL: I did this, I think, chiefly through Andy Horn,
who was associate librarian in those years, and Andy v^as
our chief negotiator in this. I think Andy would bear
this out. The file would bear this out. I think Andy
negotiated with the Law Library Committee, and maybe
with Coffman, too, but after Coffman' s attempt, when I
was in England, to undercut me, I don't think I ever got
together with him after that.
MINK: Well, maybe the point here was that you were away
in England on that first buying trip, and all of this
occurred during that time. Had you been here, would you
have attempted personally to negotiate with him.
POWELL: Yes, I would have. I did with Boelter when we
had troubles, and I didn't need to with Stafford Warren.
But that was my nature: to go and try to put out a fire
myself, and with whatever prestige the office had and
whatever personal effectiveness I might wield. Of course,
I never liked the son of a bitch--Coffman.
MINK: Were you ever called upon to present evidence to
the committee which was established to review Coffman's
deanship and to determine whether or not he would be re-
POWELL: No, I never was. My pipeline into the school
from way back was Ralph Rice, the professor who was the
leader of the anti-Coffman faction. He is the Connell
Professor of Law now and one of my close friends here on
campus, not because of that, but just because of general
interests we have. He used to bring me up to date some-
times on things that were going on. No, I was never
called later to give any evidence. I don't think I was
needed. I think there was so much evidence.
MINK: Were you aware of the central problems through
Rice, and what did Rice tell you?
POWELL: I think he told of Coffman's unfortunate reac-
tionary political and anti-Semitic utterances in class and
his attempts to indoctrinate the students in a particu-
lar point of view. He was of extreme right-wing politi-
cal viewpoints, and anti-Semitic, anti-Negro^ he was a
real John Bircher. And this was what upset Rice, I think,
who was not a radical by any means. He's an extremely
conservative-liberal, levelheaded guy. They couldn't
stand this very much longer.
MINK: Were you aware of the Cota affair? He was the law
student who claimed he was dismissed on anti-Semitic
grounds by grade-tampering?
POWELL: I read this in the Bruin , I suppose. Wasn't it
in the Bruin, it was busted open?
POWELL: That's all I knew about it. Maybe Rice talked
to me about it, but I didn't follow it closely. I fig-
ured the guy would hang himself. And I kept seeing Da-
bagh, now and then; he came through campus on special
missions for Sproul. And, of course, the wonderful re-
tribution and return of justice in the whole thing is
that it was Tom Dabagh who really broke through and led
to the founding of the library school. It was the special
committee that he headed for the raaster--what is it?--
the commission, or what is it called? The coordinating
MINK: To implement the master plan.
POWELL: Yes. Dabagh did a special task-force job for
them, and he came to see us, and I was able to give him
all the information that Page and Jim Cox had accumulated
on the need for a library school. Dabagh then really
wrote the ticket that led to the establishment of the
library school, and not a helluva long time after that
One more thing on Dabagh, Jim, before we go on:
when I withdrew in June of 1951 W candidacy for the
state librarianship (I was looking at my files here the
other day), I withdrew in favor of Tom Dabagh, who an-
nounced that he would be a candidate and would have been
a great appointment. But instead they appointed Carma
Zimmerman. But I had great feeling for Tom that we owed
him a great deal for what he'd done to establish the UCLA
Law Library, and then later, of course, for what he did
to establish the library school.
MINK: Yes, indeed.
POWELL: He was a sweet guy.
MINK: Now, in the Acquisitions Department--I wonder if
you could speak about the appointment of [Richard] O'Brien
and the problems that developed in that area leading to
the [Raynard] Swank survey.
POWELL: Yes, that was a sticky one wasn't it? Well,
let's see, Johnny Smith was head of the department, and
we were convinced, as I said the other day, that he'd
do better elsewhere. We were doing the things that led
to his appointment as city librarian of Santa Barbara.
In the meantime, we were faced with the problem of re-
placing Bob Quinsey, I think, who was in charge of the
undergraduate library, the developing College Library.
Quinsey had been pulled away by Bob Vosper to go to Kan-
sas, and Everett Moore was not too unhappy about this
because Quinsey apparently was giving Everett trouble.
MINK: How did he give Everett trouble?
POWELL: Well, I think he was acting emotionally unstable,
He was getting into maybe a little jam with his female
student assistant. He was going to see a psychiatrist,
and Everett didn't feel that he was stable enough to head
this. So when Vosper took liim, everybody cheered. And
Bob Vosper apparently never asked about any of these
problems. Of course, they really developed when Quinsey
was in Kansas. He had a lot of trouble there, which led
to his leaving. At any rate, Vosper solved that one for
us without effort on our part.
But there I was faced, rather suddenly I think, with
a replacement. I'd hired O'Brien originally in the class
of 1950 from the library school, as I remember, and we
hired him and Dave Heron, I think, in the same class,
for the Reference Department, and O'Brien appealed to
me. Every new appointment in reference I used to give
a special assignment just to see how they did, and this
was with Everett's OK. O'Brien did a couple for me that
showed that he had a good knowledge of sources, parti-
cularly, continental--German and French--bibliographical
sources. And he did one job for me on a purchase of French
newspapers that was well done.
And then Jim Breasted, a professor who went over to
the Los Angeles County Museum as director, remember, came
to me once and said he needed a head of the County Museum
library which was then both art and science and industry
(it hadn't been separated). I didn't see any future for
O'Brien in the Reference Department and here was a pro-
motional opportunity, and we were always trying to bring
these about outside the system when we couldn't do it
within it. So we gave O'Brien to Jim Breasted as his
librarian and he served over there very well for a couple
of years, maybe longer.
Breasted then, of course, got into a jam. with the
supervisors and was fired, and O'Brien made noises to
me that maybe he wanted out, too. Just about that time
Quinsey left, so I suggested to O'Brien that he come
back and be the undergraduate librarian. This would
put him back in Everett's jurisdiction (Everett was run-
ning that outfit). So that was going to happen. Then
the Johnny Smith thing broke, and he went off to Santa
Barbara, and then I had to replace the head, and I got
the "bright idea" that O'Brien might even do better in
acquisitions than he would In the undergraduate library.
So I guess we offered him this choice and he took the
Well, I don't know how he might have done if the
department had been staffed a little differently, but
we had a real staffing problem in there because Betty
Rosenberg was assistant head of the department, and she
and Barbara Kelley, who was the chief accounting clerk
for the department, were engaged in a kind of a Jewish-
Irish hassle, a real brannigan. It got to the point where
they weren't speaking to each other. They hadn't spoken
to each other for about three months, Rosenberg and
Kelley, and there they were at adjoining desks. And it
was an intolerable situation, a kind of a polarization
of the department. You were either Kelley or Rosenberg.
So here comes O'Brien walking into this. Well, I
don't know the chronology, but at one point I got so
mad about it that I called Kelley and Rosenberg into my
office one morning at eight o'clock and I said, "I'm
bloody fed up with you two gals not speaking to each
other. It's demoralizing the department and we're not
leaving this room until you agree to speak to each other
and you've shaken hands and made up." And I said, "if
you're not willing to do this, I'll have one or both of
you fired, and you can appeal it .just as high as you want.
but I'll make it stick. You either play ball or get out,
and if you won't get out, I'll throw you out."
They just sat there and looked at me. And I sat
there and went away signing papers and v/orking at my
desk, and about an hour passed I guess. The gals just
sat there. Finally Betty says, "Well, I'll play ball if
you will, Barbara." Barbara says, "All right, let's play
ball." I said, "Well, what's your trouble? Who wants to
talk first?" So I got them both to talk, each blaming
the other. We were there about three hours, I think,
and it was kind of a psychotheraputic device. [laughter]
MINK: Did you envision yourself as a headshrinker?
POWELL: Yes, as a headshrinker. Where's the couch,
girls? Well, it was good. They went into all the problems
of their authority and their position, and I got a real
insight, of course, into what was wrong with both of them.
Well, poor O'Brien, there he was. I pushed him into the
middle of this. They made it up and they did speak, but
they didn't like each other, of course. I don't know what
the immediate problems in there were, but I know that
O'Brien's personality was just as problematical as these
two girls'. He was strong-minded and blind to a lot of
his own ways. He v;as tactless in a lot of v/ays, with a
manner that put people off, didn't it? It was a kind of
a patronizing manner, wouldn't you call it, Jim?
MINK: You're the one that's making the evaluation.
POWELL: Yes, help me, chum. You knew him.. It was con-
descending, lofty, and with a New York accent and all,
that put people off. I brought him in a couple of times
and chewed hell out of him. He wanted to be promoted
to--God knows what. V/hat was he? Was he an L-III? He
wanted to be an L-IV. I told him why I wasn't promoting
him. And in one year I didn't give him a merit increase,
and he came in mad as hell. I said, "Lock, chum, you're
asking for it; I'll tell you what's wrong with you. You
say the wrong things to people, including me and my wife
Fay, for example." We were at a party, I think some af-
fair on campus, and O'Brien's opening remark to Fay was,
"Well, what are you doing here?" I said, "Goddamn it,
don't ever ask a woman that, particularly when she's
the librarian's wife and she's been here longer than you
have and she's part of the university community. You
don't ask her what she's doing here. You say, 'I'm glad
to see you' or 'how nice you could come.'" And he said,
"I realize that; I blurted it out, didn't I?" You see,
if he did this to me, I fear what he did to the lower
echelons. He must have really pissed them off.
Well, we had the problem at the same time of Betty
Rosenberg, who the longer she was in the department, the
more she insisted on doing her work and everybody else's.
too. She was a perfectionist and a revisionist. So
she stayed after work and revised everybody else's work,
but she couldn't keep up with it. The volume piled up
and up and up, and the faculty orders v/ere In arrears,
and I was getting more and more complaints from the fa-
culty that their orders weren't being checked. And when
they were checked, they weren't being typed; Kelley blamed
Rosenberg and Rosenberg blamed bad checking, and I guess
they both blamed O'Brien for being authoritarian and God
knows what else. Who was in charge of the department--
MINK: Gordon was in charge of technical processes.
POWELL: Yes, and Betty didn't like him because Gordon
used to come in and put his feet on her desk and make
her mad, and he pushed O'Brien around, and O'Brien said,
"Well, I'm the head of the department, but Gordon's got
all the authority and all the classification." And for
Christ's sake, it was one of those things.
Then, of course, I had the problems between Brad-
street and Kelley (we ought to talk about those some
time). This was a personal mistake I made to allow them
to work in the same area, because they polarized everybody,
you see. It was a mistake. I should have applied the
husband-wife rule, that any two people living together--
man and a woman, or man and man, or woman and woman- -
shouldn't be allowed to work in the same area. I think
this was a mistake I made. And yet, the longer I vjas
here the more I owed to Brady in the way of service and
loyalty and devotion and protections against all the
demands made on me that I couldn't satisfy that she di-
verted. So 1 owed her a lot, and I suppose I rewarded
her by allowing her to keep her roommate in the job next
door. But it was wrong; it was a mistake--one of the
worst mistakes I made.
MINK: Well, since you brought it up, I'll just ask you
one question: did you have a feeling that this situation
created a staff morale problem in that there were many
on the staff who felt that Bradstreet and Kelley and
those who they were close to were a spy system for the
University Librarian within the system?
POWELL: Well, I don't know that. I didn't have the
feeling that Kelley was, but certainly Brady was. She
was ears and eyes, and I benefited,
MINK: Your own?
MINK: For example, for many years they rode back and
forth with Tanya Keatinge, and then poor Tanya, bless her
soul, was suspect. Were you aware of this staff morale
POWELL: I vfas, and I could solve it only, I think, by
transferring Kelley out. And if I did that I probably
would have lost Brady. I had. . .
MINK: A real problem.
POWELL: I had a problem, and Brady was given to tears
and she would crack up very easily. She was under all
kinds of pressure. She was dominated by Kelley, and of
course they broke up finally, which was a blessing, and
then Brady entered into a kind of a new life. It was
an abnormal, bad situation, with Kelley really being a
bad person. I don't mean morally. They weren't les-
bians. They were not, Jim, at all; there wasn't any
sexual relationship between them. It was one of those--
it'd make a marvelous play--kind of symbiotic relation-
ships in the beginning that worked, and then it went bad.
But I was boxed in and I didn't take the steps that I
should have early enough. At any rate, here was all
this situation that O'Brien was in the midst of, and I'm
only amazed that he lasted as long as he did. Well,
those were the problems; the main problem in the depart-
ment was that we weren't getting the orders out and we
weren't processing the stuff.
MINK: Well, did you come to the conclusion that this
was more personality than it was actual work load?
POWELL: Both. I thought the personalities were wrong
and the system was wrong. That's when I asked Ray Swank
to come down from Stanford and do this survey. He spent
about a week here, and he worked quietly and I think with
great skill. I'd seen his work and knew him. He and Ar-
cher, I think, had been graduate students together at Chi-
cago. He really got into that Acquisitions Department
and didn't upset them at all. He worked quietly with them.
He met with them individually and as a department, and
then we all met in my office as a department and with Swank.
We tried to communicate among us in every possible way.
I wanted to do two things: I wanted to solve the person-
nel situation, and I also wanted to change the routines.
MINK: Before he began his survey was he aware, Larry, of
the personnel situation in the department?
POWELL: Yes. His first day here he came up to Malibu
and dined and stayed overnight with us, and we spent the
whole evening, Ray and I, talking about it. And of course
Gordon Williams had talked with him earlier. So, yes,
he was aware of everything.
MINK: He'd have to be in order to. . .
POWELL: That's right.
MINK: It had to be taken into consideration.
POliTELL: Yes, another problem with Betty Rosenberg and
her perfectionist ways was her high professionalization.
She didn't believe that checking could be done lower than
the professional level. She was opposed to clericals
and student assistant use; she wanted a high degree of
professlonalization in the department. Of course, the
whole trend of the Swank report was away from this; it
was to deprofessionalize, to use more clericals and more
graduate student, TA-type of checkers. It was also to
create the new position for Betty Rosenberg as a biblio-
grapher where she would be by herself in a professional
position. We talked over the results and the recommen-
dations that was to create a new position of bibliogra-
phical assistant to the librarian.
Well, it worked out from that point of view. It
relieved the department of Betty--and I mean this in
the best sense, because she was the wrong person in the
wrong place--and put her in direct relationship with me.
I was one person that she respected, as she didn't re-
spect O'Brien or Gordon Williams. She respected me, and
I knew more than she did, and she knew it--that is,
about books and bibliographical matters--and she'd work
her ass off for me, and she did. Good Lord, I used her,
and this pleased her enormously; there was no problem.
Well, I broke the whole thing in a departmental
meeting; I called the whole department into my office
and told them what we were going to do. We spent a whole
morning talking about it. Betty spoke up and O'Brien
spoke. Swank had gone then, I guess, but anyway, his
written report was circulated. I think it did some good.
But it didn't solve O'Brien's problems in the long run,
and then they came to a head in my last years, I think,
as librarian. He and Kelley came into real confronta-
tions. She was insubordinate and wouldn't do what he
wanted, and I told him that he could fire her, that I
would back him. And, of course, he did, through a trans-
fer to another department. We unloaded her. I don't
know where Brady was at that point. Did I do this or
did Vosper do this, Jim? At what point did Kelley leave
MINK: She left the department. . .
POWELL: After I left the llbrarianship. Wasn't it un-
MINK: Yes, I believe it was.
POWELL: You see, Brady had left, so there wasn't any
problem. It solved itself; both of them left. I couldn't
have done it, in other words, while Brady was still here
without losing her.
MINK: Well, it was never said, but I assume correctly--
do I not? --that a sine qua non of Vesper's coming was
POWELL: Yes. We ought to air that and get the record
straight. Yes it was, and Brady knew this in the begin-
ning and recognized it 3 but as the time came for me to
leave and him to come in, she weakened. She didn't know
where she'd go. Mildred Foreman had been working on a
transfer, and there wasn't anything that opened up on
that senior administrative level. So, Brady, bless her,
with the mistaken idea that it would work, asked me and
asked Vosper if she could stay as Vosper's administra-
tive assistant. In fact, both of us had the courage to
say no to her--no, it wouldn't work; he had to have his
own. And she was a very unhappy girl for awhile.
MINK: Well, then he had to have his own, and yet he
didn't have his own.
POWELL: Well, Sue Folz had only been in for a few months,
It was the same situation, Jim, that I inherited when
Bradstreet, who had been with Mr. Goodwin only a year,
came over to me. She knew enough about this system and
was not too devoted to the incumbent. So "Vosper bene-
fited from Sue Folz in exactly the same way that I did
Well, then my real headache was that Brady didn't
get placed, and the next thing she wanted to do was to
go along with me to the library school. She thought that
she'd go up there, and I was determined that I'd start
fresh, first of all with Ellie Schuetze, who v;as Andy's
secretary, v7ho would be mine in the beginning, and that
eventually I'd have an administrative assistant that
was not involved in the hassles that had been going on,
and so I had to say no to Brady. And, of course. Page
Ackerman was doing everything she could to get Brady a
place. Page at one point asked me if I would reconsider
and take Brady up to the library school, but I wouldn't
weaken. I knew that the cycle had played out, that she'd
fulfilled her role with me and that there wasn't any more
to do together. We'd done itj so I never weakened and
I wouldn't do it.
MINK: Well, wasn't it also more or less a sine qua non
that Andy Horn wouldn't have come as assistant dean if
Bradstreet were to have been the administrative assistant?
POWELL: Definitely. Yes. Andy felt just as strongly as
I did, sure. Of course, it was a bitter blow to Brady
eventually, when we brought Flo Williams back, the woman
that Brady had trained but who had been out of the system
for several years and had never been involved. I think
Flo was a real genius for relationships. She'd never
been partisan, had she, to any; she was always above it
all. She still is, bless her; she's a great woman. So
we were terribly fortunate in getting Flo to come out of
retirement back to the library school.
Then the little fairytale ending was Brady's coming
into her own as administrative assistant to the dean of
[the School of] Public Health, and she's had this great
life. She's not only a senior administrative assistant
now, she's an administrative planning officer, I think--
a higher classification. She's probably making $12,000
or $13^000 a year and has been extremely successful and
happy in this position with public health. So the Lord
provided. Well, that left O'Brien for Vosper to deal
with, and that's another interview isn't it, Jim? Vos-
per has had problems with acquisitions. It's always been
a problem. He replaced O'Brien with Bill. . .what's his
POWELL: Kurth, who was probably a low point in personnel
appointments for the department. So, it's a department
that's had its history, and I did good for it and I sup-
pose I did bad for it. But in appointing O'Brien, I did
the best thing that I could at the time and tried to make
it work. I found O'Brien, in working with him with the
Library Committee, to my point of view, extremely ef-
ficient and organized, and he presented his data to the
Library Committee with punctuality, with skill, with
tact. And I think my chewing his ass a few times pro-
bably did him some good in manners. I realized that he
had these faults. We all need to be chewed at times.
Of course. Fay chews me. She's my chev7er, tells me the
bad things I'm inclined to do. Everybody needs somebody
like this--a devil's advocate--and I was O'Brien's. I
like to think I did him some good. I don't know how
he's done as a bibliographer, but I would think this
was probably his cup of tea, just as it was Betty Rosen-
berg's. Of course, I brought Betty Rosenberg all the
way along by taking her out of Vosper's problem mena-
gerie up to the library school--although he knew her
before I did because they'd been classmates at library
school (the class of 1940), so I think Bob and Betty
always got along. Maybe even Vosper possibly resented
my taking her from the position that he would have had
with her as assistant and making her lecturer in the
library school, but I don't think so. I think I did
everybody good by that move, and she's a great teacher
now of acquisitions work.
TAPE NUMBER: IX, SIDE ONE
DECEMBER 1, I969
MINK: This morning we were just mentioning that you
hadn't talked too much about your theories of adminis-
tration, and then after all you did go out and teach it.
First, you practiced it and then you theorized on it.
POWELL: Well, this was by invitation. This wasn't my
idea. This was Carl White's idea at Columbia. The
first time I taught it Lowell Martin was on sabbatical,
and Carl White needed a replacement to teach his course
called "Theory of Library Administration." He asked me to
come back to Columbia for a semester in 1954, and I took
Martin's syllabus and redid it and taught that class and
then taught an evening seminar once a week on problems
in large libraries, research libraries. I had eight
doctoral candidates and they had projects.
It was an opportunity to examine what I'd been doing
and thinking and to try to make it understandable to stu-
dents. I didn't like Martin's syllabus. Theory of Library
Administration . I had no theoryj all I had was practice.
So I tried to find out what I'd been doing, and it wasn't
terribly complicated, Jim., what I'd been doing. I've
been getting people, as I've said before many times, to
do things that I couldn't do myself and coordinate their
activity. I did a few things myself, but by and large,
I gathered around me a group of very capable administra-
MINK: Well, by the time you went back to Columbia to
teach in 195^^ you were pretty well marked in the library
world as someone who had a theory, an ax to grind. . .
POWELL: As a bookman.
MINK: As a bookman versus someone like Coney at Berkeley,
purely an administrator kind of a person v;ho might go
out and run a nut-and-bolt factory.
POWELL: Yes, well, we'd gotten into this. I'd gotten
into a piece I wrote in the Stechert - Hafner Book News --
"Chief Librarian, Bookman or Administrator?" Tauber re-
plied to it and we were off to the races. Then I did a
program at a mid-winter meeting called, "Roasting an Old
Chestnut," in which I had Tauber speak as a bookman and
I spoke as an administrator. It was kind of a put-on,
and it was great fun. Then I did--I think it was the
best thing I did in the field of administration--that
institute we held at UCLA in 1957, called "A New Look at
Library Administration." Remember? Extension division
and the library sponsored it, and we had enrollees from
all over the country. VJe published the papers in the
Library Journal . We had Coney and Castagna and Henderson
and Hamill and a lot of the top administrative people
from this area. We had Harlow, I think, and Horn.
That was good, Jim; that was one of the best institutes
I ever took part in--that "New Look at Library Adminis-
Well, I resented, I suppose, being categorized
simply as a book person. I was a book person, but I
was also capable of organizing and administering and
getting things done. I used to kid about it. I did
another talk, I guess, at that institute called, "Adminis-
tration in One Easy Lesson," which was a kind of absurd
reduction of the whole nonsense of administrative theory.
Of course. Coney saw through it all, and he teased me a
lot about it.
I think one of the best tributes I ever had, Jim
(I've reached the age where I can quote my own tributes,
can't I? if I don't overdo it), was two years ago at
Rutgers when we went down from Wesleyan. Neal asked us
to come down to Rutgers and speak to the graduate library
school. I'd been told, because one of their graduates
was working at Wesleyan, he tipped me off, and said,
"Give them some book talk. They're fed up to the ears;
they have nothing but administrative talk down there.
Give them some book talk." So I did. I talked like
mad about books, and the class president got up after-
wards, a very doll of a girl, and said, "Oh, thank you.
you've refreshed us."
Ralph Blasingame got up then, who teaches adminis-
tration in the library school^ and real cynically, he
said, "Ah, don't be taken in by this guy Powell, talking
about books all the time." And I thought, "He's really
going to give me the shaft." But he said, "I was assis-
tant state librarian in California long enough to knov/
that Larry Powell is also one of the best library adminis-
trators I've ever known." Everybody cheered, and I clap-
ped. And Blasingame was right, God damn itj I did per-
form as an administrator and was never fired. I think
that's the test of it. Look around the country. There
are a hell of a lot of incompetent library administra-
tors that are getting the sack. Well, I might have got-
ten it, Jim, but I quit while I was ahead. I got out
before I had to, and that's also a proof of good adminis-
tration, isn't it? Who brought this up anyT^ay?
MINK: I did.
POWELL: For Christ's sake--well, what else do you want
to know about it?
MINK: Well, I want to know exactly what your theory of
administration is, and don't refer me to the article in
Stechert - Hafner . . .
POWELL: The gospel? The gospel according to St. Lav;-
POWELL: Well, what do you mean theory ?
MINK: Well, you said, of course, that Martin's syllabus
had no theory; or you didn't like the word "theory."
POWELL: I didn't like it.
MINK: That's what I meant to say. So how did you go
about teaching this course?
POWELL: I did a lot of it with case history, I think,
by devising problems in library administration that would
appear in a public or an academic library and enlisting
student participation in solving them. I did a lot of
case history teaching there at Columbia, based on my
experience and on what I read. Of course, the school
that's done the most on this is Simmons. Shaffer and
his colleagues at Simmons have published a number of
casebooks. But I did my own, and the results--I kept
a number of the Columbia papers, and you'll find them
in the archives.
MINK: Yes, the papers from your classes are in the
POWELL: Yes, well, a lot of those deal with library ad-
ministration. And if you really wanted to knov;, which
you don't of course, you're just teasing me. . .
MINK: For the record we want to know.
POWELL: For the record you want to know--well, God damn
it, go and read all these papers. There's the dirty
truth. I used Emerson as a textbook because I found that
Emerson's essays were full of administration, of apothegms
and all kinds of homilies that were useful in ad-
ministration. I found it a much better textbook than a
lot of the theoretical works that Lowell Martin had
cited. I just junked them all and brought in Emerson.
I haven't any theory. I'm a practitioner, Jim; I'm
not a theoretician.
MINK: So I don't expect that you intend to teach the
principles of administration or the corollaries of ad-
POWELL: God bless you, I never knew what they were. I
never had any^
MINK: Well, for example, planning, organizing, staffing,
POWELL: Well, I did it all. But I didn't do it in the
sense that it was a theoretical framework. It was just
common sense; you planned, you staffed, you programmed,
you budgeted, because you jolly well had to, and that
isn't theory, that's practice, common sense. What did
I say in ray book? Well, I won't look it up, for God's
sake, but there it is, a paragraph or two about library
administration. Get good people, give them responsibil-
ity, give them credit, and fasten your seat belt. And
we rode out a number of storms here. I suppose I saw
good examples around me--of Sproul, of Dykstra, of prac-
ticing library administrators. I never liked Coney as
an example; I thought he was a poor administrator. I
didn't care for Swank or Van Patten or Lew Stieg or any
of the other library administrators around the state, ex-
cept maybe Castagna.
MINK: Let's take them one at a time. What about Ray
Swank, for example. What was it that you found about
his breed of administrator that you didn't like?
POWELL: Well, I never cared for the auspices under which
he came to Stanford, you see. He did the survey of the
Stanford library with Louis Round Wilson, which ended
up eventually by Swank being made the librarian. I
thought it was kind of coming in the back door, dumping
Van Patten. I was a friend of Van Patten's and I didn't
like the way they treated him. He was a poor administra-
tor, sure, but that was no excuse for kicking him in the
ass and chucking him in the dustbin. I was prejudiced
against Swank because of that. I came to know him later
and I liked him. very much as a human being. I found that
he was a much better person than I thought. And maybe
he was what Stanford needed at the time as a kind of
corrective to too much Van Patten, and maybe what the
Berkeley library school needed was a corrective to too
much [J. Periam] Danton.
MINK: Well, Nathan Van Patten v;as more of a bibliogra-
pher, more of a recluse?
MINK: Would you say he was more like John Goodwin, ex-
cept that he had more on the ball than Goodwin had?
POWELL: He had more in a bookish sense, but I don't
think he had as much administrative sense. I think Good-
win had a great deal more planning sense and personnel
sense. He had better people around him. I will say that
Van Patten had the wit to hire Bob Vosper away from Leupp,
and that I had the wit to hire Bob Vosper away from Van
Patten. I wanted to work for Van Patten when I was in
library school. I applied to him for a Job, but they
never had any then. They didn't pay anything. It was
probably just as well I didn't, although I might have
gone to Stanford and succeeded to the librarianship there,
but I doubt it. I think the only place I could have made
it was here at UCLA--the right person in the right place
at the right time, and that was fate.
MINK: What about Stieg? What is it that you have to
criticize about his brand of administration?
POWELL: Well, I think it was just ineffective. The whole
use program was fuzzy, and he had terrible people work-
ing for him, by and large.
MINK: By choice or by inheritance?
POWELL: Both. I think his forte is teaching. You see,
in the beginning he was both university librarian and
dean, and they made the great mistake of taking him out
of the library school and leaving him full time in the
library, when I think it should have gone the other way.
MINK: And then they brought in Martha Boaz as dean.
POWELL: That's right. I think Stieg is a natural
teacher, and I employed him two summers here in library
school, and he taught with great success. But he should
have known better; he should have known his limitations
and not wasted himself on administering a half-assed
library, which is what USC ' s was and still is. It's
a facade, really, Jim. It's a shell.
MINK: Has Stieg ever discussed with you in any intimate
way what are the problems?
POWELL: Funding, I suppose, is. . .
MINK: Why funding, because USC seems to ooze money?
POWELL: Well, but it goes into the wrong things--it
goes into biological sciences; it goes into football.
MINK: Well, would you think maybe if there v;ere a stron-
ger man in the post of librarian, someone v;ho would
speak out for the library, that. . .
POWELL: Yes J sure, if they'd had Larry Powell as librar-
ian. There again is an institution that I tried to work
for. In 1937 I wrote to Miss Christian Dick, the univer-
sity librarian, and applied to her for v;ork v;hen I was
part time at the Los Angeles Public Library. The dean
of men at USC then, Frank Bacon, was a family friend, and
he went to Miss Dick and said, "Hire Larry Powell." And
Miss Dick dithered; she never could make up her mind.
I shouldn' t say Dick went soft, [laughter] but at any
rate, she never hired me, and I think the reason was that
she felt that I was overqualified. She didn't want a
young doctoral person; she wanted slave labor.
MINK: Perhaps she felt threatened.
POWELL: Threatened, possibly, yes. But I might have been
over there, and I think I could have made it and done
things for them in funding and all of that, with the zip
I had at that time.
Coney--well, that's another story. I admire Don
Coney very much; I like his wit, I like his decency and
his integrity. He has fine human qualities. He never
went back on his word to anyone, I'm sure, and he has
guts; but he was cold. He lacked a warm touch of dealing
with his people. Gradually the library froze on him,
and you know they ended up in a very bad situation. Al-
so, he didn't hire the right kind of people. He had a
lot of poor, mediocre administrative people there. But
we got along very well, just, I suppose, by the attrac-
tion of opposites. We never fell out, and I respected
him and liked him and still do; I think he's a wonderful
guy. He was probably the right person at the right time
MINK: On the other hand, you mentioned Ed Castagna, and
you said that there was one that you really admired as
an administrator. What did you admire, and what do you
admire about Ed?
POWELL: Well, I liked his human touch, I suppose. "Some-
thing human is dearer to me than all the gold in the v;orld."
He had a great human touch with his staff and with the
profession, and he was also intensely bookish. And yet
he was a very good city official. He was liberal. He
was active in the United Nations in Long Beach when it
was not a popular thing to do. He was interested in
staff welfare and staff morale. Our great mistake, I
think, was in not seeing him become state librarian. When
I turned it down, I wish (Castagna was a candidate then;
he was interviewed by the committee) they would have
picked him. He would have made a great state librarian.
We lost him as you know to the Enoch Pratt [Free
Library, Baltimore]. I've been there two or three times.
Fay and I have stayed v/ith the Castagnas. I've spoken
to his staff, and I felt his presence in the Enoch Pratt,
which to my mind is the greatest public library in the
country. It's a tremendous public library, and Castagna
was right on top there.
For example, the staff gave a reception for me when
I talked; it was the weekend of Thanksgiving. They gave
a reception, and I talked to the staff. They had a very
interesting staff room set-up. They had two opposite
ends of a great long table, and at one end of the table
they had a sign which read, "A Passion for Cider," and it
was the cider bowl. At the other end they had a sign
that read, "A Passion for Coffee," and in the middle of
the table, of course, they had a sign that read, "A Pas-
sion for Books." Well, this was a little staff fun for
me. What I was impressed by at this staff party, which
was attended by several hundred of the staff, was the
way Ed Castagna knew by name every person that he ad-
dressed. He went around the room among these hundreds
of people introducing me to them, and he knew their names,
and these were clericals, these v;ere librarians, these
were Chinese, these were Negroes, they were all kinds.
Well, this to me is good staff work and good administra-
tion. He had a rapport with his staff; you could see they
MZNX: That brings up a point in our ovm library, as
brought out in the report that Lattitnan did (the Ph.D.
candidate in business administration here a number of
years ago) in which he said that one of the main causes
of a low morale, so-called, in the library was that one
seldom saw the university librarian or his lieutenants,
and when they did, they didn't know their names. It's a
problem when a library grows big.
POWELL: ¥e talked about this the other day, Jim, and I
saw it happening to me as the place got larger and the
personal contacts became more difficult. But it's a chal-
lenge. The administrative people must work harder at it
and give more time to it and set up priorities in estab-
lishing its importance. I tried to do this but, Jesus,
it was hard; and my sympathy is with Vosper and Ackerman
and Miles and Moore. But I don't think there can be any
condoning it; you have to do this. Otherwise, you'll
lose your staff. And if it means taking more time for
human contacts and less time for planning and budgeting
and traveling, then, by God, take more time. Otherwise,
you end up a lone person with a staff looking the other
way. It ' s a tragedy. I think this happened to Coney
MINK: As the staff grew larger?
POWELL: Yes, and more militant. You've got to identify
with them. I don't know if I could have done it in these
latter years as the staff became, not more militant, but
more concerned with their own welfare, whether I could
have met the challenge. But I'd like to have tried. It'd
be nice to start over, Jim, wouldn't it, and do all these
things that we learn toward the end that are important
that you don't know in the beginning. You feel your way,
and I'm sure I made a great many mistakes from inexper-
MINK: Well, it would be hard for you to say, maybe, how
you would feel if confronted with, for example, the es-
tablishment of the UCLA Librarians' Association.
POWELL: Yes. I don't know what I'd feel, because in
the beginning, of course, I confronted the librarian in
the same way. Remember, there was no staff association
in 1938* Ardis Lodge, Jens Nyholm, and I were a commit-
tee to establish a staff association, Mr. Goodwin didn't
like it, but we persisted. And a number of the profes-
sional people on the staff did not want to include the
clericals, remember, and Nyholm and I and Ardis Lodge
insisted that it be a total staff-wide organization. Some
of the old guard didn't like this one bit.
I was thinking the other day of some of the programs
we had. We put on staff association programs based often
on the library exhibits that I did--that is, we had Jean
Hersholt talk to the staff; we had Edgar Goodspeed talk;
V/aldernar Westergaard talked to the staff when he came
"back from Denmark. The staff association was very active.
And I think Mr. Goodwin approved of this. But when we
talked about job classification and pay plans, I don't
think he was pleased one bit.
MINK: The establishment of a staff welfare committee.
POWELL: No, he didn't believe in it; he was paternalis-
tic. And I probably would be now, too. This is an in-
evitable part of the aging process. You get a paterna-
listic feeling toward the kids.
MINK: For example, how do you feel that you could cope
with a situation where the librarians on the staff want
a voice in reclassifications and in promotion. The in-
cumbent librarian welcomes it as another ingredient in
the decision-making process.
POWELL: Well, I suppose I would have; I had a staff ad-
visory committee, remember, for personnel problems--Jean-
nette Hagan, Ardis Lodge, Bob Vosper. It wasn't exactly
drawn from the depths, although Jeannette and Ardis were
L-I's at that time. I shouldn't have had Vosper on it,
I suppose. That would be a mistake now to put someone
that close to you on it. It wasn't truly representative,
was it, of the rank and file, if you had your assistant
librarian or top department head on it. I tried in a
limited way to have staff participation. They advised
on the reclassification study. Ardis Lodge v;as a very
key person in this. I suppose she took the same kind of
interest in staff welfare and organization activity that
someone like Jo Tallraan is taking latterly^ or yourself.
MINK: Larry, hov/ much can you honestly say that you did
for the development of the librarian status v/ithin the
university community? When you became librarian^, all li-
brarians were lumped with nonacademic employees. During
the time that you were librarian, they remained so. It
was only after you left that the status changed. Did you
see yourself as having a part, a role, in this change
that came about?
POWELL: I don't think I did very much. I don't think
it was in the nature of things to do very much. I sup-
pose I thought I'd done my part in getting them a classi-
fication of their own and getting them recognized to that
extent, getting the L-I, II, III, IV classifications and
getting a better pay scheme. I suppose that was my role,
and I didn't go beyond that because it wasn't the time
to. That was another reason why it was time for me to
retire, you see. I knew there was more to be done and
that I wasn't the person to do it, and I welcome what
is done nov;.
I believe, though, that you cannot have faculty rank
for librarians unless it's based on the same criteria
that gives faculty, faculty rank. VJhat I would say is
that librarians should have rank. It should be a separ-
ate classification with some benefits, but not identical
and not categorized the same way. I touched on this in
the Coulter Lecture, which is just published nov;. Grant
Dahlstrom has just done it as a UCLA keepsake; and I say
in there (and I remember Fay Blake didn't like it one
bit) that "faculty rank achieved by any other means than
the means the faculty uses--that is, by publication, re-
search and teaching--is phony." And I know she chided
me a little afterwards; she said, "Well, we thought you
were one of us."
Well, I was citing Miss Coulter as an example. She
achieved faculty status by being faculty. And I still
believe this. But I also believe that librarians are en-
titled to rewards based on merit, and these rewards would
include travel benefits, sabbatical benefits, and recog-
nition. But I found that a great many librarians, in ray
experience, wanted the rewards, but they didn't want to
pay for them. They wanted the sabbaticals so they could
have a year off. But it doesn't work that way; you have
to do something with that year. Jim, have I answered?
MINK: Yes, I think so.
POWELL: The answer is, I didn't do very much.
MINK: VJell, you said that at the outset; however, you've
gone on to say things that you did do, and within the
time context, perhaps, they were all that could be done.
It seems to me that one of the problems that librarians
face (and I'm sure that you've had librarians come and
talk to you about this) is that with this lower status,
it is difficult to deal with the faculty on an equal foot-
ing. Maybe they shouldn't be dealing with the faculty on
an equal footing. Can you cite examples of how librarians,
during the time that you were librarian here, have felt
about dealing with the faculty in a lower position, sta-
tus-wise? For example, have they ever come to you and
cried on your shoulder about it?
POWELL: No, they didn't. The ones that achieved the
compatibility, the rapport with the faculty were in three
different areas, as I remember it. We had a top reference
staff then--Hilda Gray, Ardis Lodge and Gladys Coryell
and Helen Riley and Rob Collison--and the faculty often
came to me and said, "These are superb people; they've
understood what I wanted and were able to help me and
we thanked them in our books, and we regard them as ab-
solutely tops." VJell, this is because these librarians
could identify v;ith the faculty and could anticipate.
You've found it, too, in your work in archives and in the-
sis advising. You have to put yourself in the faculty's
place. But you're able to do this, because you did
graduate work in an area other than librarianship.
Now, in acquisitions it was the people who under-
stood bibliography and the whole international network
of bibliography. And I suppose the classic example of
the person who achieved the deepest and closest rapport
with the faculty was Bob Vosper. He did this from the
beginning, as head of the Acquisitions Department in 19^4.
He immediately was recognized by the faculty. Oh, I say
something--let me get one of my books. Here's a paper
I read at Chicago to the Graduate Library School Institute
on Education for Librarians (19'^8, I think). It's called,
"Education for Academic Libraria.nship," and it appears in
A Passion for Books , pages 115-13^5 and Bob Vosper helped
me on this.
MINK: He helped you write it?
POWELL: He helped me with data. And I remember the para-
graph here that Vosper helped on. It reads: "The abil-
ity of a librarian to achieve an advanced degree, or the
mere interest in doing so, may indicate an effective con-
cern for the essential work of the university or college
and in the problems faced by the teaching-research facul-
ty." I think these next two sentences were taken right
out of Vosper' s notes for me: "a desperate deficiency is
that of more librarians who have knowledge and interest
and sympathy of the same kinds as the faculty. On every
academic library staff I have an acquaintance v/ith, I
can count on few fingers the number of persons who can
establish intellectual camaraderie with the faculty. Un-
til this can be done by the majority of a staff, talk of
equal rank with the faculty is a waste of breath."
Now that is pure Vosper, and I think it's still true.
But here at UCLA, and I think also at other campuses of
the university, and by and large in academic libraries
throughout the country, there are more and more such peo-
ple achieving this, and I think rank and recognition will
Now, I'vc! mentioned acquisitions and reference, and
the other area in which this kind of interlocking rela-
tionship is established was in the branch libraries. Louise
Darling, in biomedicine, and Jo Tallman were both given
lectureships on the faculty of those professional schools,
you remember. They were lecturers in medical history and
engineering bibliography even before the library school.
That means they had been recognized as experts by their
own faculties. Of course, the obligation of those li-
brarians then is to draw people around them on their staff
who have the same kind of rapport and increase this; then
you'd get a truly faculty-oriented library staff. Has
this been done? You know more about the staff now than
I do, Jim. Have we got more and more such people here?
MINK: More people, and probably the ratio is about the
same, wouldn't you say?
POWELL: Yes. The few are doing it and the many want it.
I won't say they are incapable of achieving this rapport,
but it takes time. It brings up my old belief that to
be a good librarian and to achieve higher status means
giving up many things and practicing more of the things
that will be recognized and rewarded by the faculty. I
touched on this in that "Administration in One Easy Les-
son." It means choosing and giving up pastimes and games
and sports and all kinds of competing interests.
You know that publication and research take time,
and you have to have very understanding friends and fam-
ily if you're going to live this way. Vosper, I think,
and I were both very fortunate in the wives we had, hav-
ing been married to women who were very understanding
and adaptable. I think Loraine Vosper has been a marve-
lous person for Bob Vosper. She's brought him a warmth
and a humane sort of feeling for people and a social gre-
garious feeling that he might not have had on his own.
Fay has done, of course, that and more for me. She's
not as social and gregarious as Loraine, but Lord, she's
adaptable. She's made over her life to fit mine, not
always v;lllingly. Sometimes she bucked and scream.ed,
but she saw that it was the v;ise thing to do.
MINK: You had said a little earlier that you might men-
tion the ways in which she had helped you In your writing.
POTOLL: VJell, I think she helped me more just in my liv-
ing than in my writing-- just in my living and my v;ork,
in affording me a background and a concern and a love
and a home to which I could always return to. And she
was willing to hold me on a long leash, give me a lot of
ropej and I wandered pretty far and wide in my time, around
the country and around the world. But she's the only
woman I ever married and the only wife I've ever had.
We're still together after forty years (we met forty-one
years ago this fall), and I still think she's the inevi-
table person in my life.
MINK: Larry, to come back now to the contemporaries--you
mentioned that Ed Castagna was a candidate for the posi-
tion of state librarian when Mabel Gillis retired and al-
so the then Carma Zimmerman, now Carma Zimmerman Leigh
was . . .
POWELL: She may have been a good lay, Jim, but it's
pronounced "lee." [laughter]
MINK: Excuse me. . .was also a candidate, and she won
out, Howv/ouldyou say that the administration of the
state library has been as a result of this?
POVJELL: Well, it's been very good from one point of
view. She's been very much oriented toward public
librarianship. She was the State Librarian of V/ashing-
ton. She has had a good sense of governmental relation-
ships, and I think she's done very well in this area.
What 1 would have done, I think, would have made the
state librarian more an institution to serve librarian-
ship, period , statewide and not just public librarians.
I would have seen the state library as a scholarly place,
and I would have, I suppose, emphasized the Californiana,
which is its great and glorious collection dating back
to Fremont, as you know--l851.
I think Castagna would have done more to make the
state library truly a statewide, all-library institution.
But Carma has done what she's done with a good deal of
efficiency. I think she's a cold, uninspiring woman.
Her talks are really dull^ she can't talk worth beans.
At district meetings at UCLA which she attends, she's
completely uninspiring, but maybe the state needed some-
body like this. Maybe California deserved somebody dull.
Anyway, that's what she's been.
MINK: Well, supposing you had to contrast her adminis-
tration with that of Mabel Gillis' for example?
POWELL: Mabel Gillis was much more of a human person.
She was much more interested, I think, in history and
in culture and in the general cultural role of the state
library. And she was more of a human human, but still
Mabel Gillis was not my ideal of a state librarian. I
suppose her father, James L. Gillis, was the greatest one
we've ever had. He combined all of these things, with a
great deal of flair for people and personnel work. Oh,
I'm glad I never went to that job; that would have been
a mistake if I'd have gone to Sacramento. But I'm still
sorry that Ed Castagna didn't.
MINK: Did you ever meet James Gillis?
POWELL: The father?
MINK: Yes, the father.
POWELL: No, he died, when? Back in the teens, Jim. I
guess I was in the sandpile.
MINK: Yes, that's right.
POWELL: Milton Ferguson succeeded him and then Mabel
Gillis, the daughter. I think the high point--well, I
know there were two high points in my relationship with
Mabel Gillis. One was the conference in Sacramento in 1950,
the centennial. You were there, weren't you? Andy Horn
was there and recorded a lot of the stuff. We had a tri-
bute to the state library. Phil Townsend Hanna spoke in
tribute to it. Idwal Jones spoke. That was a great meet-
ing. Then we presented Mabel Gillis for the honorary
doctorate here at UCLA. I'm glad we did it here, and I
had the privilege of presenting her to President Sproul.
We all gathered in my office, I remember, v;ith Neal Harlow
and Andy and Bob and a lot of other people. Maybe Bob
Vosper was gone then, I don't know; was he still here?
Yes, we got some pictures of that.
MINK: Is that all that you wish to say about Mrs. Gillis?
POWELL: Jim, don't marry her off, for God's sake, she
was an old maid.
MINK: Yes, Miss Gillis.
POWELL: She was a formidable old maid, too. She could
bite nails. She was really tough. No, it isn't all I've
got to say, but it's all I will say. [laughter]
MINK: What about Richard Dillon?
POVJELL: What about Dillon?
MINK: As an administrator. How do you think he's done?
POWELL: I don't think he has anything to administer, has
he? The [Adolph] Sutro Library is really a joke. It ' s a
creature, really, of Dillon's publicity. I was on a com-
mittee the governor or somebody appointed sometime back
to study the future of the Sutro Library, when it was in
the basement of the San Francisco Public Library, to find
it a new home. I think Glen Dawson, John Henderson, and
I were the committee. I went up and spent part of a day .
in the basement of the San Francisco Public Library look-
ing at what was called the Sutro Library, and I nearly
threw up. It's really a junky, messy lot of culls. The
best of it was their seventeenth-century English pamphlets
and the Mexican pamphlets and broadsides. But its English
literature and its genealogy were ridiculous. So I never
took it seriously. I thought it should have been closed
out. Of course, the Bancroft wanted its Mexican stuff;
it would have probably been a good thing to box it all
and take it over to the Bancroft and cream it off and junk
the rest. But they made the deal with the University of
San Francisco, and of course Dillon came along and he
found it a perfect base from which to operate as a his-
torian and a writer. I love Dick Dillon and he's a great
guy and he's really productive and he's a great teacher
(I brought him here to teach one summer); but as Sutro
librarian, it's simply ridiculous--there isn't any! He
has a beautiful sinecure. Any more questions?
MINK: Well, will you comment about Harold Hamill as an
POWELL: Well, I think here again Hamill stayed too long.
He's an example of a city librarian who was fine in the
beginning, but the place got big, and he found it harder
and harder to keep in touch. The city became enormous.
He was faced with a decaying central library, and he
should have quit five years ago and gone over to USC, as
he's done now in teaching, and let somebody else take
the rap. The poor guy's taken nothing but rap: the park-
ing lot, the obsolete building, and all of these problems
which are really insoluble. It's a wretched building to
work in. I know from having worked there off and on for
a year. Every year in the library school, I took my stu-
dents down to their open house. We'd come back afterwards
and analyze the building. They thought it was the most
dreadful public library structure and a difficult place
to work in, to interrelate to the departments the v;ay it's
But to say this for Hamill, I found him always a
man of great courage and integrity, and he always was on
the side of the angels. When there was a dispute over
censorship or anything else, Harold Hamill stood up and
spoke. He had lots of guts. And in many of the contro-
versies they had down there (some of which I joined him),
he and John Henderson were brave and true men. Henderson
was the better administrator of the two, I think. Oh,
I liked Hamill; I admire him in what he did. He was a
good person, but he stayed too long.
MINK: About Ed Coman at Riverside--apparently Ed left
Riverside under somewhat of a cloud, as far as I could
gather, although this may not be true. I don't know. He
certainly left before he v/as ready to retire. You were
one who promoted Ed, and how do you feel that he lived
up to your justifications as the first librarian for
the Riverside campus?
POWELL: I think here again he didn't have the long haul
in him. He had a short-haul performance. He did it, and
he probably should have left even earlier. I don't know
what the circumstances were under which he left, but I
know for the job that was needed, in the beginning, he
was the right person. I brought him there.
You see, I served as vice-president of CLA under his
presidency, and so I knew him for two or three years on
the board, and I saw his capabilities when he was presi-
dent. He was a good planner, a good organizer, and a
good bookish person. He'd been eighteen years at Stan-
ford. He was at a dead end, and he wanted another job.
At the same time, Gordon Watkins, the new provost at
Riverside, came to me and said, "I need a librarian."
And right away I though of Coman for several reasons:
one, that he wanted another job; two, he was ready for
another job] and three, he had a master's degree in eco-
nomics, which was Gordon Watkins' field. He had his mas-
ter's from Claremont, and he had business experience to
mesh with Gordon Watkins, and this proved true. Those
two were the only two people there in the beginning--the
librarian and the provosto The original Riverside Li-
brary was in the old director's home of the experiment
Ed put it all together. He planned the basic
collection, he planned the building, he staffed and he
integrated it with citrus, with Margaret Buvens, the ci-
trus librarian. I don't know Khat happened latterly,
Jim. I think probably the job became a little too big
for him. I know he had a lot of success in the begin-
ning, because Watkins used him as a faculty recruiter.
Coman went around the country interviewing faculty--not
MINK: I didn't realize that. This is unusual for a li-
brarian to be delegated authority of this nature.
POWELL: It is; but Watkins saw that Coman had this abil-
ity to evaluate and to establish rapport, which he'd
gained at Stanford. He'd been a key person in the Grad-
uate School of Business Administration at Stanford as a
member of the faculty. And Watkins used him. So I would
say he justified my faith in him up to "x" point. I don't
know at which point "x" was located when it got beyond
him. I think, by and large, his staff appointments were
good. He seemed to take interest in staff. It's curi-
ous, I'll be at Riverside tomorrow. I'm speaking tomor-
row night on an Extension Division program and on Wednes-
day at their 500,000th volume ceremony.
TAPE NUMBER: IX, SIDE TWO
FEBRUARY YJ , 1970
POWELL: This is after about two months' vacation, isn't
MINK: Larry, you know I was mentioning, just before we
turned the recorder on, that it seems to me that as I
watched you, I think the question in my mind was--and I
know it was in the minds of others, because I've heard
them say so--to what extent were you genuinely interested
in your association with these people and to what extent
were you basking, more or less, in their, you might say,
glory, a question of reflected glory? To what extent did
you cultivate the interest of these people to make brov;nie
points with the administration and to what extent were
you genuinely interested in these people as individuals?
There's a question for you.
POWELL: Yes. Well, I don't think I've ever cultivated
anyone that I didn't feel attracted to. An example is
Irving Stone. He's a man I don't like, and I never have
cultivated him. I never got his papers here; it was done
by Andy Horn in my absence.
MINK: You never encouraged Andy Horn?
POWELL: I never encouraged him in any way. This is what
Andy did as acting librarian. Of course, he brought lots
of trouble to himself--to Andy and to the library.
MINK: What was it that you felt you didn't like about
POWELL: He's a prick.
MINK: Wellj besides that. [laughter]
POWELL: He's self-important ^ pompous ^ and essentially
MINK: What is your estimate of his writing?
POWELL: Journalism. He's not a great v;riter. He's not
even a good writer. I think he's a slick writer.
MINK: And yet Irving Stone in the depths of the Depres-
sion was making $150 a week writing, while other liter-
ary people were starving.
POWELL: Wellj I never cultivated writers for their earn-
MINK: No, but isn't this some measure of his ability?
POWELL: Well, it's his ability certainly as a salesman.
I first saw Irving Stone in about I938 or 1939 when I
happened to be walking by Mr. Goodwin's office, and I
heard him having a dialog with Irving Stone.
POWELL: Goodwin. Stone had come in to use the library,
and Mr. Goodwin didn't know who the hell he was, and
Stone blew up and he was giving Mr. Goodwin hell. He
said, "Don't you know who I am? I wrote Lust for Life."
Mr. Goodwin said, "Well, I'm afraid I haven't read it."
And Stone was in a rage, and poor Mr. Goodwin--! eaves-
dropped deliberately; this fascinated me--just took a
tongue-lashing from Irving Stone. I suppose that pre-
judiced me initially, the man's rudeness and crudeness.
Of course, as writers, we all like to be known, and we're
all hurt when people don't know us; but we control our
MINK: Well, you said a minute ago that he promoted, I
suppose, his writing to a great extent. V/hat author
doesn't? You've promoted yours, for goodness sake.
POWELL: Yes, but I hope I did it in a subtler way than
Stone. Stone, for example, got Majl Ewing down on him
here in a big way, because Stone went to Ewing, who was
chairman of the English department then, and said that
he wanted to give a course, sponsored by the English
department, on the biographical novel, which form he
had invented. And Ewing blew up at that, of course.
He said, "You didn't invent it at all; there are exam-
ples back through literature of the biographical novel,"
and simply that Stone had exploited it. And Stone wanted
the library to put on a major exhibition of his work
as the first biographical novelist.
MINK: And at this time you were University Librarian.
POWELL: I was librarian, and Ewing said, "If you put in
such an exhibit, Larry, I'll come around with an ax and
smash all the cases." He was absolutely livid with rage
at Stone's presumption. No, Jim, I don't think that's
true, that I ever cultivated anybody deliberately. I
pursued them because I wanted their material, and I be-
lieved that we gave something for it. We served them--
Miller, for example. You couldn't bask in Miller's re-
putation at the time we were pursuing him, because it
was so bad; it was running a risk all the time.
MINK: But then again wasn't that really more Andy Horn
in the beginning than it was you?
POWELL: Good Lord, no; Andy'd never heard of Henry
POWELL: No, of course not, Jim; Miller came to me in
MINK: Is that the first time you ever met him?
POWELL: Sure. He walked in the order department in
1940. He was sent to me by James Laughlin of New Di-
rections. And we started serving him; I served him all
through those war years when he lived in Beverly Glen.
MINK: You wrote about this in your book.
MINK: You would bring books home to him and take them
back to the library.
POWELL: Sure. No, I introduced Andy to Killer^ he'd
never heard of Miller. In fact, Andy Horn had never
read a modern book. He didn't know what poetry was. He
was just a goddamned history Ph.D. here and was the
most illiterate of all the graduates. He had no famil-
iarity at all with modern literature. Neal Harlow had
more, but he didn't have much. They were historians;
their interest was history; mine was literature.
MINK: Were they interested in the idea of getting Mil-
ler's papers, or was Horn turned off by the idea of hav-
POWELL: No, I don't think Andy ever was turned off by
any opportunity to get a collection of documentary ma-
terial here. He was passionately interested in the amas-
sing and arrangement and organizing of source material,
and whether it was literature or theology it didn't really
matter to him. Andy was more interested in the tech-
nique and procedure than in content, which has its good
points. You aren't blinded then, and you aren't distrac-
ted by stopping to read. But Neal was the first one
that became interested, and I took Neal with me up to
Big Sur to record Miller. It was when Neal was head of
MINK: VJhat were you going to record? Autobiographical
POWELL: Reading the works of Lawrence Durrell; I wanted
to bring the two together.
MINK: Was the idea to read the works of Durrell and to
POWELL: Yes--to talk about his friendship with Durrell.
Of course, it was a great flop initially, because we got
up at Miller's house and found they had no electricity.
MINK: This was before the time of battery recorders.
POWELL: Yes. We had that Lear wire recorder and no
juice! So we packed up in the car and drove up to Big
Sur Lodge. We rented a cabin and plugged it in there,
and Miller made his first recording, reading Durrell' s
poem, "Alexandria," as I remember. I don't know, would
they still have that?
MINK: I believe we do.
POWELL: Well, at any rate, he was an early one. And
then another of the very first writers was Richard Al-
dington. And here again, I was interested in him as a
writer. I'd read Death of a Hero and All Men are Enemies ,
all of his works on D. H. Lawrence. I was terribly in-
terested in him as a writer, and then when I met him as
a man, and his wife and daughter, I liked him. We had
a personal friendship that lasted until he died, in 19o2,
I guess. So, most of these writers that I've gotten down
here--Huxley, Harold Lamb, Guy Endore, Frieda Lawrence,
Henry Miller, Bill Everson, Judy Vanderveer, Ray Brad-
bury, Kenneth Rexroth, Idwal Jones, Harvey and Erna
Fergusson, Haniel Long, Frank Dobie--were men and women
that I liked personally. And I didn't deliberately cul-
tivate them to bask in the glory of it.
MINK: Did you ever hear anyone criticize you for this
POWELL: No, I never have, and if I had heard it, it
wouldn't have affected me one way or another, because I
never was affected by criticism; I have got too thick of
a skin, Jim. I believed only in what reinforced what I
was doing. This is a strength and a weakness, and it's
a kind of a monstrous form of egotism I suppose--"What
I'm doing is right, and I'm going to do it, and I won't
be diverted by criticism." So I never had any problem,
really, of lying awake at night. It was a compulsion,
you see, that m.oved me to do what I thought was right,
come hell or high water, and I didn't care whether it
was criticized, and I don't now. It wasn't a factor in
my life and my work.
MINK: Well, there were a lot of people who said that
you spent a lot of time running around chasing after
people and not enough time minding the store (which I've
been criticized for recently, too).
POWELL: Well, Vosper, too. This is always true; you do.
I think, what's of greatest interest to you. I've found
literature and literary associations that tied in v;ith
the library's programs always of great interest, and
it was my way of minding the store.
MINK: Well, it's true, isn't it, that long before you
ever became associated with the library in any way, you
had pursued literary friendships and literary associa-
POWELL: Yes, through Jake.
MINK: Now this is one for your side.
POWELL: Thank you, Jim. Yes, through Jake. Jake was
a great catalyst, bringing us together, and I've been
writing about this. In a new chapter I've got coming
out now on Idwal Jones, I point out that there was no
bohemian center in Los Angeles the way there was in
San Francisco at the Bohemian Club around Sutter Street,
other than Jake's shop.
MINK: It was through Jake that you met Jones, of course.
POWELL: Yes, and Hanna, Carey McWilliams, Paul Jordan-
Smith, and all the people that came in and out of Jake's
shop; it was a real cultural center, Remsen Bird, Bishop
Stevens, all the Huntington Library lawyers-- Clary Crotty,
0'Melveny--all those people used to come in and out of
Jake' s--Estelle Doheny.
So, blame Jake; I think he's the one that seduced
me in the literary ways, and of course Ward, too; and it
comes out in Ward's memoirs that I've Just been reading:
that it was he that really drew me into an interest in
Jeffers and into D. H. Lawrence. All of these books were
on Ward's shelf before they were on mine. These are the
forces that helped shape me--Ward and Jake.
MINK: I was surprised that he didn't mention you more
than he did. There were times when it would go for maybe
pages and pages in which he wouldn't make any reference
POWELL: Well, that's because he took me for granted and
I him. We were part of each other's lives almost in a
very basic sense and an obvious sense, so you didn't have
to mention someone. That's the reason. We were always
operating on each other as we are now. And yet in the
course of what I've been saying over these weeks, I'm
sure that I've gone a long time without mentioning Ritchie,
MINK: Oh, yes.
POWELL: But, I could come back to him time and again,
as I have to him and to Jake as being key people in my
MINK: About Stone, to go back to Stone.
POWELL: Oh, Stone, haven't we finished with him?
MINK: Well, no, because. . .
POWELL: Am I unfair?
MINK: You left him in Goodwin's office. [laughter]
POWELL: Oh, God, Jim, don't let me disavow John Goodwin.
MINK: Did you feel sorry for him?
POWELL: I felt sorry for him.
MINK: I can imagine.
POWELL: Yes. Well, I did. I had a human feeling for
Mr. Goodwin. He was gentle; I'd get mad at him some-
times, but essentially he was gentle and kind and aw-
fully tolerant of me. He never fired me; I quit. He was
good to me. I know it now; I didn't know it then. I
don't know where Stone came back into the picture after
I became librarian. I suppose he came charging in and
wanted us to borrow stuff for him on interlibrary loan,
and I turned him over to Esther Euler who served him
MINK: Well, the point I think is that, for better or
for worse. Stone has made his mark on American literature,
and not much is recorded I don't think about him person-
ally. I imagine as time goes on there will be. I just
wonder how it came about--I can't remember myself--that
we did get his collection. You said it was sort of foisted
on us in your absence, and Andy Horn was the one that
was sucked in.
POWELL: I don't know how it actually was.
MINK: Is that the straight of it?
POWELL: Well, you would have to ask Andy, because I
think it occurred while I was at Columbia in 195^. Andy
was acting librarian. Andy was eager to develop the
collections; he'd be head of Special Collections, and
I think he saw a big whacking lot of material here. Stone,
of course, made a deal that if he gave it to us, we would
microfilm it. Then of course we were never able to do
this--were we? --because of the sheer bulk of it.
POWELL: He kept threatening to withdraw it, and Andy
finally, I think, told him to take it and stuff it. But
of course by then he didn't. Now, I was just talking
the other day with Bob Vosper, and the Stone collection
came up, and this whole matter of the new law which pre-
vents authors from taking income-tax deduction for gifts
of their own collection, and Bob said, "Well, this is
really going to knock poor Stone out, because year after
year he's been claiming enormous deductions for his con-
tinuing gifts." I don't know if he's been challenged.
MINK: Maybe we better go back to the beginning of that:
do you remember that after the falling out with Stone
over his collection, when he decided he wanted to give
it to the university for sure, even though we hadn't
lived up to the earlier terms that you laid dovm, the
precise indexing, remember, that he wanted done, v/hen we
decided to take it on the terms that at that time ap-
pealed to him more, namely, large deductions, then he
went to the Library of Congress, and he got a very fat
evaluation from David Mearns, remember?
POWELL: I don't think I knew this, but I'm following.
MINK: At the time--I can't quote it--it was just an
POVTELL: One hundred thousand dollars?
MINK: It must have been like $100,000, I believe, and
everyone was appalled at this, especially the people
in the library, because they couldn't see that value
in the collection. Meanwhile, he had given a swatch of
material relating to his book. Love Is Eternal , to the
Illinois Historical Society, isn't that correct?
POWELL: That was the Lincoln. . .
MINK: The Mary Todd Lincoln biography.
MINK: Whose interview is this, anyway? [laughter]
POWELL: Gosh, I'm enthralled.
MINK: You were here during all this time.
POWELL: Well, but it never got up to the rarefied level,
or as you would say, I was probably chasing around the
country somewhere. It was acted on farther down the
line. I knew that there was unhappiness over our cus-
todianship of this.
MINK: Well, why didn't you do something about it?
POWELL: [laughter] Well, you guys got yourselves in-
to this; I thought you could sweat it out! I never
asked him for his papers. He's a tremendous example
of an American literary promoter, and he's made a great
success of it.
MINK: Perhaps in the future he'll be studied in that
way by people in English.
POWELL: Yes. This is important to document it. I
never said burn the collection, [laughter] but I didn't
always go after the collections, either. Nov; when
Franz Werfel died, I called up Gustave Arlt, who was
Werfel's translator, and I said, "We'd like those papers."
And Arlt did all of the work on the Werfel collection,
MINK: You never knew Werfel personally?
POWELL: No, I never knew him.
MINK: It never occurred to you to go after his papers.
POWELL: Until he died. I just read it in the paper
that he died and I called up Arlt and said, "Get them."
MINK: That's another interesting thing that you got a
reputation for, too--isn't it?--for being the kiss of
POWELL: Oh, all librarian collectors get this, Jim, of
reading the necrologies; yes, this is inevitable. But
with Miller, for example, it hasn't v;orked that way. He
was seventy-eight his last birthday, and is still going--
not strong, but going.
MINK: Now, another thing about Stone: would you say
that it was a pretty true evaluation of him that he was
a brain-picker? For he went out to get ideas. I've
heard it said, for example, that he spent a lot of time
in the reading rooms of the Huntington Library picking
the brains of bright young Ph.D. ' s, especially women to
whom he was very charming, apparently. Maybe they were
flattered by his reputation, perhaps, and also by his
appearance, because he's not an ugly man.
POWELL: He's a handsome man.
MINK: And perhaps a lot of the ideas that came for his
books actually came from young Ph.D.'s.
POWELL: I would think they were the incidental, lesser
important ideas; I think he was fully capable of generat-
ing the major ideas. He was a skilled researcher, both
in using materials and using people. I give him full
credit, for that, Jim.
MINK: Would you say that he was a manipulator?
POWELL: Yes, but all researchers are. Good Lord, I've
been manipulating my way around the state for two years
now, getting material on this California book, but I've
not gone to young Ph.D.'s. I've gone to the survivors
of the authors that I was writing about, their descendants
and their colleagues, getting oral reminiscences and
leads to collections. That's what I've been doing. But
I give Stone credit for certainly doing his fieldwork and
his homework, too. He's a worker; there's no doubt about
it. I Just didn't like him personally, in the way, for
example, that I liked Harold Lamb, the historical nove-
list. You remember him, Jim, that sweet. . .
MINK: Lamb was a very gentle man.
POWELL: Sweet, gentle, unassuming. He didn't promote
his own work openly, and yet sooner or later you got
around to talking about his work with him, because he was
so passionately interested in it. I think he's just a
beautiful example of the opposite end of the spectrum
from Irving Stone. Lamb in his way was just as success-
ful financially, I believe. His books were serialized
and sold--Book-of-the-Month [Club], Literary Guild. I
think he made lots out of them.
MINK: Some of them were screenplays.
POWELL: Screenplays. But he is a better v^riter than
Stone. He has more craft and more style, and I think
more historical integrity. I remember the time I took
Robert Payne--and we ought to talk about Payne, the young
English writer. I became interested in Payne, I think,
as a poet. He published a good deal, and I have told
the story somewhere of how he turned up in my office once
in the forties--a very slight^ diffident, unprepossessing
young man with a broad English accent. And I didn't re-
late him to this writer Payne that I'd been reading. I'd
been reading his anthology of Chinese poetry. The White
Pony , translated into English. I was terribly impressed
by it as being a very good anthology that Richard Alding-
ton had put me onto.
Payne then formed the habit of coming into my office
in the late afternoons. He would sleep all day and work
all night. He used to get up in the middle of the after-
noon, bring two suitcases full of return books back to
UCLA and take out two full suitcases of charge-outs.
He'd come into my office about four-thirty or five when
the secretarial staff were leaving, and he and I would
talk generally until six o'clock. Of course, he was a
prodigious writer and researcher. I've written a chap-
ter on him in one of my books, called "The Prolific Rob-
MINK: Well, what would be the gist of these conversations,
POWELL: Books and writers and the books that he planned
to do. They were always about him and his v;ork; we didn't
talk about me .
MINK: Yes? [laughter]
POWELL: But I found v;hat he was doing terribly interesting.
because he was sooner or later going to write a book,
biography or a critical study on every major figure in
Western civilization, and he's well on the way to doing
it. I remember once I said, "How many books have you
written, Robert?" He said, "Well, I don't know; my
mother's really the only one that's kept count. We
could go out to the card catalog and see." So we went
out to the catalog and checked his titles, and he was
very pleased that we had them all. I think it came to
sixty-three, and he was then only forty years old.
And we recorded him. I think we, Neal and I, took
the recorder over to the San Fernando Valley and recor-
ded him in his home there. He was living v;ith a woman
who had a little baby, and the baby kept squalling all
through the recording. Payne then found that I knew
and was serving Harold Lamb. He said, "I'd like very
much to meet Mr. Lamb and to see his library., I under-
stand he has a good library on seventeenth-century English
exploration." "Well," I said, "I think we can arrange
So I did; and I took Robert Payne to Harold Lamb's
home one afternoon, five o'clock or so, for tea. Ruth
Lamb greeted us and served tea to us. Payne and Lamb
were immediately compatible over the book collection. I
talked with Mrs. Lamb and drank tea, and these two writers
got into a furious conversation; you can never think of
Harold Lamb as speaking furiously. He got excited when
he talked about books. Payne wanted to see what Lamb
had on early English descriptions of India, and Lamb had
all the key books of travels and descriptions of the
Indian empire in the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries.
And there was one folio that interested Lamb and
Payne in particular; it was [Jean de] Thevenot's Travels
in India , translated into English, and Payne went through
it very excitedly I think, looking at the pictures and
leafing through it all. Well, good Lord, in another
six months Payne came out with a novel called Blood Royal ,
which was an account of the moguls in the seventeenth
century, based on Thevenot. And maybe he'd gotten the
whole conception of this book--before he came, but cer-
tainly it crystallized in that hour or two we spent with
MINK: My immediate reaction was: what was Lamb's reac-
tion to this? Was he excited, pleased, annoyed?
POWELL: When the thing came--no. Lamb was never annoyed;
he was generous, and anybody that used his material or he
could help, he was pleased. You know how he v/as, Jim;
he was a real Christian, none of these wicked ulterior
motives that you and I have so strongly. I liked the
whole picture of writers at work using books; I think
this is what always interested me and what I like to see
and like to further and like to encourage and like to
MINK: Maybe that's why you were not too pleased with
Stone. Did you see him using a lot of the books in the
library? Did you see him using the library so much for
POWELL: No, not really; he was using people in the li-
brary to do work for him.
MINK: He had research assistants. He didn't come him-
self and do the work.
POWELL: No, it was more of a machine operation. Payne,
on the other hand, did it himself; he had no help; he
credited himself with getting so much done because he
had this work schedule that Paul Jordan-Smith has--sleep
in the day and work at night. There's no interruption.
It's a great thing if you can turn your life around this
way. Those marvelous night hours, Jim, when the phone
doesn't ring and when there's no distraction.
MINK: You've never been able to do this, have you?
POVJELL: No, you can't combine it really with married
life, with family life, or with a job, a daytime job--
all of these reasons. I work in the early morning; I
get up at five to six. And those hours from five or
six to eight, when I used to leave for work, those were
always great productive times for me. And in the early
years I was up until ten or eleven at nighty but I al-
ways slept from either ten or eleven until five or six.
Well, that brings in some of the writers that I wanted
to talk about. The whole picture of writers in the South-
west is another story, and my travels in Arizona and
MINK: Well, that brings up a good question, in a way,
maybe, of introducing the subject of the Southwestern
people if we're going to talk about that for a while.
It's been said, and I think I mentioned this to you off
the tape, that it was thought--well, I think that maybe
this is a product of how staff people react to a proli-
fic librarian: Vosper doesn't publish much and people
don't talk about him; you did, and they used to talk
POWELL: Did they? I never knew it, Jim.
MINK: [laughter] You never knew it.
POWELL: Well, in the sense we can talk about it now.
MINK: No, but you know that everyone would say, "Well,
why is Larry Powell on this Southwest kick? It's a
big promotional scheme. He's writing about these people.
He's writing about VJilla Gather; he's talking about
Willa Gather. He's talking about Frieda Lawrence; he's
writing about Frieda Lawrence. He's really doing this.
you know, to promote himself and, incidentally , the UCLA
Library and possibly to promote the collecting of South-
west material." I remember at one point you said, "Oh,
well, now our major collecting area is the entire South-
west, which would be in competition with a lot of other
libraries, not only in this region but in the Southwest
POWELL: Yes, it was overly ambitious, wasn't it?
MINK: Do you feel so now in retrospect?
POWELL: Yes. It was overly ambitious. We didn't have
the resources to do it in the sense that the Bancroft
has or the Huntington.
MINK: The in-depth collecting that went on in the early
part of this century and, incidentally, in the latter
part of the nineteenth century in some cases.
POWELL: We started too late, and we didn't have the
resources to compete. So what we did was hit the high
points and some of the dramatic peaks and some of the
contemporary literary archives that we were able to pick
up. But it was a product of enthusiasm, and I suppose
I just liked to travel, Jim, and I loved the country and
the people that I met. Writing for Arizona Highways v/as
always an excuse to travel, and the talks--I gave many
talks in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
MINK: I'm not sure I can recall how it vras that you first
became associated with Arizona Hlghvjays and were asked
to write for them.
POWELL: Well, it was this talk I gave in 1953, I think,
to the Arizona Library Association, called, "This Dry
and Wrinkled Land."
MINK: Yes, yes.
POWELL: Remember? Carlson, the editor of Arizona High -
ways , read it and said, "Will you write something for me
on the theme of books in Arizona?" Then when I published
something in Southwest Review on New Mexico, a travel
piece on New Mexico, Carlson wrote and said, "Will you
do a travel itinerary?" In other words, everything I
wrote for Arizona Highways was asked for by Carlson, and
the bibliographies, both Heart £f the Southwest and South -
western Century, appeared in Arizona Highways as a re-
sult of Carlson's interest. The work on Martha Summer-
hayes--he asked me to go over her whole itinerary, taking
the book with me, and write about how it looked today.
Well, these had nothing whatsoever to do with adminis-
tering the UCLA Library.
MINK: Yes, but Books of the Southwest , the bibliography,
came out under the imprimatur of the UCLA Library, and
Betty Rosenberg did most of the work on that, didn't she--
most of the editorial work?
POWELL: No, she did the makeup. I did most of the
annotating, and she put It together. We were a natural
team, and she did a great deal of leg work on all of my
MINK: Yes, but why that? I mean why that bibliography?
POWELL: Well, I'll tell you. West ways , that I'd been
writing for since 193'^j "Books of the West," which brought
the literature to me every month, either from publishers
or from Westways ' office, and it became more and more
difficult to find space in the magazine to cover every-
thing. And Phil Hanna, the editor, and then Pat Manahan
said, "We can't cover the whole literature, Larry; what
we want you to do in your column is to write more about
fewer books, the outstanding books." And I said, "Well,
what can we do with all the other books that we should
mention?" And she said, "That's your problem,"
So that's when I conceived the idea of a checklist
that would cover all the things that we couldn't include
in the magazine » And if you'll read back in my column
in Westways when we announced this, I think we gave the
reason for it and said, "We've run out of space in the
magazine. Therefore, we're going to have a monthly check-
list. Please send two dollars."
MINK: I remember that.
POWELL: That's the way it started; and I did it all in
the first six months, I guess--the makeup and everything
else. I think Everett Moore helped, and then Betty came
in about that time. This was in 1957 ji I think, that we
started it. Betty came in as my bibliographical assis-
tant after the survey, remember, that Swank made. Natur-
ally, we were looking for jobs for Betty, for her job
description. She had to be given new assignments, and
this was a natural one. So I put her name on the mast-
head--Betty ' s. Have we talked about her in this series?
MINK: Some, I think.
POWELL: She was extraordinary, really, a powerhouse.
She could do double work in half the time because of her
energy and drive and her understanding. When I said,
"Betty, I'm going to do a bibliography of 100 books on
the Southwest, and I want to get 500 in here from which
to make the selection, you go out and--here's the general
area that we want to cover--pull in 500 books." And
within twenty -four hours, the books would be on trucks
in my office. Then I'd make the selection, but Betty
was always great at rounding up the work to be done and
presenting it. She was an indispensable person, really,
for me and everything I did; with all her prejudices and
her brusqueness, roughness, she was a rare person.
MINK: Well, another example of the Southwest kick are
some of the broadsides that were done.
MINK: The Southwest Broadsides.
POWELL: That's a nice one, that Horgan.
MINK: What prompted that?
POWELL: Well, Jim, I always liked to keep the local
printers busy doing something that was really outside
of their commercial run, that is, taking a text and mak-
ing a fine printing of it. This isn't benevolence on
my part; they didn't need this, and they never made any
money off of it, but it gave them an opportunity to do
something special and creative and outside of the stream
of their regular work. Cheney, Dahlstrom, Armitage,
Ritchie, of course, Holmquist, Carl Hertzog, and then
that final one that you pointed to up on the wall was
MINK: What's the name of that one?
POWELL: That's Paul Horgan 's text, "The Land Is Still
Supreme in Nueva Granada." It's an essay Horgan wrote
in the Southwest Review about 193^^ and it's a literary
appreciation of the Southwest. And you know what Frank
Dobie said about it when I sent it to Frank (I either saw
him or he wrote to me), he blew up and he said, "Oh, it's
just goddamned belletristic bullshit." [laughter] I
never told Paul Horgan that. He would have really been
hurt, because he and Dobie v;ere nominally friends and
colleagues, but Dobie couldn't stand fine writing. He
hated fine writing, and that is a piece of fine writing.
Horgan has written better than that in later years. But
it appealed to me at the time. It was just a damn fool
example of my nonrelevant enthusiasm, Jim--the whole
MINK: Nonrelevant enthusiasm! Well, it v/as related to
this Southwest kick, and you haven't really repudiated
[my charge] on this; is it through?
POWELL: Well, refute what?
MINK: Well, the fact that it was a "kick."
POWELL: Yes, well, all my whole career has been a kick,
Jim. I have never done what was entirely relevant. I've
done what I wanted to do and found ways of justifying
it and felt morally righteous.
MINK: [laughter] That's a very good point.
POWELL: Yes, [laughter] sure a lot of it's been irrele-
vant, but that's my life.
MINK: Well, we said it's been irrelevant only because
they had. . .
POWELL: Well, they are in an analytical and cold-blooded
way-- that is, if an efficiency expert came in and had me
do a time-and-motion study, I'd have been fired.
MINK: You probably would have come out on the low rung.
POWELL: Yes, that's right.
MINK: But what do you think the impact of these has
been? I can't Judge this, really; you probably can judge
this better than anyone else. Well, they are probably
very valuable for one thing, now. I suppose they sell
as pieces of fine printing, ephemera; they have some
POWELL: That's all. They have literary aesthetic value.
I think, in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, they would
dramatize an interest in the literature of the author
that I've chosen. I think my work had much more impact
in those states than it did in California. I was known
on various levels in Arizona and New Mexico; I knew the
governors of both states and the presidents of the uni-
versity and a lot of the citizens that were interested
in libraries. I could have made my career in either
state anytime. I was given offers to come over and write
my own ticket in both the University of New Mexico and
the University of Arizona as a professor at large. And
I think I enhanced an appreciation of literature and
libraries in both states by my writing and speaking.
MINK: Well, the interviewer has to ask, vjhy didn't you
POWELL: Why did I do it?
MINK: VJhy didn't you do it? Why didn't you go to Arizona?
POWELL: Well, because, primarily, there was always the
dream and the goal of a library school here. And there
would not have been one then in those states, and it was
a feeling that I had that this must be done in accordance
with Mr. Dickson's challenge and command in 19^4, "When
are you going to get that school of the library open?"
He died in 1956, and it wasn't done. That's probably,
Jim, the key reason. It wasn't the administration of
the library, because this could have been, and was car-
ried on by others; but there was no one else at that
time that would have or could have done the library school.
It just wouldn't have been done. Nobody was thick-skinned
enough to take the reversals and not know they'd been
reversals. So I suppose that was the reason. And then,
Jim, I loved UCLA. You know damn well; here I am. I
couldn't leave it.
MINK: But on what basis would you make the claim that it
had more impact. , .just because of what people have said
to you by word of mouth?
POWELL: No, I think it's in the renewed collecting in-
terest in both Arizona and New Mexico of their own ma-
terials. They felt the threat of UCLA.
MINK: Who particularly would you name as having twisted
their tails to start collecting?
POWELL: I think University of Arizona, their special
collections, which--remember, we sent Brooke [VJhiting]
over to its dedication. It's modelled more or less after
our collection here. The Coronado Room in the University
of New Mexico Library--the curator of it at one time came
over here and looked into what we were doing. They pub-
lished a guide to their special collections that was in-
spired by the one you did here. I think the state li-
brary in Phoenix looked again at its whole collecting
MINK: I was a little bit appalled to see, in visiting
Santa Fe in 19^6, that the state library there has a
very poor Special Collections Department. It's locked
behind these rather. . .
POWELL: Bronze cases, yes.
MINK: There's nothing; it's fluff. It's nothing that
we would have, for example, in our Special Collections
Department here. I was a little appalled.
POWELL: Well, it's window dressing. I saw it last sum-
mer, or summer before last. They have a new head of it,
Billc . .?
MINK: Farrington, is it?
POWELL: Yes. Farrington had Navajo jewelry on, and he
was very ornamental.
MINK: Very ornamental.
POWELL: But, of course, I was pleased, because they were
using my bibliographies as collecting guides, but this
is not for source material; this is for the obvious.
At any rate^ another example, I think, would be the
University of Texas. Harry Ransom, who has been their
whirlwind chancellor, who has put them on the map in
modern Anglo-American literature, has said to me, and he
said publicly, that he got a great deal of his inspira-
tion in starting the Humanities Research Center at Texas
from what we'd done at UCLA.
MINK: Well, then you really lit a bomb [with your ideas
on special collections].
POWELL: A bomb that blew us up! (And we'll be there
next year, I think, in residence.) The idea, he said,
he got from me. I visited there in 195'^^ v;hen Harry
Ransom was then head of the English department and head
of the graduate division, dean of the graduate school.
I met with him and we talked about Frank Dobie, who was
there. What he had to back up this idea was what we
never had here, unlimited means--milllons and millions--
the oil money that could be used for capital improvement.
This was a great creative stroke.
Well, Jim, actually, to get a critical estimate of
my impact, you'd have to talk to those blokes, wouldn't
you? I know the Arizona Librarian , a year and a half
ago — Alan Covey, editing it out of Phoenix, brought out
an issue of the Arizona Librarian that was devoted to me.
reprinted my writings on Arizona-New Mexico. And Patri-
cia Paylore wrote an Introduction to it which kind of
summed up what I'd done for librarians in that state.
MINK: Incidentally^ what's happened at the University
of Arizona Library to Paylore and Ball, who really pio-
neered there. They seem to have been sort of edged out.
POWELL: Well, Phyllis Ball's still in special collections,
but she's not a leader in a sense. She doesn't have a
library degree and she doesn't have status. Patricia
Paylore moved over into the Arid Lands Project, and she's
acting director of it now, and she is in the School of
Earth Sciences and has published a great deal. I've got
her books here on the shelf, on deserts and on arid lands;
so she actually moved out at a good time into a good pro-
ject and has not been lost. I'm not in touch with what
they're doing in the library. My great friend over there
is the president of the university, Richard Harvill, and
we see each other from time to time when he's over here
and when I'm over there. But I don't see much of Bob John-
son, their librarian. Don Powell, the associate librarian
is an old kinsman, a bibliographer that I respect. The
change is basic, you see: Lawrence Powell's been edged
out of this library, hasn't he?
MINK: No, not quite.
POWELL: Being the chief edger.
MINK: Not quite; they haven't kicked you out of the
POWELL: I had enough, and when people have had enough,
and if they're lucky, they know it, and they remove
themselves. And my career's been fortunate in this
TAPE NUMBER: X, SIDE ONE
FEBRUARY 24, 1970
MINK: Well, Larry, this morning, then, as I understand
it, you have a little rebuttal to our last tape, right?
POWELL: I've been brooding, Jim, over the criticism
you said the staff voiced. You heard staff criticism,
and this is probably a cover-up for your own opinion.
I think these are the things you thought, and you passed
it off on to the staff, you so-and-so.
At any rate, I used to cultivate authors because
I liked to bask in their radiated glory, and I'd made
some points how I thought this mostly wasn't true, and
I thought a little more about it, and I came up with a
list of authors that I helped and whose materials I col-
lected, who are absolutely unknown--that is, it was just
out of sheer philanthropy and great-heartedness on my
part that I cultivated them, such as: Judy Vanderveer
down in San Diego County, who had a small reputation,
but certainly there was no glory attached to it; Jay Leyda,
who became noted as the author of the Melville Log and
the book on Emily Dickinson and the translations of Sergei
Eisenstein and Moussorgsky. Well, Jay came into me as a
special student, a GI student, and he wanted stack privi-
leges, and we helped him, and these books came out of
that. Kenneth Maclennan^ who was a sugar tramp, an
itinerant worker, who wrote to me for books, and I
helped him and met him. He was an old Scot, and I got
him to write an autobiography which we were never able
to get published.
Scott Greer, who was a fire watcher, and Henry-
Miller said, "Will you send him books up in Oregon?"
And I did. He came after the war, then, and presented
himself and his wife, and I got him a job on grounds
as a gardener and put his wife to work at the loan desk.
Remember Dorothy Greer? She had the most beautiful
breasts. She was a lovely bulwark at the loan desk;
her breastworks, you see, would keep back the multitude
at the same time that it lured them forward. The Greers
I helped. Now he went on to become a poet. He took
his Ph.D. here in sociology; he's now a professor at
Lawrence Durrell, when I collected him, was un-
known really in this country. Henry Miller, Idwal
Jones--! could go on, but have I made my point? Have
I convinced you? No. The answer is no, because Jim,
you're too old to be convinced; your mind closed early
and I don't see any hope for you. V/ould you care to
MINK: VJell, really, if you did this out of sheer
philanthropy, there must have been some motive behind
this. Now, did you think, "Ah-hah, these people perhaps
will become known in the literary world and then you'll
have an in on their manuscripts."
POWELL: Possibly; but, Jim, really, most of my. . .
MINK: That's a weak defense.
POWELL: Yes, well, but most of my activity was not con-
sciously motivated. That is, I have told you I was com-
pulsive, and I operated from sort of compulsive reflexes.
MINK: Well, you know, Larry, that all of the people--
not all, but a lot of people--in the East, what you might
call the Eastern establishment, are real turned off by
your philosophy of bringing books and people together.
And I think that maybe they thought, as perhaps some of
the staff here thought, maybe me, too. . .
POWELL: Go on, be the spokesman, Jim; be the spokesman.
MINK: . . .that this was sort of a put-on, that it was
a way of. . .
POWELL: o . .getting attention and getting the lime-
MINK: You took the words out of my mouth.
POWELL: Yes, of course it was; but that isn't necessarily
wrong. No, you aren't saying it was wrong; you're just
saying that's the way it seemed.
POWELL: I'm sure that's true. But to understand me and
my motivations, you must realize that I had this very
early commitment to literature--not to lllDrarianship,
but to literature. It came first, really; and throughout
my whole life, I was interested in writers and in writing,
and more in the belles lettres, of course, than in social
sciences or in the sciences. And it was really why I
went into library work, because I saw a chance to be iden-
tified with literature, reading, writing; administration
and the technical aspects of librarianship always were
Now this was a weakness in one sense, because my
library programs sometimes were technically sloppy be-
cause I didn't know enough. I made wrong decisions at
times simply through a lack of interest and knowledge.
But there is that commitment to literature that led me
to identify with writers, with authors, with bookmen--
never a real conscious motivation, but just as my way
of life. I think that's how I would explain it. And at
the same time there was another deep need to be recog-
nized, which I've stressed in my autobiography and these
remarks with you. I was an actor; I wanted the stage,
and I exploited any number of ways of getting attention
from childhood on--bad boy in school, simply because it
got attention. But this is my own self-analysis, and
it's always self-justificatory. At any rate^ it was
based on a need to justify what I had done, and I haven't
gotten over it, you see. This rebuttal is an exercise
in self-justification. Now go on, give me hell.
MINK: Well, you said you had two points.
POWELL: Yes, all right. Point two: I didn't like what
you referred to as the "Southwest kick." Kick seems to
me to smack of a temporary fad or enthusiasm, and I re-
sent that, Jim, because I think my motivation was deeper
than that. It was. I saw the Southwest as a source of
support for that library school. You asked me last week
why I didn't take one of these offers from the other
states, and I said because I wanted to stay here at
UCLA and get the library school established.
Well, I did a great deal of fieldwork in those
states with the state associations. I spoke both in New
Mexico and Arizona, and in Utah and in Nevada and in
Texas and in Oklahoma--all those states--seeking support,
seeking eventual students. And also, I waged a campaign
to see if I could get support from WICHE (Western Inter-
state Compact on Higher Education), remember, that al-
lowed for neighboring states that didn't have graduate
training programs to give support to California that did.
And I thought that we could get support from these other
states that didn't have library schools, namely New
Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, through WICHE to support
a school at UCLA. So I met high officials; I met presi-
dents of universities; I met governors in two of the
states. Always, this was one of my motivations. Now this
was more than a kick; this was a deliberate campaign to
MINK: I don't think you mentioned this in the autobio-
POWELL: Not at length. But what we did get was when I
called the two regional conferences. One was here at
UCLA in 1955, just before Regent Dickson died. He was
there and the various officers of the university and
representatives from library associations in Arizona and
New Mexico, the university librarian. ¥e were all ready
to roll, you see; and then Regent Dickson died, and the
compact on higher education, or whatever it was, said,
"Put it on the shelf for five years."
Well, then another thing in 1955 ^ we arranged that
Rockefeller Conference at Occidental. It was a meeting
of the southern district of UCLA and the annual Oxy con-
ference of the Southwest, remember that? You were there
weren't you? Well, that was great. That produced the
[UCLA Library] Occasional Papers, two editions of it. It
brought Erna Fergusson and Glenn Dumke and v;hat was his
name from Sonora, the university librarian from Hermosillo,
Fernando Pesqueira^ and Don Powell and Patricia Paylore
and Ed Castagna. Remember? That was a good conference,
and it served notice on the region that we v;ere going
to get a school established.
Of course, when we did, there was a let-down and
a feeling on the part of some in both Arizona and New
Mexico that the school wasn't serving them. And the
main reason was that our entrance qualifications were
too high. We found very few graduates of the Univer-
sities of Arizona and New Mexico that could qualify for
UCLA's Graduate Division.
POWELL: Yes. Now this wasn't my fault; this was the
standard of the Graduate Division. We couldn't lower
it. We did get a few over, and we did make some place-
ments. The medical librarian of Arizona, the acquisi-
tions librarian of the medical library. . .
MINK: That's David Bishop.
POWELL: Dave Bishop and Miriam Miller are from here.
We sent Alan Covey to President Durham at Tempe, and
he became university librarian at Tempe, and Tom Harris,
who's the acting university librarian at Tem.pe was one
of our graduates. So we did a few things for the area.
Then, damn it all, Jim, this "kick" included also the
course I taught at UCLA for six years on Libraries and
Literature of the Southwest. And we did a lot of prose-
lytizing for the literature and the llbrarianship of
those regions. I have the papers my students v/rote for
I think the best tribute that ever came out of
these classes was that of Josephine Archuleta, who came
over on a State of New Mexico Library Association Scho-
larship from Las Vegas. She was a native daughter, born
in Los Alamos. Do you remember her, Jo Archuleta? V/ell,
she took my course about the Southwest, this native New
Mexican, and she said to me after it was all over, "Dean
Powell, you opened my eyes to my native state. I never
appreciated my heritage until 1 had this course."
And then there were the books I did: Heart of the
Southwest , Southwestern Century , and Southwestern Book
Trails . Now, the best tribute I ever had to Southwestern
Book Trails , the last book I did on the region, was when
my publisher reported last year that high schools in New
Mexico had ordered seventy copies for their students.
This is what I like to think I've done, reached down be-
low the intellectual level to the grass roots and reached
MINK: Well, when a m.an goes out into a region, the re-
gion, in toto, at this level, doesn't open its arms
totally. V/eren't there people that were saying, "Who
in the devil is this man Powell, coming out here and
usurping our function, something we should be doing here?
MINK: Who was saying this?
POWELL: Well, Harold Bachelor at Tempe, the university
librarian then. He was jealous, I think, or hostile,
and there were others. I don't have their names offhand.
MINK: What was Bachelor saying?
POWELL: Oh, he was saying that, "Powell's running a
predatory operation. He's going to take our books and
our women and enslave them. " And I think they felt this
in New Mexico somewhat, too.
MINK: At the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque?
POWELL: Yes--that UCLA was a predatory institution.
And of course it was , in a sense. But I said back to
them, "Well, look, you let all your stuff go to ruin
here. You haven't had a collecting program of your mod-
ern writers." And I simply said, "if you aren't going to
do it, I will." And when Haniel Long died in Santa Fe
in 1956, I didn't take his library, which his son said
we could have here. I suggested it be given to the uni-
versity in Albuquerque. And it was! Erna Fergusson's
papers--! said, "Erna, even if you wanted m.e to take
these to UCLA, I wouldn't do it^ they belong in your
native state." And they are at Albuquerque. So here
again, I didn't strip them of everything. (I haven't
said anything about the women! ) But I didn't take all
their books or all their manuscripts. Jim, I think
those are the points I wanted to make. Now you want
to get on with this. [Tape turned off]
[Continuation of Tape X, Side One
rerecorded June 25, 1970]
MINK: For the rest of this session, I wonder if we
could talk about the Southwest Broadsides. First of
all, really, how did they come to be issued? In your
little foreword to them, I quote here: "I do not re-
call what it was exactly that inspired this series.''
But maybe if you put on your thinking cap you might
POWELL: Well, I might recall; but that doesn't neces-
sarily mean I'll say, because this is, as you know, a
sneaky interview, and I'm doing my best to cover tracks,
and you're doing your best to uncover them. So let's
say that I don't recall; but I'll make up a fairly like-
First of all, I was interested in the literature
of the Southwest. I was working in it and v;riting about
it and speaking and plowing those fields. And at the
same time, I had a long, friendly, professional connection
with local printers. Part of my whole philosophy of
collecting here and of librarianship was to support lo-
cal industry. I liked to find, whenever possible, jobs
for fine printers, the local ones that I'd grown up with.
So they'd print for me Christmas keepsakes and Zamorano
keepsakes, and I always had something going with Ritchie
and Grant and Cheney and Saul. So it occurred to me
that an interesting project would be to extract texts
from some of my favorite Southwestern authors and give
them to my favorite local printers and ask them to make
broadsides that I could give to my friends, to give away.
Now, I don't know where "broadsides" came in, why
it was "broadsides." I think maybe Dick Hoffman, the
printer, had something to do with this. At some occasion,
maybe when I became librarian in ISkk, he presented me
with that beautiful broadside of Whitman' s "Song of the
Redwood Tree." I think that was just an act of friend-
ship on his part, or recognition of my advance. And I
framed it and hung it in my office. You remember, Jim?
It's in Special Collections, isn't it? At any rate, I
probably thought, "Here's an idea: to ask printers to
MINK: It says--if we can believe what you write--
POWELL: You can't, you can't, Jim; but go ahead and
MINK: [laughter] It says here in the forev/ord that,
"it was a state of excitement which was engendered by a
"trip to Tucson in April of 1953a "to attend a Southwest
conference." And then later the Southwest Conference at
Occidental triggered three books that you did on the
Southwest. What about the circumstances of the trip to
POWELL: Well, that's v;hen I'd reread Comfort's Apache
and Haniel Long's Interlinear to Cabeza de Vac a and
Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop ; and they
sort of coalesced in a kind of visionary experience. It
was like flying over the region in an airplane and see-
ing the whole configuration of landscape laid bare. I
had a visionary experience. This is what literature has
always been for me, with certain books affording a tran-
scendent experience. And I think the whole concatenation
of the reading and of Pima County in the spring with the
paloverdes bloomingj and the friendships I made there,
and the whole idea of a return to Tucson, where I'd been
in the 1920s v;ith the Oxy baseball team--it all really
conspired to, I think, turn me in this direction of a
MINK: V/ell, Larry, then you had also as University Li-
brarian become very wealthy, and you v/ere able to dig
down in your pocket and to pay these printers to get these
POWELL: Well, I had more money then^ and money is to
MINX: Well, what was your motive in spending all this
POWELL: Well, to get rid of it, Jim, because money's a
burning thing in the pocket. [laughter] I didn't want
my pockets all burned through. So I got it out. I've
always spent freely all my life, even when I had nothing.
We've always spent, not all that we earned--I'ra speaking
of Fay and me--because we were always thrifty in that
we never spent more than we earned, but we spent a hell
of a lot of what we earned. She was brought up in the
same, generous, openhanded tradition. Not profligate,
but openhanded. Hell, sure, I had come into a larger
salary, and I was making more money from writing and
speaking, and so here was this opportunity to spend some.
That isn't very mysterious, is it?
MINK: No. Then the first one, of course, does come from
Apache. Could you talk a little about the first one?
POWELL: Well, it doesn't come from Apache, actually; it
comes from reading Will Comfort.
MINK: It comes from reading Comfort and your experience
with Apache .
POWELL: Well, you and I, remember, began to chase Comfort's
manuscripts^ and Jane, the daughter, found in the closet
the things that her father had left at his death. We
got those over here, and you got into that making of
Apache and published a piece in Manuscripts . We were
filling out our holdings of his works and in that little
pamphlet called "The Yucca Story" we found this text,
"A Man Is at His Best." And of course I chose that in
a sense as expressing what I felt had happened to me--
that I'd come into a position in the 1940s, where I could
he at my best, where I could lose a sense of self, not
completely but more than I ever had before, because I
felt I was doing the work the Lord had intended me to
So that Comfort text, "A Man Is at His Best," seemed
a natural. "It made their dreams come true in matter,
and that is what our immortal souls are given flesh to
perform. Each workman finds in his own way the secret
of the force he represents." Well, I don't want to be
too goddamn mystical, but. . .
MINK: This was the smallest of the broadsides, and that's
very typical of the work that Cheney did.
POWELL: That's right.
MINK: V/hy did you select Cheney as the first printer?
He just happened to be at the Clark?
POWELL: Well, he wasn't at the Clark then. He came
later. He was over on La Cienega next to Jake's. I
don't know why, Jim. He probably was the one with the
least backlog of work, who would be able to do something.
MINK: Is there anything about the typography of this
particular broadside that you wanted to mention?
POWELL: No, it's just a clean little piece of Cheney
printing. On all these broadsides, it was entirely the
work of the printers. I had nothing to do with the for-
mat or illustration or type or anything else. I simply
gave them a text and said, "Get cracking, you bastards,
and turn this out within five years," and that was all
Here's number two: Pat Paylore's Up _in Coconino
County . It was an editorial that I'd read in the Ari -
zona Librarian, when she was president, I think, of the
ASLA. This seemed to me a wonderful Whitmanesque sort
of exhortation to librarian students to get off their
asses and do something. This appealed to me. She's a
kind of a missionary over there. She and Don Powell did
so much to spread the word around Arizona, and I admired
her and him--still do--and I just liked this editorial
that I read in the Arizona Librarian . So I turned to
MINK: And I notice that you commented here on that, that
you recognized in Pat Paylore a kindred spokesman of what
you held to be library gospel.
POWELL: That's right. She was a proselyter and an ex-
horter of the natives in the same way that I decided to
be over on this side of the river. The format of this
is interesting because Ritchie asked his staff artist,
Cas Duchow (who's still with the Ritchie press--very
fine artist) to do something characteristic, so that
the initial U, I think, is taken from a Navajo blanket
design. And that's a pinon tree that Cas drew from a
■ photograph, I suppose. Both of these ideas were Ritchie's
and Duchow' s; they weren't mine. But it's a very in-
teresting kind of a long, skinny broadside--quite dif-
ferent, you see, from Will Cheney's. But it's clean
and good, you see; it's not fancy and not overdone. That's
Ritchie at his best.
MINK: It would be natural that Dobie would come in for
some attention in this, because it was all part of that
picture, and it seems to me at that time he was here. Was
he not here at the Southwest Conference.
POWELL: Yes, I met him for the first time. He was com-
ing in and out of here, and I met him through John Caughey,
I think. John brought him to my office the first time.
It was Frank's bibliography. Guide to Life and Literature ,
that had given me the lead to Comfort's Apache in that
1953 talk. So it was natural I picked some texts from
Dobie. Actually, I guess three out of the twelve were
by Frank Dobie.
MINK: And this third one is called "Two Kinds of People."
POWELL: Well, I'd come to that through the Southwest
Review , the quarterly, an essay called "A Writer and His
Region," a wonderful piece of writing; and this piece
from it I think is just typical Dobie, typical Texas.
Here again Grant Dahlstrom selected--I don't know where
he got this drawing at the head of the cactus and the
rocks and the desert. Maybe his staff artist did it.
It's a drawing, certainly. But there again, it's a two-
column sort of thing, and simple and beautiful, really,
I'm pleased v.'ith that.
MINK: In your review of the broadside, you stated this
essay of Dobie 's expressed much of what you had been
thinking about--the literary regionalisms of the South-
POWELL: You see, Jim, the whole damn thing was an exer-
cise in self-discovery or recognition, wasn't it? I was
picking things that seemed to speak for me. My own bias
was operating in the things I picked. But why not? It
seemed to me a perfectly natural and normal thing to do.
MINK: Here's a fourth one, by Haniel Long, another South-
western writer, "When We Peer into the Colored Canyon."
POWELL: Well, it's not a broadside; it ' s a leaflet--a
four-page, folded leaflet. It was done by Saul and
Lillian Marks. I suppose when I saw it and realized
that it wasn't a broadside but a leaflet, I must have
thought, "Well, I'd better tell them this isn't what
I wanted." But it's so beautiful, and you don't tell
Saul and Lillian if you don't like what they've done;
so I kept my large mouth shut and accepted it. It's
a beautiful piece, really--the paper and that colored
title made up of type ornaments and type, you see. That's
really a beautiful thing.
Well, Haniel Long was pleased with this. He was
crazy about it. I was over at Santa Fe and took him the
thing when it was finished, and he gobbled up most of
the edition, actually. And this is the one that's the
scarcest of all, or maybe the Harvey Fergusson's Rivers is
the scarcest because so many were spoiled in the print-
ing. But the Long is very scarce, and no copies, and
people are always asking for it.
MINK: Would part of that be due to the fact that people
collect Saul and Lillian Marks' typography?
POTOLL: Yes, certainly it is; and then people are in-
terested in Long. People are interested in Powell,
strange as it may sound. [laughter] So betv/een all
those nuts, there was a run on it. All right, that's
MINK: Number five is Mary Austin's "Paso Por Aqui."
POWELL: Yes J that's a beautiful piece that Gordon did.
MINK: Did you ask Gordon to do this, or did he just
POWELL: I think both, probably.
MINK: Both. [laughter]
POWELL: Yes. He saw them coming out and he said, "I
can do one." He had his handpress. He was then assis-
tant librarian, and assistant librarians never have
enough to do. So out of pity, to keep Gordon busy in
his home hours, I gave him this excerpt from Mary Austin.
I'd been over to El Morro, I think, in the autumn of 1953,
when I was doing that piece for Fred Hodge's eighty-
ninth birthday, and climbed the rock, and this excerpt
from Mary Austin's essay certainly expressed some of the
feeling I had when I was up on top of Inscription Rock.
MINK: You speak about the quality that Austin conveyed
to you, the land's undying quality.
POWELL: It's certainly true. Oh, two summers ago, when
we were going over to Santa Fe, we detoured down from
Grants to visit Inscription Rock and climbed partway up;
it came over me again--I hadn't been there for a dozen
years--what a great religious shrine it is. And Mary
Austin, in these two paragraphs, certainly caught it.
Gordon here went to local and meaningful designs, because
he took Acoma pottery, I think, for this marginal decora-
tion, and Acoma is the next stop east of El Morro. If
you hold the paper up to the light, you see vie used VJill
Clark's watermarked paper. It's WAC, Jr., and there's
his coat of arms. It's some of that surplus Clark paper
that he'd had made in Holland, and which we'd been using
up for years in various projects. So this was on Clark
MINK: Next is the speech of Henry Fountain Ashurst in
the United States Senate.
POWELL: What do I say about that? Jim, you'd better
MINK: Yes, This one, I think, comes--does it not?--
from your association or your meeting of Henry Fountain
POWELL: It came out of a review I wrote in Westways of
speeches he made in the Senate, which were collected by
Barry Goldwater and published. And I got a review copy
at Westways and read this speech given in the United States
Senate (June 15, 1935), in which he torpedoed Huey Long.
It was the same kind of speech, really, in Long's sena-
torial career, I think, that Senator Aiken of Vermont
made against Joe McCarthy. It was a kind of a turning
point. For the first time, one of Huey Long's senatorial
colleagues held him up to probing and ridicule. And this
was a typical rhetorical shaft, or harpoon, that Ashurst
MINK: And you say in your review here that you read the
speech at the height of the McCarthy uproar.
POWELL: That's right. I was teaching at Columbia then.
MINK: Naturally, your feeling about McCarthy v/ent back
again to your 1948 experience in California.
POWELL: You mean 1952.
MINK: When was it that you were up before the Un-Ameri-
can Activities Committee?
POWELL: The autumn of 1952. Well, I don't think that
had anything to do with it. That was past, and McCarthy
was certainly riding high then, but I figured somebody
would shoot him down.
MINK: But didn't you sort of resent this whole line of
POWELL: Yes, of course I did. There at Columbia I was
following the hearings that were being broadcast over
the New York Times station. I used to come home from
teaching at Columbia and turn on my radio and hear the
bastards, McCarthy and his ilk, and that wonderful attor-
ney for the Army--Joe Welch, wasn't it, who v;as really
disemboweling the McCarthy gang. It was a great turning
point, certainly, in our political history. So I loved
this Ashurst speech. Of course, it led to a meeting with
Senator Ashurst. A really high point, I think, was cal-
ling on him in his apartment at the Wardman Park Shera-
ton Hotel in Washington, when he was living in retire-
ment, and presenting this broadside to him.
MINK: What v/as he like?
POWELL: Oh, he was an old-fashioned, courtly gentleman
of the old school--not in a frock coat, but elegantly
dressed and beautifully groomed and all. I went up to
his apartment and presented this; then we went down for
lunch. It was a kind of a triumphal procession. Every-
where we went in the hotel everybody knew him. He
couldn't get over his old habit of stopping to kiss babies
and pretty women. [laughter] It was as though he were
campaigning for reelection. He'd pass through and bow
and shake hands and embrace. It was really a tremendous
sort of a procession from the elevator to the dining room.
I loved the old guy. This was a real tribute of homage
that I made in this broadside. And, of course, Dick
Hoffman really pulled out the stops, printing it in red,
white, and blue, and finding that marvelous eagle.
MINK: Gordon Williams had a hand in this, I think. He
was the one that located the type ornament, vfasn't he?
POWELL: Gordon found that eagle, I guess, in an annual
of nineteenth-century American typography. The American
eagle has never been more gloriously portrayed. Later,
I know, Ashurst framed this, and Senator Barry Goldwater
had one framed, too. In his office (he told me) when I
called on him once in Phoenix. And a number of libraries--
I remember at Tempe in the Arizona State University Li-
brary, the framed copy of this was hanging at the loan
desk. It's a great speech in the American tradition of
political oratory, and I'm very proud of having this in
MINK: And then the last one that we're covering this
morning is the one that I like best.
POWELL: Jim, I like them all best. You see, I agree
with you; this is a wonderful statement.
MINK: I just like the statement in that.
POWELL: Well, it's gospel. It's just as much gospel
for us here in public service as Pat Paylore ' s is for
fieldwork in librarianship. These are gospel statements.
This I drew from Charlie Lummis' great report he made,
called Books in Harness .
MINK: The I906 report of Lummis.
POWELL: Is it? Yes. He printed that in Out West , and
then it was separately printed. I used it in my teach-
ing, and we framed it. It hangs still, I hope, in the
library school upstairs. It's what we are here for. I
say time and again that Lummis is one of our great librar-
ians, and this kind of utterance certainly bears me out.
MINK: This became a keepsake, too, for a joint meeting
of the Roxburghe (northern) and Zamorano (southern) book
POWELL: Oh, I'd forgotten that; but sure, it was printed
by Lawton Kennedy of San Francisco, who's a member of
Roxburghe, and I guess I took a whacking lot up of it.
Now, here, again, it's a broadside but on a folded sheet,
printed on one page only. But it's a damn dignified
piece of printing, and of course it's characteristic
Lawton Kennedy. You couldn't miss it. That's his style.
MINK: It's a beautiful type ornament.
POWELL: Type ornaments and variation of type sizes and
kinds. It looks so easy, but when you come to do it,
only a master can bring it off.
MINK: Did you actually send them to people who were
really not within the library circle but just personal
friends of yours?
POWELL: Yes. [Friends] in the Zamorano Club, particu-
larly, and locally, and on the staff. Didn't you get a
set of them, Jim?
MINK: I believe I did.
POWELL: Yes. You probably can't find it today, because
you're really a very bad housekeeper, Jim. Probably you
ought to go to library school some day and get a refresher
course in library housekeeping. This is pot and kettle.
isn't it? Look at my stuff around here. I'm messy,
too. All geniuses are messy, Jim. That's why v^e get
along so well together now.
