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.

Scattering Libraries Over the Whole Land

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
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on Thursday, December 03, 2009 in Library artifacts

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The early philosophy and work of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission is aptly communicated by the logo and and quotation on this library envelope mailed in 1901. The quotation "Had I the power I would scatter libraries over the whole land, as a sower sows his wheat field" is from Horace Mann. The logo shows a farmer scattering seed with Wisconsin Free Library Commission across the top. Later envelopes used by the WFLC have the logo but not the quotation and eventually the logo was dropped. Either Frank Hutchins or Lutie Stearns could have been responsible for the design of the stationery used by the WFLC. They jointly led the WFLC in its early years and they certainly did all they could to scatter libraries and library services throughout Wisconsin. In her tenure at the WFLC, Stearns helped establish 150 free public libraries and 1,400 traveling libraries.


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