Monday, February 2, 2009
Librarians' Convention of 1853
The first national meeting of America's librarians took place in New York City in 1853. A major player in putting this meeting together was Charles B. Norton, a bookman, bookstore proprietor, agent for libraries, and publisher of Norton's Literary Gazette. Norton used the Gazette to promote an association of librarians and to issue a call to a Convention of Librarians to take place in September of 1853 in New York. Charles Coffin Jewett, Librarian of the Smithsonian Institution, was designated as president of the convention. Although plans were made to create a permanent association, those plans did not come to fruition and it was another 23 years before librarians came together for another national meeting. The envelope/cover above was mailed by Norton, six years after the 1853 meeting. Coverage of the convention in the Gazette can be found in Google Books here and in the Internet Archive here. George Burwell Utley's The Librarians' Conference of 1853 published by the American Library Association in 1951 is a major source of information on the meeting.