TAPE NUMBER: X, SIDE TWO
FEBRUARY 24, 1970
MINK: We are continuing on side two with the Southwest
POWELL: That's Bent's Fort .
MINK: Which is number. . .?
POWELL: David Lavender, it's number eight.
MINK: Number eight.
POWELL: I think I picked it because I'd just met Laven-
der. He was then teaching at Thacher School, and he
came down to use the library. I looked into his books,
I guess, and got interested in hiai, read his new book.
Bent's Fort , which, as I say, is in the northeast corner
of the Southwest. It's actually in Colorado. And I gave
it to Merle Armitage to design. Well, he went wild as
you can see. He did a leaflet, really--a great broad-
sheet, folded into these four pages and a characteristic
Armitage design, a six-shooter, a buffalo, a covered v/agon,
a mountain range, a fort, a longhorn and an Indian head.
In other words, he's got everything but the kitchen sink.
He designed and drew these himself. He didn't print it,
of course (he never was a printer); he got Gordon Holm-
quist, of Cole-Holmquist, to print it. It ' s a lovely
piece of prose about Bent's Fort and the Arkansas River.
I went up the Arkansas River a couple years ago,
driving west from Boston; I followed the Arkansas to
where Mammoth Pass--not Mammoth, but the pass that goes
over to Aspen. I was at Bent's Fort-what's left-there
isn't anything left but a marker. And I think this is
beautiful prose; it's about the Arkansas and about the
coming out of the Rockies, Raton Pass. It's very char-
acteristic Merle Armitage. If you know Merle's work,
there he is with all his flamboyant, marvelous bold sense
. of design, and Merle had a great time doing it.
MINK: Your relations with Armitage have always been
quite friendly, haven't they?
POWELL: They were more or less up to a point. Then we
fell out when I printed a second ten-year report on the
Clark and mentioned all the modern printers' collections
that we were proud of there, and unfortunately I omitted
POWELL: Yes, it was just an oversight. It made him mad
as hell, and he waged a rather vindictive campaign against
MINK: What did he do to get back at you?
POWELL: He got his friends to write and say, "We hear
that the Clark Library no longer appreciates Merle Armi-
tage and is selling his collection, and we would like to
buy it." [laughter] It was a pure lie on Merle's part.
It wasn't true of course. I had to write to all these
bastards and pin their ears back, sending copies to Merle.
I pointed out that I supported Merle as a fine printer
long before they'd heard of him, most of them. Remember,
we had the first exhibition of Merle's here in the UCLA
Library about 1939 •
MINK: One that you arranged?
POWELL: One that I arranged in that series that I did,
and Merle knew very well we'd been a friend to him. But
it was my fault; I shouldn't have left him out. We made
Well, at any rate, number nine is really fantastic
and beautiful, because here again it's a leaflet and an
illustrated leaflet, not a true broadside. But I'll read
you what I say about it because it tells a story. On a
flight home from Houston (I'd been speaking to the Friends
of the Houston Public Library), I stopped in El Paso to
meet Carl Hertzog. This was about 1955. And I asked
him to print a broadside.
MINK: Had you this in mind before?
POWELL: I wanted to meet him. I wanted him to print one
because I knew his work; we'd collected it at the Clark.
MINK: This again would be a matter of having a represen-
tation of. . .
POWELL: A regional representation of printers as v;ell
as of texts.
MINK: There just weren't any printers, were there. In
the Southwest--New Mexico and Arlzona--who were capable
of contributing to this series?
POWELL: No, there weren't any other than Carl Hertzog
in El Paso. There weren't any In Arizona and New Mexico.
And there still aren't, really.
MINK: That's sad.
POWELL: I know.
MINK: You would think that In that area there would be,
you know, with all that beautiful scenery and the In-
spiration that you get just from being there that It
would attract printers like flies.
POWELL: Well, they have to have some economic base, and
the economic base Is generally In the cities unless they
have private means. The economic base for Hertzog In
El Paso was Texas VJestern College; he was the college
printer. He did all their official work, and then he
did all the work for Tom Lea and Doble.
Well, at any rate, while on the ground In San An-
tonio an hour or two earlier, I'd stretched my legs by
walking about the airport terminal, and a paperback edi-
tion of Doble 's A Vaquero of the Brush Country/ caught
my eye. And reading It on the next leg of the flight.
I alighted at El Paso with a trans Pecos excerpt in
hand, and I took it right in and said to Carl Hertzog,
"Here's what I want you to print." I marked it in the
paperback and left it with him. And as I say, there
are other reasons, involving the headwaters and points
below of the Pecos, why I chose it, but there's not
room enough here for me to elaborate thereon. Well,
I'd made a reconnalsance of the Pecos River once going
from the headwaters down to where it meets the Rio Grande,
near Del Rio, and the whole thing was gathered up in my
interest in this very Interesting Southwestern river.
MINK: What fascinated you about it?
POWELL: Well, I don't know. I think I like to see a
water course from its headwaters to its mouth, and there
aren't many that you can follow all the way. I followed
the Rio Grande a great deal of the way, but the Pecos
River I followed all the way, from the headwaters way
up at Cowles and clear on down to where it meets the
Rio Grande about 1,800 miles, on one vacation trip. It's
just sentimental attachment to a little stream that keeps
At any rate, Hertzog did it, and he got El Paso's
number-one artist, Jose Cisneros, who illustrated many
of his works, a native New Mexican and native Mexican-
American. He drev; a map of the Pecos from Pecos Village
down to the union with the Rio Grande at Langtry and put
in the various places that are mentioned by Dobie in the
passage, with a skull and with the shading and all. . .
MINK: This is the second time a skull appears in the
POWELL: Yes, there's a skull in Armitage and here in
the Dobie--it was my second choice of a Dobie text. And
I say with his usual drive for perfection, Hertzog printed
the leaflet in several color combinations, and please
don't ask him or me which state is which^ I don't know
which came first. This is in brown and red. He printed
it in blue and red. He printed it in brown and blue, and
we had all these variants.
MINK: Gee, I wish we had a copy of all of those.
POWELL: Oh, I think we do, damn it all, Jim.
MINK: We should have them.
POWELL: We should have them. If you don't in the enve-
lope, Clark might still have them. At any rate, that
was number nine.
Well, number ten--we hadn't finished with the Va-
quero of the Brush Country . There was another passage
that I was fond of. It was on the Brush Country itself--
J. Frank Dobie 's catalog, really, of the flora that makes
up the Brush Country. It's really a tour de force of
prose involving botanical names and a feeling for the
place; it's one of the great passages, sort of a virtu-
oso passage that Dobie wrote about the mesquite and all
the other chaparral. I went back to Dahlstrom--don' t
ask me why; maybe he called me up and said, "Got any
more of this kind of work for me; I'd like to do another."
So he did this. It's very simple. It's one broadsheet
in two columns with a heading in green. The touch of
green, of course, sets it off. And Dobie liked it very
much. I sent him a good many of the copies, as I did
of the earlier ones.
Well, number eleven is the scarcest of all, and
for the reason that although the colophon says 150 copies
were printed, they never completed that many. The silk-
screen printing of this bold design stumped these two
student printers that were in Dick Hoffman's class.
MINK: Oh, you went to Dick Hoffman again,
POWELL: Yes, Hoffman did it because--well, I don't know
why. Maybe he said, "I'm ready for another."
MINK: This would be his second.
POWELL: His second. And he turned it over to his two
students in the class. One was a Mexican, Rafael Gon-
zales. . . "in the graphic arts laboratory of Los Angeles
City College under the supervision of Richard Hoffman.
The illustration, dravm and stencils handcut by Gonzales,
was produced in five colors by the silk-screen process.
There were a few copies on Italian handmade Umbria paper,
the rest on Shadow Mold Cover."
MINK: What's this on, Larry?
POWELL: I think this is Shadow Mold Cover. [tape off]
Well, it's another passage about the Pecos, and it's
Harvey Fergusson. It's from his autobiography Home in
the West . He grew up as a boy on the Rio Grande and
summers fishing on the upper Pecos.
MINK: The other day did you mention when you first met
POWELL: No, I don't think so. I mentioned Erna, perhaps
POWELL: I met Harvey for the first time in Berkeley,
of course, where he has lived for the past twenty years.
He lives on the upper floor of a two-flat house. It's
an old redwood house that belonged to Phoebe Apperson
Hearst--to Mama Hearst. Fergusson has the upper floor;
he did then when I met him. He's old and ill and in a
rest home now in Berkeley. He's very ill. I probably
called on him for the first time, taking him up one of
these broadsides. We had a great deal in com.m.on--talk
of books, of New Mexico, of writing. And there again,
we did some reference work for him; we were given a
good screwing, I'm sorry to say, by George Hammond of
the Bancroft Library.
MINK: How did that occur?
POWELL: Well, I made a speech in Albuquerque, along in
1954 or 1955, about Harvey Fergusson as a native New
Mexican writer and author and as a prophet in his own
country I was honoring. It's a talk I called "Books
Determine." It was a speech to the Southwestern Library
Association, the regional group, which met every two
years, and it hit all the Albuquerque papers. They gave
a front-page story on Harvey Fergusson hailed in his
hometown and so on. It led to meeting Harvey, and he
said he would be glad to have his journals preserved at
UCLA. Earlier, his friend. Quail Hawkins of the Sather
Gate Book Shop, had sent us the typescript of Harvey Fer-
gusson' s Grant of Kingdom , the book about the Maxwell
land grant. We had it here at UCLA. All right. I ex-
pected then to get his journals. Well, George Hammond
of the Bancroft Library apparently discovered Harvey
Fergusson for the first time through my talk; he ought
to have known of him because he's been at Albuquerque
for many years, but. . .
MINK: Hammond also was dean of the graduate school at
the University of New Mexico.
POWELL: But Fergusson was not a historian in that sense.
He was a novelist, and he wrote Rio Grande , a book about
the river valley. He wasn't one of George Hammond's kind
of historians. Hammond had overlooked him, apparently.
MINK: Can I interject something here? VJasn't this about
the time that the Bancroft began, in a sort of self-
avowal, to say that they were going to be the repository
of California and Southwestern belles lettres?
POWELL: Yes, it probably coincided with this, and I
like to think that it was my needle in their side. They
figured v/e ' d better do this or UCLA will pull the rug.
MINK: Well, we were already doing it here, weren't we?
POWELL: Of course, we were, yes.
MINK: So what did George P. do?
POWELL: He zeroed in on Harvey Fergusson, and he said,
"Well, you shouldn't give those journals down to UCLA;
you'd better give them right here to the Bancroft. We'll
keep them for you and you can look at them any time you
want." Actually it was a better deal from Fergusson' s
point of view, I must admit. Harvey wrote me and said,
"I'm doing this." Well, Powell, with his typical Chris-
tian charity, instead of fighting back at George Hammond,
turned the other cheek. What did Powell do? He wrote
to Hammond and said, "You ought to have this typescript
that we have. Grant of Kingdom . We shouldn't divide
Harvey Fergusson' s collection. Therefore I'm withdrawing
it from UCLA and sending it up to the Bancroft." And I
did; we sent him Grant of Kingdom, and that cleaned us
out of Harvey Fergusson. I'm not bitter about it; I'm
MINK: I've always been amused at the Bancroft Library
because it's always been such a one-way street with them.
POWELL: It still is. Maybe under Jim Hart it might be
a little more relaxed.
MINK: I don't know. I think for example of the Water-
man papers in Berkeley at the time that I v;as vforking
in the Bancroft. The Waterman papers came to light be-
cause of Waterman's daughter, who, as I recall, was some-
what of an eccentric. I believe it was his daughter;
I'm not absolutely certain of this. I think through John
Barr Thompkins, it was discovered that she was beginning
to burn and throw away the Waterman papers. VJell, they
Jumped in, but again, the large share of the Waterman
papers dealt with his cattle ranch and in the San Bernar-
dino area. He was a Southern California man--one of the
early people from Southern California to become governor
of the state, you know.
POWELL: Yes, well, remember the Teague papers, too: that
was the classic example and how v;e bled and died.
MINK: The Charles Collins Teague papers, yes.
POWELL: We bled and died.
MINK: And then the Robert Kenny papers, too.
POVJELL: Kenny papers, yes. Well, this is v;hat happens
when you're the little brother. You never can catch up
with big brother. You can try.
MINK: It's always sort of "him v;hat has, gits."
POWELL: "Him what has, gits." Of course, v;e ' ve operated
on the same principle vis-a-vis Irvine, Santa Barbara,
and Riverside. We're big brother and we've gotten in
ahead of them. My father's citrus papers, for example.
Riverside would have liked very much to have, and in a
sense they belong at Riverside; but we have them here
and they stay here, because I want them here with my
family papers. And who's to say where they're the most
meaningful. I tried always to take the large regional
view. It always gives you a good feeling when you know
that you're being a Christian and not being a mean son
of a bitch and fighting back; and you can afford to be
a Christian a certain number of times, Jim, but don't
overdo it. Here's number twelve.
MINK: That's the last in the series.
POWELL: That's the last.
MINK: Had you decided in the beginning that you were
going to have twelve and that would be it, or did you
decide at the end that you had enough?
P0V7ELL: I think I ran out of gas. I ran out of printers-
the ones that I wanted them to do, and I didn't v/ant to
go back too many times, I'd gone back twice to Hoffman
and to Dahlstrom. And after all, I had to pay for these.
MINK: I was going to ask you about that. How much did
all this cost you?
POWELL: I don't know; I never dared add it up. They
gave me good friendly prices.
MINK: But you can deduct it from your income tax.
POWELL: No, I don't think I could.
MINK: As gifts.
POWELL: But not to charitable institutions. They were
gifts to friends, individuals very largely. No, it was
simply an enthusiasm; it was a kick. It cost me money,
"but what better use.
Well, at any rate we had to have the Grabhorns, one
of the greatest of all the Western printers, and my con-
tact with him was through David Magee, the San Francis-
co book seller who was close to them, did their biblio-
graphy--he and Heller. And I think I sent the text up
to David and asked him if he'd get Grabhorn to print it,
and he did. The text is out of Paul Horgan's essay,
"Land of the Southwest," from the Southv/est Review. And
I think I told you a couple of weeks ago what Frank Dobie's
comment on the prose was--"belletristic bullshit." I'd
never tell Paul; Paul would really be hurt. But it's
fine writing; it's early Horgan (1933) • But it was a
good way to end: "For it's the land which is still
supreme in Nueva Granada. From its rusty earth must
grow the grasses for the range in which the red cows
rove. When winter withdraws before the southern breath
of spring. ..."
MINK: Dobie just didn't like it, I guess, because it
POWELL: Yes, that's right, fine writing.
MINK: He was more down to earth.
POWELL: Yes, more gutsy. He and Horgan were personal
friends, but Dobie was the stronger writer.
MINK: Well, which of the twelve do you fancy the most?
POWELL: Gee, I don't know, Jim. I don't know. I never
thought of it that way. I don't know; I like them all.
As an example of prose--I think maybe Mary Austin's
"Inscription Rock" is the most moving.
MINK: What about the graphic design? That was Gordon
Williams', and he is strictly an amateur and couldn't
be said to be in competition with people like Grabhorn
POWELL: No, but he really rose to it, I think, and did
a beautiful simple broadside on a handpress. It was
Gordon at his best.
MINK: So maybe that's your favorite.
POWELL: Perhaps. Fay and I, a year ago last fall after
CLA in San Diego, drove over to Santa Fe and detoured
down to Zunl and over to Inscription Rock. She'd never
been there, and I wanted her to see it. I hadn't been
there since 1953- It's not a national park; it ' s a
national monument. They have a headquarters building
and a museum and a ranger-naturalist, which was all new
since I was first there. But the rock itself and the path
to it and all is absolutely unchanged. We had a beauti-
ful day there in October of '68.
I did another piece which came out of that interest
in Inscription Rock. John Slater, who is an electronics
engineer at North American [Rockwell] in Downey had read
my piece, or had seen that broadside, and he was doing
of all things this book on El Mor, Inscription Rock, which
is a book of all the known photographs and drawings of
it and transcriptions that he brought together and had
Saul and Lillian Marks print. He asked me if I'd write
a foreword. I'd met Slater only once at a library affair
out in Norwalk, and I said, "Yes, I will." I wrote this
little foreword to it which referred to the Mary Austin--
the fact that she wanted her ashes there and that Fred
Hodge's ashes were scattered near there. And I think
this is one of the beautiful books Saul and Lillian ever
did. Slater paid for it„ It cost $10,000 to print, and
he sold it through Dawson's at $30 a copy. There 're
still copies left. But here again, it's an example of
what enthusiasm will lead a man to do.
TAPE NUMBER: XI, SIDE ONE
MARCH 10, 1970
MINK: Well, this morning I had said that v/e would like
to continue talking about your writing. VJe talked about
the Southwest Broadsides, and you said that you had more
to say about some of your writing that is not a matter
of record and perhaps that we're really recording for
the future and not for the present, and maybe this part
is going to be sealed.
POWELL: Well, I was thinking of so-called creative writ-
ing, which I've tried to carry on all through my career
and really never published. And I don't think I will
publish anything in my lifetime. I'll probably leave
a number of unpublished manuscripts. Now don't misun-
derstand me, Jim--this isn't pornographic writing; this
isn't writing that can't be published because of its
content, but it's just writing that probably isn't good
enough because I've never been able to give my full time
to it. I have done it clear out on another side--that
is, a lot of my published writing was on the side of a
working career, and the creative writing v;a5 outside of
it on a very thin margin. I probably ought to set the
record straight on it because inevitably it v/ill come
out that I've done writing of this kind: novels, long
stories, "because in my correspondence there v/ill appear
reference to It from Henry Miller, from Brother Antoni-
nus (Bill Everson), from ones that were privy to it.
MINK: They saw the manuscripts?
POWELL: Yes, M. F. K. Fisher and others, Ritchie and
Newell and Dr. Bieler, my closest friends and confidants
that I shared with. So why don't I put it straight: v^hat
the hell I was trying to do and how it came about. Is
that fair enough?
MINK: You said you didn't think it was good enough to
publish. Was it because these confidants told you it
wasn't, or because you're just so self-critical yourself?
POWELL: Both, I suppose; although the closest friends
are never your best critics.
POWELL: They tend to be carried away by your personal
relationship to accept whatever you do somewhat uncriti-
MINK: Well, since none of us have ever seen this writing,
except your closest confidants, it's very difficult for
anyone to interview you about it. So you'll just have
to say what you're willing to say.
POWELL: Well, Jim, I will give you leads, you see, as
a good interviev;ee. I provide you with leads, you see,
and you can pick up, because I don't V7ant to make this
a total monologue; I think an interview is much more in-
teresting when it's dialogue. And that, remember, was
our criticism of the Ritchie manuscript, that Liz [Dixon]
didn't enter into it enough. I want to encourage you,
Jim, to be yourself and to be expansive, not to be in-
timidated by my august presence, and to participate,
even though it's not done very intelligently at times,
[laughter] I'll attempt to coach you so that you appear
at your best. After all, I want you to be remembered
as a historical figure, as well as I.
Now. The whole thing goes back to what we've called
my compulsive nature--compulsion toward expression, toward
recognition, toward achievement, toward influence, to
all these things that have motivated and goosed me inLo
doing what I've done.
MINK: Your unflagging ego.
POWELL: That's right; that's right. And the thick skin,
the pachydermist investiture in which I'm encased. [laugh-
ter] Yes; and it is and it isn't. There's always the
sensitive, shrinking, shy-violet type, down underneath,
I think, although I've never gone really in deep enough
to make sure; but it's probably there. But I don't really
care much about it. It goes back to, I suppose, that
Marengo Literary Leader , the writing of the Fu Manchu and
the desire to write something that would be read.
MINK: Were you always intrigued by Gothic novels? Were
those your favorites?
POWELL: No, just the period, I think, the Fu Manchu-type
period. I never went on and never continued this, and
I'm not a Gothic buff now, and never have been. No, that
was Just a phase. I think then another thing I've said
about my career that you can't understand unless you take
it in terms of the parallel dedication to literature--
that is, I've been Interested in writers and I've been
friends with writers and I've been interested in writers'
writers. That is the whole problem of writing itself.
I've read a lot of literary criticism, and I'm interested
in the relationship of writing to living, to what writing
does for a writer in the way of a safety valve--every
man his own psychoanalyst.
And in my case, I think, writing has been a great
therapeutic device that's given me an outlet, when actual
living itself of a total and a compulsive sort was not
possible--that is, in an academic career you can't live
your entire life; you've got to hedge it and to contain it
within the bounds of propriety. You can go underground
or you can go in the air as far as possible, but still,
your life is circumscribed.
Nov;, I suppose this v;as part of my affection for
Henry Miller, a man who didn't recognize this, who denied
this. He never twitted me or said, "Larry, v;hy don't
you give it all up and be a writer." No; because he's
not that kind of a guy. But he led that kind of life--
he gave it all up--and I suppose, I had a sublimated
experience in Henry. This is part of the secret of our
friendship, I think. He represented a life that. . .
MINK: You envied?
POWELL: Not envied, but admired.
POWELL: Yes, I admired it; I didn't envy it. If I really
wanted to, I would have, and I could have.
MINK: Well, you said you read a lot of literary criti-
cism; can you buttonhole any literary critics that in-
fluenced you most?
POWELL: I think maybe Cyril Connolly, the English critic,
was very strong. I read Horizon all through the war when
he founded and edited it--his essays on writing in there.
MINK: What most about these essays influenced you?
POWELL: Well, always style. I was always interested in
the feeling for words, both for their sound and their
meaning. I think the highest tribute I ever had paid me
as a speaker was once in Tulsa, Oklahoma, vrhere I spoke.
A librarian from the grass roots came up afterwards and
said, "I just want to tell you that you choose v;ords si-
multaneously for their sound and their sense." "Of course,"
I said J, "that's my whole aim, to make the sound and the
sense coincide." V/ell, Connolly had a great deal to say
about this and he also. . .
MINK: About sound and sense?
POWELL: Yes J about the marriage of sound and sense in
style. I always wanted to write well, and I didn't write
well many times because I was too hurried.
MINK: The thing that's been said, of course--and I think
this is already in the tape--that your writing has al-
ways been so personalized.
POWELL: Well, in essays perhaps, not in bibliography.
I think I did a lot of bibliographical writing. I did
all the Westways reviewing. The Books of the Southwest .
All that Southwestern and California bibliographical
writing was in a sense. . .
MINK: No. What I'm trying to say is that a lot of your
writing relates books to personal experiences and not
past experiences, but experiences contemporary with the
POWELL: Yes, and this is both a strength and a weakness.
It can be rich and it can be thin, depending on how skill-
ful you are or how deep an experience it was. Yes, I
know--personal and also repetitive. You said that I
often regurgitated and lived on my own guts until they
were really lived up, and this is true. This is part
of the problem of having to produce. I was under the
compulsion to deliver a lot in the form of talks and
contributions and essays, but. . .
MINK: Well, Bob [Vosper] doesn't seem to be under this
compulsion; he seldom publishes at all.
POWELL: Well, sure, we're different. People are dif-
MINK: Well, you were under personal compulsion; you
weren't under pressure from the university or from your
POWELL: No, no, but from an involvement in the profes-
sion, let's say, as a conference institute speaker, that
kind of pressure--I mean, being asked to be on programs.
MINK: The more you're in demand, the more necessary it
is to chew on your own guts?
POWELL: That's right. I was just thinking in my last
year here before I retired in '66, I had a whole series
of talks to give. And retired, there was Tokyo,
there was Tulsa, there was Norman, there was Chattanooga,
there was Santa Monica, and there was Chicago, and then
in Europe there was Aberystwyth and London and Zagreb.
Running through six months there, I had ten or fifteen
talks to give,
MINK: You didn't have enough personal experiences in
this period that you could relate to books. . .
POWELL: No, that isn't itj I just didn't have the time
to refine it. It all came too fast. I've always used
travel as a device and written a lot on travel.
MINK: Relation of experiences on travel to books.
POWELL: Books and reading.
MINK: That you read while traveling?
POWELL: Yes, that's right. Well, we're getting off
MINK: No we're not. Where did you get this idea?
POWELL: I got it from my mother and father in my genes.
MINK: Oh, now wait a minute--what about Gertrude Powell's
The Quiet Side of Europe ?
POWELL: What about it? I got her to write it; it was
my compulsion imposed on her, because she came back from
Europe in 1934, pretty much at a loose end and pretty
discouraged because her money had all been lost in the
Depression. There were writing contests open in the At-
lantic Monthly, and various periodicals were offering
prizes for writings.
MINK: During the Depression years, yes.
POWELL: And I suggested to ray mother that she recoup
her fortune by entering one of these. Actually, I think
I remember this only by aid of her journal recently. I
went back to 1934 and found it. It was in that year,
'34- '35, that under my urging, she went back to her
journals and her family letters which she'd v/ritten to
her brother and sister and wrote that manuscript, and I
began to type it and revise it. And I don't know, the
contest closed; we never made 'the deadline, and her for-
tunes improved a little when my brother and her brother's
earning power was rising, and she didn't have that same
compulsive need. But there it was. She wasn't a com-
pulsive writer in the sense that I am in the need for
recognition. She wrote everyday. She wrote these copious
journals, and she was a great letter writer. She wrote
right up to the end, but she never thought of herself as
a writer in the sense of ever being published.
Yes, you asked me how I got this way--well, ±z came
from this heritage, I suppose of my nature, my parents,
my mother and father. We're what they combine to give
us, aren't we? And this was my nature.
All right. I was writing pieces then in grammar
school and in high school, generally on assignment for
class or for a newspaper or a periodical, and in college
for the Occidental and for the Tawny Cat and some of
those things. And when I met Fay and fell in love with
Fay, I was, I think, motivated to write poetry. I wrote
quite a lot of poetry to her.
MINK: VJard also v;rote poetry.
POWELL: He wrote better poetry than I did. He was a
better writer than I was earlier. I'm a better writer
now because I've stayed with it. He was a better writer
MINK: Well, maybe, while I think of it, we might as well
get this in the record and get your reaction to it. Wil-
bur [Smith] read the Ritchie manuscript, and his major
criticism of it--and I wondered if you found this true--
is that he finds the same thing in this manuscript that
he finds in Ritchie's speeches and in his writings: not
getting the facts straight, not getting the whole story
POWELL: He's diffuse; he tends to be diffuse.
MINK: Particularly about his recollections of the machina-
tions of the Smith episode of Dorothy and his father and
Sarah Bixby and the like; he really didn't tell it like
it was .
POWELL: Well, maybe he told it the way he remembered it,
which is like it was to him in his memory.
MINK: I don't know whether I should put that on the tape,
POWELL: Well, why not? Ritchie would probably agree. It
was the way I remember it, he'd sayo But his writing tends
to be diffuse because it's highly marginal in a very busy,
MINK: Perhaps he has not enough time to organize his
thoughts and put them down on paper the way they should
POWELL: That's rights yes. That's why my writing's
getting better now as I age^ because I have more time
to organize and to compose. Well, a lot of the poetry,
I think, came out of Maclntyre and Stelter and those
classes at Occidental in literature and a wide exposure
to literature through Maclntyre and his reading which
was worldwide, comparative, very eclectic, and stimulat-
MINK: And of course, Jeffers.
POWELL: And Jeffers. So, when it really began in ear-
nest was that summer of 1930 in Paris after Fay had gone
home and VJard and I were living together in the Crystal
Hotel. And he'd go away in the daytime. I think he'd
started work for Schmied, and I was alone. I'd go over
to the Luxembourg Gardens and rent an iron chair from
the crone. With a pad and a pencil I sat there, and
for some reason mysterious--an inner necessity--I began
to write a novel, my first novel. And it poured out, a
daily flood. And at night, I'd read aloud to Ritchie;
and he'd end up with maybe three quatrains of poetry,
chiselled, refined and finished, and he'd read to me.
And those poems of his, he printed later in that little
book XV Poems for the Heath Broom, under the nom de plume.
Peter Lum Quince, in 193^« And then he produced a couple
more books. The Year' s at the Spring , when he had this
wonderful, moving love affair and wrote these beautiful
poems, with the Paul Landacre flower Illustrations; that's
a lovely little hook. Then he wrote A Few More . He wrote
it for Marka when they were married.
MINK: Yes, I remember that one. Well, what about your
POWELL: Well, what about it? I went on writing. . .
MINK: The plot?
POWELL: Plot? It was a college novel.
MINK: A college novel.
POWELL: A college novel.
MINK: Did you have Oxy in mind?
POWELL: Oxy in mind, and music. It was an attempt, I
think, to understand myself in terms of a change from
a very hectic and scrambled life as a dance musician
(which I led all through those years) and a growing in-
tellectual awakening through my teachers and a commit-
ment, then, more toward literature and possibly teaching.
MINK: Certainly scholarship.
POWELL: Scholarshlp--going through to the doctorate.
It v;as an attempt, I think, to understand these diver-
gent pulls in me, because I could have. If I'd have de-
cided to do it, stayed with music and made it. I would
have had my own orchestra and I would have been success-
MINK: You would have been another Benny Goodman?
POWELL: Yes. VJell, maybe not that good a man, but I
would have certainly had some kind of life. But I had
too much mind. My mind had been awakened by my teachers
and by my heritage, I suppose. This didn't satisfy me.
MINK: Did you finish the novel?
POWELL: Well. . .yes. I finished. . .
MINK: The way you hesitate makes me think you weren't
satisfied with the way it wound up.
POWELL: No, I finished it in the sense that I was through
with it, but it wasn't a finished book in that sense.
I kept writing on a draft all down through the months
and in Dijon. I used to read it aloud to the Fishers,
to Alfred and Mary Frances, and to Ritchie when he came
down visiting. It wasn't good at all, it was chaotic and
rather formless. It wasn't stream of consciousness, but
it was wooden, it was lifeless. But it was important
that I keep doing it, and Fisher used to tell me, "For-
get all your ideas of form and style and plot. Just write
simply as though you were talking to me." He kept en-
couraging me to be simple and direct and not arty. I had
to learn this. I finished a draft maybe in a year and
then junked most of it. I think I've kept of that draft
one chapter. Then I started again.
MINK: You mean you threw it away?
POWELL: Later, I threw away all but one chapter of
that first draft.
MINK: All right, at the point you threw that away were
POWELL: No, no, not mad. I was just starting another
draft, and I didn't feel I needed to keep it. That was
probably it, but there was one chapter that. . .
MINK: Sometimes when we do writing at some point we
will just get inwardly furious, and we'll just toss the
whole thing into the fire.
POWELL: Oh, I'm too cool a customer, Jim, for that; I'm
not an emotional type. I'm a cool customer. I would keep
what I thought might be useful.
MINK: You keep assuring me of this.
POWELL: Yes, I keep assuring--not assuring myself, be-
cause I have my confidence, but assuring you.
All right I kept the one chapter because I liked it.
It was about the Arroyo Seco, about a little idyllic time
with a young lady.
POWELL: A walk, a walk, Jim. Don't carry yourself to
the precipice and jump over! Just a walk, and probably
a description of the wild flowers. What I was doing
simultaneously was trying to find my own v;ay, and at the
same time I was full of a sort of nostalgic appreciation
of Southern California as an environment. You see, I
was far away. I'd left it. I'd never left it for that
long before, and I was looking back at the seasons, at
the weather, at the college.
MINK: Ritchie was, too.
MINK: He brings this out, I think, in his memoirs.
POWELL: Nostalgia. Well, this was very good because
It gave some more meaning to my dissertation on Jeffers.
I could see California; I could see the whole thing, as
I've said, through the wrong end of the telescope. It
was tiny and far away, but It was crystal clear. I had
maps up on the wall, topographic quads of Monterey and
San Luis Obispo County, and I had a long map of Califor-
nia. I had Jo Mora's map of the Monterey Peninsula,
that pictorial map. So I was working simultaneously on
the dissertation, which was criticism and biography, and
not personal in any sense; but at nights, either in my room
or at the cafe, I was working on this novel. I had the
encouragement at the same time from Fisher v;ho was writ-
ing The Ghost in the Underblows.
POWELL: It was a great period, Jim, and M. F. brings it
out in her book. The Gastronomical Me ; the chapter on
Dijon beautifully catches that. I only touched on it
in my autobiography in a chapter, but I didn't go into
any of this in that book because it wasn't that kind of
a book. All right, we finished the degree; we finished
the second draft, and we were in Florence, I think, and
by God, I started a third draft.
MIKK: And you threw out the second?
POWELL: No, I kept the second draft. It was better than
the first. I kept the whole second draft. No, I didn't;
I threw out the first eight chapters, I think. I have
the ninth on through to the end of the second draft, and
then I started it all over again with Fisher's criticism
in mind: keep it simple, keep it direct. And it was
still a novel of the college. It was still a novel of
the young man seeking his way between music and litera-
ture. And there was an older teacher in it, a woman in
music, but actually she was modelled on my drama coach,
MINK: I'll be damned.
POWELL: Do you remember her?
POWELL: She's married nov/ to Jerome VJeil, UCLA, a lawyer;
Joyce Turner V/eil ner name is. She v;as a marvelous drama
coach. I did several plays under her.
MINK: Was she anything like Evalyn Thomas?
POWELL: No, she was one of Evalyn Thomas's proteges.
And the last time I saw her and her husband v;as v/hen
Evalyn Thomas died here in the Village. Jerry VJeil was
her executor; and they called me down to the apartment of
Evalyn Thomas, there hy Ralphs.
MINK: Oh, and that's where we got all of the Evalyn Thomas
POWELL: We picked up the stuff. That's right. I went
down and there I saw Joyce Turner VJeil for the first time
in fifteen years. She was a beautiful young woman and
then a beautiful older woman. Well, at any rate, she
was in the back of my head as a kind of a model, not that
I'd had any experience with her. I had no personal rela-
tionship with her. Our relationship at Occidental was
entirely student-teacher and professional, but you have
to have models.
All right; so I had a wonderful spring then in Italy
writing this novel. I telescoped the whole thing, and
where it had taken me a couple of years to do two drafts,
now, in two or three months, I did a whole manuscript, and
I have it complete. It was written really at top speed,
and I finished it about the time I got back to London in
the summer of '33, and my God, I started a fourth draft.
I started to revjrite it; I v;as stubborn as hell, Jim, a
MINK: You hadn't thrown out the third; you kept the
POWELL: I kept the third^ part of the second, one chap-
ter of the first, two or three pages of the fourth, but
then I came back to the United States.
MINK: Two or three pages of the fourth--you threw all
the rest of the fourth away?
POWELL: I didn't do more than that.
MINK: Oh, I see.
POWELL: I just started it. I kept it and then the whole
draft of the third. I came back to this country, and then
everything got very complicated, economically, emotionally.
I re-met Fay, you see. All of these drafts weren't her;
she wasn't in them at all; it wasn't our story. What-
ever I wrote about her was in these poems, but we came
back together and I. . .
MINK: She had married.
POWELL: She was married then, yes. We were living to-
gether at my brother's in Pasadena while we v;ere trying
to find a way for her to be free and arrange with her
husband to release her, and it all worked out of course--
Well, I got fed up then with all these bloody drafts
of a novel that were synthetic in a way, and they'd
served their purpose. And lo and behold I started to
write a version of kind of a story of Fay and me--what
had happened to us, how we'd come together, how v;e'd
separated, and how we'd come together again. So I wrote
a short sort of a novella, or a long short story, or
a short novel called A Personal Record . And I whacked
it out there while living at my brother's. Fay hadn't
come there yet; she was still in Hollywood. But I found
it a great solace to be able to write and keep my nerves
under control trying to find our way in this troubled
time, and I whacked this out in longhand and then I typed
it. And it served a good purpose, but it was lousy writ-
ing, Jim. It was lousy; it really was. It was so bad
that some years ago, when I'd done a longer version of
it and a much better version of it, I junked this one.
MINK: You mean you threw it away.
POWELL: Yes. I not only threw it away, I shredded it
to bits. I deliberately destroyed it because it was simp-
ly a working draft, really, for what came to be a fairly
long novel of the same story. That is Fay's and my story
and the real Oxy story--the way it was then without all
the artifice of the older teacher and so on.
MINK: So this was really an autobiography in a sense; it
really was .
P0I-7ELL: Yes, I should have kept it.
MINK: You should have kept it?
