H 1480 Correspondence of Individual Persons


BACKGROUND: This instruction sheet applies only to the personal correspondence of individuals. Official correspondence or correspondence involving corporate entities, including heads of state acting in their official capacity, is not covered.


1. Complex of headings. Assign the following combination of headings to collections of personal correspondence:


600 X0 $a [name of the letter writer(s)] $v Correspondence.

600 X0 $a [name of the addressee(s)] $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a [class of persons, or ethnic group] $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a [special topics discussed in the letters]


2. Individual writers. Assign as subject headings the name or names of the individual writers of the letters, up to a maximum of three. If there are more than three writers, do not designate any individual writer. Subdivide the name(s) by the free-floating form subdivision –Correspondence.

Interpret this general rule somewhat loosely. If the letters of many writers are contained in the work, but the focus is on only one or two, bring out these persons, if it would be useful to do so.


3. Individual addressees. Assign as subject headings the name or names of the individuals who received the correspondence, provided that there are no more than one or two names. If there are more than two recipients, do not assign headings of this type. Subdivide the name(s) by the free-floating form subdivision –Correspondence.


4. [class of persons, or ethnic group]–Correspondence. Assign headings of the type [class of persons, or ethnic group]–Correspondence if the writer(s) (not addressees) of the collection of letters can be identified with a particular subject area or discipline or a particular ethnic group. Examples:


651 #0 $a Austria $x Kings and rulers $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Scientists $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Mexican American artists $z California $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Poets, English $y 20th century $v Correspondence.

610 20 $a Catholic Church $z United States $x Clergy $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a African Americans $v Correspondence.


Note: The subdivision –Correspondence should be used under headings for classes of persons or ethnic groups for works that consist of letters, regardless of whether or not the letters contain biographical information. Assign headings with this subdivision regardless of the number of writers whose letters are represented in the work. However, if only a single letter writer is represented, do not assign both a class of persons heading and an ethnic group heading. In such cases prefer the class of persons heading.


5. Special topics. If the work of correspondence contains information about topics not covered by headings of the type [class of persons]–Correspondence, or [ethnic group]–Correspondence, assign additional headings for the topics, including headings of the type [place]–Biography (cf. H 1330, sec. 1.c.) or [individual war or event]–Personal narratives (cf. H 1928), if appropriate.

Since the correspondence of any individual person may or may not be regarded as historical source material, depending on the viewpoint of the reader, do not add the subdivision –Sources or –History–Sources to the additional headings assigned for special topics.


6. Letters as a literary genre. Headings of the type English letters; French letters, etc., are literary genre headings. Assign such headings only to collections of personal letters by more than one writer that are classed as literary works. Assign no personal name headings.

If the collection is not limited to an individual body of literature, assign the heading Letters.


7. Examples.


Note: The subject headings provided in the following hypothetical examples are listed in the order described above, and are not necessarily significant for purposes of classification.


Title:   Letters from John Smith, metallurgist, to his student, John Doe, concerning his research into zinc alloys.


600 10 $a Smith, John $v Correspondence.

600 10 $a Doe, John $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Metallurgists $z Maryland $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Zinc alloys.


Title:   A treasury of great Latin letters.


650 #0 $a Latin letters.


Title:   A collection of letters received from District of Columbia Blacks participating in the Vietnamese War.


650 #0 $a African Americans $z Washington (D.C.) $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a African Americans $z Vietnam $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 $x African Americans.

650 #0 $a Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 $v Personal narratives, American.

651 #0 $a Washington (D.C.) $v Biography.


Title:   The exchange of correspondence between Irish American author, Mary O'Brien and her publisher, Sam Brown, during her stay in France in 1925-30.


600 10 $a O'Brien, Mary $v Correspondence.

600 10 $a Brown, Sam $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Authors, American $y 20th century $v Correspondence.

650 #0 $a Publishers and publishing $z New York (State) $v Correspondence.

651 #0 $a France $x Description and travel.

651 #0 $a France $x Civilization $y 1901-1945.


Title:   A glimpse of Colonial village life as described in the letters of Mary Jones of Jonesville, Mass., to her friend Cathy.


[Note: It is assumed that Mary Jones is identified with no occupation or activity and her correspondent has not been identified]


600 10 $a Jones, Mary $v Correspondence.

651 #0 $a Jonesville (Mass.) $v Biography.

651 #0 $a Massachusetts $x Social life and customs $y To 1775.


Taken from Subject Cataloging Manual: Subject Headings

Copyright (c)2004 by the Library of Congress except within the USA.