This article investigates the influence of developments in engineering
education on the establishment of departmental libraries for engineering
in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American universities. A
case study is made of the University of Kansas and Frank O. Marvin, a
former president of the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education
and dean of the university’s School of Engineering when its library
opened in 1909. While national forces spanning the profession supplied
the necessary preconditions for Kansas’s library, Marvin was the local
catalyst. His beliefs about what attributes the successful engineer should
possess and how a liberal education could produce those attributes made
the library inevitable.
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