POWELL: I suppose I should, as an autobiographical docu-
ment, because it was as close to the truth as I could make
it without literary artifice. Well, at any rate, let's
MINK: You threw the whole thing away?
POWELL: Yes. I threw the whole thing away.
MINK: That's too bad, Larry.
POWELL: But I think maybe there's a carbon somewhere.
That's amusing, isn't it?
MINK: You think ?
POWELL: Yes, I think there is if he still kept it, and
it happened this way: One of my great friends through
all these troubles--Ritchie was one, and Newell--was
MINK: Dr. Bieler, yes.
POWELL: He was practicing in Altadena, and I found my-
self absolutely flat broke at one point. I hadn't gone
to work for Jake yet, and I needed money, I think, to go
see Fay on, to buy gas for the car or something. So I
went to Dr. Bieler and I said, "V/ill you lend me five
dollars?" He said, "Lav;rence, I'll never lend you any
money. I'll give you five dollars or I'll barter five
dollars. You give me something. What have you?" Well,
I said, "The carbon copy of a story I've just written."
He said, "All right, I'll buy it for five dollars." So
I think maybe he has a carbon.
MINK: You never asked him for it back.
POWELL: No, but I think he's leaving us all his papers.
This '11 be a terribly interesting file because it's the
longest correspondence that I have and that's been kept.
It's from 1930-1970--forty years. He said he kept every-
thing and will bequeath it to me, and of course it'll come
here. I think he has that carbon of A Personal Record .
MINK: Are you going to require that that be restricted.
POWELL: I think definitely. I think these are something
time '11 have to deal with--all this writing.
MINK: You don't intend to do a records management job
POWELL: Nah, I don't think so.
MINK: Please don't.
POVJELL: No, I won't; I won't destroy anything, now. All
right. Fay and I resolved our lives. Vie married in '34,
and all the slov^ climb up began, and here's where it be-
comes personal. Oh, in the late thirties, when I started
to work here in '38, I think February 1, 1938 was the
real watershed time, because it was a secure job at
$135 a month and. . .
MINK: Went a long way then.
POWELL: Oh, God, it did, Jim. And I had a great burst
of energy in reading and writing; it was mostly critical
work. I was editing Fisher's Ghost in the Underflows ,
I was writing Philosopher Pickett , I was doing the John
MINK: Was it in this time also that you were appearing
in a series of radio talks reviewing books?
POWELL: Yes, I was doing a lot of things like that, and
Fay, I think, got fed up with all of this. I was writing
lots of letters and carrying on. This was at home, al-
ways at night, and I think she scolded me once and said,
"I thought you were going to be a poet and a creative
writer, and that was really one of my strong interests
in you and hopes for you, but you don't write that any
more and everything seems to be gone and lost. Why don't
you go back to some of that?" Well, I suppose this led me
to think, "What shall I go back to; what is it that I'll
I don't know how it came about, but I suppose that
I moved up then to the next segment of experience that
I hadn't written about. I'd done the college, and so I
looked back to Europe and the years that we were separated,
And I don't know what the model was for it, but I v;rote
a short novel called Quintet . It was five profiles of
women that I had known in Europe--three American girls,
one Swedish, one French, and one mixed blood. [laughter]
MINK: There weren't any of those girls from Occidental
that Ritchie talks about in his manuscript that were
visiting at the same time you were in Paris with Ritchie?
POWELL: No, those were casual and trivial and just really
fun stuff. These were. . .
MINK: Serious encounters?
POWELL: Yes, serious encounters. I don't know, I thought,
"I'll make it as simple as possible and as meaningful
[as possible] ."
MINK: Larry, should I ask you were they physical encoun-
ters as well as mental encounters? How do you put it?
POWELL: Well, Jim, don't be so bashful. They were. . .
POWELL: They were affairs. They were studies in male-female
relationship, with a plan, a moral. You see, I was a
moral writer. The moral--and I think this has been
operative all through my later life--was that the more
you ask and demand of the woman, the less apt you are
to get everything. If you can persuade a vroman to give
on her own and not make demands on her, you get far more.
All right. Music v/as still in it, you see--"quintet . "
These were five pieces, and I intended them, to be to the
novel, to a long prose piece, what the string quintet is
to a syraphony--short pieces, mood pieces, and v;ith key
MINK: And you found five v/omen who v;ould fit this?
POWELL: Yes, that's right. A passionato, a molto tran-
quillo, a lento, and so on. So I wrote it in musical
terms--molto agitato, first movement violent, violent
sort of a slam-bang encounter, and then going through a
whole sequence to a final episode, andante sostenuto, I
suppose, absolutely relaxed and undemanding and uncon-
summated in the sense that there was no actual physical
consummation in the last episode, but intended to be the
most rich and satisfying of all. The moral there is that
there are different ways to satisfaction and consummation
other than necessarily the physical. And the moral was
that in each episode the man attempted to put into prac-
tice what he'd learned from the one before. So it's
pedagogical, you see.
MINK: It's interesting. Then when Fay read it she got
POWELL: Jim, how perceptive you are!
MINK: Well, of course. She got jealous.
POWELL: Yes, but I suppose, I . . .
MINK: She asked for it.
POWELL: Yes, that's v;hat I said. [laughter] That's
what I said. Well, I said, "You wanted me to write
something creative." "Yes," she said, "but I didn't
mean this." VJell, I said, "I didn't plan it; this is
what came. When you're a writer, it erupts and you do
MINK: And she thought you were trying to get back at
her for having chided you.
POWELL: I suppose this was it, and it led to misunder-
standing. Well, the great encourager I had at this time,
was none other than my Beverly Glen neighbor, Henry
MINK: Did he read it?
POWELL: Henry read it. Well, I wrote the goddamned
thing about four times, over and over. And, Jim, I got
records conscious by this time, and I've kept everything.
I have all those drafts.
MINK: I thought perhaps Fay would have made you destroy
POWELL: No, Fay is never aggressive to that point. It
hurt her, but she respected everything--my Reed--and so
it never came to that.
MINK: And she got over this?
POWELL: I think so. Well, Henry was terribly encouraging,
and along into one of the later drafts he sat down and
wrote me about a four-page, single-spaced, typed letter
about the goddamned thing. Wonderful letter, Jim; it's
a great letter. It's not in the Miller collection; I've
never released it.
TAPE NUMBER: XI, SIDE TWO
MARCH 10, 1970
MINK: Well, we're continuing then on side two this
morning from vihere you left off before I turned the
POWELL: Well, Henry's letter was enormously encouraging.
Of course, I won't get it out and quote from it, but it
meant a great deal to him (this book about Europe) and he
said, "It's the very opposite of my writing. I brutalize
women and you tenderize them." And we had some vronder-
ful sessions about this. I put in trains and eating
and European travel. And the train plays the key — Leit
motif — in all these episodes, so that there's a train
coming or going in each one. It opens with a trains it
ends with a train--an arrival and a departure.
MINK: It's effective, yes.
POWELL: Yes, it's a good device, and I used it uncon-
sciously, really. All right, this carried me up through
1941 or 1942. I think Fay stimulated me to do the next
piece of writing. She said, "Well, this is well and good:
you can write V7ithout much effort romantically about
Europe because it's essentially romantic, but can you
bring the same nostalgia and romance to a piece of domes-
tic writing?" And it kind of challenged me in that sense.
I tried to write her story and mine, and had not suc-
ceeded in that draft that I junked, and I thought, "I'll
do two things: I'll take a local theme and bring it to
life, and I'll also write something that will dignify
or ennoble or do something for her, because I had great
love for her and a great appreciation of all she'd done
for me, and she was a wonderful young woman."
MINK: Perhaps subconsciously you felt that you had hurt
her with the preceding piece. . .
POWELL: Yes, I owed this to her. All right, so I went
back to the goddamned college again, Jim.
POWELL: Yes. I began, then, in '42 or '43--I suppose
it was in '43 that I began it. At the time, my whole
career was boiling up here, and I was about ready to
resign and go to Northwestern and all. I began this col-
lege novel, and it came out very strong and good stuff.
I carried it on in the autumn of '43, when I was working
over in the war plant for my brother, a long eight-hour
day and an hour's ride each way, but I still had enough
juice left to work every night.
MINK: How was this novel differing from the preceding
POWELL: It's just closer to the truth, more autobiography,
closer to the truth.
MINK: Still a musician, a literary. . .
POWELL: Yes, a musician going to literature, but it
brings in v/onderful portraits of Stelter, of Maclntyre
and of Ritchie and Newell.
POWELL: Yes--I called him Lamb, Prexy Lamb, just a pas-
sing touch of him, but it's. . .
MINK: Were you thinking of Harold Lamb at that point.
POWELL: No, I was just thinking of a wolf in lamb's
clothing. I don't know; I was just punning. I carried
that on until I began work at the Clark in the spring of
'44 and then, gradually, it dried up. I typed it; I got
out maybe a 300-page version and began then on the mid-
dle part, another part. But it dried up, stopped, be-
cause my whole career then began to absorb me, and there
it sits. It's an unfinished, long college novel. But
its the best thing--the best, the final version of all
these efforts that's the closest to being good. It's
still overwritten. If I picked it up, as I will even-
tually, I think and redid. . .
MINK: Do like Ronald Reagan says, "Cut the fat out of it."
POWELL: "Cut the fat out," cut out the hyperbole and the
crap. Well, what else?
MINK: I've been thinking as you've been talking, could
you ever bring yourself to v/rite about the university
here? I don't know of many that have, and I don't think
of anyone who's done a really good novel based on UCLA.
POWELL: I don't know, Jim, I might. I don't know, but
I'd probably have to be away from it, be in Europe look-
ing back. On what basis? I can't write totally objec-
tively; it has to be tied in personally to my own ex-
perience. I couldn't write an emotional love story about
the university and my life here, because I never had any.
I was never involved.
MINK: Yes, but does writing have to be related to your
POWELL: Mine does in order to come to life.
MINK: In other words, you could not do creative writing
unless it was related to your own personal experience.
You could not impose an imagined experience upon a set-
ting and. . .
POWELL: No, no, I don't have that gift, I'm afraid.
That gift wasn't given me. Otherwise I would be a suc-
cessful novelist now. I have that limitation and I know
it. Unless I feel the old fire burning my guts and re-
membering how I was lit up at one time, my v;riting is
dead. It just doesn't come to life.
All right. I'm not through yet, Jim; I've got more
to say. I wrote one more short novel along in the for-
ties based on an experience I had which didn't relate to
the campus. It was off-campus. It was an emotional
experience which didn't change my life, but it might
have. Here again. Fay has always been an equalizer and
has enabled me, I think, to keep my balance, and she's
very important this way. But I suffered a lot, and I
couldn't reconcile it until I was able to write it.
And then in the forties I did another short novel that
purged me and refined my emotions and got everything
under control, and it's a novel of Beverly Glen and the
Santa Monicas. A lot of good setting in it, local set-
ting and characters; and it's really buried. Very few
people have read it.
MINK: You don't want to talk about the experience that
POWELL: No, I don't think so. I'd rather it just be
a converted; I'd rather it just be known for what I made
MINK: Oh, so that when the manuscript is seen, it will
be clear from this interview exactly what happened.
■POWELL: Well, if it's ever seen. I don't. . .
MINK: . . .know that you're going to leave it.
POWELL: VJell, I don't know what terms I'll come to fi-
nally. I won't destroy it, but I don't knov; that I want
it read. I don't have any illusions of ray ovm worth as
a creative v/riter. I think they m.ight be historically
interesting some time in any study of my career and me.
They would be documents^ and I'd leave them v;ith that
in mind. All right. Let's see, where are we?
MINK: You're in the forties.
POWELL: The f if ties--nothing. I didn't virlte anything.
The damnedest thing happened when I retired here on June
30, 1966, and I had six weeks left to teach in the summer
session upstairs. Andy was the dean; I was simply a sum-
mer session professor.
MINK: You were an appendage.
POWELL: I was an appendage.
MINK: A lame duck.
POWELL: A lame duck, quacking once a day, ten to eleven
o'clock every morning for six weeks.
MINK: That course was. . .?
POWELL: It was the Introduction. Just the one course.
The other summer sessions I taught two courses; this last
summer session I taught the one. All right, what did I
do? I went into my files and I dug out that European
novelette. The Quintet , which I came later to call The
Music of the Body . I took the damn thing over to the
Faculty Center with me every day after my eleven o'clock
class, and I s at down in the lounge before lunch and then
after lunch; and I rewrote the whole thing during this
six-weeks summer session.
MINK: VJhat made you do that?
POWELL: I don't know. It was, I think_, a great release,
a great burst of energy and release of having won my free-
POWELL: Relief and release from the administration. Andy
was the dean, Vosper was the librarian, I was phasing out
as a teacher, and I was doing what I originally set out
to do--be a writer. It was really a symbolical act, you
see. It had high symbolical meaning to me to do this.
I didn't think this out; this just came. It was almost
an unconscious [thing]. Well, I rewrote it in longhand,
and then here in this study, I typed it.
MINK: In your office here?
POWELL: Yes. And then Bill Targ, my publisher at World
that had done three books, knowing about some of the writ-
ing I'd done, he'd been anxious to see something; so I
sent him this typescript, and he didn't like it at all.
No. He said, "it's monotonous. It has no tension, it's
mono-key, it doesn't have the gutsy tension of a proper
novel." "Exactly," I said to myself, "I wrote it as a
musical exercise not as a gutty tense novel." So actually
his criticism validated my own intention, but he was disap-
pointed in it.
MINK: Who v;as this?
POWELL: William Targ, who was editor at World, and when
Times-Mirror bought World, he got out.
MINK: Yes, a good thing.
POWELL: He went to Putnam; he became their chief editor,
where he is now.
I talked to Henry Miller about this, I guess, before
I went to Europe, and he said, "Well, if you ever publish
this, you use my letter as an introduction. It'll be the
best damn foreword I ever wrote to any book." And of
course, it could be published just on the strength of
Miller's introduction, now, because of his reputation.
It's one of the longest things he's ever written about
any book. But I don't want to do it, I think, Jim.
MINK: I think maybe this is where you are sensitive,
and I think anybody is sensitive about the things they
POWELL: Yes, I don't want to be kicked around for my
failures. I can kick myself around; that's fine. The
other thing is I have enough recognition for other work,
you see. If I weren't achieving recognition through my
other writing and my other work, I'd probably be driven
to do this.
MINK: Now, what you're really thinking is, "If I do this,
people will read it and say, 'What is this guy Pov;ell?
What business does he have now doing this sort of. . ?'"
POWELL: Yes, second-rate emotional. . .
MINK: Well, yes, but how do you know it's second-rate?
You never know. A lot of writing that was considered
to be second-rate when it v/as done is considered to be
POWELL: Well, one other person I showed this European
novelette to was Frank Dobie.
MINK: What did Dobie say about it?
POWELL: Well, he said, "it has life, it has vitality."
He said, "That's the main thing. All the writer work-
shops in the world can't put life into a writing." He
said, "It has great breadth of life in it, no matter how
imperfect it is in other ways." He was enthusiastic.
MINK: When did you show it to him?
POWELL: Oh, back in the fifties, when he was out here.
We talked a lot. He was much interested in the conver-
sion of emotional experience into literature. He's done
some that's never been published, and we had a lot of
frank talks about it, that's how it came up. I said,
"Well, I've done something; would you like to read it?"
MINK: VJhat do you think of Dobie as a writer?
POWELL: Oh, I think he's a great writer; he's a great
writer, really, the way he's converted his experience
and gone on beyond it.
MIITK: What do you think makes his writing great?
POWELL: Vitality, I think, and a sense of life.
MINK: Isn't it the regionalism, a feeling for the region?
POWELL: Yes, a feeling for the region, but his region
is very wide; it's not just Texas.
MINK: Yes, well, it's the Southwest.
POWELL: Yes. Well, then I came to one more. When I
was at Wesleyan two years ago, I was teaching a course
in the English department on Southwestern literature, and
I set my boys--four students who were all senior students--
to work on their final project, which was to write a
story or a poem or something creative, using what we'd
covered in the course in the way of literature of the
Southwest and of their own knowledge of the region, if
any (none of them had been out here more than on casual
visits), and we would have final meetings of the class
when we would read what we'd written. Then I thought it
over after I'd given the assignment: I said, "Well, I'd
better do something, too."
So all the time I was there at Wesleyan, I wrote a
story of the Southwest in terms of the struggle betvjeen
Arizona and California for the water of the Colorado River,
and in terms of hero and heroine. I'd long been interes-
ted in the whole water thing and dams on the river and
so on, and had been over many times; and I had some types
to v;ork with, some characters. It's probably the most
objective thing I've done because it isn't based neces-
sarily on personal experience.
So I shook them up at the last meeting when I brought
in my own exercise and said, "Look, you little bastards;
you hear this and grade me." And I read it to them, and
it had quite an impact. We had a great time, really —
these four great kids that I had, all totally different
student backgrounds. It was a wonderful experience, Jim,
to have, there at Wesleyan in '68, and all the rest of
my time I was free to write. I was beginning the Cali-
fornia book; I wrote four or five chapters of it there.
Well, that's it; that's my so-called creative writ-
ing up to date. I don't know what I'll do next, but in-
evitably I will go on writing, whether I go back and redo
or do something new or both is immaterial really. You
don't plan these things out; they erupt and well up in
you, and you deal with them as best you can. But, you
see, it goes back to my original intention--that is, to
be a writer, not a librarian. The librarian kick was a
thirty-year detour. I'm really ending up what I wanted
originally to be--a writer.
TAPE NUMBER: XII, SIDE ONE
APRIL 23, 1970
MINK: In the Interviews that 'are now coming up we'll be
talking about the UCLA School of Library Service and your
tenure as dean. And there was, as you knov/ (for the rec-
ord) a tape recording done by Norman Handelsman, who was
doing an oral history internship in the library school
in 1962. He was doing the '6l-'62 class, I believe,
under Elizabeth Dixon. Now, this interview is in the
oral history collection--you have read it; I have read
it--it covers, in general, the background of the school
leading up to its founding, and some on the first classes,
on the problem of accreditation. And I don't believe
there is too much discussion, if any, of the selection
of the faculty. This morning I would like to talk about
that, and I'd like you to respond to the point that was
raised by the ALA Accreditation Committee upon their visit
here toward the end of the school year in I962. They
pointed out that on the core faculty there v^ere too many
Berkeley graduates--you, Andy [Horn], [Seymour] Lubetzky,
Barbara Boyd, Tanya Keatinge, Betty Rosenberg, and then
of course. . .
MINK: Well, Vosper wasn't here at that. . .yes, he was
here at that point, and was very shortly appointed pro-
fessor. I wonder if you could respond to this. The idea
would be here that you had a sort of an inner circle, and
you certainly wanted to present a different style of
library education which really, as I understand it, came
about as a result of your objections to the type of edu-
cation that was presented in the Berkeley Library School
and in other schools around the country. Now, you had
what you might call an inner circle here, and when ALA
came and they saw this, they said, "Well, now, you've
got to get with it and start bringing in people from
other library schools." Now, Andy has been trying to
do that, and now we find some people coming in, some of
whom are very good and some of whom he's not too happy
about. What I'm wondering about is this mutual admira-
tion society: is it critical of outside people or is it
really better? Is the inner circle better, or is it cri-
tical of those who are coming in from outside, and unduly
POWELL: Oh, Jim, I don't know. I think the ALA was at-
taching too much importance to the library school back-
ground of instructors. I don't think the Berkeley Library
School under Mitchell, Coulter, and Slsler ever had any
copyright philosophy with which they indoctrinated their
graduates. I think the personality of the instructors
was what I was interested in, not the fact that they
were from one library school. I don't think that mat-
ters. I think ALA'S criticism was that they just had
to say something and they fastened on that. But the dif-
ferencesj, for example, between Lubetzky, Horn, Pov/ell,
Barbara Boyd, Betty Rosenberg, Tanya Keatinge, for exara-
ple--those were all Berkeley Library School beginners.
Vesper, include him too--the differences of personality
and style between these were enormous. It wasn't really
a philosophical inner circle; it was an expedient inner
circle--that is, here were the people that were possible
to start with, without going through an enormous amount
of nationwide screening. You simply couldn't have done
that and got the thing open. In other words, it was ex-
pediency, Jim, really--not mutual admiration. We kicked
each other around, for Christ's sake. So I think the
criticism is irrelevant.
I think your point is well taken now. I don't think
you're ever irrelevant, Jim; don't misunderstand me. But
I think ALA's was irrelevant. I never bothered to really
answer it. I think when you have time to m.ake a search
and to make a selection, then you can do things that we
couldn't do in the beginning. Andy just had the time.
I don't think he, though, ever went about setting up dif-
ferent library schools and saying, "V/e'll get somebody
from this and that school." No, he was looking for con-
fidence, for personal ability to teach and research.
I don't think it has very much to do with v;here you
went to library school. I don't think library school was
that important. And part of my idea was that it be made
important. It should be an important year. It should be
a critical year of indoctrination. But I don't think we
have any single indoctrinating philosophy. I think we
were a bunch of wild-eyed idealists in a sense, although
we'd been pretty well seasoned in library work. I don't
think the school now has any real inner circle kind of
MINK: Well, you wouldn't think of taking someone, say,
that had been in library work for three years, who maybe
also had a Ph.D., and bring him in as a member of the
faculty, would you?
POWELL: No, I wouldn't, I didn't. In fact, all of our
original faculty were picked, really, on the basis of
their success as librarians--and in some cases as tea-
chers. I deliberately prepared myself for teaching by
taking that assignment in the English department here,
which was very good experience, and taking the semester
at Columbia. Those were deliberate steps on my part,
because I knew I needed teaching experience. I don't
say it made me a good teacher, but it helped me teach.
and when we opened the school I felt a confidence that I
might not have had otherwise. Lubetzky had no teaching
experience. I set up something to give me an insight
into his ability. Although I knew him from back in the
early years here, I still hadn't seen him operate in a
public group. You see, I never ran with catalogers or
classifiers, and so I missed all his work at the Library
of Congress. So I set up a little project in 1958 or
1959j I guess. We had that Institute on Written Report-
ing at Santa Barbara. Remember? Didn't you go to it?
MINK: No, I didn't.
POWELL: You had to stay home and keep shop?
POWELL: Well, at any rate, you remember it, and Betty
Rosenberg edited the proceedings, that Mean What You Say ,
a [UCLA Library] Occasional Paper. I brought Lubetzky
deliberately as a participant in that workshop, which is
what it was, to see how he performed. It was my way of
getting a line on his ability to operate before a group,
both in formal presentation and then in discussion.
MINK: At this point he hadn't been asked if he would be
interested in becoming a member of the faculty?
POWELL: I think he and I had talked about it as early
as--the files would shov;; but it was Lubetzky viho initia-
ted it. VJhen he saw an announcement or heard something
that a library school was going to be here, he wrote to
me from the Library of Congress and said he'd be interes-
ted in an appointment, whereupon I met him at midwinter,
we talked some more about it. I invited him to be in this
Santa Barbara workshop, and I was impressed with the way
he performed. I also had my spies meet him at midwinter
once and go into a meeting where he was with the classi-
fication group and give me a report from another source.
These were secret spies of mine, Jim. I won't reveal
their names to you. Actually, they weren't human. They
were robots that we had operating at different centers,
[laughter] So I got what's called "input" on Lubetzky.
I was entirely satisfied that he would be a good teacher,
although he'd never taught a class in his life, unless
he'd been a TA at Berkeley. I don't know whether he had.
I don't think he had.
Who else? Mrs. Sayers, of course, we had no question
about, because she'd been teaching for years. Andy had
taught; Tanya Keatinge had not, but I'd seen enough of
her in staff work here to know that she could deliver,
and the same with Betty Rosenberg.
MINK: What about Barbara Boyd?
POWELL: Ah, there again, I got a line on Barbara Boyd--
in fact, I first became interested in her in another one
of those institutes we had here under extension on library
administration, reraetnlDer, that we held over in Moore Hall.
It was called "A New Look at Library Administration." I
don't remember what Barbara's job was then; I think she
was a field consultant in the state library. I invited
her to be a--no, I didn't either. She was a participant
in it. She wasn't on the program. She was in my discus-
sion group. We broke up in discussion groups, and I was
enormously impressed with her ability to operate in a
group. She was a group leader and she was very good in
what she said and how she handled them.
That interested me then in asking her to take the
Public Library course. I had some other ideas of people
to take that. Mind you, she wasn't--! don't think--the
first choice. I think the first person I asked to fill
that spot was Thelma Reid. Remember Thelma Reid v;ho had
been a field consultant at state library and then was
city schools librarian of San Diego, And I knew her in
CLA; I'd seen a lot of her in CLA work. I think I asked
her and she backed away from the idea because we couldn't
offer any tenure appointment. It would have been a lec-
tureship. She wasn't interested in that.
Then Page Ackerman had another idea of someone in
public library work from North Carolina--Elaine something
or other, who was public library consultant for the State
Library Comm.ission of North Carolina. I met with her at
Midwinter and was impressed with her qualifications to
teach public library work. But she really didn't express
any interest in moving to Southern California.
So in my way I went through some motions of recruit-
ing and ended up with Barbara, who wasn't the last choice
by any means. I think all these were going concurrently.
And she pulled her weight. She was a Berkeley graduate
of the same class as Vosper and Betty Rosenberg, but no
three people could be more unalike than those three. What
the hell has the library school got to do with it, Jim?
MINK: And yet she subsequently got the axe.
POWELL: Well, that was because she and Andy didn't get
MINK: You got along all right with her.
POWELL: Sure, I got along with everybody, Jim; you know
me. Just a great good get-along-ing guy. I never fell
out with anybody who played it my way. That's a joke.
MINK: Do you want to go into the matter of Barbara Boyd
and why she was discharged?
POVJELL: Well, really, Andy would be the one that would
have to say that, because I think there was some kind of
chemical disaffinity between them. They just didn't take
to each other. And I don't knov; why. They'd have to
answer that. She didn't like Andy and Andy didn't like
her. There are probably reasons. I never paid much
attention to it. It's kind of vague in my mind nov;. I
wanted her to achieve more in the v;ay of research and
publication, and I set up projects for her. I think may-
be I'm being unfair to Andy in saying it was personal an-
tipathy. I think he saw her potentially unappointable
to tenure, and he wanted to unload any members of the
faculty that might prove embarrassing appointment-wise.
Andy was always shrewder than I in seeing the weaknesses
in people's appolntability. Betty Rosenberg was a problem
until we got her security of employment. I initiated
that and secured that I think before I retired.
MINK: I'm not quite clear on this security of employment
in an academic teaching situation as opposed to tenure.
POWELL: Well, it's the same thing, really. It's like the
equivalent of a sabbatical leave, and it applies to senior
lecturers. After a certain time they're reviewed by a
committee of the senate, and even though they haven't the
final qualifications of degree in research, by their ser-
vice, by the quality of their service over X years, they're
given this so-called security of employment. It's really
the equivalent of tenure, Jim, without rank.
MINK: On this subject of tenure, did the fact that you
could not give tenure to a lot of appointments, that you
only had so many tenured positions on the table of organi-
zation, hamper your recruiting?
POWELL: I think it did, yes. I can't think of other
specific cases, but I think it was the reason that Tanya
Keatinge v;as operating here on leave-of-absence from the
city schools. She wouldn't resign. She's a smart girl.
She kept her position there and finally went back to it,
and that's when I got Chase Dane to come in on a double
appointment. He maintained his position and yet he took--
it isn't ideal here for school library work, I think, to
have such an appointment, but Dane was certainly a good
person to fill it.
MINK: Well, you solved this question of tenure, of not
being able to give tenure to a lot of people, did you
not, by appointing people who wouldn't worry about whe-
ther or not they had tenure because they never could get
it, people like Jo Tallman?
POWELL: Well, Betty Rosenberg in the beginning.
MINK: Why was the school so limited in the number of
tenured appointments it could initially begin? It seems
to me that this hampers a professional school from the
POWELL: Of course it does. And the school has been
hampered from the outset by the restrictions and the
limitations of the university organization. This is a
sad thing in a way, and yet I can see its reason. It
makes it terribly difficult to operate. I think it aged
Andy enormously because he bore the brunt of it, and he
still does. The feeling in the beginning that we v;eren't
really a true graduate research discipline--the remark
a gentleman on the faculty made to me v/hen the library
school was founded, "For God's sake, Powell, why don't
you take that bloody trade school to San Luis Obispo! "--
in other words, affiliate with Cal Poly. A lot of people
didn't and still don't regard librarianship as a true
academic discipline. I don't know that I do myself. VJe
called it School of Library Service, and Andy's protected
himself in subsequent years by upgrading the curriculum,
the content, and instituting the second degree, the M.S.
I take credit, I think, for interesting Bob Hayes.
There was an answer, certainly, to the Accrediting Com-
mittee. We brought someone that wasn't even a librarian
to the faculty. It wasn't easy to do. It was a long
slow process of luring him. You want me to talk about it?
MINK: Yes, I do. I think that you mentioned him in the
book, but why don't you go into it in a little more detail.
POVJELL: Well, it came about I think way back in I96O or
1959 probably, the year we were organizing. And I was in
the Librarian's office and Andy was here as a lecturer
to get the school set up, and this man Hayes came into
my office of the University Librarian and introduced
himself as a UCLA Ph.D. in math who was in private indus-
try then--with an information outfit--and had been asked
by the University Math-Engineering Extension to give an
extension course in information science or retrieval, or
whatever it's called, which he was prepared to do. But
he said to me, "I'm weak on formal librarianship. I'd
like a quick course in academic and general historical
librarianship without going to library school for a year.
Can you suggest what I might do?"
I said, "Sure, I've got two men here who v;ill give
you the quick course, make a good graduate librarian
out of you in two weeks." I rang for Everett Moore and
Andy Horn, as I remember, and I said, "Everett, you give
Hayes a quick course in reference work; and, Andy, you
give him a quick course in the history of libraries."
And they did, in some luncheon meetings or conferences.
Hayes, of course, genius that he is, soaked it up.
He did the readings; he learned very fast. He didn't
need to go to library school. He learned it in a couple
of v;eeks. He gave the course, which was a kind of crash
course given over in the Engineering Building, four days
a week every morning, or all day- -I don't kjaow how it
was--but anyv^ay, it was a very intensive course for li-
brarians and for faculty people who were interested. I
went over and audited one of them. I think maybe it was
in the first one that he was to give the background cf
formal librarianship and library history. Jeez, he v;as
a real old pro. He spieled it and it was good. Jo Tall-
man was there; she could vouch for this. He spoke with
real knowledge and authority on what formal librarianship
was and the way it had to relate to keep up to date. So
I was impressed right then and there with his teaching
ability. He was a superb lecturer.
I was still operating then as librarian, and as I
saw the need to develop these new techniques of informa-
tion science and relate them to what we were doing here,
I asked Hayes if he would be a kind of an advisor. He
was, and I don't know who was here then--was Paul Miles?
I guess he was in charge of this business. Gordon Williams
had left, hadn't he?
POWELL: It was old Pablo and Cox and--I don't know who
else. Anyway, Hayes was brainwashing them or being
brainwashed by them. I don't know what went on. But
at any rate, I kept drawing him in closer as an advisor,
and he gave of his time without any appointment, without
any remuneration. In the meantime, he was going on
teaching this extension course. It was more and more
successful, he was repeating it, and he was learning more
and more about libraries from our people here.
MINK: And he was still employed in private industry.
POWELL: That's right. He had simply an appointment in
extension, Math-Engineering Extension. So v;hen we got
the library school going, I think I had Hayes appointed
as a lecturer without stipend.
MINK: Can you do that? Can you appoint somebody as a
lecturer without stipend? As a consultant?
POWELL: I don't know what the hell he was, Jim, but he
was something. I was trading on Hayes's desire to have
an academic affiliation. He was devoted to UCLA v/here
he took his degree--Just like Andy--and I suppose I ex-
ploited this, in the best sense, and gave him every op-
portuTiity to come back and got him more and more interes-
ted in library problems. And there was more and more
university-wide interest in establishing inform.ation
science procedures here, not only in the library but in
the other offices. Registrar's and so on.
I got Hayes, and maybe it was Bill Young and various
people in the administration who were interested in Hayes
and picked his brains. He came closer and closer. Fi-
nally I think we had him appointed as a lecturer with a
stipend and then as a professor in residence for one
year, and then we went all out and he was appointed pro-
fessor and he resigned his industry position. I don't
know which year this v;as, but he came into the school and
for the first time in any American library school^ I
believe, we required of all students a course in data
processing for graduation. This was about '63 or '64,
I think. Some of the students kicked like hell, parti-
cularly the ones going into school and children's library
work, but by God we made them do it, and they ended up
grateful, because Hayes is a great teacher.
He is, I think, the best teacher we had: in his
organization, in his presentation, and in his intellec-
tual power. I recognize Lubetzky and Horn as superb
teachers, but in my book I think Hayes was the top. I
audited his class and I had him as guest speaker every
semester in ray Introduction class. He had this great
sense of timing. Without ever looking at the clock he
could zero in and zero out, interest students, and yet
he was essentially a humble guy. He had no arrogance and
no pretentions and no embarrassment or apologies, really,
for not being a librarian. I think I helped him get over
that in the beginning. I said, "Forget it. You don't
have a library degree; you've got something else that we
need and you're one of us." I tried to make him feel that,
and I think he did. I also reconciled him and Mrs. Sayers,
who were--I think she was--hostile.
MINK: VJhat was their bag?
POWELL: Well, she was hostile.
POWELL: Wellj this went against all her ideas of librar-
ianship--the data processing, machines, and all this. You
know, she's even more old-fashioned than I am, and she
didn't want any part of it. She was not rude to Hayes,
because she's a lady, but she was pretty damned cold to
him until Hayes got smart and asked her advice on a read-
ing list for his nine-year-old son. Oh, he's a fox. She
got interested then in that problem and found that he was
quite a warm human being, and they ended up, of course,
doing this institute in extension on the effects of auto-
mation on children, which was a real love match. [laugh-
ter] Yes, that was great.
MINK: Well, Larry, since we're talking about great tea-
chers--you' ve mentioned Hayes, Horn, Lubetzky--you haven't
POWELL: Let me interrupt. I didn't mention Sayers either.
Of course, she's in a class absolutely by herself. I'd
put her over and above all of us,
MINK: Even Hayes?
POWELL: Yes, as an evangelical type of teacher. She was
the archangel herself (Is there a female archangel?). At
any rate, she was really transcendental. Well, they were
all great, and, Jim, I believe that it's who teaches that
is the important thing, not vrhat ' s taught or vrhere they're
from or their pedigrees or anything else. It's the qual-
ity of the person teaching. I'm a disciple of Bishop
[Nikolai] Grundtvig, remember, the great Dane who revo-
lutionized Danish education. He said the curriculum is
nothing, the teacher everything. And this is true. It's
been true in my own education. The colossi that I Tiad--
Stelter and Maclntyre, Georges Connes in France — these who
by their personalities, plus what they knev;, changed my
life. And I thought this is what we should do here: we
should recruit faculty with this overpowering sense of
person. And I don't mean it in a flashy sense, but in
this deep sense of commitment that Hayes had to his dis-
cipline, that Sayers had, that Betty Rosenberg has to ac-
MINK: This is very good, this is a great thought, but. .
POWELL: Yes, but what? for Christ's sake.
MINK: You were very limited in your recruiting, because
in this context you could only choose those people with
those personalities you had considerable contact and a
certainty of. Now, what about recruiting people from the
East or from the North, and so on? You don't know.
POWELL: Well, I'd go and knov; them. I wouldn't recruit
in absentia . I would make a point of knov;ing them. I'd
go v/ith ray Batman cloak and disguise and find out if they
were any good.
MINK: This creates problems.
POWELL: Sure It creates problems. It's limiting, but
it's simply the way I operate. It's limited, human, and
biased and personal and all these things, but what man
isn't limited in one way or another? These were my limi-
tations and I recognize them. Sure. And it v;ould v;ork
only when I was in charge.
MINK: Well, let's go back to you. . .
POWELL: Yes, let's go back to me.
MINK: . . .as a teacher. Now, in my way, I heard--you
know, because people would come to prepare papers who were
in your classes--that there were criticisms. And I sup-
pose that you hear from those people that are turned off;
you don't usually hear from the people that are turned on.
What was your style of teaching? Now, some would say,
"Larry Powell's course was really a course in Powell."
