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 Saturday, February 16, 2019

Categories

Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo