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Errett W. McDiarmid papers

Identifier: ua00376

Scope and Content

The collection contains the personal papers of E. W. McDiarmid. Contents include talks and writings, correspondence, and materials documenting McDiarmid's professional activities in the American Library Association (A.L.A.) and various library surveys conducted around the United States. Materials documenting McDiarmid's tenure as University Librarian were removed from his personal papers and added to the University of Minnesota Library records.


  • 1930-1971, 1980


Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Access to Materials

This collection is stored at an off-site facility and requires 3-5 business days for retrieval. Email to request access. Do not make travel arrangements or plans to visit Andersen Library without making prior arrangements with University Archives staff.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Errett W. McDiarmid (1909-2000)

Errett (Mac) Weir McDiarmid, B.A. (1929) and M.A. (1930) Texas Christian University; A.B. Emory University (1931); Ph.D. University of Chicago (1934). University Librarian and Director of the Division of Library Instruction (1943-1951), Dean of the College of Science, Literature and the Arts (1951-1963), Director of the Graduate School Fellowship Office (1964-1976), Professor Emeritus (1963-1978) at the University of Minnesota. Librarian, Baylor University (1934-1937). Assistant Professor, Associate Professor (1937-1943), Assistant Director (1941-1943), University of Illinois Library School.

Errett McDiarmid was born July 13, 1909 in Beckley, West Virginia. He received a B.A. (1929) and M.A. (1930) in history from Texas Christian University, an A.B. in library science from Emory University in 1931, and a Ph.D. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1934.

He worked as a Librarian at Baylor University from 1934 to 1937 and then accepted the position of Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Library School. In 1941, Dr. McDiarmid was named Associate Professor and Assistant Director of the Library School, and he held those positions until 1943, when he accepted the appointment as University Librarian and Director of the Division of Library Instruction at the University of Minnesota. The Board of Regents named Dr. McDiarmid as Dean of the College of Science, Literature and the Arts in 1951, for which he left his position with the University Library and Division of Library Instruction. Dr. McDiarmid resigned from his deanship in 1963 and remained with the University as Professor Emeritus in the Library School and as Director of the Graduate School Fellowship Office until his retirement in 1978.

As University Librarian, Dr. McDiarmid was active in campus affairs and national library organizations. He was known and respected at the University for his work to upgrade the entire University Library system, and he served in several leadership positions with the American Library Association, including President from 1948 to 1949. He received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Texas Christian University in 1956.

A noted Sherlock Holmes scholar, Dr. McDiarmid donated his personal Holmes collection of more than 15,000 items to the University Libraries in 1995. He and four colleagues formed the Norwegian Explorers in 1947, a Sherlock Holmes society patterned after the international Sherlockian club the Baker Street Irregulars, which Dr. McDiarmid became a member of in 1957.

Errett McDiarmid died on April 27, 2000 in St. Paul, Minnesota.


3.0 Cubic Feet (3)


Collection contains the personal papers of E. W. McDiarmid, professor emeritus, University Librarian, and dean of the College of Science, Literature and the Arts at the University of Minnesota.

Physical Location

Off-site (WBOB)

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives in multiple donations from 1947 to 1982.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Archives

University of Minnesota Library Records

University of Minnesota Library School Records

Errett W. McDiarmid Papers, 1930-1971, 1980
Karen Spilman
June 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area