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  • Protection From Human Pests

    A few months ago (while I was at NACO training) I got a reader's card at the Library of Congress. For a while I pretty actively went and requested books on Saturday afternoons. In particular, I was interested in archival manuals from outside the United States. One of the most interesting books I found was S. M. Jaffar's Problems of an Archivist, a manual written in Pakistan in 1948. I was struck by the following passage ("Protection From Human Pests"), taken from pp. 28-29: "Human pests" and "White Huns" are the common epithets applied to human species acting as enemies of archives. History has recorded many such instances of vandalism as the wholesale destruction of priceless treasures of art and literature, the burning of big and beautiful libraries, the transport of camel-loads of books to distant countries and the sale of valuable manuscripts at ridiculously low prices. The transfer of artistic and literary treasures of subjugated countries by the conquerors to their homelands to adorn their own museums and libraries has depleted those countries of that wealth.