Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Charles Francis Gosnell, New York Librarian


Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Charles Francis Gosnell ( 1909-1993). Gosnell was Librarian of the Queen College Library (1937-1945), Director of the New York State Library (1945-1962), and Director of the New York University Libraries (1962-1974). Gosnell is one of 77 individuals included in the Second Supplement of the Dictionary of American Library Biography (Libraries Unlimited, 2003) which was edited by library historian Donald G. Davis, Jr.. The Dictionary of American Library Biography and its supplements are the most comprehensive and authoritative compilations of information about individuals who have made the most significant contributions to the development of America's libraries. The entry about Gosnell was written by Christopher J. Prom. As State Librarian of New York, Gosnell's major achievement was the development of the regional library system in New York. At the New York University Libraries, Gosnell oversaw the construction of the Elmer Homes Bobst Library building. This building replaced the library building designed by Stanford White which is shown on the postage stamp above. Gosnell served as President of the New York Library Association in 1969. His presidency of the NYLA was marked by a controversy over a decision to hold the 1969 conference in Lake Placid. After his retirement in 1974, Gosnell played a major role in the creation of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library in Manhattan. Click here for the New York Times obituary for Gosnell.

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