Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Frank Avery Hutchins, Wisconsin Library Pioneer
Today is the 160th anniversary of the birth of Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame member Frank Avery Hutchins (1851-1914). Hutchins was a leader in the free public library movement in Wisconsin and the United States. Hutchins' entry in the Dictionary of American Library Biography (Libraries Unlimited, 1978) written by Helen Huguenor Lyman has this to say about him: "Frank Hutchins, a brilliant man of rare vision and modesty, a pioneer librarian and active leader in the library world of Wisconsin, was born on March 8, 1851, in Norfolk, Ohio. During his lifetime he was teacher, bookseller, newspaper man, library trustee, and librarian. Again and again his friends described him as a humanitarian, public servant, scholar, and practical idealist. he helped to gain legislative, financial, and professional support for both the educational work of school and public libraries and the extension of library services throughout the state of Wisconsin. An initiator who would take no credit for the events he helped to set in motion, he recognized the abilities of others and encouraged them to carry out new ideas." Hutchins was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891 and the first paid secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Hutchins close partner in the development of public library service in Wisconsin was fellow Hall of Fame member Lutie Stearns. The image of Hutchins is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection Image ID: 29375.