Guide to the Research Collections
GENERAL TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES
The vast resources in technology account for a very large percentage of the holdings of the Science and Technology Research Center. There is a total of approximately 83,000 monograph volumes and 228,600 serial volumes. Because the center arranges serials in a single alphabetical order by title on its shelves, rather than in classified order, it is difficult to determine the number of serial volumes in a specific subject area such as engineering or electrical engineering; therefore only an approximation is provided in the following descriptions. Generally the collections are strong, with special richness in older materials which contribute to the history of technology. There is, moreover, an attempt to collect the proceedings of international symposia and conferences exhaustively. Civil engineering (particularly sewage-disposal and water supply) and transportation (especially railways and aeronautics) are notable aspects of the resources.
During an early period of the Astor Library, W.G. Astor put more than $12,500 at the disposal of Dr. Cogswell for the purchase of books for a technology department. Cogswell noted that "it will be a leading object of this library to provide a complete 'Bibliotheque Industrielle,' or collection of books for the special benefit of practical industry."1
The collecting policy of the Science and Technology Research Center is in general comprehensive for technological works. The center also holds certain bibliographical tools not readily available elsewhere in the New York City area.
A number of book rarities are in the collections, including some fine aeronautical works. The Parsons collection, described in chapter 56 of this Guide,
has much of importance on early canals, railroads, and military engineering; the library also received manuscripts from General
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Parsons relating to the steamboat and the submarine. A substantial body of manuscripts in the Manuscripts and Archives Division relates to early canals in the eastern United States and to the Panama Canal. Additional holdings include the papers of American engineers such as Bion J. Arnold, Elmer L. Corthell, Robert Fulton, William B. Parsons, Sidney A. Reeve, Frank J. Sprague, Robert B. Stanton, Joseph Gardner Swift, and William John Wilgus; much of this material dates from the turn of the twentieth century. These holdings will be described under the appropriate subject in this chapter.