The UW-Milwaukee Libraries had their beginning as the Library of the State Normal School in Milwaukee which began in 1885. This postcard was mailed on July 12, 1926. At the time Delia Ovitz was the Librarian. She served in this capacity from 1901 to 1944. A list of all the directors of the UW-Milwaukee Libraries and their predecessors is here. In 1955, the state legislature approved a merger of Wisconsin State College, Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Extension Center of the University of Wisconsin to form the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee. The new institution opened its doors in 1956. A timeline for the development of UW-Milwaukee can be found here.
The postcard on the masthead for the WLHC website shows the building which Andrew Carnegie helped fund for Superior, Wisconsin. Beth Carpenter, the designer of the WLHC website, picked the postcard for the masthead, but I heartedly approve. I like it because it shows people around the library and a very neat vintage automobile that helps date the card. Unfortunately, the building is at risk. When the City of Superior was set to raze the building, a group of individuals banded together and were able to save the building at least temporarily. But to date they have been unable to find a permanent use for the building. For more on the Superior Carnegie building click here.
The situation in Hayward, WI differs dramatically from the one in Superior. When the Hayward Public Library moved to a new building, the old Carnegie building was bought by a retailer that has done a fine job of restoring and preserving the building. A contributing factor to this more favorable outcome was the ideal location of the Carnegie building in a popular commercial district for tourists. If you’re in the Hayward area check it out.
Frank Avery Hutchins was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Hutchins was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891. He served as President of WLA from 1894 to 1897. As President of WLA he was instrumental in starting the Summer School for Library Economy in 1895 which became the Wisconsin Library School in 1906. He helped establish the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895 and was its initial Chair until 1897. In 1897 with the reorganization and increased funding of the WFLC he became its first paid Secretary, a post he held until 1904. He originated the idea of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library which became a unit of the WFLC and served as a national model. He was a national leader in public library development and extension. Helen Lyman in the Dictionary of American Library Biography entry for Hutchins said, “He belongs to that small group of men and women who formed and developed the modern library movement and made the library profession what it has become.” Hutchins became interested in libraries while serving as editor of the weekly newspaper, the Beaver Dam Argus. He helped organize the Beaver Dam Free Library Association which was established in 1884. He was featured in the “As it Was in The Beginning” series of the Public Libraries magazine (1925, volume 30, pages186-190). He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . The image of Hutchins is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection Image ID: 29375.
One of the goals of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is to publicize Wisconsin libraries and their history. So it was a pleasant surprise to see a story in the November 28 issue of the Dunn County News about the induction of James Huff Stout into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame. Click here to read the story.
The City of Stoughton, Wisconsin has the distinction of having preserved two historic library buildings. An elaborate multi-purpose building which housed the public library in the basement was completed in 1901. The stone signage on the building says “City Hall 1901 Library”. In addition to the City Hall and Library, the building contained a large city auditorium which became the City Hall Opera House. The building has been restored and serves as an active cultural and entertainment venue. More on the building’s history can be found here.
Wanting a larger space for the public library, the City sought and received a Carnegie grant of $13,000 to help build a separate public library building which was dedicated in 1908. The building was designed by architects Claude and Starck. A referendum was passed in 1988 to significantly expand the building. The wrap-around addition preserves the original building. Recently, the interior of the Carnegie building was restored. More on the library’s history can be found here.
These two buildings are on the Wisconsin Library Heritage Trail.
I came across this illustration in an 1886 Library Bureau supply catalog. It gives credit to the Milwaukee Public Library for creating the pencil dater which became a fixture in most libraries in the first half of the 20th century. Does anyone have an example of a pencil dater? Has anyone used one?
Charles R. McCarthy was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. McCarthy was the first head of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library which began as the Documents Department of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission and eventually became the independent Legislative Reference Bureau. The Legislative Reference Library was the first of its kind in the nation and served as the model for the Congressional Reference Service of the Library of Congress. McCarthy was a leader in the Progressive Movement and wrote The Wisconsin Idea. McCarthy’s leadership of the Legislative Reference Library was so well thought of by the State Legislature that a memorial plaque of McCarthy was placed in the Assembly Chambers of the State Capitol. When McCarthy died in 1921 his body lay in state in the State Capitol where thousands of people passed his bier.
WLHC Steering Committee member Pete Gilbert at the WLHC booth at the WLA Conference.
The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center hosted a booth in the exhibits area of the 2008 WLA Conference which took place November 4-7 in Middleton. The exhibit featured selected items from the Wisconsin Library Memorabilia Exhibit which is available for display at individual libraries. The booth provided an opportunity for members of the WLHC Steering Committee to interact with a great many conference goers.
A big hit with those viewing the booth exhibit were the library souvenir spoons.
The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame was created by the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Board as part of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center at its July 16, 2008 meeting. The WLHF will include both librarians and library supporters. The first ten individuals will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Awards Banquet of the WLA Conference on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. Information about the inductees can be found on the Hall of Fame page of this site. The image of Lutie Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection, Image ID: 29372.
The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center will have a booth at the WLA Conference in Middleton on Nov. 5 and 6. The booth number is 406. The booth will have a display of some of the Wisconsin library memorabilia that is included in the WLHC’s traveling exhibit. You will be able to see the world’s largest collection of Wisconsin library souvenir spoons (12), a selection of library souvenir china, library postcards,library pinback buttons, and a few odds and ends. Please stop by to enjoy the display and let us know your thoughts about the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center.
The WLA Conference is taking place at the Mariott Hotel in Middleton. Exhibit hours run from 10 am to 5pm on Wed. Nov. 5 and 8:30am to 4:30pm on Thurs. Nov 6.
One of the display cases that you will be able to see at Booth 406.