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Alcohol History in Red Boxes: McCarthy Collection

My personal favorite, the Raymond G. McCarthy Memorial Collection is housed in their spectacular, custom-made archival cases on the second floor in the Annex. Among the dusty old items, often an eye sore, the red boxes with their golden letters stand out and definitely lift the spirit.

What’s in this collection?

First, the full text of any original documents abstracted by the Center staff (through 1982) and many of the more recently indexed or preserved publications that we managed to save. I still feel remorse and deeply regret getting rid of the Reprint Collection of the CAS Library during the relocation. We lost thousands of more recent articles stored in the file cabinets arranged in alphabetical order by first author. They took up a whole room in the CAS Library. Lacking space for them in the future while probably available online, they were the first on the chopping board.

If there’s a saving grace, all valuable documents abstracted in the Classified Abstract Archive of the Alcohol Literature (CAAAL) can be found in the Raymond G. McCarthy Memorial Collection. Additionally, the McCarthy Collection also contains the original texts of all items abstracted in the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol and the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.

How is the collection organized?

The items are neatly filed by their CAAAL or McCarthy numbers (for the ones not included in CAAAL). Access is provided by author through the master catalog (a real one, a work-of-art piece of furniture, now in the Annex), by author or subject using the abstracts and indexes of the Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol or Journal of Studies on Alcohol, or by subject searching of CAAAL.

The topical bibliographies prepared by Center staff were used to draw upon the McCarthy Collection.

The CAS Library also holds several printed guides to the collection organized by decades, similar to the card catalog. A little bit of work, a little tricky to use, but these serve as an invaluable resource to verify citations and pull together bibliographies based on author.

What size is the collection and where exactly is it?

  • Quantity: 428 file boxes
  • Annex location codes: B37A07 to B37N06; B37P07 to B37P06; B39A07 to B39N06; B39P07 to B39B06; B41A07 to B41L06

archival boxes

Is it available in any other format?

A barely used collection is the McCarthy Collection on microfiche stored in their original boxes they had been shipped sometime in the 1970s. This collection would be a prime candidate to be digitized, on condition a grant is available, as we were planning in 2015.

The microfiche is accompanied by an author index in three parts entitled: The Raymond G. McCarthy Memorial Collection of the alcohol literature – inventory /contents: section A: ca. 1935-1950 — section B: 1951-1965 — section C: 1966-1976.
covert art

Where can one read more about the collection?