POWELL: Of course. [laughter]
MINK: Of course. Did you feel that the best method, for
example, of teaching college and university library ad-
ministration was not to give formal lectures on this based
on the literature, books, textbooks, and so on, and re-
quire a standard text for the course, v;hich I believe
POWELL: Well, I did, too, but only nominally. We didn't
limit ourselves to it.
MINK: Well, was it your feeling to give them more of
your own personal experience--such as how to deal v;ith
a library committee, based on your experience in dealing
with the Library Committee here--rather than to lecture
POWELL: Yes, sure, that's right. It was personal; it
was derived from my own experience, but not just here,
because I had traveled a good deal. I'd been active in
ARL and ACRL, and I'd observed a great deal of university
library practice throughout the country. I had a lot of
contacts, a lot of second-hand experience which I used.
It was a style based on my own flair and my own limita-
MINK: Well, naturally, some people would be critical about
this, but. . .
MINK: , . .1 can't remember that we ever received at the
Berkeley school anything from Danton (who was teaching
the course at that time) on the structure of the univer-
sity, vis-a-vis the library, the senate, the various com-
mittees, which has a general pattern throughout the coun-
try. I don't remember ever reading much in textbooks on
library administration about this.
POWELL: VJell, V/ilson and Tauber have a certain amount on
it. I used Kenneth Brough's book Scholars' Workshop, his
dissertation based on those five university libraries.
I used that J those two books. I went into the library
committee and whether it was desirable to have the li-
brarian a member or not. Remember, I was not, and Vos-
per is; each v;ay has its advantage.
MINK: Would you talk about that a little bit?
POWELL: Would I talk about it now?
MINK: Yes, as if you were lecturing to me on it. [laugh-
POWELL: Well, I preferred not to change the system. I
was getting, I felt, everything I needed and accomplish-
ing what I wanted to accomplish without being a member of
the Library Committee. And the fewer changes that I made,
the fewer suggestions of change that I made to the senate,
to the faculty, the better. I preferred to work quietly
and get my work done and not say, "Look, you did it
wrong; now let's do it this way." So I went along in
the pattern that Goodwin had established. I felt, you
see, that I had all the prestige and recognition and
authority that the office required and that I required
personally, and I didn't feel any need to change this.
I think of incidents on campuses where a librarian would
be on the outside and had to be a member of the committee;
if he wasn't, then he should work to be a member. But
I didn't feel that way. I don't know what Vosper's
reasons for. . .
POWELL: Insisting, no. You'd have to ask him. I've
never discussed it with him. 'I think maybe it followed
the pattern he had at Kansas where he was a member of
MINK: He felt more comfortable in this kind of a rela-
POWELL: Yes. Also he came back in a kind of honeymoon
glow: everyone wanted him back, he wanted to be back,
and it was the time. I must say that when I came I also
had the honeymoon glow in 19'^'^^ and I did some other
things that I could have done then only at the begin-
ning. Vosper's sense of timing was good. He had the
change made right at the first. Well, I knew situations
around the country where the librarian was or was not a
member of the faculty committee, and I tried to point
these out. I never tried to limit my teaching to my own
experience at UCLA. I used it as a point of departure
and a comparison. I think maybe that college university
course that I taught in the spring semester improved with
teaching, and I think the last year I got som.e excellent
papers out of students. They used to come to you for
archives, didn't they?
POWELL: I had some excellent papers out of them, and I
didn't give formal lectures because I wanted the student
to be involved earlier than that. I didn't v;ant him to
be the target of my talking for forty-five or fifty min-
utes. I wanted a participation. So I generally v/orked
from the topic. I had a syllabus and we v/orked from an
outline^, but I encouraged participation and interruption.
MINK: Well, my experience, of course, is limited in deal-
ing with UCLA library school students. I'd never dealt
with library school students at Berkeley. I'd dealt v;ith
librarians at Berkeley because I was in the school, but
I must say that the people who came during that time from
the school seemed to me to have had a very, very good
sense of research methodology, a very keen interest. They
were alert people and they worked well. I enjoyed that
POWELL: You mean here.
POWELL: Well, they got this not only from me, but they
got it from Horn and from all the other faculty, their
general philosophy. They were going forv:ard concurrent-
ly in several classes, and I think Horn did a lot of in-
doctrinating in methodology in his historical bibliography
class. So mind you, the people that were taking this
college and university class--these were optional courses.
you see^ they weren't requlred--were really interested.
My required course that I taught over here--the introduc-
tion--I had the bigger class then. And here again it was
more of a free-for-all in a class up to fifty or so.
There couldn't be the same amount of discussion that you
could have in the smaller class. The college and univer-
sity class used to run twenty or twenty-five students.
The other class was double that. So I did more formal
lecturing^ I think^ in introduction.
Then we got down to the even smaller classes that I
taught in advanced problems in acquisitions and in the
Southwestern course. Those would be maybe a dozen stu-
dents, more of a seminar kind of thing, and I enjoyed
all three of those experiences--the large class, the med-
ium, and the smaller. And I got great results. Oh, sure,
you can' t teach a course and have 100 percent agreement, and I
didn't expect that. I had a couple of real smart-ass
students that I used to have to whack.
I just saw one of them at Ds.vis. I was at Davis last
week talking to the Friends of the Library, and this stu-
dent came up to me afterwards. He was Whitten--young
V/hitten who was the son of Ben Whitten, Whittier's li-
brarian. Remember, he came here to school. He v;as a
very balky student. He was hard to turn on, his face
expressed boredom, and even disagreement. And I used to
needle him, trying to get him to react, and v;e had a
couple of real confrontations in class. I finally told
him off once, to either come alive or get out. "Don't
sit there looking bored, even if you are. Put on a
show," I said. "You bore me, but I'm trying to show some
interest in you." So we got to laughing and I think v/e
ended up friends, and anjrway he went on to Cal to take
his Ph.D. in the library school. But he dropped out and
he's now at Davis taking the degree in English. He came
up with his new wife, and we had a little reunion.
There was another student who quit after a month,
John Schwartz. Did you ever meet him? They elected him
president of the class. He was from Montana, had his M.A.
in English, and he wanted to be a writer. But I don't
think he really wanted to work for the library degree.
I think he wanted to go on writing and make motions of
taking the courses, and, you know, he got into trouble
fairly early. I think I suggested that he drop out and
he did. He quit. And it was a good thing, too, because
the vice-president of the student body was that beautiful
Rita Brenner, with the long dark hair. Remember, Jim?
POVffiLL: She became president of the class, didn't she.
VJell, that v;as because Schwartz chickened out.
MINK: Or you chickened him out. [laughter]
POWELL: NOj I think he really knew he had made a mistake;
so he went into English to take his degree. I don't know
what's happened to him. He published a novel since with
Grove Press. I thought maybe he'd bring me one, but I
haven't looked it up yet. But I should.
MINK: I noticed in one of the annual reports to the chan-
cellor that you had pointed out that it v/as "hogwash,"
this notion that every so often the faculty in the school
should go back into the profession and work to have a
"renewal," so to speak, and therefore to bring back into
their teaching more of what perhaps would be current prac-
POWELL: No, I thought it was a cliche. If they'd been
good librarians, it's with them for life. They should
read, they should travel, they should go to conferences--
they could do all these things as faculty members. I
don't say they should go into the ivory tower, but they
don't have to go back on a leave of absence into an employ-
ment situation. This might be true if you're recruiting
faculty that had limited experience.
MINK: The thing about that remark in the report v;as that
I couldn't understand in what context it was made, what
came up during your tenure to make you blast off at this?
POVJELL: Jesus, I don't kjnow. Maybe it was accrediting.
I perhaps read som.e accrediting committee report, or maybe
I'd been to a conference where this was talked aboutj or
maybe Danton had come down and sounded off. I don't know.
Anyway, I was just sounding off myself. You mentioned at
Cal what you didn't get from Danton, but certainly Mitchell
taught more the way I did. I didn't have his course, be-
cause he was at Yale the year that I was in library school,
but I heard enough about it from others. I think I v/as
more in the style of Mitchell, and Andy v/as more in the
style of Danton.
MINK: Well, yes. Now, as far as Danton 's style--and I
see nothing wrong with an interviewer putting things in
the record--it seemed to me that it was pretty stereotyped
teaching, as I recall it. We did a paper; the paper had
to be on a library, and we were told to select a library
in the region. I selected the library at Cal State, San
Francisco. We were asked to apply the 19'^9 ALA's stan-
dards to the library, and this required going there. And
I remember going and interviewing Ken Brough at San Fran-
cisco State and then taking these standards and applying
them and writing it up. Danton alv/ays insisted on succinct,
precise papers. Any paper that was more than two and a
half to three pages long usually got marked down just on
the basis of the fact that it was longer than three pages.
He put great emphasis on good English and correct syntax.
P0V7ELL: Yes, Perry's an orthodox and conventional and
Germanic, well-organized, totally unoriginal guy. He
has no originality, no flair, no career distinction,
really. He was an undistinguished person in American
librarianship. Let's face it: he had courage, he had
methodology, he had thoroughness, and these are all
good qualities, and he certainly has done well since
he left the deanship.
TAPE NUMBER: XII, SIDE TWO
APRIL 23, 1970
MINK: Well, we are going on on side two this morning
with a discussion of J. Periam Danton. You v/ere evaluat-
ing his teaching.
POWELL: Wellj he shouldn't have been dean--that's all
I ever said. He's a good researcher and a good seminar
teacher. But he's not a good teacher of a general class,
and he's not a good administrator. My viev/point.
MINK: I think you said in an interview that you had with
Handelsman, that in the organizing years of the school,
Danton was a great help to you.
POWELL: He wasn't a help to me, Jim; he was a help to
Andy. He and Andy, you see, had this teacher-student
relationship. Andy had been his brilliant student. Perry
once told me, "He's the most brilliant student I ever
had, period, in any class, any year." They liked each
other and they got along well. I never interfered with
this. Perry did come down--now, I must correct that to
say that when we were having that seminar in library edu-
cation way back in the--when v;as it, the fifties?
POVJELL: 'We had those evening sessions. Well, Perry came
dovm to one, do you remember?
MINK: I wasn't on that.
POTOLL: VJeren't you? I thought you'd been in everything
here, Jim. You ask questions like you v;ere.
MINK: That's all right.
POWELL: That-'s all right.
MINK: I'm not being interviewed.
POVJELL: [laughter] At any rate, I asked Perry to come
down and he did. He came down and spent some time with
us, and he said the greatest problem we would have would
be the recruiting of faculty. Well, actually it was the
smallest problem we had.
MINK: He was probably looking at it from a different
standpoint, wasn't he?
POWELL: That's right. More of the style that Andy's had
to follow in nationwide recruiting. I was 'lucky in the
beginning in having a task force more or less set up.
I would think, though, Jim, if I were to do it again — and
I talked a little about this at Colorado last month when
I spoke at Boulder--that ideally a library school should
be unaffiliated with an academic institution. It should
go back before the Willlam.son Report and attach itself to
a big library without any academic trappings or parapher-
nalia or restrictions. A training school.
MIM: The way that Perry did in the Los Angeles Public
Library, in a sense.
POWELL: In P.L., and Munn did it in Pittsburgh and Gillis
did in Sacramento.
MINK: Right. And [Melvil] Dewey.
POWELL: Dewey, certainly, pulled it out from Columbia
and took it to Albany when Columbia got in his hair. And
this is more my style. I would have done very well in
MINK: Well, now, let me ask you about that: what would
you see as the ideal advantages of this first of all, hov7
would it help you in recruiting? Certainly, you could not
attract an academic group of people as well, it seems to
me, to a library school based at a library as you would
to a library school based in a great academic institution
such as UCLA.
POWELL: I think it would have to be limited pretty much
to public library training.
MINK: You do?
POWELL: Training for public librarians and perhaps not
school, because there again they're hamstrung with require-
ments, academic requirements, but work with children in
public libraries. Be primarily a public library training
school. Yes, you're right, you couldn't attract to a pub-
lic library v/orking-training situation those people who
wanted special libraries--oh, it's totally impractical,
I'm just saying I was born too late. I should have
been born in the Melvil Dewey era. And 1 v;ould have been
more like Jim Gillis.
MINK: Well, you'd rather be your own man. I think it's
pretty apparent that you were terrifically turned off--
correct me if I'm wrong--about the bureaucratic kinds of
relationships that you get into in trying to run a library
school in a university situation.
POWELL: Turned off?— I was never turned on. I never un-
derstood them, Jim; or I never chose to understand them,
let's put it that way. I understood them very well, but
I wasn't patient. You see, Andy is patient, and I wasn't.
We can illustrate this in the way we went about the ac-
crediting process. My whole position on accrediting was'
that we do the minimum of paperwork on it, because the
mere fact that we're a graduate school in the University
of California is enough for me.
MINK: And you thought it ought to be enough for the com-
POWELL: Yes, exactly, and I didri't want these chickenshit
bastards coming in here [laughter], like the school people
did, and telling off the University of California. No,
I had great pride in the school's being in the University
up to its standards, and I thought this was good enough.
So I didn't propose to spend three weeks filling out the
MINK: You wouldn't have had that in the library school
that you. . .
POWELL: No, I wouldn't have had accrediting. [laughter]
At any rate, the forms came to me first and I filled them
all out, what I thought we ought to put into them, in
one evening's work at home. I brought them into Andy
and Flo, and they just heaved a great sigh and took them
away from me and spent three weeks filling them out--to
my mind with an enormous amount of unnecessary data. And
I just didn't think it was worth all of that, or neces-
sary, let's say.
MINK: Weren't you telling the library school about the
importance of accreditation with what the ALA looks for
POWELL: Yes, but I thought we could display it or docu-
ment it in much briefer form. That's where I differed
from Andy and Flo. At any rate, the accrediting team fi-
nally said they'd never had such an avalanche of data.
MINK: It was very good, wasn't it, and worked out to your
benefit, because it gave them an opportunity to attend
classes. Usually, as it v;as pointed out in the inter-
view, they spent most of their day-and-a-half ' s visit
asking for data.
POVrELL: Yes, all right, you're right. I take it all back.
MINK: And Andy knew this. So he went ahead and he spent
the time and he prepared the data, and it turned out bet-
ter for the school.
POWELL: You've been talking to him, haven't you?
MINK: No, I read the interview. You read it.
POV/ELL: Oh, you mean the Handelsman one?
POWELL: Oh. Is it in there?
MINK: Oh, absolutely.
POWELL: Yes, I guess so. I wanted it both ways.
MINK: This is another interesting point. .
POWELL: Well, I had it both ways. I had my way and he
had his. So it was a perfect symbiotic relationship,
which is what I always said. I was the spirit and he was
the form. [laughter]
MINK: Handelsman— I have to take my hat of f to him--he
really got you.
POWELL: Did he?
MINK: When he tried to pull the same thing you tried to
pull on me all the time. . .
POWELL: What's that?
MINK: Well, talking about the reaction of the first year's
class to the accrediting team and the wild session that
they had behind closed doors when you all v;ere on the
outside wondering what was going on.
POWELL: Yes, I think they had some booze in there.
MINK: And you asked Handelsman, "Well, you v;ere in there,
Norman, what v;ent on?" And Norman said, "Well, I'm not
being interviev;ed, but I'd like to know v;hat your reac-
tion is to what went on in there as you heard it." And
you reacted a little bit. I wonder if you v/anted to re-
act any more. As you went on, did you really find out
what the class said to those people? They v;ere really
primed. They'd been there nearly their full period at
that point. It was late in the spring, wasn't it?
MINK: And they had some definite ideas about this school,
and they had an opportunity to make them known. I think
it's interesting, because I was talking with Dellene
[Tweedale] this morning, and when Eric Moon [at the Uni-
versity of Pittsburgh], for example, found out that Del-
lene had gone to this school, he asked her to make a
comparison between the Pitt school and UCLA, because he's
interested in library education, but the blasted dean there
wouldn't allow Dellene and him to be alone. He insisted
on being at the interview. So Dellene had to simply quote
statistics and say what faculty-student relationship ra-
tios were and hov; many students were admitted.
POWELL: V/as Lancour the dean then?
MINK: Yes, I think so.
POWELL: He's a jerk.
MINK: Yes. Well, these guys had a chance, ^vithout hav-
ing you guys on the faculty around, to tell the committee.
POWELL: I didn't pull anything on Norman. I didn't try
to pump him. I just was amused because it was such a
ruckus. They were all laughing and having a hell of a
good time. I think the students brought a bottle of booze
and got the Accrediting Committee stoned, which is a good
MINK: Well, what did the Accrediting Committee say after
POVJELL: They just said, "These are a great bunch of stu-
dents. They're really alive." That's all they ever told
us. They said, "They act as though they're live human
beings." So I took that as a compliment. Wasn't it?
MINK: I hope it was.
POWELL: I hope it was. In other words, we hadn't knocked
all the life out of them. They were finishing up their
year with a good deal of spirit. Yes. Well, what else,
MINK: I think that's an interesting point, that you al-
lowed this criticism--in fact, the annual reports show it,
this give-and-take betvreen faculty and students, which we
were never allowed at the Berkeley school.
POVJELL: I know; no, I wasn't either.
MINK: I remember that we met as a class about the second
or third week of the first semester and passed a resolu-
tion to the effect that we were not about to do all the
work that the dean required of us. Yes. We felt that it
was just too much--you know, I50 reference collections
every night, and what we considered to be just a lot of
POWELL: Well, I mentioned this in my Coulter lecture.
John Henderson told me that he'd led a student revolt in
MINK: There must have been a lot of them at Berkeley.
There must be something about the Berkeley atmosphere that
POWELL: Yes, that's interesting; yes, I think it is.
I felt that when I was there. I revolted against Miss
Slsler. Of course, neither of us had Mitchell, did we?
You had Danton and I had Sisler as director.
MINK: But I had Merritt and I had Danton, and that was
POWELL: Yes. Well, I suppose some of our students would
say, "Well, we had Powell and X and that's enough." I
couldn't reach them all. I reached some of them and I
see them everyvfhere I go now. At Colorado, there's one on
the staff. In fact, I went up to speak at Boulder be-
cause one of our graduates up there had charge of programs
and brought me up . I saw several of our people at Davis.
Don Kunitz is in special collections there now, editing
the California " Librarian . He was one of our good students
here. I told you about meeting Ben Lasky out in Tokyo.
Yes, I had a lovely time, Jim, really. I'm not ter-
ribly introspective or self-critical. I'm happy to go
along doing my own thing. They were great years. They
were the crowning years, really, of my career--the years
here. And I know--I say again, and I will say it to my
last breath--that I couldn't have done it alone. I had
to have the support that Andy gave me. He made the school
possible in a formal sense; he enabled it to be founded
and to survive. I didn't have the skill or the patience
to do this.
MINK: One thing that did disturb Andy, and it disturbed
me, too: he was pointing out that in the last year of
the school, which was the first year of the Higher Educa-
tion Act, we could have had twenty fellowships if we wanted,
which would have brought in $2,000 apiece to the school,
but you simply refused to apply for fellowships. Why?
P0V7ELL: I never refused to apply for anything.
MINK: VJhy didn't you send in the requests? The point
that was made: Andy was on sabbatical (this v;as your
last year), and you simply said, "Well, that's up to him;
that's for next year." So we lost out during that year.
POWELL: Well, yes. I didn't refuse; I just didn't do it.
MINK: Why didn't you do it? I mean, in the face of the
fact that it would have meant $2,000 for, say, twenty--
that's $40,000 over and beyond what you would have had
in your budget. I can't see you, Larry, passing up money
POWELL: Well, nobody told me it in these simple terms,
I think. Probably Flo showed me the forms, and I said,
"Christ, I can't do these forms." And I just got through
telling you I didn't have the skill. I didn't. I didn't
have skill in doing this kind of paperwork. Just put it
down to blindness on my part, not wilfulness.
MINK: No, no, I wouldn't think so.
POWELL: I was just blind to it. And that's what I mean:
Andy was on sabbatical, so it didn't get done. He was
MINK: Well, you know, it came as a terrific surprise,
apparently, to everybody concerned, that you decided just
like that in I965 to stop, period.
POWELL: What do you mean, "came as a surprise." Did it?
MINK: Yes, I think so. They didn't expect you to resign.
Deans don't resign or go into retirement v/hen they're
sixty years old, for goodness sakes.
POWELL: Yes, I know.
MINK: You want to talk about it?
POWELL: Yes, I don't see why not. I'd have to go back
in my files, but I think I initiated some correspondence
with the retirement office in Berkeley v;ay back as early
as '55 or earlier. No, not earlier. About then. I
don't know, Jim, I just had this sense of fulfillment that
was growing in me. I saw this as a kind of a peak, and
if I could do it through these five years as dean I would
have done what I was intended to do, and beyond that it
MINK: Was there any feeling on your part of having seen
other people in the university throughout your experience
here staying around "too long."
POWELL: Possibly. Probably unconsciously it was a per-
ception. I think I began to get sensitive in my last
years as librarian, when I sensed ,an impatience on the
part of younger faculty that we were moving too slov;ly.
MINK: The same impatience you had with John Goodwin.
POWELL: Yes, exactly. And I sensed in myself an inabil-
ity really, to respond to the extent that they expected,
and I had the precedent, yes, of Goodv^in staying on. I
think the war had a lot to do with this, you see; it
kept him on. He v;ould have retired, but the v;ar kept
him on. But it was a very sad final period. And I saw
a rising Impatience on the part of the faculty that v;e
were lagging tiehind Berkeley, that we should try to
achieve parity with Berkeley, and I saw also the impos-
sibility of doing this as long as Berkeley was holding
the reins and that our chancellor was an easygoing, an
unaggressive person, such as Ray Allen.
It had to be Murphy and Vosper--that team. And I
saw this possible when I met Franklin Murphy in 19oOj in
the early spring or winter of I96O. He'd be^n appointed
chancellor. He came to talk. We had that breakfast at
the Bel-Air Hotel in which he wanted to know what the
pluses and minuses were here. I knew right then that
this was the time to step down as librarian and that
this would give him an opportunity to bring in Vosper.
We agreed on that at that breakfast meeting.
So I was in a sensitive state of not v/anting to be
in the position of a target. I was getting too old for
that kind of thing. I don't mind making other people
targets, but I didn't want to be a target myself. I could
see this happening perhaps in the' library school v;ith the
move toward--oh, what? --the information science and all
of this, in which I could give lip service but no real
creative contribution. I did help on the Library Coun-
cil in establishing the Institute for Library Research.
Swank and I were the deans then, and I v/as still librar-
ian vrhen that occurred.
I don't know, Jim. Somebody said, "VJell, you in-
herited money _from your uncle, so this enabled you to
retire," but actually the decision v/as made before that.
That was one of those bonus things that came along. I'd
made the decision before that. And let's bring this
other thing into the picture, too--my increasing success
as a writer. I'd published several books at the end of
the fifties and into the early sixties. I had more work
I wanted to do.
MINK: Did you make a lot of money off these books?
POlAffiLL: No, I didn't make a lot of money off them, but
I made maybe $4,000 or $5,000 in royalties off each of
those World books. Yes, they paid a very good royalty.
MINK: A guy could almost get along on $5,000.
POWELL: Plus retirement. I saw also that if I were going
to do my best writing I v/as going to have to give more
time to it. And to give more time to it meant less time
to the university job, and I think, in conscience, I wasn't
willing to do this. I never gave my daytimes to writing.
I did it at night or early morning. I did a certain
amount of the gathering, the correspondence and all, I
suppose, in the course of the job. But I saw I was going
to have to have more time, and this was another motiva-
tion to free myself in order to write. I don't know,
Jim; I suppose it did surprise some, because I didn't
discuss it widely. I think Miss Bradstreet and Flo and
Andy--we talked about it.
MINK: You didn't have interviev;s with people on the
Dally Bruin like Rosemary Park.
POWELL: No. Is that what she's done?
MINK: Yes, she's going to resign.
POWELL: Oh, I didn't see this. [It happened] while we
were away, I guess.
MINK: I think maybe it's the same thing. I mean, people
see forces shaping up in the university which really sort
of bring on a handwriting on the wall, that your era is
coming to an end and there's going to be a new one and
you don't feel that you can adjust or be part of that new
POWELL: That's right, I think this was true. I was
greatly relieved to have Vosper take over the librarian-
ship, you see. I never shed a single tear over that, and
it freed me for five years in the library school.
MINK: I think that there was some resentment on Vesper's
part, however, that he was not able to take over the
directorship of the Clark Library at the same time that
he took over the UCLA Library.
POWELL: Was there?
MINK: I think so.
POWELL: He didn't ever indicate that to me.
MINK: Was it just because of your stake in the Clark or
something that you didn't want to give that up at the
time you gave up the library job?
POWELL: I thought I could do justice to it.
MINK: Do you feel that you did?
POWELL: Yes, I did. I do. I kept the seminar program
going which I'd started. I kept it going. We initiated
the post-doctoral program because of Mark Curtis 's ori-
ginal suggestion when he was in the graduate office. I
made one buying trip abroad for the Clark in '63. The
agreement was with Murphy in the beginning that I would
keep the directorship of the Clark, and Murphy said, "Well,
I have only one objection to that, Larry, I'd like the
job myself. If you ever give it up, let me be director."
POWELL: Yes. He was kidding, of course, but he took a
great interest in it, and we had some wonderful years.
Do you really think Vosper resented this? How do you
arrive at that, Jim.
MINK: From my informants, my secret spies.
POWELL: From your spies?
MINK: Like those you send back to ALA.
POWELL: Let me just Interject this, that I said "Vosper
didn't indicate this to me." His relationship toward me
was alv/ays discreet and kind and generous, and if he felt
this, he didn't make it apparent to me, v/hich was kind of
him. In other words, he swallowed it.
MINK: Well, I think maybe Mr. Vosper--and v/e ' ve already
discussed this aspect of it--felt somewhat hampered by
this syndrome that you spoke a'bout--Andy, the whole bit
about the boss, you know- -be cause I sensed that from some
of my informants that it was sort of needling, you know,
to be introduced to your old friends by Mr. Vosper (people
that you have knovm twenty or thirty years longer than
he had) as "my good friend Larry Powell."
POWELL: Yes. Well, we all eat a certain amount of shit,
MINK: I think that this is all part of that syndrome. I'd
like to take this tack for a moment or two. There's
another syndrome that you and I are very much aware of and
exists in all--not all, but a lot of academic institutions
where there's a library school, a library in juxtaposition,
resentment that grows up on the staff of the library, that
gets to the library students. And very happily here--I
think through your and perhaps Andy's foresight, you
brought Everett into the matter of selecting the labora-
tory collection, brought Ardis into this. So you started
out on a very good working relationship with the library.
Maybe this has deteriorated, because new members of the
staff come in and they had no loyalty to you when you were
librarian. Their loyalties are now different. Their un-
derstanding of the situation as it existed then doesn't
exist. . .
POWELL: And the school is twice as big. There are twice
as many students.
MINK: Yes. Do you think that as you began to see it
around '64 or '65, that this relationship was beginning
POWELL: I didn't notice it. I was of course traditional-
ly insensitive, Jim, to anything like this. I didn't no-
tice it, and I haven't noticed it now.
MINK: I don't think it's really too bad.
POWELL: No, but it can grow. It takes work, because you
and I know what it was at Berkeley--" the gloomy princesses,"
as we used to call the reference group, they hated us.
Peyton Hurt, who was associate university librarian--we
were beneath his notice. And it was a very unhappy situa-
tion. Ardis was responsible for a lot of this good spirit,
and Everett, Page, and Andy, of course. Andy is respon-
sible for an enormous number of things, as you and I knov;.
He and I have never had, I don't think, any of the syn-
dromes that might have operated betvfeen Vosper and me.
I think Andy and I have had a more crystalline, trans-
parent working relationship. I don't think he has ever
had any feeling of resentment toward me.
MINK: There was one little bind that. . .
POWELL: Was there a bind, Jim^, that I wasn't aware of?
MINK: No, not between you and Andy. VJhen Mr. Vosper
came, of course, the thing that had to be done was to
appoint him to the faculty of the library school, right?
So there was a question of what level he v/as going to
be appointed. And as I understand it, you recommended
him for associate professor. And this didn't sit very
well with him. He thought he ought to have been a full
professor. As I understand it, the reason that you re-
commended him at the associate level was because you
didn't think you ought to put him higher than Andy.
POWELL: Yes, that was sticky. This never v;ent to the
point of a recommendation. It was simply in a matter
of letter exchange between him and me. I asked if he
would consider coming in as an associate, and he replied,
no, he wouldn't. So I had to tell Murphy. Well, this
was terribly unfair to Andy and I knew it. And as I
remember, I arrived in New York from Europe in '60 and
talked to Murphy by phone, and he said, "Well, I can't
get Horn appointed at the highest level, and I can get
Vosper. Do you agree to do this?" And I said, "Yes, I
will agree. If you will agree that at the earliest pos-
sible moment you will appoint Horn to the professorship."
This was "by telephone. Murphy was at a party here, and
1 was in the airport hotel at New York. And Murphy agreed
I will say this: anything that Murphy ever agreed to,
he did. You didn't have to have it in writing.
MINK: But he did drag his feet.
POWELL: Well. . .
MINK: Or somebody dragged his feet. I won't say Murphy
did. Somebody did.
POWELL: Well, he had to feel his way as to his power--
how much authority he could use in voting against the
Appointment Committee or the Budget Committee, or both,
and until he established his prerogatives as chancellor
he wasn't ready to overrule them. And they were adamant;
they wouldn't give Andy the tenure. The appointment was
finally made after two or three years, by Foster Sherwood
and by Murphy, without any kind of appointment committee
or anything else. They just did it, as I understand, and
appointed Andy from associate to full professor. I don't
hold this against Murphy. He was new here and he was
MINK: These are the kind of problems that can come up,
and the reason I bring them up is to demonstrate what a
touchy relationship there can be between the library and
the library schools.
POWELL: Wellj it could have resulted in a complete break
between Vosper and me and Horn and Vosper, if Horn had
been resentful. He could have never spoken again. This
is the sort of thing that would have happened at Berkeley.
But we were fortunate^ of course, in Andy's Christian
character. We really were. I suppose I goofed in the
beginning. But here again, I was operating with Ray
Allen, who was an uncertain quantity, who left for Indo-
nesia at a crucial time. And it was an all-new area in
which to operate, Jim. We had never done it before.
Everything was being done for the first time and, Christ,
I suppose we're thankful we made as few mistakes as we did.
MINK: How did you feel personally about having Gustave
Arlt as chairman of the Advisory Committee?
POWELL: Very good.
MINK: You felt comfortable?
POWELL: Oh, yes, I felt comfortable with Arlt. I don't
think I ever trusted him 100 percent, but I did 99 per-
cent. He'd been very close to Eddie Dickson, and he
knew how important it was to get the library school going
and to get Andy appointed. The big foot dragging, of
course, was when Earl Griggs was the chairman of the
Appointment Committee on my deanship. Griggs dragged
his feet for a year.
MINK: Purposely^ or just. . .
POWELL: Just because he's a horse's ass, I think. I
just think he's a colossal one. I've worked with him
quite a few times here on a number of things, and I think
he's a nit-picker of the worst sort. I was awfully glad
when he left this campus. I think he's a phony.
MINK: How about your relationship with Foster Sherwood?
Was there anything in that relationship going back over
the years that made you feel that he opposed or blocked
the progress of the school once it was established?
POWELL: No. I never had this feeling, Jim. I liked
Foster. I always got along well with him. He was or-
ganized, and he had his data organized. He understood
the academic machinery. The only person who ever under- '
stood it as well, in my book, was Andy. Foster under-
stood it, and you had to present things to hisi in terms
of the system.
MINK: But didn't you have problems, during the time that
you were dean, in trying to get him to agree to appoint-
ments and so on?
POWELL: I don't think I ever had any problem getting him
to agree. I had a problem getting people to accept, par-
ticularly the long hassle we had over the reference posi-
tion after Tanya gave it up. You see, we brought [Arnul-
fo] Trejo here, which v/as a fiasco. But my God, give me
credit, I solved it and got us out of it . I got him his
other job--just in the nick of time, too--and sent him
off back to Arizona with flying colors. I did that. I
had to, for Christ's sake. It was hanging around my neck
and I had to do it. But it was through my friendship
with President Harvill of Tucson that I was able to do
I tried to get Reuben Musiker appointed from South
Africa. We had him as associate professor, but he wanted
a full professorship and more travel money. I tried to
get Rob Collison in the beginning, but he had just gone
to the BBC, and he couldn't come. I tried desperately
to get Roy Stokes appointed, you see, and had that agreed
at the professor level, and then he backed out, chickened
out at the last. I resented this because he had encouraged
us to make the appointment, and then when we had it ready,
he wouldn't accept it.
You may have heard, he's coming to British Columbia
as dean. We made up our differences, though. It didn't
disturb our relationship over the long run. I taught
for him last year in England. Then he came here and
taught one summer for us.
So these were not problems caused by Sherv;ood. I
had these appointments all sanctioned by him., but I
couldn't get the appointees to come, namely, Musiker and
stokes and Collison. No, Foster was good to v;ork v;ith.
I respected him, and he was the one that put through
Andy's promotion. He called me at home and told me. He
said, "I'm delighted to do this for Andy. You call him
up and tell him." So I did. What else, Jim?
MINK: No, I think that this will do for today. Unless
you have something further that you want to put in the
POWELL: Well, on this retirement, did we chev7 that really
MINK: Yes, I think you've given your views of why you
did it, and I do think that if you didn't discuss it
vjlth people widely, obviously it would have surprised
POWELL: And don't you agree it was a good thing to do
MINK: No, I'm not going to say.
POWELL: You aren't, huh?
POWELL: Well, I think it was a good thing, in view of
my age and my limitations.
MINK: We all know ourselves the best.
POWELL: Yes, I knew my limitations of strength and vis-
ion and support here. It v;as time to go. And these
four years that I've had since retirem.ent have really
been wonderful years--personally and selfishly.
MINK: Was Fay urging you or was she remaining neutral?
POWELL: Well, she never urges, and she doesn't remain
MINK: That doesn't answer the question, but maybe it
POWELL: Well, she operates in a different way, Jim. I
sense what she wants, but she never asserts it. I know
this pleased her because it meant more time together,
and it was something we both wanted. Have we talked
POWELL: Have we before in another session?
POWELL: What I really owe to her?
POWELL: Well, let me say it again. I owe as much to
her, really, as I do to Andy. She kept the home front,
and he kept the academic front for me. I couldn't have
done these things without enormou-s support (you know that).
My support hadn't vanished, but my own self was diminlsh-
ing--that is, my own contribution was diminishing. And
I have so much ego that I couldn't stay on in a diminished
MINK: Also, doesn't there come a time when you can't get
up the enthusiasm for something--you' re just not enthus-
iastic about it, it doesn't send you.
POWELL: No, my evangelical fire hadn't burned out, but
it wasn't as bright as it had been--for steady burning,
that is. I can go out and speak now and get an audience
involved and I can v/rite, but day in and day out, I'm
no longer capable of doing the detailed, intensive, ad-
ministrative decision and leadership kind of work that
I did. I just don't have it anymore. And I jolly well
knew it. And that's why. Damn it all, Jim, agree with
me. It was a good thing to retire.
TAPE NUMBER: XIII, SIDE ONE
JUNE 25, 1970
MINK: Well, Larry, this morning you said that in this
last tape of this long, arduous interview that we've
had, you wanted to talk about what you've been doing
since retiring. You've already talked about your motives
for retiring, but now we want to find out, if we can,
what you've been doing to make your life useful.
POWELL: Yes, well, part of my motivation, certainly, was
selfish: to do what I wanted to do; but also there was
a continuing feeling that I had something yet to give
and to continue to give to the profession.
MINK: I think you said there was a lot of writing that
you did, that you talked about, that never has seen the
light of day, and I suspect that maybe you wanted to do
some more of that type.
MINK: You haven't had it really, yet.
POWELL: I hadn't what?
MINK: You hadn't done that type of writing, fiction
and . . .
POWELL: I've done what I set out to do when I retired.
I set myself four books to write or rework, and I'm just
now finishing the fourth. So I feel very good that I've
been on schedule in the writing program I set for myself.
But., oh, I remember that summer of '66 everything came
with a rushj really. On June 30^ I gave up the deanship
to Andy and moved down here to this office, v;hlch Norah
Jones very kindly relinquished to me.
