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.

The First Books-By-Mail Program in Wisconsin

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, September 01, 2016 in WLA 125
stamp-us-parcel-72Parcel post, the delivery of packages through the mail, began in the United States on January 1, 1913.  Libraries had long lobbied for a special rate for library materials sent through the mail, and in 1914 the postmaster general authorized the shipment of books at the parcel post rate. This decision opened up significant possibilities for library service to geographically remote populations.  One of the first librarians to realize the potential of parcel post and library service was Matthew S. Dudgeon, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC). Under Dudgeon's leadership the WFLC began implementing a system in which any resident of the state could request a book from the major libraries in Madison including the University of Wisconsin Library and the State Historical Society Library. There was little red tape involved. All that was required was a letter requesting a book along with the postage. Under the new postal rates a book could be sent anywhere within a 150 mile radius of Madison for an average of six cents and for greater distances for eight cents. Implementation of this system was facilitated by the fact that the President of the University of Wisconsin and the Secretary of the Wisconsin Historical Society served on the WFLC board. An article about Dudgeon's parcel post system appeared in the December, 1915 issue of American Review of Reviews.


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

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, July 22, 2017


Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo