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Henriette Derman: LS Alumna, Crusader, and Political Prisoner: Derman's Career


Henriette Derman worked at the Widener Library at Harvard while she was attending Simmon College:

The above image was captured from a document that Derman completed upon completing the program at Simmons. It states:

"Name of Institution: Simmons College Library and Widener Library during the year of library training in Simmons"

Document provided courtesy of Simmons College Archives

Library of Congress

In 1917, upon completing the Simmons One-Year Program, Derman obtained a position with the Library of Congress working with both the Slavic books and the Yudin Collection.

In a letter to June Donnelly, dated 8/14/1917, Derman described her new job at the LC:

"Besides the work in the catalog division, where I have to deal with the current Slavic literature coming in daily I am assistant in charge of the Yudin collection. The Yudin collection is a library of 80,000 Russian books bought by the L.C. in 1907...During the years theye has not been done much to make the collection available for the public. It is not yet classified, not shefllisted, not any body knows what kind of books there are to be found on a certain subject...I like my work here very much indeed, and especially I would like to devote myself to the work in the yudin collection. I started now the rough classification of this collection and with enthusiasm I am digging out from the dust beneath the shelves centuies old books..."


Letter provided courtesy of the Simmons College Archives

The Yudin Collection

Take a closer look at the materials with which Derman worked during her employment at the Library of Congress.

Career in Russia

Derman and Cataloging

"As director of the library of the Communist Academy from 1923 to 1930, she [Derman] championed American cataloging systems, converting the Academy's library to the Library of Congress clssification scheme in 1925, and in 1926 publishing a manual for cataloging collective entries based on the 1908 Anglo-American cataloging rules.

Most important, it was a commission headed by Derman that recommended ion 1926 that the Library of Congress be used as the model for the centralization of cataloging by the Central Book Chamber, which should, like the Library of Congress, issue printed cataloging cards to be distributed nationally."

Excerpt taken from "Soviet-American Library Relations in the 1920's and 1930's: A Study in Mutual Fascination and Distrust"

Library School in Russia

Derman was responsible for creating the first Library school in Russia. In Madrid, Derman gave a talk on the library service in Russia and described the education provided to librarians:

"The system of regular library education consists of:

   (1) Short-term courses, from one to six months.

   (2) Library high schools (secondary schools), also correspondence courses.

   (3) Special library higher educational institutions (colleges) and library departments in teachers' colleges and educational extension universities.

   (4) Fellowships."

Click here to read the entire publication by Derman on libraries and library school in Russia.

Excerpt from 'The Soviets'