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

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo