News and Events: Archive:

Journal of the RU Libraries celebrates 75th anniversary

The cover of the November 2012 issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries.

Thursday December 6, 2012
3:00 - 5:00 pm
Remigio U. Pane Room, 1st floor
Archibald S. Alexander Library

* Program with a light reception

To RSVP, send email to or call 848-932-7505

The longest running scholarly-oriented publication of the Rutgers University Libraries, and one of the oldest at Rutgers, has reached a distinguished milestone. And it continues to demonstrate the vigor and creativity of youth.

The Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries was launched in December 1937. It featured greetings from then Rutgers President Robert Clothier, who wrote: "It is gratifying to welcome this first issue of the Journal of the Rutgers University Library. Through the Journal we shall come to know our Library better. We shall discover the real treasures it holds. We shall understand better the great opportunities which lie before us." The first issue made good on this promise, with articles on "Century-old textbooks in the Rutgers Library," "History of the Library," "Notes from the Library" on significant new acquisitions, and other articles.

The arrival of the new journal was noted with favor in a few significant news outlets. In a "Notes on Rare Books" column in the New York Times Book Review of May 28, 1938, the author described the Journal of the Rutgers University Library as "one of the younger and brighter entrants in the field of college library periodicals." The Journal's debut was attested as well in The Times Literary Supplement and a few years later in the New York Herald Tribune Books.

Over the intervening 75 years the Journal has undergone one slight modification to its title (Library > Libraries), been led by a succession of nine editors, and underwent a few changes in style and subject matter. What has remained constant is a focus on printing articles that would elicit the interest and inquiry of scholars on a range of topics. Articles have addressed the Symington Collection (a large archive of 19th and early 20th century English literature) in the Libraries, the history of theater in New Brunswick, descriptions of New Jersey sites in literature, Walt Whitman letters in Special Collections, accounts of historic visitors to New Jersey, a debate on liberalism vs. conservatism, the mixed history of Rutgers relationships with medical schools since the 18th century, Japanese and Western cultural relations, the papers of feminist leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Congresswoman Mary Norton, and other topics. The Journal has also published a few special issues, devoted to topics such as the Dana Women's Artist Series in the Douglas Library, New Jersey's Three State Constitutions, and the artists books of Suellen Glashauser.

In 2005 the editor of the Journal, Associate University Librarian for Collection Development and Management Robert Sewell, recognized the growing significance of online access to scholarly works and initiated an effort to create an online counterpart to the Journal - now available at Working with technical staff in the Libraries, Sewell arranged for all the past issues to be digitized and to post abstracts and PDFs of all articles in all future issues in an Open Journal System, which allows for searching via Google, Google Scholar, and other search engines.

Placing the Journal online had the added effect of allowing its editorial staff to obtain a measure of the publication's impact, via the number of downloads from the open access website. That measure has been quite gratifying, with 78,000 views of articles as of September 2012 and an average of 1,000 article views per week.

The most recent issue of the Journal, published in November 2012, is a special issue on "Forms of Writing in Milton's England." It features a transcription of a manuscript in Special Collections of an imagined conversation between King James and King William, after the conflict between the two known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688; a transcription of a manuscript containing John Donne's "Love Progress" poem paired with a bawdy alehouse poem; two accompanying essays about the co-joined poems; reflections on the spring 2011 exhibition in Special Collections on John Milton and Early Modern Print and Manuscript Culture; greetings from Rutgers new president, Robert L. Barchi; and other articles.

The Libraries will be hosting a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries on Thursday November 8th, from 3-5 pm. The anniversary event will include remarks by Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian Marianne Gaunt, Journal editor Robert G. Sewell, and select journal article authors. A light reception will follow the program.

For more information on the Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries anniversary celebration, or to request a copy of the latest issue, send an email to Libraries communications director Harry Glazer at or call 848-932-5992.

Posted November 2, 2012