MINK: This used to be her office?
POWELL: It was her office for a good many years, and
when she moved upstairs, the Reserve Book Room hoped they
could keep this as ^a kind of a playpen, but Norah said it
should go to Powell.
MINK: Well, isn't it true that every emeriti is entitled
to an office?
POWELL: He's entitled to it if he can get it, but there's
some that haven't been able to get one, or not as good
a one as this.
MINK: I think Staff VJarren Is one that was rather shab-
bily treated for a while.
POWELL: Well, you have to speak up, and he might not
have been aggressive enough at the right time. But I
was speaking up with Space Assignment — with Vosper, with
Jones, with everybody else--that I expected to be pro-
vided for, and sure enough, they did. This is a perfect
work place for me because it's near the outside door, it
has outside windows, there's no nam.e on the door, no
listing in the directory, no telephone. There's a v/ash
baslrij and a hot plate where I can make that poisonous
brew that you're drinking.
MINK: Maybe there should be a sign on the door that
says, "Powell of Powell Library."
POWELL: [laughter] "Powell of Powell Library. Knock
and go away." I never answer the door v/hen anyone knocks.
They rarely do. Sometimes notes are slipped under the
door, which I push back out. In other words, this is
All right. June 30^ 19^6, after that smashing re-
tirement gala and three-ring circus that we held upstairs,
I came down here and set to work. I finished as dean
June 30^ but I was teaching through the six-week summer
session one course only. In the five previous summer
sessions I'd taught two courses, morning and afternoon.
In this final summer session I was determined to teach just
the one course, the Introduction to the opening classj
so I taught that from ten to eleven each morning, five
mornings a week, for the six weeks. Then I went over to
the Faculty Center, had an ear ly_^ lunch, and then either
worked there in the lounge or came back here and began
to write. I've been following this schedule, minus the
teaching, ever since, whenever I've been here. This has
been a real v/orkroom. I finished what I'd set to do.
I needn't go into details of the writing.
MINK: I think maybe it's rather apropos.
POWELL: Of what?
MINK: That this room is directly above where Betty Rosen-
berg spent so much of her time as your special bibliogra-
phical assistant, doing just about the same sort of thing,
helping you with your research and your v/riting.
POWELL: Directly beneath here. VJell, this is a good
vertical polarity certainly. [laughter] There is good
current operating here. I felt it. I also like the view
out on the old Physics Building, and that beautiful deodar
tree. There's a great wood engraving of this same view
done by Paul Landacre--remember--in that California land-
scapes book of his. It's done here in the twenties or
thirties--well, in the early thirties, before the trees
had grown; so it's a really beautiful view of that build-
MINK: I also think it's appropriate, because it's remin-
iscent in a way of the ceremony which I witnessed as a
student here in 19'^9« You stood on the porch right out
here and cut the ribbon.
POWELL: Oh, yes, when we dedicated the east wing.
MINK: You dedicated this whole east wing of the library
that was so long in coming because of the years of the
POWELL: That's right. It was John Goodwin's dream that
MIFK: It was one of the very first things that came in
that postwar building boom.
POWELL: It was, indeed, and 1 remember that ceremony.
Dykstra, of course, and I put on a kind of a Mutt-and-Jeff
act, didn't we. I came about to his belt--great big
Dutchman. God, I loved him. And he was so pleased. Jim,
what I remember about that dedication is the way the peo-
ple streamed into the building. They streamed into and
filled all the reading rooms.
MINK: Right through this door. That's why I thought it
was so appropriate.
POWELL: They immediately filled it up. Every seat was
taken within an hour, which showed the kind of need we
had for seating.
Well, that was through the summer session of 1955,
and then Fay and I planned this trip abroad. We left in
August and flev; to London and spent a week in the English
countryside and then settled into Dolphin Square for the
autumn. I had great trips then, both for pleasure and
also for professional reasons. I'd agreed to go over to
the library school of Wales at Aberystwyth and spend two
or three days with the students, and I did that in the
autumn of '55. That was a great experience. It v;as one
of the livest, most jumping library schools I've ever been
in. We had a wonderful evening with the students in
their beer cellar, when they wanted to talk about Henry
Miller. They did a beautiful keepsake for me, excerpts
from Henry's books, things he'd said about me as a li-
brarian. They'd had it printed and presented it to me
at that occasion.
We went on to Ireland in that same autumn of '66.
I made my first pilgrimage to the Yeats country. County
Sligo. I saw Yeats 's grave, came down to Thoor Ballylee
and saw the roundtower, which he lived in or v;rote in,
which is now a national monument. I saw the remains of
Lady Gregory's Coole Park and had an Idyllic week with
a rented Volkswagen on the Irish roads.
And then we had a complete change of pace. VJe went
down to Yugoslavia. It was a visit that I'd promised
to pay some day to Dr. Lela Markic. Remember, she was
the Yugoslav medical librarian who had spent a year here
in '62- '63 working for Louise Darling on Slavic exchanges.
She also audited courses in the library school, including
two of mine. She was a wonderful, beautiful, graying
Yugoslav woman. Her husband was a lawyer, v;ho came to
visit her once during the year. She made a great many
friends here. I had her speak to the class at the end
of the year, and she astonished us all with this very
shrev/d, perceptive summary of her year and what she'd seen
and observed and felt here. She said, "VJell, I don't
suppose you'd ever come to Yugoslavia; it's so far away."
And I said, "Dr. Markic, one of these days I'll be ring-
ing your bell and visiting you in Zagreb." VJell, so it
worked out that four years later, on her invitation and
our acceptance, we flew dovm to Zagreb and spoke to the
Croatian Library Association.
MINK: Did you speak in Croatian? [laughter]
POWELL: I spoke in ray version of Croatian, which was
very 'broad American, and Lela translated.
MINK: While you were speaking?
POWELL: Following each paragraph, she threw it into
Croatian. It's a beautiful tongue, of course, musical,
and no meaning at alio But lovely music, spoken by a
lovely woman. This was a great experience, because the
president of the association got up afterwards and said
in Croatian (which Dr. Markic translated) that this was
the first time they'd ever heard a humanistic speech from
a librarian. They'd always been addressed by technicians,
Yugoslav or French or Austrian or Italian--any of their
neighbors. Their whole concern had been technical, and
here was a speech in the humanistic tradition. You knov;-,
just Powell; that's all. I just gave them my philosophy
of laying hands on books.
Well, we had a great time in Zagreb, and then down
to Dubrovnlk on the Dalmatian coast. Dr. Markic's hus-
band^ who was in the Yugoslav government^ had paved the
way for us, and we had a guide and all kinds of red car-
pet treatment. The V/elsh and the Yugoslav experiences
were refreshing and reconfirming, because retirement was
an abrupt thing, you see. It was cutting a cord that had
been between me and a profession and my colleagues and
students for a great many years. I found very quickly
that I missed it. So speeches such as this, visits such
as this, were very important to me in restoring this line
between me and working librarians and students.
MINK: While you were in Wales did you visit the Mowats?
POWELL: We had a marvelous reunion with Charles and Jo
Mowat in Bangor. Yes, indeed; we went on up the coast
and we had dinner with them and their son, John, and their
MINK: They were neighbors of yours in Beverly Glen.
POWELL: That's right. We were great friends here, and
we followed Charles all through the loyalty oath confer-
ence and admired him very much. His son and daughter
wanted to talk Henry Miller. But Charles--really, I don't
think this was his cup of tea. But John, his son, v/as
a Miller buff, so we were able to give him the gospel from
the old guru at firsthand. /
For the rest of '66 we saw Maclntyre in Paris. It
was the year before he died. V/e went on into Portugal
for the first time and had that great experience and on
to Madeira^ to Funchal, for a week. Then we came back
to California. We were here most of '67. That's when
the Guggenheim Fellowship became operative. It was the
second I'd had. It was a very fortunate break for me, be-
cause they generally don't give them to men of sixty and
beyond. But I'd held my firsts fifteen years earlier.
It was to start work on one of the four writing projects,
a book on California landscape and literature.
We spent a great deal of '67 in visiting and revisit-
ing parts of California. I particularly wanted to see areas
that I'd never visited, namely, the northeast and the
northwest--Alturas, Weaverville, Susanville, the Trinity
Alps, and all of that country. We had a good base for
doing it, because Fay's mother lives in Tehama County,
at Los Molinos, and we used that as a base for trips.
I'd always known the long roads, the longitudinal roads
of California, but I didn't know all the lateral roads.
So a lot of the time was spent on crisscrossing on little
roads. We did all the Sierra passes, for example, and
all the Coast Range passes. Mendocino Pass, and then of
course Tioga and Donner and various Sierran passes, making
notes and looking at landscapes that I v;ould come later to
write about when I was rereading Frank Norris, Jack London,
Bret Harte, and so on. We did the Mother Lode country,
the desert country j, Anza-Borrego, Mary Austin's country
again. So that was fieldwork.
MINK: This v;as purely observation viith note-taking, not
consultation in libraries or research of that nature?
POVffiLL: No, none at all. I wanted to see the land.
MINK: Then the Guggenheim people paid you to do this?
MINK: This is very interesting.
POWELL: This was really a windfall. But that's the \ion-
derful thing of the Guggenheim fellowships. They're often
unorthodox and based on what a candidate wants to do,
not what the foundation thinks he ought to do.
While we were in London in '66 we had had this won-
derful cable from Paul Horgan at Wesleyan University v;here
he was director for the Center for Advanced Studies, an
old friend from Southwestern years. Remember, he dedica-
ted the library school here, and we'd been in touch, and
he'd always been saying, "Some day you must come to VJes-
leyan." The cable came while we „were in London in ^66,
offering us a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Studies
for the next year--a v;hole year at Vfesleyan. I wrote that
I couldn't come in '67, that year '67-'68, because of
the Guggenheim running through calendar '67, but that we
could come for one semester in '68. So that was arranged.
Then in '67 we were looking forward to a semester
in Connecticut, and we planned to drive to New England.
Well, we had the old station wagon. Fay's l6-year-old
car, which really v/ouldn't do, and we had my Porsche.
And Fay said, 'looking at the Porsche, "This won't hold
all the baggage that we need to take, and I don't want
to sit on the floor all the way to New England," the way
the passenger does in a Porsche. I didn't want her to
either. So I said, "Well, we'll get a new car, a more
comfortable one." And in the autumn of '67 we were on
our way over to the Ambassador to the ABA Book Fair and
we went by the showrooms of Citroen cars, the French car,
and stopped az a traffic light, I think, and Fay looked
in the window and she said, "That's the one I want." And
it was the new Citroen DS 21 sedan. So we went in and
looked at it, and she liked it even more. Its comfort
and roominess and all of this promised well for driving
to New England.
Well, in my sneaky little head I wanted to go back
to France to see my old friend Georges Connes and to see
Maclntyre, who I think was still then alive, and so I par-
layed this desire of hers into a trip for me to France
to buy a Citroen at the factory. So it came. I flew over
in October of '67 and bought the car and ran it in, as
they say, broke it in in the French countryside, and then
shipped it over to England and visited my niece and her
husband^ the Lawrences, and shipped the car from London.
So when '68 came around v/e had the new Citroen to drive
to New England in.
MINK: Larry, 'there's one thing that has occurred to me
that I've wanted to ask you, and since this is the last
tape it will be all right maybe Just to insert it, if
you'll try to answer it honestly.
POWELL: Well, you ask me honestly, now. No sneaky ques-
MINK: No, it's nice; it ' s a question which you've got
to decide how you want to answer it. You know, it seems
to me that you and Neal Harlow were very close. But it
seems to me that since your retirement, perhaps towards
the end of your career, that you drew apart from one
another. What really do you attribute this to, that
you became more or less diametrically opposed in philoso-
POWELL: VJell, first of all, probably geographical.
MINK: With his going to UBC [University of British Co-
POWELL: He was up there for ten years and he did ask me
to come up and speak toward the end of my career, and I
just v;asn't able to in the year '66. And we never visited
him there. I'd been in the Northwest before. I think
Neal's interests became more organizational. He became
president of the Canadian Library Association and became
more--v;ell, I don't want to say "technical," but he cer-
tainly was more responsive to new developments in librar-
MINK: Less book-oriented.
POWELL: Less book-oriented, more progressive than I. I
regretted all this: Neal's letting this take from him
the great capacity he had for research and writing. And
I wouldn't say we became diametrically opposed. We had
all of those reunions at ALA Midwinter.
MINK: Well, let me say that I inferred this from the
speech that he made at the end of the convocation.
POWELL: That wasn't a very good speech, I'll admit. He
didn't give enough time and thought to it.
MINK: Well, you know, it just doesn't seem to me as though
it's quite proper at a convocation for one to be criti-
cal of the person that it's honoring. VJhen I use the
word "critical," I mean in the sense that you're criti-
cizing the philosophy of the man--perhaps not the man him-
self, not criticizing what you consider to be his mistakes,
but just his outlook on life.
POTOLL: Well, I'd probably have done the same if I'd
been speaking at Neal's. I'd have got up and said, "Look,
I regret that this guy has not been more like I think he
should have been." You see, we tend to speak out of our
deepest selves at these moments. Neal, I think, probably-
felt that I spent too much time on the theatricals of li-
brarianship and not enough on the hard facts of a develop-
ing, technological librarianship.
MINK: He, of course, was a dean, too. He had been cri-
ticizing you from that standpoint as well.
POWELL: Well, yes, because at the Coulter lecture, at
San Francisco at CLA, V7hen Dick Dillon spoke and Neal--
or, no, it was the Coulter lecture which Neal gave, I
guess. We spoke to the Alumni Association about our phi-
losophy of librarianship, and I said very strongly that
I thought Columbia and Rutgers were mistaken in admitting
so many part-time, commuting kind of librarians, and that
our philosophy at UCLA of almost all full-time enrollment
was the best. And Neal got up and gently rebutted this
and said, "Certainly there's room for both." He was right
and I was right.
But v;hat I used to chide Neal for, I think, when we
met at Midwinter, was the amount jDf time that he spent on
the machinery of being a dean. He personally looked after
all kinds of things that I delegated to Florence Williams
and to the girls in the office here. Neal used to--well,
you remember. He had a passion for doing things in depth.
I think he and Andy Horn both have this. I just don't
work that way.
Well, these were differences. They v;eren't alien-
ating differences, certainly. Neal and I always, I think,
loved each other--still do--but we developed very dif-
ferently. Our circumstances were different. Our styles
were different. And then always, I think, people who
have worked for me in a system of librarianship capacity
have always been a little glad to get out from under,
and . . .
MINK: Yes, the family aspect.
POWELL: And they felt I was a little too paternal toward
them probably, and I remember joking at Midwinter, we--
Johnny Smith and Neal and Vosper and VJilliams and Horn
and all--would always get together. They called themselves
the Association of Refugees from Powell, and we'd have a
great time. I understand this. I didn't insist on being
the whole show here, but certainly I was the star perfor-
MINK: Well, that was a little digression, but I think it
was interesting because we hadn't talked about Neal too
POWELL: Well, Neal is back here, nov;, of course, and the
other day he and Maria.n came up and had lunch v;ith us at
Malibu, and v;e took them on a long ride through the hills
aftervrards. It v/as in the spring and the flov;ers v;ere
just out J and Marian Harlow in particular knows a good
deal about botany ^ and we had a wonderful time. But, I
should say, and I will say nov:, when v;e come to the Nev;
England year, this involves Neal.
So we drove East, Jim, in '68, in the Citroen, stop-
ping in Yuma and Tucson and El Paso and Del Rio and San
Antonio, and then through Louisiana, New Orleans, and the
Gulf Coast, and then up the Carolinas, through Virginia,
stopping in Baltimore for a visit with the Castagnas.
We arrived in Middletown, Connecticut, on February 1,
1968 (it was just thirty years to the morning when I
started to work here in this library) .
We had a most beautiful spring semester. The Center
for Advanced Studies was a kind of a junior Institute for
Advanced Studies, similar to the senior one at Princeton,
and its purpose was to bring together interdisciplinary
peoples. We had a building of our own, a library lounge,
and offices of our own. There were six of us fellows at
the time, all from different areas--a Turkish physicist,
an economist from the Federal Reserve Board, a Norv/egian
sociologist, a poet, a Milton scholar, and myself.
MINK: An interesting combination.
POWELL: And we saw each other at lunch if v/e v;ished to,
at the faculty club, but every tvro weeks we dined together,
Monday evening, in the Honors College, and one of us read
a paper. Our acting director that year^ Paul Horgan, v;as
on sabbatical in residence. Our acting director v;as Phil
Hallie^ a philosopher--a wonderful fellow. We came to
love him and his wife. And our colleagues there--it wa^s
a most affectionate and close and interesting year. A
complete change really of intellectual milieu. Wesleyan
is a very interesting, rich college, which has great re-
sources from Xerox stock that it sold at an enormous pro-
fit, and the center was a way of spending some of this
Not only did we have a facility there, an office,
secretarial help, but we were given a house. Fay and I
had a college house on the very edge of campus, complete-
ly furnished, a two-story. Cape Cod kind of house. Fay
loved it. She had a great time there. We were able to
walk to everything. Middletown is a college town. Well,
I also had a fine relationship with VJyman Parker, the
college librarian, an old friend. I was taken in by the
library staff there, in the best sense, and m.ade to feel
at home. I'd begun on that February 1 my book on Cali-
fornia--the Guggenheim book.
MINK: _0n Literature and Landscape .
POWELL: I began to write it there.
MINK: I suppose then that some of these papers that you
read at the institute v;ere embryo chapters of that book.
POWELL: They were progress reports on Mary Austin j, on
Dana, on Ramona, on Robert Louis Stevenson. Those were
the four chapters I wrote in Middletown,
MINK: Using the resources of the. . . »
POWELL: The resources of V/esleyan, of Trinity in Hart-
ford, and of the Beinicke at Yale. Of course, they were
tremendous. . .
MINK: Very, very great sources.
POWELL: Great sources, particularly on Stevenson. Wes-
leyan either had what I wanted or borrowed it. Remember,
their librarian had been Fremont Rider, and he'd been
much interested in the West. He published or edited
a guidebook on California, remember. Rider' s California .
For example, they'd been a member of the Book Club of
California from the beginning. So there in Wesleyan in
Connecticut, were the complete runs of the Book Club
publications. These were helpful to me, because of the
things that Jim Hart and Franklin VJalker did in this ser-
ies of publications were pertinent to what I was doing.
MINK: Walker's work in the literary frontier?
POWELL: That's right. And Jim Hart on Stevenson and
on Dana. So the fellowship, Jim, paid us v;ell indeed.
We received $7^500 for the four months, plus house, plus
office and secretarial help, telephone and everything
else. It was a very comfortable arrangement. We were
able to live very comfortably on that. The fellowship's
terms were completely permissive. You had no duties, but
if you wished, you could volunteer to do something, and
most of us there, most of the six fellows, gave courses.
I chose to give one on Southwestern literature. Paul
Horgan had been teaching that course in the English de-
partment on Southwestern art and history and anthropology.
I followed him, giving a course on Southwestern litera-
MINK: He was teaching anthropology in the literature
POWELL: Well, it was a cultural course, not anthropology,
but the. . .
POWELL: Yes, it was a composite kind of thing that Hor-
gan could do, and did. It was a kind of interdisciplinary
thing. Many of these things were true at VJesleyan, v;here
the lines between the departments were quite slack. But
it was difficult for me to follow, because Horgan is a
brilliant man, a virtuoso, artist and historian, and a
man of great personal charm. So I was a little nervous
seeing what I v;ould get.
Well, Horga.n recruited the students for me, continu-
ing students out of his class. I had the marvelous total
number of four students. But, Jim, these were some of
the greatest I've ever had. They were seniors and four
totally different guys. And they had all come to me when
I was counselling and telling them what the course was to *
be, and they said, "Look, you've got a great act, Mr.
Powell. We just had Paul Horgan's course and v;e're in-
terested to see if you can maintain the pace." And I
said, "Well, I v/on't be able to in the same way, but
I'll give you something that he didn't give you. I'll
give you fiction and literature, poetry of the Southwest,
and I'll expect you to work your little asses off."
And Lord, they did. We met once a week, Tuesday
evenings, in my office in the center, from 6:30 to 9:00*
And I want to speak a little about these four kids, be-
cause they were great. New England college students
are--let's face it--culturally, intellectually ahead of
California. They've come from a more advanced cultural
situation, and a senior at Wesleyan is the equivalent
of any graduate student I've ever seen at UCLA. These
were kids well prepared and sophisticated--not effete
by any means. They were a very rugged group. Let me
tell you about them.
First, Larry Gross, from Orono, Maine, the University
of Maine. His father is head of the German department
there. He and his wife, mind you, had come to Wesleyan
as freshmen four years before--a married couple--and they'd
gone four years through Wesleyan (the man, of course, be-
cause it ' s a men's college) and had children while big
Larry Gross was taking his degree in American studies.
He was six-feet-four, had been summers a telephone lines-
man, and he'd been a timber cruiser in Maine. He was real-
ly a rugged guy. He was a shotputter on the track team
and yet a terribly sensitive and gentle guy that wanted
to get a view of Southwestern lit.
I had Charlie Hill, who was a New York State student
from the Hudson River Valley. He was majoring in politi-
cal science and was going to Harvard the next year for
graduate work. Larry Gross was going to Brown. Charlie
Hill was not a hippie, but he had a long, handlebar mous-
tache and he dressed rather informally.
The third student was Jack Michael from Chadds Ford,
Pennsylvania--Chadds Ford being Andrew Wyeth's (the painter)
hom.etown. Jack Michael had grown up with Jamie Wyeth, the
painter's son, who is also a painter. He came from a very
interesting cultural background. He had come out West
in his sophomore or junior year and attended Occidental
one year, because he wanted to get away from New England.
And he'd roamed all over Southern California and had enough
in one year, turned around, and had come back for his
senior year at VJesleyan. He was the only one of the four
who had ever been West.
And the fourth student was probably the most in-
teresting of all and was somev;hat of a hippie type. His
name was Ian Vickery, and he was the son of a Czechoslo-
vak woman and an English diplomat father. He'd been born
in Czechoslovakia. He was bilingual, he was majoring in
Russian studies, and he wore his hair long with a head-
band, wore beads, rode a motorcycle, and was said to live
in the woods across the Connecticut River in Moodus with
a woman! He was really an interesting type, Jim. He wore
his hair long with a pageboy bob, was blue-eyed, very
casual and u.nstructured, and in the beginning very--not
hostile, but very skeptical of me, seeing in me a li-
brarian, a square- type he was going to shoot down.
Well, so it was a challenge, but I worked at it. And
Wy Parker, God bless him, in the library had said, "Look,
here's your reading list. I'm going to charge every sin-
gle book that you want and you want these students to have
to you and your study. They go there for the semester,
and if anybody else calls for thdta, I'll tell them they're
out." So I had my whole reading library there in my study,
maybe 100 books, that I expected these kids to read.
MINK: This is idealistic-type teaching.
POWELL: It is. It's only possible in a college v;here
you have 1,000 students, maybe, and a great deal of free-
dom and permissiveness.
MINK: No administrative bureaucracy to cut through.
POWELL: No, none at all. And Wy Parker, he's a Vermon-
ter, he's a New Englander, he's just the salt of the earth,
a great librarian. He and his staff, all of them all the
way down, made it so wonderful for me. I told the kids,
"Look, here are the books. Now, you're not going to read
them all. If anybody reads all of these, I'll flunk them.
I want you to . . ." We used my Southwestern Book Trails
and Dobie's Guide to Life and Literature as required texts.
They had to buy copies of these.
I said, "You set up a project--what you want to do
and what you want to report on--and pick your books there,
and I'll expect progress reports from you." They milled
around a while, for a week or two, and then they began
to settle in and showed Interest. We then spent our Tues-
day evenings in a combination of my talking and they re-
sponding or talking about what they'd been reading, work-
ing toward the final, which was to be this, Jim: it was
to be an original exercise, a creative work of some kind
that they'd write, either a story, a poem, or an essay,
or something on the Southwest that would represent their
reading and interest. And in only one case, that of Jack
Michael, v;ould it represent personal experience, because
none of them had been West. So it was all what they got
out of the books and out of me.
We had great times, because it was v;inter then, and
early spring, and snowy and cozy; and Charlie Hill would
go downstairs to the lounge of the center and bring up
coffee, and Fay would send over goodies. Sure, it was
ideal study and teaching, Jim; this was the way it should
be. We sat around in my study and did what we all wanted
to do; and yet I was the director, and they knew that I
knew more than they did. This is what a teaching rela-
tionship must be; you're not coequals. I was older and
more experienced in reading and travel and I was able to
lead them. But they were free to gallop off whenever they
They were outspoken and very critical of some of the
books on my list. Vickery, the hippie, would come up with,
"Aw, this is a bunch of crap. What did you put this on
for?" And it happened to be something very dear to me,
you see, and I would bleed, like Haniel Long. I said,
"Well, I don't think you've really read it, Vickery.
You're making a crap judgment." And I said, "I want you
to read this Interlinear to C ab e z a de Vaca, because that's
a hippie piece of literature." "Well," he says, "it looks
precious." "Well," I said, "look, you son of a bitch,
read it and then talk to me about it. Don't make these
Well, by God J we hooked him on it. Haniel Long
hooked him on it, because his exercise, Jim, at the end
of the semester was to write in his way a kind of an ima-
ginary hippie -epic of what it would be like to be a hippie
Cabeza de Vaca 400 years later. He imagined going across
the country on his motorcycle and meeting the natives.
MINK: A sort of an Along Came Bronson type of TV script.
POWELL: That's right. So he did this. It v/as a very
interesting and creative sort of thing.
Larry Gross, the big boy from Maine, came up with
a very interesting short story which he wrote as though
he were a telephone lineman in southern Nev; Mexico, down
there toward Texas, toward El Paso. He projected the
story as though he were a lineman and he'd been working
on the telephone line of a Mexican family and looked
through the window and fallen in love with a Mexican wo-
man and figured a way to get at her. It was a really
shocking thing for this big, discreet, married man from
Maine to write. But it was a real release for him, be-
cause here he could commit adultery creatively, you see,
and keep from being caught by the husband, because he
heard that Mexican husbands with their knives are very
jealous. VJell, this is the kind of damn thing they came
Charlie Hill wrote a story about building a concrete
dam, as though he'd been a cement wheeler on one of the
big dams in the Southwest. It was based, really, on a
summer that he'd had on construction work in New York
State. He transposed that to the Southwest.
MINK: Did these students, in their short stories and es-
says and so on, manage to convey a realistic picture of
POWELL: Well, they did it in a synthetic way, because
their data was pulled out of books and pictures and Hor-
gan's course, you see, that they'd had, and mine, and the
MINK: Was anything that came out of this thing published?
POWELL: I told them this, but of course they went away
to graduate work here and there and nothing that I know
of has come of it. Jack Michael wrote a story about
Southern Calif ornia--the boy v;ho'd been at Oxy a year.
He wrote a story about being on the beach at Santa Monica.
It was a very strange story, really, based on his ex-
perience, and the odd types at the mouth of Santa Monica
Canyon, muscle boys and all the Sunday confusion there.
Well, I ended up, of course, reading them something
that I was writing. I said, "Look, you guys came through
and I'll read you something of mine." I was trying to
write something about the struggle for the Colorado River
in terms of human protagonists. I read them a draft of
something I was writing and they said, "V/ell, we'll give
you a passing grade, if you'll give us one."
Wednesdays I had lunch with my colleagues in the
English department at the Faculty Club. I met the di-
rector of the V/esleyan Press, and all kinds of interest-
ing things went on. Martin Luther King was assassinated
that spring and then later [Robert] Kennedy. We were
moved by all the reaction to this. The Threepenny Opera
was put on by the students, which was a great affair.
MINK: Then you said that Neal Harlow figured in this,
POWELL: I made a lot of trips, you see, that spring,
because I'd been invited to speak to the Connecticut
Library Association, their annual meeting in New Haven,
which I did. I'd been invited to dedicate the new library
at Lycoming College in Williams port , Pennsylvania, which
we did. We drove down there and spoke and met the Metho-
dists in their lair. A dry lair. Fay had a helluva time
getting a drink before dinner, you see, because they're
so militantly dry. They gave me a Litt.D.
Where else did we go?--v7e went to Philadelphia. The
Drexel Library School gave me its annual achievement av;ard,
which is hanging up there on the wall, that beautiful
calligraphic manuscript there. V/e went to Philadelphia.
Luther Evans had received the award in a previous year,
and Emerson Greenaway, and Joe Wheeler. So all those
previous recipients were there, and, bless you, I was
introduced for the award by Neal. Really, he made up
for any deficiencies of his speech out here.
MINK: Little indiscretions? [laughter]
POWELL: He gave me a wonderful introduction that really
was touching. And then he invited me and Fay to come
down and speak to the students at Rutgers the next month,
which we did. We drove dovm from Middletown to New Bruns-
wick and spent two nights with Neal and Marian.
MINK: How did you find the attitude of the Rutgers school?
POWELL: Well, I found them--and I teased Neal about it a
lot--starved for books. I'd been cued because one of their
graduates of the year before was on the Wesleyan staff
and he cued me. He says, "Look, give them book talk, be-
cause they don't do that at Rutgers. Between Shaw and Har-
low and all, they're talking about documentation and tech-
MINK: I suppose this is why Ralph Johnson, who was a
graduate of that school, has become so technologically
oriented, although he began his career in Special Collec-
POWELL: It's very strong that way, coming from Shaw and
then Harlow. So I teased them a lot. Neal introduced me
again, beautifully. And we sensed, I think, that a lot
of the--not alienation, but the distance between us had
been closed. It was a very crucial visit in one sense,
because Marian Harlow and Fay 'put their heads together,
and Marian was determined that Neal do what I'd done, re-
tire at sixty, because he was killing himself. You kjiow
how Neal works, all out, seven o'clock to seven o'clock
on the job, and then later and earlier at home. And he
was tired and thin and nervous--gaunt, even--and Marian
said, "He's got to stop or he'll kill himself."
TAPE NUMBER: XIII, SIDE TWO
JUNE 25, 1970
POWELL: The Harlows gave us a reception at their home
for the Rutgers faculty, and then the meeting v/ith the
students. Neal and I and Fay and Marian v;ere able to
talk quite a lot about what retirement had meant to me
in the two years I'd been retired, and I think this pro-
bably helped them toward a decision. I just encouraged
them in every way to do the same thing.
MINK: And so he retired.
POWELL: Two years later at sixty. He was two years
younger than I. And he'd completed his new building, done
everything he'd set out to do at Rutgers, really, in the
same way that I had finished my program here at UCLA.
It was a natural time for him, and so it proved, because
we saw Neal last fall--remember, they took three months
to drive west--and when he arrived here he was a new man,
completely relaxed and had gained weight, looked fine.
I think probably the most meaningful thing of all
that I did, Jim, in that spring of '68 in New England,
was to find my origins in New York State in the Hudson
River Valley and my father's birthplace and where he's
buried. I'd never been there since I v;as a baby, and I
had no memory of visits as a little boy. It was about
one hundred fifty miles northwest of where v;e were In
Connecticut^ through the Berkshlres into the Hudson River
Valley at Ghent near Chatham. V/e went over one spring
day and found the village of Ghent, which was really a
Quaker settlement, and Orchard Farm, where rr.y father had
been horn and raised. And after some trouble we found
the little Quaker burying ground, which lies on a hill-
side two miles east of Ghent. There we found a number
of Powells and Townsends and Macys. On my father's side:
his parents and their parents--Aaron Powell, who'd been
a great abolitionist, and Elizabeth Powell Bond, who'd
been dean of Swarthmore, and my father, who was buried
there in I922.
It was a beautiful hillside with maybe a hundred
graves, no longer used but maintained, and each genera-
tion a member of the Friends has kept the graveyard.
My first cousin. Mason Powell, who lives in Massachusetts,
is in charge this generation of coming over once a year
and repairing any damage and setting up any fallen stones.
So it was a real return to origins. In 1954, I visited
my mother's birthplace down river at Cornwall, so this
was a rounding out.
One more thing we did, Jim, v;as to go up to Williams-
town and visit Archer. Here again was someone that we'd
not been alienated from, but certainly our trails had diverged
But we had a fine visit v;ith Margot and Archer and saw
the Chapin and the main library and attended music, and
they had a faculty reception for us, faculty and librarians
at their home. These are things you can do in New England^
everything is' so comparatively near. I visited the vari-
ous New England colleges, Amherst and Trinity and Connec-
ticut at Storrs, and the various public libraries I came
to know around Middle town.
The town librarian in Middletown, whose name v/as Van
Bynum, probably related to' Llndley Bynum, if they ran it
back. He was a great friend to me, because I found things
in the public library that the college didn't have, nota-
bly on Jack London.
Well, the semester came to an end and we took two
weeks before I was due to teach at Simmons and drove up
into Maine. It was the first time either of us had ever
been in the state of Maine. We loved it. VJe went up the
coast to Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbour. Just drifted
up that wonderful, rainy, rock-bound coast for a week or
so, and then we struck through the mountains, stopping
first to visit my student Larry Gross and his parents at
their sum.mer camp on a pond in Maine. Then we made a
rendezvous with people that you'll remember, Jim, this
was Kay and Richard Hocking. Rem.ember, he'd been pro-
fessor of philosophy, or assistant professor, and had
never been promoted, and then let go here.
MINK: I took classes from him.
POWELL: Did you? One of the best persons here--I don't
know how good a teacher he was. . .
MINK: He was the son of the elder Hocking.
POWELL: Father Hocking, William Ernest. Well, they'd
been at Emory all these years in Georgia, but they sum-
mered every year on Father Hocking's farm in New Hampshire.
And, of course. Father and Mother Hocking had died in
their nineties, and Richard and Kay and some of the rest
of the family were up there on a 200-acre farm. We found
them, then, deep in the woods, very remote, not primitive,
but a pastoral place. And I think I helped Richard on a
decision as to what to do with his father's papers.
It was a tremendous collection of manuscripts, let-
ters, and archives on Father Hocking's ninety-three years
of life in a stone house that he'd built. There the ar-
chives were, in filing cabinets and boxes and every other
thing, overflowing this great wooden house, and Richard
didn't knov; what to do with them^ The Library of Congress
wanted them and Harvard v/anted them. He wanted them to
go to Harvard, but Harvard's problem was there was no
room for them at present, and wouldn't be until they had
some enlargement. So I think we worked out an intermediate
arrangement whorelDy the Episcopal Seminary in Cambridge
would have them on deposit for X years until Harvard
could accommodate them. And I believe that's v/here they've
Then we drove down to Boston, and Fay flew home and
I stayed for an intensive three weeks' summer course in
the Simmons Library School. I've long known Ken Shaffer,
its director, and he'd been after me to come back, and
this seemed to me to be the logical time, when we V7ere
in New England, and Fay naturally didn't want to stay in
Boston in early summer. It was heating up. I'd be busy
teaching every morning, so she flew home and I stayed and
had a resident's head suite in one of the dormitories on
a beautiful quad there on the Simmons campus.
I taught a course that V7as listed in their catalog,
but I turned it into my ov/n kind of course, called "Re-
sources in the Research Library," how to collect, to or-
ganize, to use the staff for research materials in librar-
ies such as Huntington, Morgan, Bancroft.
And it was a great experience, Jim. Here again, I
found the need of linking up with students. I will never
lose this. I must have this, I guess, as long as I live;
and I had it there in a very rich sense.
It V7as a course that met four mornings a week from
nine o'clock to twelve o'clock. It was three hours, four
mornings a week, for three weeks. It v;as the equivalent
of a full course. They could take no other course. So
they were mine in the morning and then their afternoons
were free for their reading.
I found Simmons a very live school in its own quar-
ters, the whole floor of the college library. It's the
only library school in New England, the only accredited
school. Southern Connecticut has an unaccredited school,
but it draws them from the Ivy League. The summer cour-
ses are coed. In fact, the library school is coed, al-
though Simmons at large is a women's college. And I
happened to have all women students, eighteen of them.
That was great. Powell's harem. They were drawn from
Ivy League schools. They were working librarians, most
of them, finishing their degrees. They were from Smith
and Vassar and Mount Holyoke, from Vermont and New Hamp-
shire state universities, from MIT. And we had a helluva
good time, Jim, just hammering it out there. I prepared
a reading list, a course outline that had been mimeographed,
and they had the supporting library materials. It was a
very good v;ay to teach, everything there under one roof.
I lunched every day in the. . .
MINK: I hope you didn't neglect oral history.
POWELL: Oral history? No, I was intervievfed in an oral
MINK: No, when teaching, about organizing the resources
for the research library.
POWELL: Jim, that's a course in itself, and you knov; it.
That deserves a full semester. I was interviev/ed in an
oral history project by the editor of the Bay State Li -
brarian , the Massachusetts quarterly. Ken Kister, vjho
teaches in the library school. And he did a hell of an
interesting interview. Did you see it, with all the can-
did camera shots of me all the way through--Powell in ac-
tion. It was based on my autobiography that had been
published that spring. I think it's one of the best things
of its kind I've ever participated in. The reviewer was--
well, like you, Jim--he knew something about me; so he
was able to ask appropriately embarrassing questions as
you do, trying to uncover my tracks.
All right, we came home from that, and I drove across,
stopped in Aspen and had a week with my friend Dr. Bieler,
heard music day and night. I went down on through New
Mexico to opera at Santa Fe, to opera in Flagstaff. I
visited in Phoenix at the public library and in Tucson
at the university library. I came on home for the rest
of '58. I guess I v;as working on the California book.
Then we took off once again in the spring of '69,
last year, and flew to Italy, came up to Sv^itzerland,
picked up a Karmann Ghia,back to London, and viere in residence
again at Dolphin Square for three months. And once again
I taught a course, a lecture series on research libraries
in America, which I gave at Loughborough, at Roy Stokes's
And here 'again was a totally different experience,
certainly, from Wesleyan, from Simmons, from UCLA--com-
muting once a week 115 miles up the motorway to Leicester-
shire, lunching with the staff on Tuesday noon. And Bea-
trice Warde, the typographer, who was lecturing that same
day in the same school, came up from London. We had
these great luncheon sessions, then I lectured from two
o'clock to four o'clock, then I had tea with the staff
and then got in my Karmann Ghia and zeroed back to London
for a late dinner with Fay.
It was great. I had thirty students, I think. They
weren't as live as the Welsh students, but I did recruit
one to work in the book trade for a year. He is now
working with Tony Rota in London. He's a Lancashire
boy that I interested in the idea that bookstore experience
can be meaningful in research librarianship. So that was
one scalp out of that experience.
VJell, Fay and I traveled, of course. We drove all
over England. VJe saw a lot of my niece and nephew, the
Lawrences. We were back in France once. And what else
did v;e do, Jim? We did something unusual that spring, but
it's blurred now. I can't think of what it v;as.
Wellj, we came home; certainly, that v;as the high
point. And we've been home, good Lord, ever since, for
a year now, with trips to Arizona and Nev; Mexico, to nor-
MINK: You said that you had at the time of your retire-
ment four definite writing projects in mind. Now, you
talked about the California literature and landscape pro-
ject. Could you mention briefly the other three?
POWELL: Well, the other was the autobiography.
MINK: VJhich, of course, you did.
POWELL: That I wrote in London.
MINK: And that was done mainly in London.
POWELL: Yes, altogether.
MINK: And then the printing of it was done in Amsterdam.
POWELL: No, it was at home, by Bowker.
MINK: Oh, that's right, Bowker did it.
POWELL: Yes. It was printed in New York. Well, the
other two are more creative projects that haven't been
published; so I'll wait on publication, Jim, and let my
work speak for itself. One relates to the struggle for
MINK: Chapters of which you v;ere reading to your students
at Wesley an.
POWELL: Yes. So let's wait on those. But they're done
in a sense.
MINK: They're fiction, or more essay-type or non-fic-
POWELL: Just creative masterpieces.
MINK: Creative masterpieces. Now, one more thing that
you have been involved in lately for the city--the selec-
tion of the librarian. VJould you like to speak a little
bit about that? Because I think it's something that pro-
fessional people do become involved in, and we don't
choose a librarian very often in Los Angeles. How much
of it can you talk about?
POWELL: Well, I don't know if they've made the selection
yet, but certainly we recommended the top three out of
fifty-three applications that we evaluated, and we inter-
viewed twelve. It was a very interesting experience,
based there again on my Occidental background.
MINK: The experience which gave you bronchitis, I think.
POWELL: Yes, I cracked up afterwards; I was tired out.
Interviewing is hard work. It was an Occidental exper-
ience because two members of the Civil Service Commission
of the city of Los Angeles are Oxy graduates--Guy Wads-
worth and Herb Sutton of the Gas Company and Pacific
Mutual. And Herb Sutton had read my autobiography and
said to the civil service manager, Mrs. Morris, "We ought
to get Powell in to help us examine." So I responded on
that basis. And Ed Castagna came out from Baltimore and
Bill Geller, the county librarian, and three leading busi-
nessmen, one of whom I'd gone to high school viith, Steven
Bilhelmer of Silverwoods. We did the examining, and it
was meaningful to me, because here was the library that
I'd first worked in, the Los Angeles Public Library, thir-
ty-five years after, or whatever it was, and I was helping
pick the successor in that great tradition that goes back
to Mary Foy up through Perry and Warren and Hamill. I
think we creamed this great group of applicants and gave
them three to choose from.
MINK: Who were you looking for, mainly?
POWELL: We were looking for. . .well, what I was looking
for--and I think Castagna and I hammered home on this--was
a cultural sophistication in addition to technical compe-
tence. We felt that the city librarian should be a person
going clear back to the [Charles F.] Lummis tradition of
a widely cultured person who is also a good manager and
a good technician. And, of course, this is a kind of para-
gon, and damn few of the candidates v/ould pass this. The
fact that we eliminated out of fifty-three all but twelve,
just on their paper applications, shov;s the standards that
we were applying, and the twelve we examined, v;e really
put through the ringer. We gave an hour to each. And in
one hour, six people questioning you, one can really take
MINK: \Ihat kind of questions were you asking? Just a
couple for instances.
POWELL: Oh, I'd ask people what they did in their free
time. "What do you do when you aren't v/orking eighteen
hours a day? Or what means most to you in the opportun-
ity? What do you think is the greatest thing you can do
if you become city librarian? What's going to be your
direction?" And Castagna would always ask them, "What
was the most interesting thing you've ever done in li-
brarianship? What do you think was the high point of
your career?" We got some very interesting answers. And
the businessmen would ask them, "What do you want this
job for? What does it mean to you?" And somebody would
say, "Well, aren't you afraid to come to Los Angeles?
Don't the problems here frighten you?" And we hit them
from all sides this way. They were very sophisticated
men--McDonald and Duggan — Dan Duggan from UCLA was one.
He's from Coldwell Banker, the vice-president. And Steve
Bllhelmerj the Silverwoods man, is a very interesting
character that I'd known fifty years ago.
MINK: I don't suppose you can say at this point who the
three candidates are because they haven't chosen one.
POWELL: V/ell, but it has been published who they are.
MINK: Well, would you talk about the three candidates.
POWELL: Well J I think V/alter Curley from Boston, library
consultant with Arthur D. Little, former business manager
of the Providence Public Library, represented stability
and sophistication in a very dignified and strong sense
and a rich background of library experience in New England,
very strong managerial qualities, and a very cool and dig-
nified and strong personal presence that we all liked.
The second, and probably my favorite choice, was Wyman
Jones, Fort Worth Public Library, who's an Oklahoman or
Texan and had most of his experience there. He'd been
assistant librarian of Dallas. He'd grown up in merchan-
dising. His father was a Woolworth manager, and Wyman
Jones had been an assistant manager in a Woolworth 's store
as a young man and had good preparation there. But in
Fort Worth he had had a lot of interesting community ex-
perience in taking the library into the community, and
he was a very swinging kind of guy, very aggressive and
alert and imaginative, I felt--the kind of person Los
MINK: Something like Skip Graham at Louisville.
POWELL: But Jones even had a better background than Skip.
It was not quite as eccentric, and a little smoother, a
little more sophisticated and polished than Skip was. V/ell,
I liked Jones; I thought Los Angeles needed this kind of
person if you're going to bring the community together.
And then the third choice was Ernie Segal.
MINK: VJho is the present. . .
POWELL: Head of the main, central library. He automati-
cally came on as number three because of the promotional
exam feature--that is, anyone on the promotional exam who
passes it' has to come on and be part of the final panel.
So he was the thirdo So it's between those three.
MINK: I personally like Ernie Siegel very much and feel
that he does a very good job.
POWELL: He made a fine appearance, cool and honest, sim-
ple and straightforward, and a very appealing kind of guy.
I think he would have the staff with him in a very strong
sense. Well, it happened, Jim, that I came down with bron-
chitis after that, because I put a helluva lot into it,
really, these two days of just probing and hammering away
at these cookies. It's hard work, and it's an emotional
drain. Castagna was our house guest; we had great visits
with Ed. He came out alone and we commuted every day,
and he's, I think, one of my closest friends and colleagues,
of course, in the profession. He was a very strong fac-
tor in getting our school established here originally,
Well, I'd had an invitation about that time to go
down to San Diego and speak at the retirement luncheon
for Clara Breed, the city librarian. The mayor of the
community gave her a great luncheon, at the U. S. Grant
Hotel. Five hundred came. Fay and I flew down. And
everyone was there--the mayor, the city council, the li-
brary, a lot of commissioners, and all her friends in the
community, and a great many surrounding librarians.
MINK: Well, she's made a great reputation in California.
POWELL: Yes, she was in a great tradition, you see--Cor-
nelia Plaister, Althea Warren, and Clara Breed. And I
said, "This tradition must be continued; you must have a
great successor." The city manager was present and he
heard me say this. He called me the next day and said,
"Well, we're going to be examining for the successor to
Miss Breed. Will you come down and assist me examining?"
It's not a civil service job; it's an appointment by the
city manager entirely. But he asks help, and the city
personnel officer took part. The city manager and I, the
three of us, then, examined the three candidates--Marco
Thorne, the assistant librarian, and Ernie Siegel, who
came down because he'd been ten years in San Diego before
he'd come to Los Angeles, and John Perkins from Inglewood.
MINK: There was no examination promotional connected with
POVfELL: No exam. But I can't comment on this, because
I don't think they've made a selection. I simply spent
an afternoon with them, v/ith the city manager and the
personnel officer. I did have this compliment^ Jim, by
the city personnel officer who does all the interviewing
for their key city jobs. He said afterv/ards^, "Powell,
you've given me a lesson in good interviev;ing. You really
took them apart." I said, "Well, Goddammit, I've been
doing this long enough in my own staff and then in all
the library school applicants--! interviewed them all for
six years, every goddam one of them that was local." And
I said, "I had experience in getting at people and find-
ing out who they are."
I do this with pleasure. Part of the great joy I
had, I think, was working with people in librarianship,
not just these bloody books that we're always talking
about, but the people themselves, the human material of
which I am a piece. Not only that, Jim, but I got paid
for it in San Diego. Los Angeles didn't pay me a cent;
that was a labor of love. And I don't live in the city,
mind you; I live in the county. I think they ought to
have given me gas money. We did have lunch in the Music
Center, though; that was nice. But San Diego paid m.e very
Nov; v;e're on the eve of another experience next spring.
VJe've just been to Tucson and made arrangements with the
president of the university to be a professor in residence
next spring attached to him, to President Harvill, and to
give a seminar in their new library school. Pay and I
have just been over there and been entertained by every-
one, and v/e're both very eager to be there next spring.
MINK: What will the subject of the seminar be?
POWELL: It will be something in academic libraries, re-
search and academic libraries. We haven't really finalized
it. It depends on the students that are enrolled, what
their interests are. It's a new graduate school that is
just getting going; so it will be open until this spring
and we decide who's there and what we shall give them. I
like their new dean, Don Dickinson, very much, and the
faculty that he's gathered. And, of course, I love Tucson
and the whole atmosphere and our many friends there--Don
Powell and Pat Paylore and Dorothy McNamee (we all worked
together) . Pat took Fay out to the Desert Museum to spend
the day, and George Harvill, the president's wife, took
Fay to Nogales for the day, and Dorothy McNamee gave us
a dinner; the president gave us a reception.
Well, Jim, this is the life of Riley, really. Re-
tirement has been full of these rich and wonderful middle-
MINK: Not only rewards, but also a chance to really con-
tribute in another v;ay.
POWELL: In another way, that's right; and I hope to go
on doing this speaking, writing, and traveling and v/riting.
The California book is nearly done. Two more chapters
to write and then Ward will publish it next spring. It's
the best thing I've done by far, and I think even better
work lies ahead, because I'm free. I have no administra-
tion, no committees, and I've not accepted any assignments
that weren't close to my heart.
MINK: Like the Oral History Colloquium assignment.
POWELL: That's right. That was not central to what I
can do. The best thing in oral history I can do is this,
this kind of a talk, and I don't know what you'll make
of it. Do I get to see it?
MINK: We won't make anything of it. We'll simply trans-
cribe it, edit it, and send it to you for review.
POWELL: Oh, good, and I'll burn it.
And now I've decided not to! It goes into his-
tory, God help us all and keep us from burning.
Let me say again how wonderful Jim is as an in-
terviewer. He really knew how to turn me on,
blast his black heart. Herewith my corrections,
made June 11-12-13, I97I. Nothing to suppress.
Nothing to add. It is not to be read until after
my death, except if and when I give written per-
mission to anyone undertaking an authorized (by
me! ) biography. Certainly not by students or
Lawrence Clark Powell
Abbey San Encino
Academie de Dijon et de la Cote d'Or,
Accessions Department, UCLA Library
see Acquisitions Department, UCLA
Acquistions Department, UCLA Library
Adams, Charles K.
Administration Building, UCLA
Advisory Committee, UCLA
Aiken, George D.
All Men Are Enemies
Death of a Hero
Aldrich, Daniel G., Jr.
Allen, Raymond B.
Alpha Tau Omega fraternity
Alumni Association, UCLA
Alumni Library Committee, UCLA
American Library Association (ALA)
College and University Section
American Library, Paris
Am.erican Men of Science
Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts
Andei'sen, Arthur & Co.
Andersen, Hans Christian
Angel's Flight, Los Angeles
Appolntm.ent Committee, UCLA
Archer, H. Richard
103, 110-111, 339
226, 227, 229
259-261, 262, 263,
Archer, H. Richard [cont'd]
Architects and Engineers, UCLA
Arizona Highways (periodical)
Arizona Librarian (periodical)
Arizona State Library Association (ASLA)
Arizona State University, Tempe
Arlt, Gustave 0.
Ashurst, Henry Fountain
Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
Atlantic Monthly (periodical)
"Paso For Aqui"
Automobile Club of Southern California
543, 643, 651
B & G Sandwich Shop, Berkeley, California l4l
Baer, John V/illis
Bay State Librarian
Bell, Alphonzo E., Sr
Bent's Fort, Colorado
Privat , Dijon, France
California, Public Library
54, 77, 78, 325-
77, 78, 168
Bickford, Miss _
Bieler, Henry G.
Big Bear, California
Big Sur, California
Biomedical Library, UCLA
Bird, Frederick Lucian
Bird, Remsen du Bois
Boelter, Llewellyn M.
Bohemian Club, San Francisco
Bolton, Herbert E.
Bond, Carrie Jacobs
"End of a Perfect Day"
"I Love You Truly"
Bond, Carrie Jacobs, collection
Bond, Elizabeth Powell
Book Club of California
Bowker, R.R., Company
Bradstreet, Elizabeth Steward
Bremer collection (Germanic)
Brentano's (bookstore), Los Angeles
361, 362, 1424
312-313, 314, 316
581, 583, 586-587,
255, 256, 267-268,
279, 280, 282, 421
422, 433-434, 435,
The Flutter of an Eyelid
British Broadcasting Corporation
British Museum Catalogue
The Broadway (book department)
see Everson, William
Scholars ' V/orkshop
Brown University, Providence,
John Carter Brown Library
Budget Committee, UCLA
Buffalo, New York
Buildings and Grounds, UCLA
Burdach collection (Germanic)
Buvens, Margaret • ,
Byron, George Gordon
83, 84, 86
187, 274, 275, 281
283, 408, 410
California Horticultural Society
California Librarian (periodical)
California Library Association (CLA)
California State Assembly
Ways and Means Committee
California State Library
California State University, San
Canadian Library Association
173, 470, 587
217, 218, 336, 464, 466
Carter, Edward W.
Cass, A.B. , Sr.
Catalog Department, UCLA Library
Death Comes for the Archbishop
History of California
Hubert Howe Bancroft
Caughey, La Ree
Chateau d'lf, France " '
Chemistry Library, UCLA
Chouinard Art School, Los Angeles
City Lights (motion picture)
Claremont Colleges, Claremont,
Clark, William Andrews, Jr.
Clark, V/illiam Andrews, Library, UCLA
8, 19, 24
171, 309, 444,
466, 510, 649,
281, 406-407, 412
219, 220, 224,
294, 295, 296,
298, 335, 519
286, 291, 292, 295
496, 514, 517-
49, 174, 393
14, 72, 141, 168
156, 239-240, 241,
242-243, 249, 251,
253, 261, 264, 301,
176, 186, 187, 222,
227, 228, 237, 240,
Clark Library [cont'd]
Clark Library Committee
The Clarks , An American Phenomenon
Cleland, Robert Glass
Coffman, L. Dale
Coldren, Fanny Alice
see Goodv;in, Fanny Alice (Coldren)
College and Research Libraries
College Book Company
College [Powell] Library, UCLA
Collins, Nev; York
Collison, Robert L.
Columbia University, New York
Coman, Edwin T.
"A Man Is at His Best"
"The Yucca Story"
Committee on Economic Development (CED)
Comm.ittees, Com.mittee on, UCLA
Community Christian Church, V/estwood
Connecticut Library Association
290, 416, 419, 420,
421-422, 424, 425-426
211, 381, 428, 637
378, 421, 422,
447, 524, 584,
516, 517, 519
338, 344, 345,
J4124, 444, 445,
Constitution of the Confederate States
Cook, George F.
Coons, Arthur G.
Corley, James H,
County Sllgo, Ireland
Cowan, Robert E.
Cowan, Robert E., collection
Crerar, John, Library, Chicago
Croatian Library Association,
Crum.mer, Le Roy
Cumberland Hotel, Los Angeles
Custer, Arlene (Kern)
128, 597, 644
Dabagh, Thomas S.
Dahlerup collection (Germanic)
Daily Bruin, UCLA (newspaper)
Dairy Lunch, Berkeley, California
Dakin, Susannah (Mrs. Richard)
Dana, John Cotton
Danton, J. Periam
Daughters of the Confederacy,
Davie, A.E. "Deacon"
Davis, William Heath
Deans, Committee of, UCLA
Detective Story (periodical)
Dickson Art Center, UCLA
Dickson, Edward A.
309-310, 311, 312,
313, 316, 317-318,
319, 320-321, 326,
499, 509, 628
Dickson, Mrs. E.A. (Wllhelmlna)
Dictionary of American Scholars
Di Giorgio Ranch, Kern County,
Dixon, Elizabeth I.
Guide to Life and Literature
"Tv70 Kinds of People"
A Vaquero of the Brush Country
"A V/riter and His Region"
Doe, Charles F.
Dollar Steamship Line
Drexel Library School, Philadelphia
All For Love
Duffy, Clinton T.
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Dunne, Peter M.
Durham, George Homer
298, 320, 321
245, 246, 353
325, 327, 328,
330, 400, 420,
Echo Park, Los Angeles
Eddlngton, Arthur Stanley
Edendale , Los Angeles
Educational Policy Committee,
El Centre School, Pasadena, California
Ellsworth, J. Phil
El Paso, Texas
Emerson, Ralph V/aldo
Evans, Lora B.
42, 204-205, 206,
209, 214, 217, 332,
396, 397, 398-399,
Faber and Faber, Ltd, London
Faculty (Senate) Library Committee, UCLA
Farquhar, Samuel T.
Farrar and Rinehart
Farrlngton, William H.
Grant of Kingdom
Home in the West
File of Library Guides and Handbooks
File of Library Surveys
Plsher, Alfred Young
68, 98, 101, 102,
103, 108, 110, 113,
118, 119, 120, 121,
122, 138, 556, 558
The Ghost in the Underblows
97, 122, 558, 565
An Introduction to Shakespearean
Plsher, Mary Frances
68, 98, 101, 103, 108,
110, 119, 120, 121, 122
138, 545, 556, 558
The Gastronomical Me
Fiske, John, collection
187, 188, 215
Polger Shakesoeare Library, Washington,
Foothill Revlev; (newspaper)
Fort Worth, Texas, Publ:
Fowler Brothers (bookstore)
214, 224-225, 233,
271, 387, 393, 402
Friends of the Houston ,
Friends of the Library,
214, 386, 391-392,
Galbraith, John S. 397
Galen, Claudius 391
Garbanza, California 9
Geller, V/illiam Spence 673
Genoa, Italy 67
Ghamrawy, Ahmed K. 34-35
Ghent, New York 664
Gifts and Exchanges, UCLA Library
Gill, Eric, collection
Glllls, James L.
Gilman, Richard C.
Golden Cockerel Press
Gold Shield, UCLA
Goodwin, Fanny Alice (Coldren)
Goodv;in, John E.
Gowanda, New York
Graduate Division, UCLA
Grant, Ulysses S. , IV
223, 224, 225,
230, 232, 234-
236, 240, 252,
255, 263, 273-274,
276-278, 279, 280,
284, 303-304, 331,
337, 341, 346,
Gregory, Lady Augusta
Grove Press, Incorporated
Guggenheim, John Simon, "emorlal
Guide to Reference Books (Mudge)
9-10, 1^7, 1^8
653-651, 658, 665
137, 642, 6^43, 650
Haines, Charles Grove
Hallie, Philip P.
Hanimack, Daniel S.
Hammond, George P.
Hanna, Phil Tovmsend
Harding, VJarren G.
Harmsv;orth collection (theology)
Harrassov.'itz , Otto
Hart, James D.
613, 6l4, 615
466, 479, 494
203, 271, 278,
Harvard University, Cambridge,
Wolfe Collection, Harvard College
Hayes, Robert M.
Hearst, Phoebe Apperson
Hearst, William Randolph
Hedrick, Earle R.
Heller, Elinor Raas
Henkle , Herman
Henshaw, May Dexter
Highland Park, California
Hocking, William Ernest
Hocking, Mrs. V/illiam Ernest
Hodge, Frederick V/ebb
Hole, Wlllits J. ,
68, 160, 227, 229
502, 630, 678
591-593, 594, 595
"The Land Is Still Supreme In Nueva
"Land of the Southwest"
Houser, Frederick F.
Huntington, Collis P., collection
Huntington, Henry E. , Library, San
Friends of the Huntington
Hussey, Roland D.
Words and Their Meaning
373, 406, 424
ijilO, 4^5, 466
332, 333, 355
255, 256, 276, 406-
408-409, 4lC, 411-41
174, 187, 229,
265, 3^9, 394,
228, 2-;6, 241,
247, 260, 259,
Illinois Historical Society 483
Imler, Don 60
The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde) 251
Indianapolis, Indiana, Public Library
Industrial Relations, Institute of, UCLA
Inscription Rock, Grants, New Mexico
International Educational Union
International Workers of the World
Jackson, John B.
Jackson, William A.
Jacobs, Thomas L.
Janss Investment Corporation
Jean - Christophe (Rolland)
Jeans, James Hopwood
Cawdor and Other Poems
Roan Stallion , Tamar ,
"The Rock and the Hawk"
"Rosalind and Helen"
Jenkln, Thomas P.
Johnson, Robert Kellogg
Kansas University, Lawrence
Kappa Sigma fraternity
52, 68, 90, 91,
93, 94, 96, 97,
104, 105, 112,
115, 127, 128-
, 130, 131-132, 134
, 388, 397
466, 478, 479, 505
■96, 150, 164
, 479, 490
581, 533, 586,
Kelmscott and Doves
Kenny, Robert W
Kern, Edward Meyer
King, Martin Luther
Klster, Kenneth F.
KleinSmid, Rufus von
Knight, Goodwin S.
Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois
Knudsen, Vern 0.
Knudsen Hall, UCLA
Koch, Theodore VJ.
Koch collection (Germanic)
Koontz, Louis Knott
Krans, Horatio S.
17, 31, 33
207, 302, 312
119, 206, 224,
314, 315, 420
Lamb , Ruth
Las Plores Adobe, Pasadena, California
Las Flores School, Pasadena, California
Law Library, UCLA
Law Library, Faculty Committee on the
Lady Chatterly ' s Lover
Sons and Lovers
Lawrence, D.H., collection
Lav/rence, Mr. and Mrs.
Lee, Eugene C.
Leigh, Carma (Zimmerman)
Lessa, William A.
Leupp , Francis
Leupp , Harold
Chowder and Marching Society
Library Company of Philadelphia
Library Council, UCLA
Library Journal (periodical)
Library of Congress, V/ashington, D.C,
Library Quarterly (periodical)
Library Research, Institute of, UCLA
Library School of V/ales, Aberstwyth
Library Service, School of, UCLA
Library Staff Association, UCLA
Limited Editions Club
Lincoln Park School, Pasadena,
Link Belt Company
Little, Artliur D.
A Live Woman in the Mines (Delano)
420, 424, 427
138, 209, 316-
182, 398, 399
399, 477, 491
173, 221, 222,
336, 337, 338-
20, 349, 483
612, 629, 639, 643
Interlinear to Cabeza de Vac a
"VJhen We Peer into the Colored
Look Homeward , Angel (Wolfe)
Los Angeles Athletic Club
Los Angeles, City of
Board of Commissioners of the
Civil Service Commission
Los Angeles City College
Graphic Arts Laboratory
Los Angeles County Law Library
Los Angeles County Museum of History,
Science, and Art
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Times (newspaper)
Lummis, Charles P.
Books in Harness
Land of Sunshine
Lund, John J.
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris
Lycee Carnot, Dijon, France
Lycoming College, V/illiamsport
378, 412, 456
458, 460, 624
512, 520, 521
McCarthy, Joseph R,
St. Paul, Minnesota
McCulloch, Samuel C.
Maclntyre, Carlyle Ferren
McLain, Fred French
McVicker, Mary Louise
Pickering and Chatto
Man ah an, Pat
The Man in the Iron Mask (Dumas)
Marengo Avenue School, Pasadena,
Marengo Literary Leader (newspaper)
Marengo V/ater Company
Marlborough School, Los Angeles
Theory of L ibrary Administration
Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C.
47, 48-49, 166
257, 259, 263, 266, 409
306-307, 357, 381
38, 40, 42-46, 47,
49, 50, 51, 63, 84,
87, 89, 94, 96, 204,
Medicine, School of, UCLA
Mennevee, Roger, collection
Merritt, Le Roy Charles
Michel, Margaret Duguid
Tropic of Cancer
Mitchell, Mrs. Sydney
Moana Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii
Monterey Hills, Pasadena, California
Moore, Ernest Carroll
I Helped Make a University
Moore , Merritt
Morgan Library, Nev; York
342, 383-384, 385
654-655, 656, 659
475-476, 477, 478,
484-485, 505, 545,
570, 577, 639, 641
383, 385, 455,
253, 349, 352
Angel ' s Camp
Moussorgsky, Modest Petrovich
Mowat , John
Mrs. Gray's Inn, Westwood, California
Music, Department of, UCLA
My Ian, Mr.
Nash, John Henry
Native Daughters of
New Directions Press
the Golden West
New York Times
New York Times
Neylan, John Francis
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm
College of Commerce
Notre Dame du Mont, Marseille,
State Library Commission
91, 92, 93,
Nude Descending a Staircase (Duchamp)
156, 241, 545, 563, 572
229-230, 232, 233,
235, 236, 238, 505
209, 217, 221, 222-
223, 228, 238, 2'JO,
274, 337, 3^6, 456
Occidental College, Los Angeles
The Occidental (newspaper)
Sabre Tooth (literary magazine)
Tavmy Cat (magazine)
Olson, Culbert L.
Oneonta Hills, Pasadena, California
Order Department, UCLA Library
Out West (periodical)
Oxford University Press
399, 427, 428-430,
431-432, 433, 435,
437, 438, 441-442
9, 37, 47, 51, 54,
71, 72, 81, 84,
Pacific Electric Rallv;ay 6-7
Pacific Historical Reviev; (periodical) 217, 219, 295
Pacific Mutual Building, Los Angeles I63
Palace Hotel, Berkeley, California l4l
Paris, France 97-99
Park, Rosemary 622
Parker, Wyman 65O, 655, 656
Pasadena, California, Public Library 23
Pa tience (Gilbert & Sullivan) 251
Pauley, Edwin 301, 302
Paylore, Patricia 502, 510, 518-519,
Up in Coconino County 518
Payne, Robert 486-489, 490
Payne, Robert [cont'd]
The White Pony
Pecos River, Texas
Percival, Olive, collection
Petran, Laurence A.
Phi Gainma Delta fraternity
Philadelphia Art Museum
Phillips, Catherine Coffin (Mrs
Pickett, Charles Edward
"John C. Fremont"
Pima County, Arizona
Powell, Mr. (grandfather)
Powell, Donald M.
Powell, Fay Shoemaker
Powell, G. Harold
303, 609, 673
55-58, 68, 76, 15^
34, 35, 75
510, 518, 679,
53, 54, 75-76,
79, 82, 86, 89:
147, 156, 166,
26-27, 29, 74,
80, 94, 119-120
121, 146, 551-552
Powell, Gertrude [cont'd]
The Quiet Side of Europe
Powell, Lawrence Clark
Books of the Southwest
"Books of the West"
"Chief Librarian, Bookman or
"Education for Academic
Fortune and Friendship
Heart of the Southwest
Islands of Books
Mean V/hat You Say
The Music of the Body
On Literature and Landscape
A Passion for Books
A Personal Record
"The Prolific Robert Payne"
"Resources of Western Libraries
for Research in History"
Southv;estern Book Trails
Southv;e stern Century
"Administration in One Easy Lesson"
"This Dry and Wrinkled Land"
"Letter to the Faculty" (column)
"Resources in the Research Library"
( course )
"Roasting an Old Chestnut" (program)
Powell, Marcia Chace
Pratt, Enoch, Free Library, Baltimore,
Princeton University, Princeton, .
Institute for Advanced Studies 649
Proehl, Paul 297
Providence, Rhode Island, Public Library 675
Publication Committee, UCLA 217
52, 135, 139, 146-148
Quince, Peter Lum
see Ritchie, Harry Ward
Ralphs Market, Westwood, California
Ranson, Harry Huntt
Raton Pass, Colorado
Raymond Hill, Pasadena, California
Raymond Hotel, Pasadena, California
Reference Department, UCLA Library
Reserve Book Room, UCLA Library
Rider 's California
Rilke, Rainer Maria
Rio Grande, Texas
Ritchie, Harry Ward
1, 21, 25
166, 179, 183
347, 372, 428
1, 356, 365, 63:3
Ritchie, Harry Ward
A Few More
XV Poems for the He
The Year's at the S
Ritchie, Harry Ward, collect:
Robb, Agnes R.
Robinson, Edwin A.
Robinson's (book depar
Rousseau, Jean Jacques
Roxburghe Club, San Francisco
Rust's Nursery, Pasadena, California
Rutgers University, New Brunswick,
356, 365, 430-
San Dimas, California
San Francisco, California
San Francisco Public Library
239, 240, 241,
243, 24^1, 245,
San Marino, California
San Quentin Prison, California
Santa Barbara, California, Public
Santa Clara Valley, California
Santa Fe Railroad
Santa Paula, California
Sather Gate Book Shop, Berkeley,
Saunders, John B. de CM.
Sayers, Frances Clarke
Second Committee, UCLA
Shaffer, Kenneth R.
Sheekman, Gloria Stuart
Shelley, Percy Bysshe
A Shropshire Lad (Housman)
Silver Lake, Los Angeles
Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts
Smith, Janet Hathaway
Smith, John E.
Smith, Sarah Bixby
Snyder, Franklyn D.
Southern Connecticut State College,
8, 25, 231
403, 627, 629,
69, 447, 665,
170, 171, 177-
370, 371, iJ06,
427, 429, 648
203, 397, 399:
232, 236, 238
Southern Pacific Railroad
South Laguna Beach, California
South Pasadena, California
South Pasadena High School
South Pasadena Record (newspaper)
Southwest Museum, Los Angeles
Southv/est Review (periodical)
Southwestern Library Association
Special Collections, Department of,
Special Libraries Association (SLA)
Sproul, Robert Gordon
Sproul, Mrs. Robert Gordon
Stanford University, Palo Alto,
Graduate School of Business
Stechert, G.E. , & Co.
Stechert -Hafner Book News
To a God Unknown
Stelter, Mrs. Benjamin
Stern, William B.
Stevens, William Bertrand
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stieg, Lewis F.
10, 22, 34, 50
291-292, 298, 301,
302, 303, 307, 308,
318, 319, 323, 324,
332-333, 345, 347,
350, 351, 352, 388,
400, 4l6, 426, 449,
19, 71-72, 115, 147
40-42, 43. 46,
50, 53, 68, 82,
89, 90, 91, 93,
135, 166, 198,
Love is Eternal
Lust for Life
Summerhayes , Martha
Sunkist Growers, Incorporated
Sutro Library, San Francisco
Sv;arthmore College, Swart hmor e ,
Tallman, Johanna Allerding
Taylor's Drugstore, Pasadena,
Teague, Charles Collins, collection
Texas V.'estern College, El Paso
Thacher School, Ojai, California
Theatre Arts, Department of, UCLA
Thompkins, John Barr
Thompson, James V/estfall
Thoor Ballylee, Ireland
see South Laguna, California
The Threepenny Opera (Brecht)
Times -Mirror Corporation
Touring Topics (periodical)
462, 590, 593
The Travels of M. de Thevenot into the
Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
The True Story of the Conquest of Mexico l88
Truman Inn, Westwood, California 327
see Well, Joyce (Turner)
Twain, Mark 3
Tweedale, Dellene 6l4
Two Years Before the Mast (Dana) l88
192-195, 196, 202,
205, 208, 212, 267,
269, 274, 284
UCLA Magazine (periodical)
Ninth Army Corps Library
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Un-American Acblvltles
Electronics Laboratory, San Diego
University Elementary School, UCLA
University Extension, UCLA
University of Arizona, Tucson
Arid Lands Project
School of Earth Sciences
University of British Columbia,
University of California
Board of Regents
Committee on Southern California
University of California, Berkeley
176, 204, 221, 238,
259, 337, 338, 341,
346, 360, 368, 371,
414, 444, 453, 455,
University of California,
Doe Memorial Library
Friends of the Bancroft Library
Morrison Reading Room
Order Department, Library
School of Librarianship
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of California Press
University of California, Riverside
University of Chicago
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Connecticut, Storrs
University of Maine, Portland
Department of German
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
University of North Carolina, Chapel
University of Pittsburgh
University of San Francisco
University of Southern California,
University of Texas, Austin
Department of English
Humanities Research Center
University of Texas, El Paso
University of Washington, Seattle
University Research Library, UCLA
Van Doren, Mark
Van Patten, Nathan
498, 510, 512, 537
382, 396, 451-
Van Wyck, V/illlam
Vinci, Leonardo da, collection
"A V/ord to the Wise and Friendly"
Vroman ' s (bookstore)
Warde , Beatrice
Wardman Park Sheraton Hotel,
V/ard Ritchie Press
Warren, Althea (Hester)
V/atkins , Gordon
Webb School, Clar.einont ,
Weil, Joyce (Turner)
V/elch, Joseph N.
Wesleyan University, Mlddletown,
Center for Advanced Studies
Department of English
Western Interstate Compact on Higher
Western Worker (periodical)
Westwood Bruin Club
Westwood Businessmen's Association
V/heeler, Joseph L.
"Song of the Redwood Tree"
Whltten, Benjamin G.
Whltten, Benjamin, Jr.
Wiggins, Frank, Trade School,
Williams College, Williamstown,
Wilson, Donald G.
Wilson, Louis Round
Works Progress Administration (V/PA)
95, 132, 137, 139,
145, 494, 523, 549
World Publishing Company
World's Fair, Chicago
Wrenn Memorial Library, High Point
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Yale University Press
Yeats, William Butler
Young and McAllister
Young Man V/ith a Horn (Baker)
Young, William G.
97, 102, 139, 209, 639
Zamorano Club, Los Angeles
Hoj a Volante (periodical)
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