This book has no standard bibliography as such. I have a record of the material and labor that went into it: books letters, newspapers, journals and private papers, as well as interviews and tours, guided and solo. Most credits move along in the body of the text with only the name of the author and sometimes of the work itself.

 

Footnotes, obviously necessary, are kept to a minimum. (At the website, they are handled parenthetically.) Not out of disrespect for academic tradition or its followers but for ease of reading, I have all but eliminated the customary garland of ibids, loc cits, and opcits, vide infras, and other dry caulk. Over the years I have hefted with awe and gratitude theses of a thousand pages made unassailable by two thousand footnotes, but have also seen far lesser works defended by a Maginot Line of annotative overload.

 

About acknowledgments, I wish there were space to describe the treatment I have received at the hands of the generous persons who helped me through this task in one way or another. They know who they are and by this should now know that they have my warmest thanks. Among them were several who read early drafts as critics. No two assessments were alike, and the adjectives covered a wide range. The most telling responses came from those who, having little good to say, avoided insult and kept their peace by not responding at all. That, reader, is punctilio as both art and craft.

 

And so in the end I took the medicine, and when I had recovered went back and adjusted things as well as I could to the critics' counsel without abandoning my own.

 

As I was putting on the last touches, it occurred to me that I had left unsaid something that needed saying about a group on unsung Americans. Of all those who gave me invaluable assistance and advice, the most helpful were librarians, chiefly professional archivists, curators of special collections, and reference specialists in public and private institutions. Writers, speakers and doers of the word have become so used to finders and keepers of the word that we tend to take them for granted. Yet no activity that proceeds by "looking things up" can do without them.

 

They are in the main a friendly people who will show you everything in the store not under prohibition. We in the west have come a long way since Alexander the Great, one of the earliest dragons, wrote to this tutor Aristotle, "You have not done well to publish books of oral doctrine, for what is there now that we excel others in if these things we have so particularly instructed in be laid open to all."

 

I have yet to hear of a Hall of Fame for great Librarians. In one of the final elections at the NYU Hall of Fame, great and famous librarian John Shaw Billings got just two votes -- running as a surgeon. Dewey? Was he not an admiral or a politician of some kind: A philosopher maybe?

 

* * * *

 

For the making of this work I have received printed materials and valuable assistance from the personnel of the following libraries:

New York University Archives
New London County Historical Society
Brown University Archives
Harvard University Archives
American Antiquarian Society
New York Public Library
Bronx Community College
Amherst College Archives
Watkinson Library, Trinity College
Connecticut College Library
Connecticut State Library
Connecticut Historical Society
Groton (CT) Public Library
Hartford Public Library
Indian & Colonial Research Center, Old Mystic
Yale University
Gramercy!

 

* * * *

 

Finally and foremost is Evelyn Baker Nelson, who never once complained.

 

 

Introduction