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.

ALA in Waukesha

Posted by Larry T. Nix
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on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 in Library artifacts

As noted in the previous post, the American Library Association met in Waukesha in July of 1901. As reported in the magazine Public Libraries: "The twenty-third annual meeting of the A. L. A. was held at Waukesha, Wis., with an enthusiasm and interest that has not been equaled more than two or three times in the history of the association."  The conference was held at the Fountain Spring House, Waukesha's premier resort. The Public Libraries article concluded: "A large majority of the people present attended their first conference of American librarians at Waukesha, and the interest, enthusiasm, and evident progress made at this meeting is due largely to that fact.  For months the local associations in the middle west were at work to interest thelibrarians of their diffferent states in the importance of being present at Waukesha.  Their efforts were successful, and there was but one note sounded in regard to the meeting, and that was satisfaction."

The full Public Libraries report on the Waukesha conference can be found in Google Books on pages 459-497 of the 1901 annual compilation.

At early ALA Conferences, momentos were routinely given to participants. At the Waukesha conference, the attendees were given an elaborate medal. At the top of the medal was a pin-back badger followed by a ribbon similar to those on military medals and finally there was a copper colored medallion.  The medallion, which is in my collection of Wisconsin library memorabilia, is shown below.  Someone probably took the medal apart for the attractve badger pin. A complete medal is located in the ALA Archives at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.














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