Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ALA's Boston Homecoming

When the American Library Association meets in Boston later this week for its Midwinter Meeting it will be a homecoming for the Association. During the early years of ALA, the offices of the Association were wherever the unpaid elected secretary of ALA was located. From 1876 to 1890 this was Melvil Dewey. Dewey provided free space for the Association in his Library Bureau offices at 32 Hawley Street in Boston. On April 22, 1905, ALA opened an office at 10 1/2 Beacon Street in Boston. Edward C. Hovery was hired as the first paid executive officer. On September 1, 1906 the office was moved to 34 Newbury Street, Boston. The envelope shown above was mailed from 10 1/2 Beacon Street in 1906. It contained the final announcement for ALA's Narragansett Pier Conference. ALA's second annual conference occurred in Boston in 1879. The first was in New York in 1877 and there was no conference in 1878. International library leaders were invited to the 1879 Boston conference including Sir Anthony Panizzi of the British Museum. None actually attended but Panizzi sent his chair and table to the conference and they were used by the officers of ALA. ALA moved its offices to Chicago in 1909 where they have remained ever since. More on the history of ALA can be found HERE.

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