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.

Increase A. Lapham and Wisconsin’s First School Library

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, May 06, 2016 in WLA 125
Increase A LaphamIncrease A. Lapham (1811-1875) is considered to be Wisconsin’s pioneer scientist and scholar. In addition to his scientific endeavors, Lapham was a supporter and contributor to Wisconsin’s library collections. His efforts in this regard included: helping to found the Wisconsin Historical Society; helping to found the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters; and developing a personal library of over 1,100 volumes that became part of the library of the University of Wisconsin in 1876.  One of Lapham’s most interesting contributions to libraries involved his role in establishing a school library in Milwaukee in 1851.  At the time Lapham was one of the Milwaukee school commissioners and he led the effort to establish the library.  After a resolution proposed by Lapham to create the library was approved by the school commissioners, Lapham moved quickly to establish the library. This included selecting and ordering 704 books costing $371.61.  A librarian was recruited by Lapham and paid fifty dollars a year. The library was located in the building of Milwaukee’s Young Men’s Association and was open for business on Saturday afternoons.  The early enthusiasm for the library gradually dissipated, and only thirty more books had been acquired by 1857.  In 1878 the Young Men’s Association Library became part of the new Milwaukee Public Library and over the years the original school library collection disappeared. 
The primary source of the information in this post is an article by Graham P. Hawks titled “A Nineteenth-Century School Library: Early Years in Milwaukee” in the Journal of Library History for Fall, 1977, pages 359-363. 


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

Leave your comment

Guest Sunday, April 22, 2018


Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo