NOAA 2002-R318
Contact: Pat Viets
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A collection of rare books and documents from the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its predecessor organizations will be dedicated on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the NOAA Central Library in Silver Spring, Md.

James R. Mahoney, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, will be the keynote speaker at the dedication of the Charles Fitzhugh Talman Special Collections Room.

“Mr. Talman had been in charge of the Weather Bureau Library in the early part of the 20th century, while carrying on other important duties,” Mahoney said. “The rare books and documents that he acquired are a national treasure. They provide important weather and climate information, as well as a glimpse into the science and technology that existed 100 years ago.”

Talman lived from 1874 to 1936. He entered the Weather Bureau in 1896 and during the Spanish American War was assigned to weather stations in South America and the West Indies. In 1908, he as appointed “in charge” at the Central Office Library, a post that he held for 28 years until his death at the age of 61.

At the time of his death, Talman was eulogized by his colleagues and the American Meteorological Society (AMS). “By the death of Charles Fitzhugh Talman on July 24, America lost its foremost meteorological librarian, bibliographer, and popularizer of science,” according to the Bulletin of the AMS. “Many people write, some voluminously, on meteorological topics; but who can show such a consistent record of meticulously accurate yet interesting presentation combined with such volume? What does it mean to write an unbroken daily succession of 2898 notes of 100 to 200 or more words over a period of nine and one-quarter years, as Talman did for the syndicated “Why the Weather?”

Talman frequently contributed articles to The New York Times, New York Herald-Tribune, Nature magazine, and the American Mercury.

The NOAA Central Library Collections trace their ancestry to 1811 when Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler traveled to Europe to procure books and instruments for the United States Survey of the Coast, founded in 1807 during the administration of President Thomas Jefferson. Subsequently, the Weather Service was formed in 1870 and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries was established in 1871. Each of these institutions established libraries staffed with personnel who organized and managed their respective collections.

Ultimately these organizations grew into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its Central Library in 1970. In the 1980's, the Central Library expanded to locations at the NOAA Seattle Regional Library, the NOAA Miami Regional Library, and the National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center Library. Twenty-six other NOAA libraries cooperate in an online NOAA catalog (NOAALINC) which provides 24-hour access to online documents and bibliographic information.

Today, the NOAA Library System is the largest, most comprehensive meteorological collection in the Western Hemisphere, and it is also an oceanographic and atmospheric sciences information resource containing well over 2,500,000 paper and electronic documents.

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Note to Editors: The dedication will be held at the NOAA Central Library, 1313 East-West Highway, Second Floor, Silver Spring, Md., on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 11:00 a.m.