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.

Lutie Eugenia Stearns (1866-1943)

Posted by Larry T. Nix
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on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 in Hall of Fame

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.


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