A Pictorial History: The University of Iowa Libraries – Joseph W. Rich

Joseph RichJOSEPH W. RICH
Librarian

July 1892 – June 1898

Joseph Rich was a member of the Board of Regents from 1886-1892.  Rich had served 3 years in Co. E, 12th Iowa Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, and after the war spend some time at the University as a student.  Before coming to the UI, Rich was editor of The Vinton Eagle.  During his years at Iowa, Rich completed an accurate inventory of holdings, as neither the register nor shelf-list contained all of the books on the shelves and it was discovered that 5,000-6,000 volumes were neither registered or listed.

Rich was able to solicit donations of books on religion from various churches, and during his tenure the Libraries obtained the gift of the D. H. Talbot collection of over 4,000 rare and expensive works.  Rich was also able to convince the alumni association to start a voluntary fund to “interest graduates in collecting for the library rare and valuable Americana, such as the ordinary purchases do not include.”  Rich submitted to the Board of Trustees an invitation from the University of California to cooperate in the inter-library loaning of books.

The destructive fire in North Hall in June 1897 also occurred during Rich’s tenure.  Nearly all of the general collection was lost, as well as 10,000 – 15,000 pamphlets, and a little over half of the Talbot collection.

Rich wrote a several part, in-depth history of the Libraries that was published in the Vidette-Reporter in January of 1894.