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.

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James Huff Stout (1848-1910)

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James Huff Stout was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Stout in his capacity as a state senator was the first legislative champion for Wisconsin’s libraries.  He also used his personal wealth accumulated in the lumber industry to advance the cause of libraries and education. At the behest of Frank Hutchins, he personallyf funded the first “Summer School in Library Economy” in Wisconsin which became the Wisconsin Library School in 1906.  Working with Frank Hutchins and Lutie Stearns, he introduced legislation which created the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895.  In 1897 he became Chair of the WFLC and continued in this capacity until 1905.  Stout also personally funded the first traveling libraries in Wisconsin in Dunn County. He founded the Stout Manual Training School in 1891 which was the forerunner of the University of Wisconsin – Stout. He is listed in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . Click here for more information. The image of Stout is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 29376 .


More on Lutie

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In Part I of her autobiography My Seventy-five Years, Lutie Stearns provided the following description of her work promoting traveling libraries:

 

"From 1895 through October, 1914, I traveled thousands of miles in Wisconsin by stage, sleigh, buggy, wagon, passenger coach, and caboose, wearing out five fur coats in succession in my efforts to reach all parts of the state.  In taking traveling libraries to the rural districts of Dunn and Wood Counties during the winter I would secure a black bearskin to wear over my fur-lined muskrat coat, which was inadequate for the frequent below zero weather. I would get a three-seated sleigh, remove the last two seats, and fill the space with books which I would locate in farmers' homes, rural post offices, schools, and other available stations.  On reaching what was then Grand Rapids--now Wisconsin Rapids--late one evening after a forty-mile drive, a long day's drive in those times, my black bearskin attracted the attention of Mrs. Anna W. Evans, Librarian, who wrote the following poem concerning my appearance:

 

 There is a woman named Stearns;
Her living she easily earns,
By driving 'round,
When the snow's on the ground.
Though the dangers she never discerns.

 

She dons a coat of black hair;
A cap is next put on with care;
She looks like a man,
But to tell you ne'er can
If the product be woman, or bear.

 

Now if in her drives through the brush,
A Bruin should come out with a rush,
Would the woman hug the bear,
Or the bear hug the hair?
Or which would be lost in the crush?

 

Would the bear barely hug the bold jade?
Or the bearskin propelled by the maid
Hug the bear? or the hair
Of the bear would she tear
Or her own, as the price to be paid?"

 

The image of Lutie Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection, Image ID: 29372.

 

Lutie Eugenia Stearns (1866-1943)

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stearns-72.jpg Lutie Eugenia Stearns was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Stearns, along with Frank Hutchins and James Stout, was instrumental in establishing the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895. From 1895 to 1897 she served as the unpaid Secretary of the Commission. When the WFLC was reorganized with increased funding in 1897, she resigned from the commission and became its first paid staff member.   In this capacity she traveled the state establishing traveling libraries and free public libraries. 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 American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . Other entries on this site related to Stearns are here and here. The image of Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 42955.

 

 

Wisconsin Magazine of History articles about Stearns:

The Library Career of Lutie Eugenia Stearns by Earl Tannenbaum

My Seventy-five years: Part I (Stearns autobiography) 

My Seventy-five years: Part II (Stearns autobiography)

My Seventy-five years: Part III (Stearns autobiography)

A Thousand Little Libraries by Stuart Stotts

Stuart Stotts has also written a fictional account of Lutie Stearns life entitled Books in a Box. Although the book was written for children, it is well worth reading by adults.

Lyman Copeland Draper (1815-1891)

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draper-72.jpgLyman Copeland Draper was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008. Draper became corresponding secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1854, an office he held until 1886. In that capacity he was responsible for significantly increasing the size of the Society's library. He was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction for the period 1858-1859. In that capacity he was instrumental in promoting the beginnings of the University of Wisconsin Library. He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . An biographical article by William B. Hezzeltine appeared in the Spring 1952 issue of the Wisconsin Magazine of History. The image of Draper is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 2628.

 

Anne Morris Boyd and UW-Whitewater

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Today (January 13, 2009) is the 125th anniversary of the birth of Anne Morris Boyd (1884-1969) who served as Librarian of the State Normal School at Whitewater (now the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater) from 1913 to 1917.  Boyd served on the faculty of the University of Illinois Library School from 1918 to 1949 and was an authority and an advocate for government publications.  She was the author of the landmark publication United States Government Publications As Sources of Information for Libraries, and served as President of the Association of American Library Schools. She is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography.The postcard of the interior of the library shown above was mailed on Sept. 30, 1912, one year before the arrival of Boyd. More about Boyd can be found here.  


The State Normal School which was founded in 1868 became the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1971.  The University Library at UW-Whitewater is a far different library today than when Boyd was librarian. A set of Flickr photographs of Willie the mascot at the University Library can be found here. A history of the Anderson Library Building at UW-Whitewater is located here.


Edward Asahel Birge 1851-1950

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birge.jpgEdward Asahel Birge was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Birge was one of a small group of people who gathered in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on February 11, 1891 to organize the Wisconsin Library Association.  At the time Birge was a noted Professor of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin and a member of the Madison Public Library Board.  He served on the Madison Public Library Board from 1891 to 1909 and was its chairman from 1893 to 1909.  He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association from 1897 to 1899 and again in 1905-1906. He was a member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. He had a long and active career at the University of Wisconsin serving as Professor of Zoology (1879-1911), Dean of the College of Letters and Science (1891-1918), Acting President  (1900--1903), and President (1918- 1925).  He is listed in the  Dictionary of Wisconsin History.  Thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives and Records Mangement Services for permission to use the image of Birge. 

 

Other links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Ashael_Birge
http://www.library.wisc.edu/etext/wireader/WER0747.html
http://archives.library.wisc.edu/chancellors/chancellors.htm

 

Note: In the comming months we will be featuring 2008 inductees to the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on the blog component of the the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center website. Not only will this provide more exposure to these exceptional people, it will enable us to deal with a technical difficulty in organizing our site. 

 

Founding Contributors

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We wish to express our appreciation to the following individuals and organizations who have achieved the designation of Founding Contributor to the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center by making a special contribution to the WLHC.  These individuals and organizations are helping the WLHC to get off to a good start in its efforts to promote the heritage of Wisconsin libraries.


Diana Anderson
Appleton Library Foundation
Lori A. Belongia  
Dan C. Calef                                                                                      
John Eldred/Heather Eldred
Nancy Fletcher
Peter Gilbert
Barbara Kelly
Rick Krumwiede                                                     
Beatrice (Bea) Lebal
Milton Mitchell 
Ruth Ann Montgomery                                                                
Friends of Neenah Library
Larry T. Nix
T.B. Scott Free Library, Merrill, WI
Lisa Strand                                          
Lowell W. Wilson  


The WLHC is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.  All members of WLA are automatically  members of the WLA Foundation.  Those members who wish to provide additional support for WLA Foundation programs are encoraged to become a participant in one of the contributing Circles of the Foundation.  The Founding Contributor designation for the WLHC is a one-time contributing opportunity.  For more on how to become a Founding Contributor click here


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  • PG says #
    I have to report that my contribution was a Christmas present from my wife. She knows what I like...

ALA in Waukesha

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As noted in the previous post, the American Library Association met in Waukesha in July of 1901. As reported in the magazine Public Libraries: "The twenty-third annual meeting of the A. L. A. was held at Waukesha, Wis., with an enthusiasm and interest that has not been equaled more than two or three times in the history of the association."  The conference was held at the Fountain Spring House, Waukesha's premier resort. The Public Libraries article concluded: "A large majority of the people present attended their first conference of American librarians at Waukesha, and the interest, enthusiasm, and evident progress made at this meeting is due largely to that fact.  For months the local associations in the middle west were at work to interest thelibrarians of their diffferent states in the importance of being present at Waukesha.  Their efforts were successful, and there was but one note sounded in regard to the meeting, and that was satisfaction."


The full Public Libraries report on the Waukesha conference can be found in Google Books on pages 459-497 of the 1901 annual compilation.


At early ALA Conferences, momentos were routinely given to participants. At the Waukesha conference, the attendees were given an elaborate medal. At the top of the medal was a pin-back badger followed by a ribbon similar to those on military medals and finally there was a copper colored medallion.  The medallion, which is in my collection of Wisconsin library memorabilia, is shown below.  Someone probably took the medal apart for the attractve badger pin. A complete medal is located in the ALA Archives at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.



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ALA Madison Day 1901

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The 1901 Conference of the American Library Association took place in Waukesha. In the early Monday morning hours of July 8, 1901 the entire group of attendees went by train to Madison. As reported in the magazine Pulic Libraries, "They were met on their arrival by a local committee, carriages were provided and the party was taken to various points of interest about the city and through the beautiful drives adjoining the university grounds."  Later that afternoon "... the party was led through the new Historical library building... There was but one opinion of the entire party in regard to the beauty and arrangement of the building, and that was satisfactory to the highest degree. The beautiful reading-room was greatly admired by everyone, and even those who are wont to think that Bates hall [in the Boston Public Library] and the halls of the Congressional library at Washington are beyond compare, were willing to admit that the enthusiasm and praise of the room were merited." Madison Day ended with a group picture on the steps of the Historical library. "The party returned to Waukesha well pleased with its trip and delighted with the hospitality of the Madison people."

Plans are underway to restore the Reading Room of the State Historical Society to its original grandeur.

The image of those attending Madison Day is from the Wisconsin Historical Image collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Image ID: 45544.

Theresa West Elmendorf (1855-1932)

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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.

Frank Avery Hutchins (1851-1914)

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hutchins-72.jpgFrank Avery Hutchins was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Hutchins was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891.  He served as President of WLA from 1894 to 1897.  As President of WLA he was instrumental in starting the Summer School for Library Economy in 1895 which became the Wisconsin Library School in 1906.  He helped establish the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895 and was its initial Chair until 1897.  In 1897 with the reorganization and increased funding of the WFLC he became its first paid Secretary, a post he held until 1904.  He originated the idea of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library which became a unit of the WFLC and served as a national model.  He was a national leader in public library development and extension.  Helen Lyman in the Dictionary of American Library Biography entry for Hutchins said, “He belongs to that small group of men and women who formed and developed the modern library movement and made the library profession what it has become.” Hutchins became interested in libraries while serving as editor of the weekly newspaper, the Beaver Dam Argus.  He helped organize the Beaver Dam Free Library Association which was established in 1884. He was featured in the "As it Was in The Beginning" series of the Public Libraries magazine (1925, volume 30, pages186-190).   He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . The image of Hutchins is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 29375.



 



Dunn County News Story

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One of the goals of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is to publicize Wisconsin libraries and their history.  So it was a pleasant surprise to see a story in the November 28 issue of the Dunn County News about the induction of James Huff Stout into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame. Click here to read the story.

Charles R. McCarthy (1873-1921)

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mccarthy1-72.jpgCharles R. McCarthy was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. McCarthy was the first head of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library which began as the Documents Department of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission and eventually became the independent Legislative Reference Bureau. The Legislative Reference Library was the first of its kind in the nation and served as the model for the Congressional Reference Service of the Library of Congress. McCarthy was a leader in the Progressive Movement and wrote The Wisconsin Idea. McCarthy's leadership of the Legislative Reference Library was so well thought of by the State Legislature that a memorial plaque of  McCarthy was placed in the Assembly Chambers of the State Capitol. When McCarthy died in 1921 his body lay in state in the State Capitol where thousands of people passed his bier.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WI Library Hall of Fame

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stearns-standing-72.jpgThe Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame was created by the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Board as part of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center at its July 16, 2008 meeting. The WLHF will include both librarians and library supporters. The first ten individuals will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Awards Banquet of the WLA Conference on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008.  Information about the inductees can be found on the Hall of Fame page of this site. The image of Lutie Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection, Image ID: 29372.


Wisconsin's First Library School

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 The postcard above shows the second floor atrium of the Madison Public Library when it was located in the building financed by Andrew Carnegie, now razed.  It was here that the Wisconsin Library School, now the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was located from 1906 to 1938.  Carnegie gave additional funding to enable the library school to be located in the public library building. The message on the back of the postcard which was mailed in 1925 is from library school faculty member Winifred Davis to Mrs. N. A. Cushman, Librarian of the Reedsburg Public Library.  Davis invites Cushman to visit a library school exhibit at the University Exposition.

Library education in Wisconsin dates back to 1895 when the newly created Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) sponsored the first Summer School of Library Economy.  The summer school was the idea of Frank Hutchins, the Commission's first Secretary.  The school was personally financed by library legislative champion Senator James H. Stout and was directed by Katharine Sharp, director of the Library School of the Armour Institute in Chicago.A full time Wisconsin Library School, still under the auspices of the WFLC, was founded in 1906 and housed on the second floor of the Madison Public Library. Mary Emogene Hazeltine was its first Perceptor or Principal. She served in this capacity until 1938. In 1938 administrative control of the library school was moved from the WFLC to the University of Wisconsin.

An excellent web history of SLIS is located here. A collection of digital images was created as part of the library school's centennial celebration in 2006.  Information on Tradition and Vision, a printed centennial history of SLIS, can be found here.

Hutchins, Stout, and Hazeltine will be among the first group of individuals inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame during the WLA Conference in Middleton in November.

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