Monday, April 28, 2014

The Library Postcard Collection of Phoebe Hayes (1905-1975)

At a postcard show in Madison, WI this past weekend I acquired a collection of 30 library postcards that were at one time part of a collection owned by Phoebe Hayes, a librarian who ended her library career around 1970 as Director of the Bibliographical Center for Research in Denver, CO. The postcards that I acquired have all been used and for the most part are addressed to Hayes or one of the libraries where she worked. They date from 1930 to 1970 and have a variety of messages mostly with a library connection. I particularly prize these kinds of postcards. I was able to cross check Hayes' entry in the 1970 edition of A Biographical Directory of Librarians in the United States and Canada published by ALA with the postcard addresses. Her education and library work included the Univ. of Wisconsin, the University of Chicago, the Univ. of Denver, the Joint Reference Library in Chicago, and the Library of the Bureau of the Budget in DC in addition to the BCR in Denver.  It is apparent that her colleagues knew of her interest in library postcards and shared postcards with her that they found or received. The postcard above was sent to Hayes in Chicago (where she was a student) from a friend in Boulder, CO on June 18, 1941. The postcard depicts the Library of the University of Colorado. The message begins with "Another 'library' for your collection." I'll probably share some other postcards from her collection in the future. I've compiled lists of current and former library postcard collectors that I know about. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

George Lincoln Burr (1857-1938) and the White Library at Cornell

I'm a collector of envelopes (called covers by philatelists) that have been sent to or from libraries. I believe that I have the largest collection of these envelopes in the world. My collection numbers in the thousands. I'm always on the lookout for envelopes that have a special story so I was excited to acquire the envelope shown above. It was mailed to Professor George L. Burr at the President White Library at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY on April 25, 1911. Andrew Dickson White was the co-founder and first president of Cornell University. White, with the assistance of Burr, developed a remarkable personal historical library consisting of more than 30,000 volumes which he donated to the Cornell University Library. Burr served as the librarian/curator of the White collection and Professor of History at Cornell. He was an authority on the witchcraft trials and was editor of Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-1706. He was President of the American Historical Association in 1916. The envelope is interesting in that it was a souvenir for the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY but was mailed from Buffalo in 1911. It is marked "Personal". I'm putting together a philatelic exhibit titled "Libraries in 20th Century America" and this envelope will make a nice addition to the exhibit.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Exhibits for National Library Week

Library of Congress exhibit at Hartford, WI library
Wisconsin library memorabilia exhibit at Suring, WI library
One of the more enjoyable activities in my efforts to promote library history is displaying portions of my collection of librariana at libraries around Wisconsin. I do this under the auspices of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. This year the exhibits are being displayed at fourteen different public libraries around the state. To help celebrate National Library Week which runs from April 13 to April 19 exhibits will be on display for the month of April at two very different public libraries - the Jack Russell Memorial Library in Hartford, WI and the Suring Area Public Library in Suring, WI. The Hartford library is located in the southeastern part of the state and serves more than 30,000 people and and occupies a large new facility. The Suring library is located in northeastern Wisconsin and serves about 3,800 people and is housed in a joint use facility with several other village departments. The exhibit at the Hartford library features memorabilia and souvenirs for the Library of Congress.  The exhibit occupies a small display case prominently located in the front of the circulation desk. The exhibit at the Suring library features memorabilia for Wisconsin libraries. The Suring library has four nice display cases located in the lobby of the joint use facility and the cases were large enough to display a significant portion of my Wisconsin library memorabilia collection.  My wife Kathy helps me with the exhibits and we had a wonderful early Spring drive up North to Suring which still had lots of snow and lakes frozen enough to support cars and trucks for ice fishers. Our exhibits are available to libraries on a first come first serve basis regardless of size and we have had exhibits at the metropolitan Milwaukee Public Library and at libraries in communities even smaller than Suring. Every library has a different display case configuration which represents an interesting challenge each time we install the exhibits. The exhibits are always appreciated by the libraries and their users which makes it all worth while.