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.

Subscribe to feed Viewing entries tagged Klaus Linderfelt

Disaster Strikes the Newly Created Wisconsin Library Association

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, March 24, 2016
in WLA 125

linderfelt-72Just a little more than a year after the Wisconsin Library Association was founded and held its first conference one of the most bizarre events in American library occurred. In The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA 1966) Benton Wilcox writes:

“Disaster struck the infant Association in the spring of 1892 through the loss of its president, K. A. Linderfelt, who had also received in October, 1891, the even greater honor of election to the presidency of the American Library Association. Mr. Linderfelt had been born in Sweden and achieved an excellent classical education there before coming to America and Milwaukee in 1870. Here he had secured employment in the Milwaukee Female College as an instructor in Latin and Greek at a pittance of $400 per year, later increased to $600. In 1880 he was appointed librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library at $1,200. As recorded in the Library Journal, “In his twelve years of library administration he won a permanent place among eminent American librarians. A man of brilliant capacities and devoted to his calling, he was practically the creator of the Milwaukee Public Library, which he developed to a high efficiency.”

Unfortunately, in trying to maintain a standard of living comparable with that of the culturally elite of the city with whom he was associated, he became heavily involved in debt. In early 1892, the city having been spurred to a careful audit of its accounts by a defalcation discovered in one of its offices, a shortage of some $10,000 was found in the funds of the public library. Mr. Linderfelt readily acknowledged his guilt and aided the auditors in tracing the shortages. His staff and library board members showed their support by replacing the missing funds, and he was given a suspended sentence. Though Mr. Dewey offered him a position in his organization he returned to Europe, studied medicine, and died a practicing physician in Paris in 1900. The American Library Association expunged him from its records by accepting his resignation as of the day he had been elected its president. The Wisconsin Library Association, without machinery or heart for such decisive action, was left leaderless and apparently no one knew just what to do. As a consequence there was no annual conference in either 1892 or 1893.”

The Wisconsin Library Association forgave Linderfelt and welcomed him back into their fold at WLA’s Centennial reception in Milwaukee in 1991. It went even further and inducted him into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2009.  

Read more about Linderfelt.



Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo