Wisconsin Library Heritage Center

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation promoting understanding and appreciation of the history of libraries and librarianship in Wisconsin.

Mary Emogene Hazeltine (1868-1949)

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Mary Emogene Hazeltine was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Hazeltine was the first head of the Wisconsin Library School established under the auspices of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1906.  She served in this capacity until 1938. The school was the ninth library school established in the United States and one of six charter members of the Association of American Library Schools.  During her tenure as head of the library school she helped train over a thousand librarians. Prior to coming to Wisconsin in 1906, Hazeltine had directed the public library in Jamestown, New York and the summer library school in Chautauqua, New York.  She served as President of the New York Library Association in 1902.  After her retirement she returned to Jamestown, NY and volunteered as a reference librarian at the public library. She is the author of One Hundred Years of Wisconsin Authorship which was published in 1937. She was elected to the American Library Institute, a select organization of library leaders. In 1951 she was one of 40 of America’s most significant library leaders selected by the Library Journal for inclusion in a “ Library Hall of Fame". She is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History.  The image is used with permission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies.


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  • Aurélia says #
    I have a postcard that was sent from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) to Mrs. M. E. Hazeltine in 1923. The postcard was sent to the Wiscons...

Reuben Gold Thwaites (1853-1913)

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Reuben Gold Thwaites was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Thwaites was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891. He served as President of WLA 1892-1894. Thwaites served as assistant to Lyman C. Draper, Secretary State Historical Society of Wisconsin from 1885 to 1887.  He became Secretary of the Historical Society after Draper's retirement in 1887, and served in that capacity until his death in 1913.  He served on the Wisconsin Free Library Commission from its inception in 1895 until 1913 in his capacity as Secretary of the Historical Society. He was elected President of the American Library Association in 1900. In 1951 he was one of 40 of America’s most significant library leaders selected by the Library Journal for inclusion in a “ Library Hall of Fame". He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . The image of Thwaites is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 4158.


James Huff Stout (1848-1910)

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James Huff Stout was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Stout in his capacity as a state senator was the first legislative champion for Wisconsin’s libraries.  He also used his personal wealth accumulated in the lumber industry to advance the cause of libraries and education. At the behest of Frank Hutchins, he personallyf funded the first “Summer School in Library Economy” in Wisconsin which became the Wisconsin Library School in 1906.  Working with Frank Hutchins and Lutie Stearns, he introduced legislation which created the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895.  In 1897 he became Chair of the WFLC and continued in this capacity until 1905.  Stout also personally funded the first traveling libraries in Wisconsin in Dunn County. He founded the Stout Manual Training School in 1891 which was the forerunner of the University of Wisconsin – Stout. He is listed in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . Click here for more information. The image of Stout is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 29376 .


More on Lutie

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In Part I of her autobiography My Seventy-five Years, Lutie Stearns provided the following description of her work promoting traveling libraries:

 

"From 1895 through October, 1914, I traveled thousands of miles in Wisconsin by stage, sleigh, buggy, wagon, passenger coach, and caboose, wearing out five fur coats in succession in my efforts to reach all parts of the state.  In taking traveling libraries to the rural districts of Dunn and Wood Counties during the winter I would secure a black bearskin to wear over my fur-lined muskrat coat, which was inadequate for the frequent below zero weather. I would get a three-seated sleigh, remove the last two seats, and fill the space with books which I would locate in farmers' homes, rural post offices, schools, and other available stations.  On reaching what was then Grand Rapids--now Wisconsin Rapids--late one evening after a forty-mile drive, a long day's drive in those times, my black bearskin attracted the attention of Mrs. Anna W. Evans, Librarian, who wrote the following poem concerning my appearance:

 

 There is a woman named Stearns;
Her living she easily earns,
By driving 'round,
When the snow's on the ground.
Though the dangers she never discerns.

 

She dons a coat of black hair;
A cap is next put on with care;
She looks like a man,
But to tell you ne'er can
If the product be woman, or bear.

 

Now if in her drives through the brush,
A Bruin should come out with a rush,
Would the woman hug the bear,
Or the bear hug the hair?
Or which would be lost in the crush?

 

Would the bear barely hug the bold jade?
Or the bearskin propelled by the maid
Hug the bear? or the hair
Of the bear would she tear
Or her own, as the price to be paid?"

 

The image of Lutie Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection, Image ID: 29372.

 

Lutie Eugenia Stearns (1866-1943)

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stearns-72.jpg Lutie Eugenia Stearns was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Stearns, along with Frank Hutchins and James Stout, was instrumental in establishing the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895. From 1895 to 1897 she served as the unpaid Secretary of the Commission. When the WFLC was reorganized with increased funding in 1897, she resigned from the commission and became its first paid staff member.   In this capacity she traveled the state establishing traveling libraries and free public libraries. In 1951 she was one of 40 of America’s most significant library leaders selected by the Library Journal for inclusion in a “ Library Hall of Fame". She is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . Other entries on this site related to Stearns are here and here. The image of Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 42955.

 

 

Wisconsin Magazine of History articles about Stearns:

The Library Career of Lutie Eugenia Stearns by Earl Tannenbaum

My Seventy-five years: Part I (Stearns autobiography) 

My Seventy-five years: Part II (Stearns autobiography)

My Seventy-five years: Part III (Stearns autobiography)

A Thousand Little Libraries by Stuart Stotts

Stuart Stotts has also written a fictional account of Lutie Stearns life entitled Books in a Box. Although the book was written for children, it is well worth reading by adults.

