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 T. Nix
Larry T. Nix
Larry T. 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a copy of a travelogue written by Kee titled Around the World in 80 Years: A Travelogue Interspersed with Anecdotes (unpublished, 1997).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.

Categories

Popular Tags

Library e library memorabilia Increase A. Lapham Hall of Fame 2015 Public libraries archives Orrilla Blackshear caly film Robert Bocher UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Larry T. Nix Richard E. Krug Evansville Wisconsin Postcards Council on Library and Network Development Hall of Fame 2012 WLA 125 Hall of Fame 2011 library education Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Tower Hill Wisconsin Meter mail slogans Events & Meetings 21 Clinton Public Library Eratus Swift Wilcox Brown Deer Public Library 11 Nancy Marshall Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Lowell W. Wilson James Huff Stout Wilbur Lyle Eberhart library legislation WHCLIS Black River Falls Gertrude Thurow Exhibits Ruby Roeder Postcards Wayne A. Wiegand Madison Public Library Wisconsin Free Library Commission Lutie Eugenia Stearns Campaign John Miller Chancellor Jerome P. Daniels Library people Postcards Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Parcel post William J. Wilson Pinback buttons Amer 28 Suring Area Public Library Zona Gale Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Woman's Congress Centennial Library People Hall of Fame 2016 Hartford Public Library buil Beloit Public Library WAAL DeForest Area Public Library Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services bed and breakfast Wisconsin Free Library Commission Wisconsin Library Bulletin American Library Association Library War Service Klaus Linderfelt S. Janice Kee Matthew S. Dudgeon Marketing-Publicity American Library Association Publications Buttons Ripon Public Library James Duane Doty Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Hall of Fame 2015 Hall of Fame 2013 Library Trustees UW-Milwaukee Libraries Ruth Ann Montgomery campaign National Library Week traveling libraries Special libraries Clarence Brown Lester Lutie Stearns Gilbert H. Doane campaign Library Systems Portage Public Library Nolan I. Neds Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries WWI Library War Service CCBC Louise S. Robbins cam Capitol Fire 1904 Hall of Fame 2008 Irene W. Newman Hall of Fame 2014 Helen Adams anniversaries Wisconsin Library Association Carnegie libraries Wisconsin Historical Society Black River Falls Public Library Dianne McAfee Hopkins Anniversaries Cooperative Children's Book Center Superior Carnegie Libraries Soughton Public Library National Bookmobile Day Cornelia Marving Pierce Historical Register Hall of Fame 2015 T. B. Scott Free Public Library Digital Collections Elroy Public Library Hall of Fame 2015 library exhibit Peter G. Hamon 23 Sarah Janice Kee Library Buildings Charles Bunge McMillan Memorial Library I Love Libraries Hall fo Fame 2012 Hall of Fame 2019 Brown Deer Public Library Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Ice Storm Hall of Fame 2009 14 Events WLA 125 27 Beaver Dam Public Library Hall Library Buidlings Wisconsin State Law Library Delia Ovitz COLAND School libraries campa Library History 20 Bob Bochfer Edward Asahel Birge 22 Academic Libraries Bookmobiles Cam White House Conference on Library and Information Services State Law Library School of Library and Information Studies Milwaukee Public Library ca trav WLA 125 Katharine MacDonald Jones Frank Avery Hutchins 24 World War I Sandra Friedman Dolnick Brown County Library Carl Spitzweg Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs Hall of Fame 2017 Events & Meetings bookworm background Public library systems presentations Hall of Fame 2018 10 Dick Sorensen Appleton Public Library Pewaukee Public Library Milwaukee Art Museum caly film Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Hall of Fame 2012 Manitowoc Public Library Postcards Hall of Fame 2015 Inform Wisconsin books-by-mail Rusk County Community Library Library celebrations Campaign Dick Sorensen John J. Jax J. D. Witter Richard J. Sorensen Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries state historical society Anniversaries Public libraries Hall of Fame 2018 hall of Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries campaign Dorothea M. Krause membership libraries Gerald A. Somers Milwaukee Public Library Middleton Public Library Oshkosh Public Library Wisconsin Rapids Library Artifacts Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends caly film Library people Lucy E. Smith Morris WLA 125 Uncategorized People Academic Librarians Jane K. Billings Eager Free Public Library Hall of Fame 2010 Bernard Schwab Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Hall of Fame 2012 Campaign UW-Madison school of library and information studies

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo