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 Sarah Janice Kee

Janice Kee and a Librarian's Travelogue

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, March 05, 2012
in Hall of Fame

This entry was also posted on The Library History Buff Blog on March 4, 2012.

kee-72Sarah Janice Kee (1908 -1998) was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2009 primarily because of her work as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission from 1956 to 1965. During Kee's tenure at the Commission, Wisconsin established the foundation for its current seventeen federated public library systems.  In seeking to find out more about Kee a number of years ago, I was able to obtain a copy of a travelogue written by Kee titled Around the World in 80 Years: A Travelogue Interspersed with Anecdotes (unpublished, 1997). As the title suggests it is a record of Kee's travels around the world during her lifetime, but it also chronicles a remarkable library career. Kee was a native Texan and ended her library career in Texas. In regard to her travels, Kee writes: "It has been my privilege to see much of the world in my life time. My methods of travel have been in a swing seat in a covered wagon, a buggy, surrey, the back seat of a Model T - Ford car, both slow and fast trains, the driver's seat in a Ford, Chevrolet, Frazier and Oldsmobile, both slow and fast airplanes and a Cruiser in the Mediterranean sea."  From her rural Texas roots, Kee embarked on a library career with her first library position in the Library Service of the Air Force during World War II. She did so well that she was eventually promoted to Command Librarian supervising 35 post libraries. She went to work for the Missouri State Library in 1947, and again did so well that she was designated Acting State Librarian when State Librarian Katherine Mier retired in 1948. Unfortunately, it was only "until a man could be found for the job". According to Kee the man they found "knew nothing - I mean nothing about State Library work". Lucky for Wisconsin she left Missouri and came to Wisconsin for her first stint at the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. She entered the national library arena in 1952 as Executive Secretary of the Public Library Division of the American Library Association, a position she held until she assumed leadership of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1956. Kee concluded her library career as Library Program Officer (classified as a GS-14) with the U.S. Department of Education at the regional office in Dallas, Texas. At her interview for the position in Dallas with the Head of the Regional Office, according to Kee "a political appointee - one of those good-ol-boys who was retired from a Superintendent's position", she was told "'Miss Kee, do you realize I have MEN on my staff who are not GS-14s?'" She reminded him that she would be taking a pay cut if she took the job. She got the job anyway. Although Janice Kee wrote her travelogue primarily for her family, I feel fortunate to have shared via the travelogue in her travel and library career experiences. I wish more people could do the same. The original manuscript is located at the School of Library and Information Studies at Texan Woman's University where Kee established the S. Janice Kee Library Scholarship Fund.


Popular Tags

Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs Oshkosh Public Library Gilbert H. Doane campaign cam Frank Avery Hutchins Digital Collections Centennial American Library Association Library War Service state historical society Library e Tower Hill Wisconsin Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Postcards Cam 11 caly film Public libraries traveling libraries Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Edward Asahel Birge 23 Zona Gale Hall of Fame 2015 Library Artifacts library legislation campaign UW-Milwaukee Libraries Academic Libraries Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Larry T. Nix James Huff Stout 24 library memorabilia Brown Deer Public Library UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies DeForest Area Public Library Manitowoc Public Library Hall of Fame 2008 Richard E. Krug S. Janice Kee Historical Register bed and breakfast Campaign Lowell W. Wilson Orrilla Blackshear Robert Bocher Parcel post Inform Wisconsin National Library Week Black River Falls Wisconsin State Law Library Hall of Fame 2014 27 Eratus Swift Wilcox WAAL ca WHCLIS WLA 125 Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide buil COLAND Jane K. Billings Lutie Eugenia Stearns Superior Carnegie Libraries Increase A. Lapham Carl Spitzweg Portage Public Library Pewaukee Public Library Jerome P. Daniels WLA 125 Special libraries Ruth Ann Montgomery Campaign library education Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Klaus Linderfelt Wisconsin Free Library Commission Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Cornelia Marving Pierce Events & Meetings Buttons Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Madison Public Library Beloit Public Library Library People Wisconsin Library Bulletin Evansville Wisconsin Milwaukee Public Library caly film Woman's Congress Publications Council on Library and Network Development campa CCBC John Miller Chancellor Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Bernard Schwab Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends I Love Libraries Hall of Fame 2018 Ruby Roeder Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Clinton Public Library Charles Bunge Ripon Public Library Black River Falls Public Library 20 WWI Library War Service books-by-mail Cooperative Children's Book Center White House Conference on Library and Information Services Milwaukee Art Museum Library Buildings Hartford Public Library Hall of Fame 2011 Wisconsin Library Association campaign Wayne A. Wiegand Bob Bochfer Library people Postcards Hall of Fame 2015 Hall of Fame 2012 Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries WLA 125 Library Buidlings Postcards Rusk County Community Library Campaign Matthew S. Dudgeon Delia Ovitz Bookmobiles T. B. Scott Free Public Library Clarence Brown Lester caly film Carnegie libraries Hall of Fame 2015 School libraries Soughton Public Library Louise S. Robbins Pinback buttons Dorothea M. Krause State Law Library Ice Storm UW-Madison school of library and information studies People John J. Jax Brown Deer Public Library Appleton Public Library Hall of Fame 2015 Events & Meetings Elroy Public Library 14 Middleton Public Library Library celebrations Hall of Fame 2018 Postcards Hall of Fame 2012 Gerald A. Somers hall of Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Library Systems Lucy E. Smith Morris Wisconsin Library Heritage Center William J. Wilson National Bookmobile Day Library people Anniversaries Sarah Janice Kee Hall of Fame 2015 Hall of Fame 2016 presentations Lutie Stearns Library Trustees anniversaries Eager Free Public Library Hall Dianne McAfee Hopkins Events Library History McMillan Memorial Library Hall fo Fame 2012 Amer Public library systems Brown County Library J. D. Witter Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Peter G. Hamon World War I Helen Adams Suring Area Public Library 21 Sandra Friedman Dolnick Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Uncategorized Gertrude Thurow 28 bookworm Capitol Fire 1904 American Library Association Anniversaries library exhibit Marketing-Publicity Irene W. Newman Exhibits background Hall of Fame 2010 Hall of Fame 2012 WLA 125 10 22 Meter mail slogans trav James Duane Doty Nolan I. Neds Hall of Fame 2017 Hall of Fame 2013 Hall of Fame 2009 Wisconsin Historical Society Katharine MacDonald Jones Academic Librarians Beaver Dam Public Library Public libraries School of Library and Information Studies Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin Free Library Commission membership libraries archives Milwaukee Public Library

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo