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 Tower Hill Wisconsin

Lutie Stearns and the Woman's Congress at Tower Hill, WI

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, March 01, 2012
in Events


This article was also posted on The Library History Buff Blog.   

For Women's History Month I thought I would post a story about Lutie Stearns, one of Wisconsin's greatest library pioneers. As often happens, a piece of postal librariana was the stimulus for my engaging in some library history research. I was delighted when I researched a picture postcard depicting the Ann Mitchell Library at Tower Hill, Wisconsin (shown above) to find that there was a link between Tower Hill and Lutie Stearns. Tower Hill is now the Tower Hill State Park, but was originally the summer retreat of Jenkin Lloyd Jones, a prominent Unitarian minister. As is explained in the first issue of La Follette's Weekly Magazine (January 9, 1909), Jones sponsored an annual Woman's Congress at Tower Hill. The guests at the Woman's Congress were limited to twenty-five invited individuals, and the speakers and topics for the Congress were selected by a committee which Lutie Stearns chaired for several years. Stearns at the time was on the staff of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission which she helped to found in 1891. In addition to her advocacy for free public libraries and traveling libraries, Stearns was an outspoken advocate for women and their role in society. Library Journal (October, 1916) reported on on a Library Congress held at Tower Hill in August of 1916. This Congress was also chaired by Lutie Stearns. Librarians from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and North Dakota participated in this informal gathering to discuss library issues and to relax. It is in that Library Journal article which was written by Stearns that mention is made of the Ann Mitchell Library.  It notes that: "The afternoons during the week were given over to informal conferences and visits to the Ann Mitchell Library building on the Tower Hill grounds, which was found to be well supplied with the classics as well as the better part of latter-day literature." I have been unable to determine the identity of Ann Mitchell. Jones was a promoter of women in the ministry so perhaps she was a minister. The library and the building that housed it no longer exist. I also have a blog post about Lutie's speech impediment and her proposal for a book wagon. I highly recommend a book about Lutie for young people titled Books in a Box.

Recent comment in this post Show all comments
  • Christine Pawley says #
    So glad you posted this, Larry. I was just reading in Stearns's "My Seventy-five Years: Part III, from the Wisconsin Magazine of ...


Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo