Sunday, May 31, 2009

Katharine Sharp and the Lake Placid Club

The "Library Cover Story" for June on the Library History Buff website involves Katharine Sharp and the Lake Placid Club. A bookplate collector in Oberstdorf, Germany sent this postal card above to Katherine Sharp at the School of Library Science at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana on June 22, 1906. The card arrived in Champaign, Illinois on July 5, 1906. It was then forwarded to the Lake Placid Club in New York. The cover story most pertinent to the library history buff relates to the link between Katharine Sharp and the Lake Placid Club. The Lake Placid Club was established by Melvil Dewey and his wife Annie in the 1890s as a summer community in the Adirondack Mountains for professional people. Katharine Sharp was a protégé of Dewey and a summer resident of Lake Placid. She was director of both the library and library school at the University of Illinois from 1897 to 1907. When she left the University of Illinois in 1907 she moved to Lake Placid and became Vice-President of the Lake Placid Club. The anti-Semitic practices at the Lake Placid Club were a major factor leading to Melvil Dewey's resignation as New York State Librarian in 1905. Lake Placid became a major success as a resort community and was the site of the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. Sharp was killed in an automobile accident in 1914 at the age of 49.

The other story related to this cover involves the collection and exchange of bookplates. The writer of the postal has learned that Sharp may have bookplates for exchange and offers to exchange some of his various bookplates with her. He also indicates that if she is interested in exchanging bookplates with others he will put her address in the German Ex Libris journal for September. More on bookplate collecting is located here.

No comments: