North American Scholar

THOMPSON, Lawrence Sidney, Jr

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1916-12-21
  • Born City: Raleigh
  • Born State/Country: NC
  • Parents: Lawrence Sidney a businessman & Elizabeth Laura Jones T.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1986-04-19
  • Death City: Lexington
  • Death State/Country: KY
  • Married: Algernon Smith Dickson, 23 Sept. 1950; Ellen Hamilton Marshall Dunlap, 18 May 1968; Anna Murashko O'Brien, 16 Aug. 1975.
  • Education:

    A.B. U. North Carolina, 1934; Ph.D., 1938; A.M. U. Chicago, 1935; fell. American-Scandinavian Foundation in Sweden (Uppsala & Lund), 1938-9; A.B.L.S. U. Michigan, 1940.

  • Professional Experience:

    Asst. to librarian Iowa St. Coll., 1940-1; spec, agent, FBI, New York, NY, & Latin America, 1941-5; bibliographer, U.S. Dept. Agric. Libr. (Washington, DC), 1945-6; head libr. & prof. libr. sci. & Span. Western Michigan Coll., 1946-8; dir. libraries U. Kentucky, 1948-65; prof, class, langs. & lits., 1948-86; adv. Turkish Ministry Educ, 1951-2; review ed. Papers of Bibliographical Society of America; mngr. Erasmus Press, Inc.; Falls City Microforms.

  • Dissertation:

    "Wilhelm Waiblinger's Interpretation of Italy" (North Carolina, 1938).

  • Publications:

    (books only) Notes on Bibliokleptomania (New York, 1944; repr. Berkeley, 1968); Albert Predeek, A History of Libraries in Great Britain and North America (trans.) (Chicago, 1947); The Kentucky Novel, with A. D. Thompson (Lexington, KY, 1953); Wilhelm Waiblinger in Italy (Chapel Hill, 1953); Kurze Geschichte der Handbuchbinderei in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika (Stuttgart, 1955); History of Printing in Colonial Spanish America (Hamden, CT, 1962); A Bibliography of French Plays on Microcards (Hamden, CT, 1967); A Bibliography of Spanish Plays on Microcards (Hamden, CT, 1968); A Bibliography of American Doctoral Dissertations in Classical Studies and Related Fields ([Hamden, CT], 1968); A Bibliography of French Revolutionary Pamphlets on Microfiche (Troy, NY, 1974); The Southern Black, Slave and Free (Troy, NY, 1970); A Bibliography of British and American Plays of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Boston, 1975); A Bibliography of Dissertations in Classical Studies, American, 1964-1972; British 1950-1972 (Hamden, CT, 1976); The New Sabin (Troy, NY, 1974-83); A History of Printing in Colonial Spanish America, with Hensley Woodbridge (Hamden, CT, 1962; repr. Troy, NY, 1977); Medical Terminology from Greek and Latin, with Sandra Patterson, 2d ed. (Troy, NY, 1978); American Notes & Queries, Supplement 1, with John L. Cutler (Troy, NY, 1978); Medeltidens klosterbibliotek (Stockholm, 1982); entries in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science.Kleine Schriften: Books in Our Time (Washington, DC, 1972); Essays in Hispanic Bibliography (Hamden, CT, 1970).

  • Notes:

    Lawrence Thompson spent the major and the most productive portion of his professional career at the University of Kentucky, where he was for 38 years professor of classics and, during the first 17 of these, director of libraries. The epithets "librarian" and "classicist," however, are inadequate to an accurate depiction of the nature and breadth of his scholarly life and his humane learning, for he was also a bibliographer, a Germanist (the field in which he received his Ph.D.), a Scandinavian scholar, an antiquarian, a bibliophile, an editor, and a publisher. He wrote much, and he did it with ease and grace. In the process, he established himself as an international authority in the areas of the making of the book and the transmission and preservation of the written word. Perhaps the outstanding example of his scholarship is the vast series of articles, many of them quite long, which he published during his later years in the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science; these articles will long remain a point of primary and major reference for anyone seriously interested in the history of printing or the history of libraries. At the time of his death in 1986, Thompson was an honorary member of both the Southeastern Library Association and the Council of the Bibliographical Society of America.

  • Sources:

    ConAu n.r.s. 5:524; U. Kentucky archives; WhWh 1978-9:3232.

  • Author: Hubert M. Martin, Jr.