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Edited: Jan 22, 2008, 1:27am Top

I discovered today that Sotheby's auctioned off Martin Luther King's personal library about a year and a half ago. Which means their must be a catalog somewhere. It's too late tonight and I need to get to bed, but if someone wants to do some digging before I can get to it, feel free.

Edit to add: The archives were bought and are supposedly housed at Morehouse College in Atlanta. But on college's website they only talk about his papers, not his books so I don't know what they did with them.

2seki First Message
Jan 29, 2008, 2:10pm Top

Wow. I just e-mailed Abby to see if anyone was doing a LT author on MLK. I will contact my library to see if they can provide any information on your question and get to you via I see dead people.


Jan 29, 2008, 2:25pm Top


I got a lead. Morehouse College has books from the MLK's personal library. The college is sorting out what they have before they make it accessible to the public. Here is the link:


If the link does not work, look under Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection @ Robert W.Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center.

Let me know where you want to go from here.


Jan 30, 2008, 3:14pm Top

One other item. While Morehouse is working on what they have recieved a possible starting point is what Stanford has. Here is the link: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/mlkpapers/

Feb 1, 2008, 1:35am Top

Wow. This would be a great one.

Feb 18, 2008, 5:03pm Top

Awesome! I'm a bit busy at the moment... Spent the last couple weeks trying to recover a crashed hard drive and am now playing catch up. So I don't know how soon I could work on this. If anyone wants to get a jump on it, feel free.

Feb 23, 2008, 8:47pm Top

If no one else offers, I will start it. I still want credit to go to moonradio for making the suggestion.

Feb 23, 2008, 9:11pm Top

Where's the link to the actual books?

Feb 23, 2008, 11:54pm Top

Hmmm... yes, I'm not finding any books listed at Stanford. Just documents.

This may have to wait until Morehouse is finished organizing.

From their site:

"On September 14, 2006, the Library confirmed receipt of 71 cartons from Sotheby’s in New York. In the succeeding weeks, staff attention turned to re-housing items in appropriate containers and placing them on archival shelving in a secure environmentally monitored vault. At present, the collection's re-housed items and approximately 1,000 books, periodicals and pamphlets comprise about 36 linear feet. That number is expected to increase, as the re-housing efforts continue today...The initial inventory and control process revealed that the collection had no consistent order, with evidence of repeated disarrangement over many years. As a result, in-depth processing planning, decision making and staff effort were required to bring about the best arrangement protocol...the team is re-housing items in appropriate and uniform alkaline boxes and folders, surveying the physical condition of collection materials that may need conservation treatment, sorting items into appropriate organizational structure (by subject and/or format) and preparing the finding aid and catalog records...The collection is expected to be open for research during fall 2008."

Feb 24, 2008, 8:54am Top

The books may have been listed in the Sotheby's catalog for the sale that was supposed to occur on 30 June 2006 ... the sale was pre-empted by the agreement with Morehouse, and the catalog doesn't seem to available on the Sotheby's website (there's a page for it, but I couldn't get a PDF version to load).

Feb 24, 2008, 12:39pm Top

>10 jbd1:
That was my original thought. But I couldn't find a copy of the catalog. I don't remember whether I found that pdf link, but it doesn't seem to work. They've probably pulled it. Since the collection was described as not having a "consistent order, with evidence of repeated disarrangement" I'm thinking that they just lumped a bunch of stuff together without detailing the contents. This seems more likely if you consider that Mrs. King was a pack rat and saved everything. The collection includes credit card receipts, exam blue books, and cosmetic containers.

In any case past Sotheby's catalogs are expensive. But if someone can find one and is willing to plunk down the money for it I won't say don't do it, but my expectations that there will be much useful info are slim.

I don't know what to do other than wait for Morehouse. I'm open to suggestions.

Feb 24, 2008, 12:45pm Top

Yeah I agree, I think it's probably better to wait for Morehouse to get the books cataloged. Hopefully their timetable isn't too far off. If anyone finds a list in the meantime, we can go from there.