Lyman Copeland Draper (1815-1891)

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draper-72.jpgLyman Copeland Draper was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Draper became corresponding secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1854, an office he held until 1886. In that capacity he was responsible for significantly increasing the size of the Society's library. He was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the period 1858-1859. In that capacity he was instrumental in promoting the beginnings of the University of Wisconsin Library. He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . An biographical article by William B. Hezzeltine appeared in the Spring 1952 issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History. The image of Draper is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 2628.

 

Edward Asahel Birge 1851-1950

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birge.jpgEdward Asahel Birge was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Birge was one of a small group of people who gathered in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on February 11, 1891 to organize the Wisconsin Library Association.  At the time Birge was a noted Professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Madison Public Library Board.  He served on the Madison Public Library Board from 1891 to 1909 and was its chairman from 1893 to 1909.  He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association from 1897 to 1899 and again in 1905-1906. He was a member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. He had a long and active career at the University of Wisconsin serving as Professor of Zoology (1879-1911), Dean of the College of Letters and Science (1891-1918), Acting President  (1900--1903), and President (1918- 1925).  He is listed in the  Dictionary of Wisconsin History.  Thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives and Records Mangement Services for permission to use the image of Birge. 

 

Other links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Ashael_Birge
http://www.library.wisc.edu/etext/wireader/WER0747.html
http://archives.library.wisc.edu/chancellors/chancellors.htm

 

Note: In the comming months we will be featuring 2008 inductees to the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on the blog component of the the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center website. Not only will this provide more exposure to these exceptional people, it will enable us to deal with a technical difficulty in organizing our site. 

 

Theresa West Elmendorf (1855-1932)

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elmendorf1.jpgTheresa West Elmendorf was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Theresa West became Deputy Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library in 1880 when she was just 25 years old.  In 1882 she became the first member of the American Library Association from Wisconsin. After attending the 1890 American Library Association conference and learning of the creation of state library associations in some Eastern states, she came back and promoted a Wisconsin state library association. This idea came to fruition on February 11, 1891. West became Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library in 1892 when the previous librarian, Klas Linderfelt, resigned.  She was the first woman to direct the public library of a large city in the United States. She held this post until 1896 when she married Henry Elmendorf, also a librarian.  After a brief time in London, England, they moved to Buffalo, New York where Henry Elmendorf became director of the Buffalo Public Library.  After the death of her husband in 1906, Theresa Elmendorf became Vice-Librarian of the Buffalo Public Library.  Active in the American Library Association, she became the first woman president of ALA in 1911-12. In the June 1911 issue of the Public Libraries magazine there was a report on the 1911 conference of the American Library Association where Elmendorf was elected President of ALA. The report said this about Elmendorf: "Mrs. Thresa West Elmendorf, the first woman to be honored by the association with its presidency, comes into the office by right of achievement greater than that of any other woman in the library field and of an equal grade with that of any man.  Her wholesome, sympathetic attitude toward library work and workers has been a distinct contribution to the craft and her freedom from personal ambition has made her a valuable aid in developing the power of the A. L. A. Her election to the presidency is a well-earned, a well-deserved honor, marking an epoch in which the A. L. A. honored itself in honoring her." In 1951 she was one of 40 of America’s most significant library leaders selected by the Library Journal for inclusion in a “ Library Hall of Fame". She is listed in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History. The photo of Elemendorf is reprinted with permission from the article "Pioneers of the Library Profession", by Joseph Adams Rathbone, The Wilson Library Bulletin, June 1949.

Frank Avery Hutchins (1851-1914)

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hutchins-72.jpgFrank Avery Hutchins was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Hutchins was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891.  He served as President of WLA from 1894 to 1897.  As President of WLA he was instrumental in starting the Summer School for Library Economy in 1895 which became the Wisconsin Library School in 1906.  He helped establish the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895 and was its initial Chair until 1897.  In 1897 with the reorganization and increased funding of the WFLC he became its first paid Secretary, a post he held until 1904.  He originated the idea of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library which became a unit of the WFLC and served as a national model.  He was a national leader in public library development and extension.  Helen Lyman in the Dictionary of American Library Biography entry for Hutchins said, “He belongs to that small group of men and women who formed and developed the modern library movement and made the library profession what it has become.” Hutchins became interested in libraries while serving as editor of the weekly newspaper, the Beaver Dam Argus.  He helped organize the Beaver Dam Free Library Association which was established in 1884. He was featured in the "As it Was in The Beginning" series of the Public Libraries magazine (1925, volume 30, pages186-190).   He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . The image of Hutchins is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 29375.



 



Dunn County News Story

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One of the goals of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is to publicize Wisconsin libraries and their history.  So it was a pleasant surprise to see a story in the November 28 issue of the Dunn County News about the induction of James Huff Stout into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame. Click here to read the story.

Charles R. McCarthy (1873-1921)

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mccarthy1-72.jpgCharles R. McCarthy was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. McCarthy was the first head of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library which began as the Documents Department of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission and eventually became the independent Legislative Reference Bureau. The Legislative Reference Library was the first of its kind in the nation and served as the model for the Congressional Reference Service of the Library of Congress. McCarthy was a leader in the Progressive Movement and wrote The Wisconsin Idea. McCarthy's leadership of the Legislative Reference Library was so well thought of by the State Legislature that a memorial plaque of  McCarthy was placed in the Assembly Chambers of the State Capitol. When McCarthy died in 1921 his body lay in state in the State Capitol where thousands of people passed his bier.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WI Library Hall of Fame

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stearns-standing-72.jpgThe Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame was created by the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Board as part of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center at its July 16, 2008 meeting. The WLHF will include both librarians and library supporters. The first ten individuals will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Awards Banquet of the WLA Conference on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008.  Information about the inductees can be found on the Hall of Fame page of this site. The image of Lutie Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection, Image ID: 29372.


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