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Collection Overview

Dix, William S.
William S. Dix Papers
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
9 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-9


William S. Dix was Princeton's University Librarian (1953-1975) and a prominent spokesperson for librarians worldwide. The William S. Dix papers contain correspondence, reports, articles, and other materials documenting Dix's many professional interests and activities outside of his position at Princeton.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The William S. Dix Papers document Dix's professional life outside of his career as Princeton's University Librarian, with the bulk of the documentation focusing on Dix's service as a member of the United States National Commission for UNESCO and the Association of Research Libraries. The papers primarily contain correspondence; however, reports, meeting minutes, and articles are also included.

Please see series descriptions in the contents list for additional information about individual series.

Collection Creator Biography:

Dix, William S.

William S. Dix served as Princeton's University Librarian from 1953 until his retirement in 1975, at which time he was named Librarian Emeritus. Despite the demands of directing one of the nation's leading research libraries for over 20 years, Dix remained an active figure in the world of libraries up until his death in 1978.

Born in 1910 in Winchester, VA, William S. Dix received Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Virginia, and in 1946, a PhD in American literature from the University of Chicago. Prior to his appointment as Princeton's University Librarian in 1953, he had been a professor and librarian at the Rice Institute (now known as Rice University).

William S. Dix's dedication to his field was manifested in the astounding number of professional activities in which he took part outside of his position at Princeton. Dix was a lifetime member of the American Library Association, serving as chairman of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (1951-1953), chairman of the International Relations Committee (1955-1960), First Vice-President (1968), and President-Elect (1969). Dix's commitment to the Association of Research Libraries was equally weighty, including terms as Executive Secretary (1957-1959) and President (1962-1963). Dix was also chairman of the Association of Research Libraries' Shared Cataloging Committee, where he was instrumental in shaping the Library of Congress' international program of centralized cataloguing, going so far as to testify before congressional committees in 1965 and 1967 on the benefits of such a program.

William S. Dix's involvement in library affairs was not limited by national borders. From 1955 to 1961 he was a member of the United States National Commission for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and during this time he acted as a delegate to a number of international library conferences. Later, in 1967-1969, Dix was called upon by Secretary of State Dean Rusk to serve on the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on International Book and Library Programs.

As Princeton's University Librarian, Dix was often called upon as a consultant by other institutions and organizations. Among those to whom Dix acted as an advisor were Rutgers Library School, Duke University Library, Harvard University Library, the New Jersey Library Association, and the Academic Freedom Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Dix died in 1978 while still a member of the Library of Congress' National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU), a forward thinking organization whose mission was to explore the impact of photocopying, software, and electronic access upon copyrighted works. The CONTU final report, published shortly after Dix's death, became the basis for section 117 of the United States Copyright Act governing computer programs and software.

Collection History


The bulk of this collection was donated by Mrs. William S. Dix in May and August of 1979. A small addition of materials was later made by Donald W. Koepp, Dix's successor as University Librarian.


Appraisal has been conducted in accordance with Mudd Manuscript Library guidelines.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Daniel Brennan in July, 2006. Finding aid written by Daniel Brennan in July, 2006.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

William S. Dix Papers; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-9

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Related Materials

Records documenting William S. Dix's career as Princeton's University Librarian can be found in the Library Records (AC123) as well as in his faculty file, both held by the University Archives.

The library also holds the records of the University of Petroleum and Minerals Consortium (AC232), of which Dix was an active member.

Subject Terms:
Academic Librarians.
Academic Libraries -- Administration.
Academic Libraries -- Aims and Objectives.
Cataloging, Cooperative.
Copyright -- Computer programs.
American library association
Association of Research Libraries.
U.S. National Commission for UNESCO
United States
Rutgers University. Library.
Princeton University. Library
Dix, William S.