Edited: Aug 7, 2015, 11:22am Top

UPDATE: http://mcmlk.auctr.edu/documents/MCMLK_book_list.pdf

Looks like it's titles and authors only :(. The description of the collection mentions lots of marginalia, but none of that is cataloged here. Anyways, 1000-ish books belonging to MLK! Very very cool. Flash mob anyone?

Citation: Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection next hit at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc.

Aug 7, 2015, 11:26am Top

Looks like at least some of these are cataloged in their OPAC, so before folks add with just author/title, let's explore and see if we can get full records, first ...

Aug 7, 2015, 11:29am Top

Oh, let's do it!

JBD1, are you calling them? If you don't have time, I'll get someone here on it.

Aug 7, 2015, 11:32am Top

I can't do it today, but will have time early next week; if somebody else is more free today, go for it.

PS - Ugh their OPAC is terrible.

Aug 7, 2015, 12:32pm Top

Their catalogue is searchable by the notes field with the keywords "Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection'. But it only brings up 436 titles, a difference from the approximate '1,000 books'. It doesn't look like everything on the list is there: searches for Dewey, an American of this Century, or Lo! The Poor Innocents for two examples come up empty, while The Apocrypha is there, but it's not marked as being from the collection in the notes field.

Aug 7, 2015, 12:55pm Top

Maybe they're adding them now?

Feb 1, 2016, 10:29am Top

It's Black History month—are we ready to do this?

Edited: Feb 1, 2016, 10:47am Top

It looks like the following link, which gives 623 results, is pretty close to everything:


If that's stable, it may be the best thing to work from ... excluding a few post-MLK records at the very end ...

Feb 1, 2016, 10:57am Top

If we're going to use this as the source, I'd suggest we make a WorldCat list of these items and work from that rather than the search results. That way we can sort by title or author and people can more easily say what range of items they'll be working on. I'm happy to generate the WorldCat list and provide a link and/or PDF of it.

Feb 1, 2016, 11:00am Top

That's a great idea! Go for it, if you have time - would be excellent to work from that, so we can use pages, &c.

Feb 1, 2016, 11:46am Top

Once we get a list of segments, I want to come up with guidelines, and announce this as a project. Break it up into small pieces, so lots of people can help. I want to spread this.

Feb 1, 2016, 12:12pm Top


Feb 1, 2016, 1:18pm Top

Okay folks - so perhaps this is not the most elegant solution, but I've gotten the title list into an Excel document. It's shared in Google Drive, and you all should be able to view/download from this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2CGLiCD4Ad7dmk3djVFVzh0Vm8/view?usp=sharing

I discovered that OCLC caps lists at 500 items, and I can't lock the settings on how a list is sorted in their system, so working from those lists could possibly cause a whole heap of confusion. If you'd like, I can share the links to the lists in case you want to be able to check an item for more information.

Feb 1, 2016, 3:58pm Top

I know a couple of the librarians at the Robert W. Woodruff Library. If someone from LT would like to contact one of them, they might be willing to share the MARC records. Leave a note for me on my profile and I can give you some contact details.

Feb 1, 2016, 4:39pm Top

>25 cpirmann: - Many thanks! Do folks think this Excel file is workable? If so, I can make a wiki page and set up divisions for people to work from.

>26 lesmel: - We could do that, for sure, but that does remove the element of flash-mob fun :-) Normally I'm all in favor of ease of import, but for this folks may find it more interesting to work through the list. Thoughts?

Feb 1, 2016, 5:09pm Top

If anyone would rather a PDF, here are two links (also sorted by title):

Part 1 (first 400 titles): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2CGLiCD4Ad7cG1xbUF2ZDZTMnc/view?usp=sharing

Part 2 (remaining 220+ titles): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2CGLiCD4Ad7ODhKR25DMThjRm8/view?usp=sharing

Feb 1, 2016, 5:09pm Top

Personally, I like the idea of having a new legacy library but the manual entry is a chore. If MARC is available, use it and spend the manual input on other legacies without MARC support.

