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, February 23, 2018

Categories

Popular Tags

Academic Librarians ca Hall of Fame 2012 WWI Library War Service Events Hall of Fame 2012 Public libraries library legislation Parcel post Frank Avery Hutchins Hall of Fame 2014 Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Black River Falls Carnegie libraries Campaign caly film Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Academic Libraries Wisconsin State Law Library William J. Wilson Lutie Eugenia Stearns Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Public library systems Inform Wisconsin Library people Katharine MacDonald Jones Brown County Library WLA 125 Matthew S. Dudgeon Zona Gale Hall of Fame 2010 Wayne A. Wiegand Gilbert H. Doane Brown Deer Public Library Digital Collections Milwaukee Public Library Wisconsin Free Library Commission Postcards Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Tower Hill Wisconsin Bernard Schwab caly film books-by-mail Exhibits buil Hall of Fame 2009 23 24 Clinton Public Library Edward Asahel Birge Gerald A. Somers library memorabilia campaign Bookmobiles 28 Cornelia Marving Pierce membership libraries Milwaukee Public Library People Publications anniversaries James Huff Stout Library Artifacts Hall of Fame 2012 Hall 22 CCBC WLA 125 Council on Library and Network Development Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Beloit Public Library White House Conference on Library and Information Services archives Louise S. Robbins Hall of Fame 2011 Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Library History campaign Jerome P. Daniels Superior Carnegie Libraries Campaign Middleton Public Library Irene W. Newman Wisconsin Library Bulletin Wisconsin Library Heritage Center James Duane Doty UW-Milwaukee Libraries Library e Dorothea M. Krause Library Trustees Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Lowell W. Wilson American Library Association Oshkosh Public Library Soughton Public Library Ruth Ann Montgomery Uncategorized Pewaukee Public Library State Law Library I Love Libraries Wisconsin Free Library Commission Pinback buttons Hall of Fame 2015 John J. Jax caly film Milwaukee Art Museum Hall of Fame 2015 Beaver Dam Public Library Appleton Public Library Buttons Rusk County Community Library Ripon Public Library Manitowoc Public Library Woman's Congress 14 presentations Black River Falls Public Library WAAL Centennial Cam Hall of Fame 2017 John Miller Chancellor Jane K. Billings Larry T. Nix Meter mail slogans bookworm Hall of Fame 2015 Wilbur Lyle Eberhart School of Library and Information Studies library exhibit School libraries Events & Meetings Events & Meetings Library Buildings WHCLIS Library people Postcards Increase A. Lapham 20 Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide Historical Register Campaign Eratus Swift Wilcox state historical society campa 27 Sandra Friedman Dolnick Postcards Wisconsin Rapids Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries bed and breakfast 11 Capitol Fire 1904 McMillan Memorial Library Library Buidlings National Bookmobile Day Postcards Hall of Fame 2008 Library celebrations WLA 125 COLAND Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians T. B. Scott Free Public Library J. D. Witter Orrilla Blackshear Public libraries Ice Storm American Library Association Library War Service Wisconsin Library Association Lutie Stearns Anniversaries Evansville Wisconsin Charles Bunge Hartford Public Library S. Janice Kee Hall of Fame 2015 Amer Library Systems Brown Deer Public Library traveling libraries Hall of Fame 2015 Anniversaries Library People Richard E. Krug hall of Klaus Linderfelt cam Peter G. Hamon Carl Spitzweg UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Hall of Fame 2013 Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Eager Free Public Library Wisconsin Historical Society Dianne McAfee Hopkins library education 21 Hall fo Fame 2012 Hall of Fame 2016 Portage Public Library UW-Madison school of library and information studies Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Special libraries Suring Area Public Library National Library Week Sarah Janice Kee 10 Cooperative Children's Book Center DeForest Area Public Library background Madison Public Library campaign Clarence Brown Lester Ruby Roeder Marketing-Publicity trav Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Nolan I. Neds World War I WLA 125 Delia Ovitz Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Gertrude Thurow Elroy Public Library

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo