Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
As BPH reported in 2009 De Montfort University had been given the remaining portion of the Kodak Research Library which had been based at Kodak Ltd's premises at Harrow. The company's archives are at the British Library. At an informal ceremony this week attended by Sam Weller and Chris Roberts both formerly of Kodak De Montfort University's Kimberlin Library showed off the Kodak library newly installed in its purpose-built Special Collections area.
The Kodak material is particularly strong in runs of British, European and American photographic journals.As one would expect it also includes some limited material relating to Kodak but the majority of Kodak's own publications are held as part of the Kodak Historical Collection at the British Library, The DMU material has been catalogued and is available through the online library catalogue. The library's catalogue search facility can be found here. Use 'Kodak Collection' in the keyword field to browse all titles or search for specific titles.
It is worth giving some context to the material that is now at DMU. Chris Roberts was actively involved in saving the library from being dispersed or destroyed. He notes that the material at DMU is only a small fraction of what had originally been at Kodak in Harrow, as an urgent decision had to be taken regarding what to 'rescue '. He writes: "I had only a short time to move selected books from the Library to the Archive before the remainder was thrown away! You can imagine my horror in seeing the notice that the Library was to be first offered to members of the Research Laboratory and the remainder disposed of. It all happened quite quickly. Hope Kingsley helped me to move the books and although I offered whatever we had to the Universities of Westminster and Middlesex they did not have the finance or the room for any more books." Roger Taylor promoted the interest of DMU and this resulted in the agreement between the BL, DMU and Kodak. Sadly this is not an usual story - many company libraries have been destroyed and photo-historians should be grateful that as much was saved as possible.
The Kodak Collection in the Special Collections areas is open to members of the public usually between Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 4pm or by appointment. The library archivist is Linda Butt who can be reached on +44 (0)116 250 6392 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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