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.

Theresa West Elmendorf (1855-1932)

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, December 12, 2008 in Hall of Fame

elmendorf1.jpgTheresa West Elmendorf was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Theresa West became Deputy Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library in 1880 when she was just 25 years old.  In 1882 she became the first member of the American Library Association from Wisconsin. After attending the 1890 American Library Association conference and learning of the creation of state library associations in some Eastern states, she came back and promoted a Wisconsin state library association. This idea came to fruition on February 11, 1891. West became Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library in 1892 when the previous librarian, Klas Linderfelt, resigned.  She was the first woman to direct the public library of a large city in the United States. She held this post until 1896 when she married Henry Elmendorf, also a librarian.  After a brief time in London, England, they moved to Buffalo, New York where Henry Elmendorf became director of the Buffalo Public Library.  After the death of her husband in 1906, Theresa Elmendorf became Vice-Librarian of the Buffalo Public Library.  Active in the American Library Association, she became the first woman president of ALA in 1911-12. In the June 1911 issue of the Public Libraries magazine there was a report on the 1911 conference of the American Library Association where Elmendorf was elected President of ALA. The report said this about Elmendorf: "Mrs. Thresa West Elmendorf, the first woman to be honored by the association with its presidency, comes into the office by right of achievement greater than that of any other woman in the library field and of an equal grade with that of any man.  Her wholesome, sympathetic attitude toward library work and workers has been a distinct contribution to the craft and her freedom from personal ambition has made her a valuable aid in developing the power of the A. L. A. Her election to the presidency is a well-earned, a well-deserved honor, marking an epoch in which the A. L. A. honored itself in honoring her." 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 Wisconsin History. The photo of Elemendorf is reprinted with permission from the article "Pioneers of the Library Profession", by Joseph Adams Rathbone, The Wilson Library Bulletin, June 1949.

Comments

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

Leave your comment

Guest Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Categories

Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo