Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Later this week the American Library Association will hold its Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, GA. The first ALA conference in Atlanta took place on May 8-12, 1899. It was also ALA’s first conference in the South. William C. Lane, Director of the Harvard University Library, was President of ALA. Attendance at the conference was 215. The conference hotel was the Kimball House (see postcard below). The rationale for an ALA conference in the South was stated in the conference brochure (see cover illustration above): “It is to be hoped that this southern meeting will be the means of largely increasing the membership [in ALA] from a section hitherto almost entirely without representation.” The brochure included a section touting Andrew Carnegie’s bequest in 1898 for new library buildings in Atlanta. This section which was written by someone with the initials A.W. included the following statement: “The people of the South, perhaps the purest strain of the Anglo-Saxon to be found on this continent, are conservative, intelligent, and need only the educational advantages that wealth can bestow to reach a degree of culture heretofore unrivaled.” No mention of the African American population of the South. Andrew Carnegie’s bequest, however, did include funds for a separate library for African Americans. The racial climate in the South was reflected in ALA’s planning for the 1899 Atlanta conference. There was an initial proposal for a presentation on “How to Make the Library Do Its Part in Negro Education” by W. E. B. Du Bois. According to Dennis Thomison in his A History of the American Library Association 1876-1872, a decision was made not to have the presentation “to avoid the risk of angering the association’s southern hosts”. It was not until the 1922 ALA conference in Detroit that an African American gave a speech at an ALA conference. The lineup of featured speakers at this year’s Midwinter meeting shows the dramatic change in ALA’s 21st century outlook on diversity in its programming and membership.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Notwithstanding a not so great year nationally and internationally, it has been a good year for the promotion and celebration of library history. An obvious highlight for me personally was my induction into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee in October (see photo above).
On the national scene it was a landmark year for the American Library Association which celebrated its 140th anniversary. Of particular note was the effort of the American Libraries magazine to call attention to this milestone. Several other major events also occurred in 1876, the founding year for ALA, and were less well noted on their 140th anniversary. They included the establishment of the Library Journal magazine; the publication of Melvil Dewey’s Decimal Classification System; the creation of the library supply company Library Bureau, also a Dewey effort; and the special report of the US Bureau of Education on the status of Public Libraries in the United States of America (in actuality all libraries in the US other than personal libraries).
The Wisconsin Library Association celebrated its 125h anniversary. I was privileged to serve on the committee which was charged with planning the celebration. One of my contributions to this effort was adding content to the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center website about WLA’s history and events related to the anniversary celebration.
I continued my efforts to collect and to exhibit postal artifacts related to libraries in 2016. My major philatelic exhibit for the year was “America’s Library – The Library of Congress”. At national level stamp shows the exhibit received gold medals in St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Chicago. In St. Louis it was judged to be the “Best Display Exhibit”. The exhibit was also selected as the best exhibit at the Wisconsin state stamp show. It was wonderful to conclude the exhibit with a reference to the appointment of Dr. Carla Hayden as the Librarian of Congress.
My collection of Wisconsin Library Memorabilia was on display at the Milwaukee Public Library and the Middleton Public Library this year.
It was not a great year for writing new blog posts for the Library History Buff Blog. I only published 21 posts for the year, an all time yearly low for me. On the positive side all time page views for the blog exceeded 600,000. I hope to do much better in 2017. In the very limited world of library history blogging the ALA Archives Blog has set a high standard for quality posts.
Have a happy 2017 everyone!
Thursday, October 6, 2016
One hundred and forty years ago today the American Library Association was created in Philadelphia, PA. Below are some links to online exhibits that help celebrate this milestone in the history of ALA.
Celebrating the Organizers - 140 Years of Library Conference Planners in Letters and Images at the ALA Archives
Pinterest - ALA 140th Anniversary (American Libraries magazine)
Highlights in the History of the American Library Association - Library History Buff website
Previous LHBB posts about the American Library Association
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
I’ve recently added a name badge for R. L. Walkley (Raymond L. Walkley) at the American Library Association conference in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1918 to my collection of librariana. The ALA conference ran from July 1 to July 6 and had 620 attendees. It’s nice to be able to tie a library artifact to a specific librarian. Walkley served as Assistant Librarian of the Minneapolis Public Library from 1914-1920. He took a leave from MPL to serve in ALA’s Library War Service in 1917-1918. Obviously a major topic of discussion at the 1918 conference was the war effort of ALA. The 1918 conference hotel was the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs. Walkley later served as Librarian of Tufts College. See some other early ALA conference name badges HERE.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
As those who follow this blog know, I collect library related envelopes (called covers by collectors) of all types. My largest collection of these envelopes consists of those which have actually been sent either to or from libraries. I also collect envelopes, however, that have been specially created for collectors to celebrate the issuance of a new stamp (first day covers) or to celebrate a special event. I have recently acquired a collection of envelopes that were created by Joshua McGee to celebrate the centennials of libraries. So far McGee has created envelopes for 25 libraries and plans to continue creating them in the future. I’m impressed by the effort McGee, a non-librarian, has undertaken to create the envelopes. The envelope shown above is an example that features the Paulding County Carnegie Library in Paulding, OH which was established on March 3, 1916. After research to identify the centennial date of establishment for the library, McGee had to design the envelope, add appropriate stamps, and get the envelope to the post office in Paulding, OH to postmark the envelope on the date of establishment. I especially like the use of the 1982 America’s Libraries postage stamp, one of my favorites. McGee only creates six envelopes for each library. He sends one of the envelopes as a gift to the library and keeps one for himself. The other four are available for sale on eBay or by subscription which is how I acquired my collection. The creation of the library centennial envelopes and other illustrated envelopes is a sideline for McGee who is a software engineer. All of the library centennial envelopes are shown on McGee’s website and more information about each library can be found by clicking on the images of the envelope.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
If you’ve ever attended a library conference the odds are that you’ve brought home a few of the pinback buttons that vendors give away in the exhibits. I have an enormous library button collection that I’ve accumulated at library conferences and which have been given to me by other collectors. Below are a few buttons from my collection related to the American Library Association. More examples from my collection can be found HERE.
Monday, July 25, 2016
|Boston Mercantile Library, 1823|
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I’ve written several previous posts about Melvil Dewey and his Lake Placid Club. I’m writing another one because of the acquisition of a postcard mailed to Florence Woodworth at the Lake Placid Club in 1903 (see above). Florence Woodworth was one of the female librarians who were closely associated with Dewey throughout his life. Woodworth first came into contact with Dewey as one of the students at the library school he established at Columbia University and which was later moved to the New York State Library in Albany, NY. Woodworth was employed at the New York State Library in several capacities and held the title of Director’s Assistant for a number of years. She was a boarder in the home of Dewey and his wife in Albany. One of her special assignments included serving as one of the librarians for the Woman’s Library at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. She was also in charge of creating the ALA exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Woodworth was a regular guest at the Lake Placid Club created by Dewey and his wife in Lake Placid, New York. Note that the postcard above is addressed to Morningside, NY which is the name that Dewey gave to the side of Lake Placid where the club was located. Woodworth was a stock holder in the Lake Placid Company, and I have a fragment of a share of stock in the Company held by her (see below). Someone evidently cut out the fragment for Dewey’s signature. An interesting account of the history of Lake Placid can be found on this website. In his biography of Dewey Irrepressible Reformer (ALA, 1996) Wayne A. Wiegand provides an excellent account of the creation and workings of the Lake Placid Club and the Lake Placid Company.