Frederick Richmond Goff, 66, the chief of the rare book division of the Library of Congress for 27 years until his retirement in 1972, died Sept. 26 at a hospital in London, of kidney failure and a heart ailment.
A resident of Washington, Mr. Goff was in London for a meeting of specialists on 15th century books.
Mr. Goff joined the Library of Congress in 1940 as a curator of the rare books collection. He became assistant chief of the rare books division in 1941, and division chief four years later..
He was a specialist in incunabula, which are books printed before 1500. During his years as head of the rare book division, the library's collection of these volumes grew to more than 5,600, the largest collection of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
He was associated with Lessing J. Rosenwald, who donated a stunning series of incunabula and other rare books to the library. Mr. Goff helped compile a catalogue of these gifts.
He was chairman of the rare books and manuscripts section of the Association of College and Research Libraries of the American Library Association in 1961 and was president of the Bibliographic Society of America from 1968 to 1970. He contributed articles to the "Gutenberg Jahrbuch" for more than 20 years.
Mr. Goff had lectured on incunabula at the University of Texas and the Boston Public Library.
Mr. Goff was born in Newport, R.I. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Brown University and served on its committee of management..
Survivors include a brother, Francis S., of Barrington, R.I.