Guide to the Research Collections

- Section -- II: -- THE HUMANITIES


Dutch, Flemish, and Afrikaans literatures are collected on a comprehensive basis. The growth of the collections in these areas is indicated by the following:

1854 Astor Library106 volumes
1921 New York Public Library4,784

Good working collections are available of Dutch, Flemish, and Afrikaans literature, particularly for the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; substantial material is also available in Walloon. A tabulation of the entries for poetry in the literary form headings catalog shows the following relative strengths: Dutch poetry, 2,070 entries; Flemish poetry, 330 entries; Afrikaans poetry, 140 entries; and Walloon poetry, 30 entries. Other literary forms follow a similar pattern of distribution with the exception of Walloon drama, in which the holdings are very strong for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Drama and poetry are the genres held in greatest strength for these literatures, following the general pattern of the collections of the Research Libraries. Dutch, Flemish, and Afrikaans fiction are also strongly represented in late nineteenth-and twentieth-century materials. Authors' works are generally present in collected editions; single

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editions are acquired only if there is no collected edition or if the single edition contains scholarly matter not found elsewhere. Translations into English of Dutch, Flemish, or Afrikaans literary works are in the collections when those are available.

The collection of Dutch literature is particularly strong in belletristic pamphlets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Subject cards do not appear in the Public Catalog for much of this material; the more important titles may be found under an author entry, while others, principally dissertations, have been bound in volumes of the "n.c." category.

Periodicals are an important feature of the resources. Eighteenth-century Dutch periodicals are generally lacking; there are complete runs of De Gids (1837-1953), De Nieuwe Gids (1885-1943), and a substantial run of Groot Nederland (1911-44). The library currently receives nine literary periodicals from the Netherlands, including Podium. Flemish literary periodicals include a run of the Vlaanderen: algemeen Vlaamsch maandschrift, held by only three libraries in the United States, and the Verslagen en mededeelingen published by the Koninklijke Vlaamsche academie voor Taal-en Letterkunde, of Ghent. All literary periodicals published in South Africa are received by the library.


There are editions of the collected works of Jacob Cats, Alle de Wercken, dated 1658, 1700, 1712, and 1726, the last of these in the Spencer Collection; the engraved plates present a lively picture of Holland during that golden age of Dutch literature. Of special interest for an American library is the only known copy of a volume of poems by Jacob Steendam, the first poet in New Amsterdam, entitled Zeede-sangen voor de Batavische-jonkheyt (1671). Bernardus Freeman's De Spiegel der Zelfskennis (1720) is one of the earliest literary productions from Long Island. The Arents Tobacco Collection has verse satires and other seventeenth-century works about tobacco by Cats, Jan van Beverwijck, and others.