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 Friday, March 24, 2017

Categories

Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo