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 Woman's Congress

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

pc-wi-tower-hill-72

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 ...

Categories

Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo