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.

Disaster Strikes the Newly Created Wisconsin Library Association

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, March 24, 2016 in WLA 125

linderfelt-72Just a little more than a year after the Wisconsin Library Association was founded and held its first conference one of the most bizarre events in American library occurred. In The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA 1966) Benton Wilcox writes:

“Disaster struck the infant Association in the spring of 1892 through the loss of its president, K. A. Linderfelt, who had also received in October, 1891, the even greater honor of election to the presidency of the American Library Association. Mr. Linderfelt had been born in Sweden and achieved an excellent classical education there before coming to America and Milwaukee in 1870. Here he had secured employment in the Milwaukee Female College as an instructor in Latin and Greek at a pittance of $400 per year, later increased to $600. In 1880 he was appointed librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library at $1,200. As recorded in the Library Journal, “In his twelve years of library administration he won a permanent place among eminent American librarians. A man of brilliant capacities and devoted to his calling, he was practically the creator of the Milwaukee Public Library, which he developed to a high efficiency.”

Unfortunately, in trying to maintain a standard of living comparable with that of the culturally elite of the city with whom he was associated, he became heavily involved in debt. In early 1892, the city having been spurred to a careful audit of its accounts by a defalcation discovered in one of its offices, a shortage of some $10,000 was found in the funds of the public library. Mr. Linderfelt readily acknowledged his guilt and aided the auditors in tracing the shortages. His staff and library board members showed their support by replacing the missing funds, and he was given a suspended sentence. Though Mr. Dewey offered him a position in his organization he returned to Europe, studied medicine, and died a practicing physician in Paris in 1900. The American Library Association expunged him from its records by accepting his resignation as of the day he had been elected its president. The Wisconsin Library Association, without machinery or heart for such decisive action, was left leaderless and apparently no one knew just what to do. As a consequence there was no annual conference in either 1892 or 1893.”

The Wisconsin Library Association forgave Linderfelt and welcomed him back into their fold at WLA’s Centennial reception in Milwaukee in 1991. It went even further and inducted him into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2009.  

Read more about Linderfelt.

wla125logo-small

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Monday, October 22, 2018

Categories

Popular Tags

UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Charles Bunge presentations campaign Wisconsin Rapids Brown Deer Public Library membership libraries Hall of Fame 2016 Anniversaries Milwaukee Public Library American Library Association Library War Service Wisconsin Free Library Commission Hall of Fame 2009 Wisconsin Historical Society Wisconsin Library Bulletin Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Lowell W. Wilson S. Janice Kee Historical Register Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Carnegie libraries American Library Association Appleton Public Library Uncategorized Hall of Fame 2018 caly film Clarence Brown Lester 28 T. B. Scott Free Public Library WHCLIS State Law Library Library people Postcards cam bed and breakfast Amer Gerald A. Somers Marjorie Sornson Malmberg WWI Library War Service Hall of Fame 2015 20 Lucy E. Smith Morris Digital Collections state historical society Capitol Fire 1904 Library Buildings Louise S. Robbins Library Trustees Delia Ovitz Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Events & Meetings Hall of Fame 2012 Zona Gale anniversaries caly film Wisconsin Library Association Increase A. Lapham Wayne A. Wiegand Madison Public Library Black River Falls Public Library Nolan I. Neds Hall of Fame 2015 COLAND Evansville Wisconsin Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Publications CCBC Academic Librarians 21 Katharine MacDonald Jones Cooperative Children's Book Center Ruby Roeder Frank Avery Hutchins library exhibit 11 Edward Asahel Birge Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services hall of ca Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Library People Hall of Fame 2013 Helen Adams Hall of Fame 2015 Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide People 14 Postcards Hall Hall of Fame 2012 James Huff Stout Manitowoc Public Library Council on Library and Network Development Hartford Public Library Beloit Public Library Sandra Friedman Dolnick Orrilla Blackshear William J. Wilson McMillan Memorial Library Wisconsin Library Heritage Center books-by-mail Ruth Ann Montgomery Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Gilbert H. Doane Carl Spitzweg Anniversaries Library Buidlings Clinton Public Library Pewaukee Public Library 22 Irene W. Newman Events Rusk County Community Library Inform Wisconsin library education Woman's Congress WLA 125 23 WLA 125 Hall of Fame 2018 Hall of Fame 2011 Dianne McAfee Hopkins buil 27 Academic Libraries Lutie Stearns background Events & Meetings trav Marketing-Publicity Klaus Linderfelt Campaign Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Robert Bocher Postcards WLA 125 Peter G. Hamon Gertrude Thurow Ice Storm Bob Bochfer Wisconsin Free Library Commission Jane K. Billings Hall of Fame 2015 Parcel post Wisconsin State Law Library Centennial archives Postcards Bernard Schwab Campaign WLA 125 traveling libraries Campaign campa 24 bookworm Beaver Dam Public Library Hall of Fame 2010 Matthew S. Dudgeon WAAL Library Artifacts UW-Madison school of library and information studies John Miller Chancellor Library History Special libraries campaign Portage Public Library UW-Milwaukee Libraries Jerome P. Daniels Tower Hill Wisconsin Larry T. Nix library legislation 10 World War I Lutie Eugenia Stearns DeForest Area Public Library Hall of Fame 2014 Eager Free Public Library Public libraries Milwaukee Public Library Library people Soughton Public Library White House Conference on Library and Information Services J. D. Witter Middleton Public Library Elroy Public Library Public library systems Public libraries Bookmobiles Brown County Library National Library Week Hall of Fame 2017 James Duane Doty Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Meter mail slogans School libraries Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Hall of Fame 2008 National Bookmobile Day I Love Libraries Cornelia Marving Pierce Buttons Black River Falls Richard E. Krug John J. Jax Brown Deer Public Library Ripon Public Library Hall of Fame 2015 School of Library and Information Studies Suring Area Public Library Library Systems Sarah Janice Kee Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Library celebrations Hall of Fame 2012 Oshkosh Public Library Dorothea M. Krause Exhibits Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Cam Eratus Swift Wilcox caly film Superior Carnegie Libraries Library e Hall fo Fame 2012 library memorabilia campaign Pinback buttons Milwaukee Art Museum Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo