Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The 1894 ALA Conference in Lake Placid
Following its extremely successful annual conference in 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair the American Library Association met in 1894 at Lake Placid, New York. Melvil Dewey had pushed to hold the conference in this resort community located in the lake country of the Adirondack mountains. He had an ulterior motive for doing so. Dewey and his wife Annie had purchased land in the area with the intent of creating a private retreat for librarians and other professionals. The ALA conference was a perfect opportunity for showcasing the beauty of the area. The Library Journal for October, 1894 reported that "The meeting of the A.L.A. at Lake Placid will be remembered as one of the best ever held." There were 205 registered attendees with a little more than half being women. Attendees were from 18 states and Canada. The Library Journal report indicated that sessions were divided between the Grand View and Mirror Lake hotels and that the two hotels "vied with each other in making their guests comfortable and more". Melvil and Annie Dewey did succeed in creating their Lake Placid resort for professionals which I wrote about here and here. The ribbon to the left is part of my collection of ALA librariana.