Feb 1, 2016, 5:13pm Top

>28 cpirmann: Ah, handy - that at least lets us separate by page numbers. Thanks!

Feb 2, 2016, 10:19pm Top

Okay, I propose we divide it up by page on the wiki, and people can claim pages. Write up some brief rules about how to do it. Then we announce it's open and let people help—try to get as many people to help as possible. LT will support with blog, FB, Twitter.

How does this sound?

Edited: Feb 3, 2016, 7:48am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 3, 2016, 7:47am Top

Wiki's up here - if that link doesn't work for your browser (I managed to get a full-stop in the URL), try http://is.gd/lGjWq0; that seems to work consistently.

I separated it into three-page chunks since they tend to go very quickly. It won't take long.

Feb 3, 2016, 10:57am Top

Pages 1-3 - '''DONE'''

Feb 3, 2016, 4:07pm Top

To all coming from the blog post, &c. - welcome! Let us know if you have any questions or if we can clarify anything on the wiki page; we're happy to help!

Feb 3, 2016, 4:15pm Top

JBD1 - just clarifying a note on the wiki page that source file 1 = items 1-400 and source file 2 = 401-end.

Feb 3, 2016, 4:18pm Top

>36 cpirmann: - Gotcha, thanks. Edited!

Feb 3, 2016, 10:17pm Top

This is fun. Childhood's End! And some REALLY obscure Buddhist stuff—one was basically nowhere, until Cambridge had it.

Feb 3, 2016, 10:25pm Top

>38 timspalding: - It is fun! Nice to work on one where not every title is like pulling teeth, too :-)

Feb 3, 2016, 10:36pm Top

I had to add one manually, hope that's ok.

Feb 7, 2016, 11:20pm Top

I'm hesitant to do one now—there are only 2 chunks left. Anyone itching to do one who hasn't yet?

Feb 8, 2016, 2:04pm Top

I would like to do one if there are any pieces left. I started following Dr. King in 1960 when I entered Georgia Tech. I and others had a chance to read what I would call source documents from daily reports in the Atlanta Constitution written by Ralph McGill and Eugene Peterson, editor of the opinions page. Let me know, I can start today.
Ron Wright, email ronwright42@att.net
My library is MrKurtz

Feb 8, 2016, 2:16pm Top

>42 LFUMC: Excellent! It looks like there are still two segments left to be claimed. Head over here to the wiki page: http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Martin_Luther_King,_Jr. for instructions, and don't forget to mark the segment(s) you're claiming! Let us know if you have any questions, of course.

Feb 8, 2016, 9:52pm Top

I just finished the last open segment, there is one still left to be marked "Done," otherwise this project is complete.

Feb 8, 2016, 10:02pm Top

Yeah, the estimable Amanda French has got it. So, done tomorrow, perhaps.

When it's done, let's talk about it.

Feb 9, 2016, 9:48pm Top

Done! Added the last open section.

Feb 9, 2016, 10:10pm Top

Woo hoo!

Feb 9, 2016, 10:30pm Top

>45 timspalding: I noticed evolution in the extended tagmash; rather than a book discussing creationism, or a mundane science book, it is the deeply weird Human Destiny by Pierre Lecomte du Noüy. I also saw To Pray or Not to Pray! A Handbook for Study of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and American Church-State Doctrine. I snagged a cheap copy off Amazon; we'll see Lowry's take on that.

Feb 10, 2016, 9:44am Top

Great. I'll ping Jeremy to make sure he's good with it.

Feb 10, 2016, 9:47am Top

>49 timspalding: - Looks great! I don't see any problems listed. I've removed a few of the weird post-MLK things that were in the records (but not in the author/title list, so I think they're safely omitted).

Feb 10, 2016, 10:47am Top

Okay, I've started a new topic for "what's interesting?"


Feb 10, 2016, 11:38am Top

Suggestion for work—assign genders to everyone on https://www.librarything.com/topic/219014

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