Vernon D. Tate Personal and Professional Papers, 1929-1989
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Tate, Vernon D.
- The Tate Personal and Professional Papers document Vernon Tate's personal interests and activities along with many aspects of his professional career as a historian, librarian, and archivist between 1929 and 1989. Dr. Tate's papers contain correspondence, speeches, articles, meeting minutes, annual reports, newsletters, conference proceedings, press releases, dissertation research materials, and photographic and microphotographic research notes.
- 47.5 linear feet (ca. 95,000 pp.) in 49 boxes
- Marilyn McNitt
- Scope and Content:
In December 1982, Dr. Vernon Tate donated a large collection of manuscripts and publications documenting the history of microphotography and his own career as a historian, archivist, librarian, and microfilm pioneer to The University of Michigan Libraries. This donation provided the impetus for the creation of the Power Collection for the Study of Scholarly Communication and Information Transfer in the Special Collections Library. The Power Collection is named in honor of Dr. Tate's long-time friend, Eugene B. Power, the founder of the micropublishing firm University Microfilms, Inc.
Dr. Tate's donations to the Power Collection contain over 140 linear feet of manuscripts, including his own personal and professional papers, an extensive collection of records of the National Microfilm Association (NMA), and the Microfilm Pioneers Collection which contains the papers of several of Dr. Tate's colleagues concerning microphotography and the activities of NMA. In addition, Dr. Tate donated an extensive collection of serials and monographs relating primarily to the fields of photography, microphotography, and archives.
The Tate Personal and Professional Papers document Vernon Tate's personal interests and activities along with many aspects of his professional career between 1929 and 1989. This group does not, however, include files from his work as Executive Secretary of the National Microfilm Association. Those materials can be found in the National Microfilm Association Records in this repository.
Dr. Tate's papers contain correspondence, speeches, articles, meeting minutes, annual reports, newsletters, conference proceedings, press releases, dissertation research materials, and photographic and microphotographic research notes. In addition, the collection contains log books (diaries), which contain his thoughts and notes on his personal and professional activities, although the log books will not be available for research until October 1, 2009.
Scattered materials concern Tate's activities between 1929 and 1935 as a student, researcher,and microfilmer for the Library of Congress. Included is correspondence, extensive research materials on the port of San Blas (his dissertation topic), and articles on maritime history and photography.
Large portions of several series concern the years between 1935 and 1946 during which Tate headed the photographic archives and research division of the National Archives and then served in the Navy during World War II. Almost two-thirds of the correspondence series and nearly half of Tate's speeches and writings date from this period. Besides these materials, the files contain inter-office memoranda, literature and notes on microphotography, and notes on his own experiments. Since Tate was the seventh professional staff member hired by the National Archives after its founding in 1935, the files include materials on the early development of the agency and the beginnings of the photographic laboratory and microfilm operation.
By the mid-1930's Tate was already one of the recognized authorities in the rapidly developing field of microphotography. In addition to his work at the National Archives, the files concern such topics as his work as editor of the Journal of Documentary Reproduction, 1938-1942; the early history of the American Documentation Institute and the Federation Internationale de Documentation; and his involvement in the work of the Microcard Committee. A small amount of correspondence concerns the establishment and early history of the National Microfilm Association, 1944-1946, before Tate became an officer.
The amount of material declines significantly for the years after 1946. Materials relating to his work as Director of Libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and subsequently as Librarian and Archivist at the U.S. Naval Academy appear, but they are smaller in quantity and less complete than the materials on earlier years. Although the Tate Papers do not concern his work as an officer of the National Microfilm Association, they do document many professional activities not connected with NMA. Included is material on his various library and archival positions and his involvement with such organizations as the American Documentation Institute and the Federation Internationale de Documentation.
In addition to documenting many of Tate's professional activities, his papers concern family matters and personal interests. The correspondence series includes a small sequence of family letters exchanged between Tate and his wife, parents, and other relatives. The personal interests series contains information on his hobbies and interests, especially in naval history and other nautical matters, but also in such areas as antiques, art, books and printing, history, and libraries.
- Biographical / Historical:
Vernon D. Tate Chronology Date Event Jan. 3, 1909 Born in Mount Carmel, Illinois 1929 Graduated from U.C.L.A. (A.B.) 1930 Graduated from the University of California (M.A. in History) 1930-31 Research in Mexican Archives June 10, 1931 Married Katherine Ann Moore 1931-1932 Employed by the Library of Congress reproducing materials in Mexican Archives relating to United States history 1934 Graduated from the University of California (Ph.D. in History) 1934-35 Researcher for the University of California at the Library of Congress and departmental records depositories in Washington, D.C. 1935-1946 Chief, Division of Photographic Archives and Research, U.S. National Archives 1938-1942 Editor, Journal of Documentary Reproduction 1940- Associate Editor, American Neptune (maritime history journal) 1944-1946 Served in the U.S. Navy (assigned to Naval Command, Office of Strategic Services) 1946-1948 Secretary, National Microfilm Association 1946-1956 Director of Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1948-1949 President, American Documentation Institute 1950-1952 Editor, American Documentation 1952-1973 Executive Secretary, National Microfilm Association 1956-1967 Librarian, U.S. Naval Academy 1963 Named Fellow of the National Microfilm Association 1967-1969 Archivist, U.S. Naval Academy 1970- Archivist, Archives of Micrographics Sept. 30, 1989 Died in Annapolis, MD
Additional biographical information on Vernon Tate can be found in folder 10 of Box B9 of the Tate Personal and Professional Papers.
- Acquisition Information:
- This collection was donated by Dr. Tate in December, 1982, with additions in August, 1985 and June, 1986, and a final donation by his heirs in January, 1991.
- Processing information:
Marilyn McNitt, 1983-1986 and 1992.
Summary Contents List
- Series A: Correspondence, 1932-1983 -- Boxes A1-17
- Series B: Professional Activities, 1929-1973 -- Boxes B1-13
- Series C: Speeches and Writings, 1933-1973 -- Boxes C1-3
- Series D: Personal Interests, 1929-1976 -- Boxes D1-7
- Series E: Microfilm and Samples of Copying Processes, 19341975 --[Boxes E1-2]
- Series F: Log Books, 1930-1988 -- --Boxes F1-7
- (Series F closed to research until October 1, 2009)
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Vernon D. Tate Personal and Professional Papers, University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center)