Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy 150th William Coolidge Lane

A couple of my recent posts have dealt with the catalogue cards of the Harvard College Library. So it is timely and appropriate to wish a happy 150th birthday to William Coolidge Lane (1859-1931) who was born on June 29, 1859 in Newtonville, Massachusetts. Lane was appointed Assistant Librarian at the Harvard College Library in 1888. He had previously served as Superintendent of the Cataloging Department. In 1893 he left Harvard to become Head Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum. In 1898, at the age of 39, he returned to Harvard as a the head librarian of Harvard College Library, a post he held until 1928. Lane was also elected President of the American Library Association in 1898. When the post of Librarian of Congress became available in 1899 due to the death of John Russell Young, Lane met with President McKinley and reportedly played a significant role in the appointment of Herbert Putnam as Librarian of Congress. In 1910 when Harvard created the position of Director of the University Library, Lane was passed over for this post. Reconnecting to the library card catalog story line, Lane directed a major transition of the University's card catalog. This included the move to standard size catalog cards from the 2 x 5 inch catalog cards which originated at Harvard. The unused stamped envelope above (issue of 1887) was preaddressed to Lane.

No comments: