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File M for Mazique : 1942

File M for Mazique : 1942

Winter 1942. Washington, D.C. "Jewel Mazique on temporary duty checking filing systems in the Library of Congress." 4x5 inch acetate negative by John Collier for the U.S. Office of the Coordinator of Information. View full size.


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Backwards and forwards

I noticed that while the subject entries on the drawers go top-to-bottom, and left-to-right in alphabetical order, the five-digit index (?) numbers of the drawers are also top-to-bottom, but right-to-left.

It also appears that there were 17 drawers in a stack ... interesting.

Monje, Manfred

Jewel is looking up Manfred Monje, a German physiologist (1901-1981). It appears that he was on staff in the Anthropology Department of the State Museum of Natural History in Vienna in 1942. Hard to find very much on him. I wonder what unpleasant things that museum was doing in 1942?

Melvil Dewey

You would sometimes meet the most interesting and knowledgeable people at the card catalog.

Image of

"attention to detail"
There is no other way to describe this photo.

Pedant alert

Library of Congress have their own classification system, so not Dewey. This looks like an author catalogue. You see a lot of old library filing drawers (not on this scale) at antique fairs. I often wonder how useful they are, as they have no sides.

Quite a life, as it turns out.

2 Oct 1913 - 18 Sep 2007 (aged 93)

"Mazique graduated from Spelman College and received a master's degree in African Studies from Howard University, where she wrote her thesis on the development of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Mazique argued her own acrimonious divorce case despite the court's requests to take legal counsel. She kept her children, but lost her case for personal financial support. ... Both her sons went on to become physicians."

Old habits are hard to break

My friend the librarian tells me that old-timers still ask where to find the card catalog.

October 1, 2015

That was the day the last library catalog cards were printed. The Library of Congress still makes its main card catalog available to users, but it doesn't contain works after 1980.

Digital catalogs are not very user friendly. (The cards weren't always either.) But increasingly the contents of libraries, not just their catalogs, do not exist at all in physical or analog form.

"Temporary" duty?

"Miss Mazique, your predecessor, Miss Maxwell, completed "Money" when she reached mandatory retirement age. Please continue the alphabetization check from there."

Dewey Wins!

I actually liked looking up books with the old card catalog filing system. It worked and flipping through it during your search sometimes led you to books completely unrelated but still really interesting.

Scholarly Inquiry

I wonder how many LOC patrons inquired (discreetly, of course) about the possibility of marryin' the librarian --

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