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Why the Frederick McCormick Collection?

The Frederick McCormick Korean collection was donated to the library in 1952 by McCormick's wife, Adelaide Gillis McCormick. As a journalist, McCormick spent time in China, Russia, and Korea. In addition to books, journals, and newspapers related to Korea, the collection also includes over 100 movable-type print books, dating from the sixteenth to early twentieth century. The texts showcase not only varieties of Korean printing techniques, including tea rubbings and calligraphy, but are also a significant resource of Korean literature. These books cover a range of topics, including literature, history, Chinese classics, as well as the humanities and sciences.

In August of 2014, members of the National Library of Korea paid a visit to the Claremont Colleges Library to view the McCormick collection, maintained and made accessible by Special Collections and Libraries.

An inventory of the McCormick collection was created in 2016. An earlier bibiliography and description of the collection, found here: Frederick McCormick Collection bibliography provides descriptions of the content of the books, as well as their historical significance. Building on this earlier work, the National Library of Korea set out to produce an updated catalog of the books, including imagery of the books.

A second outcome of the visit was the realization that the McCormick collection at the Claremont Colleges Library contains volumes that the National Library of Korea does not hold. A collaboration between the National Library of Korea and Special Collections was initiated to digitize the books that would make whole the collection at the National Library of Korea.

Through the generous funding of the Korean Foundation of the National Library of Korea, Special Collections began the process of reproducing these books. Forty volumes from the McCormick collection were scanned, page by page, to create a facsimile of each volume. Due to the fragile nature and size of the books, the digitization was completed through the use of a rare book scanner and a digital calmera. Patrons of the National Library of Korea will now have access to the content of these digitized volumes. All these digitized volumes are accessible in the Asian Library Digital Collecitons, Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL).

This online exhibit presented here documents the collaboration between the National Library of Korea and Special Collections at the Claremont Colleges Library to increase accessiblity to these rich resources. Reflected in this exhibit is the value of primary sources in producing scholarly work, as well as the possible outcomes of bringing together traditional and digital scholarship. Through this modern form of scholarly production, a wider community of scholars gains access to these rich resources and the discourse surrounding them is expanded.