Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reuben's Library

Reuben's Library is the Library of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Reuben is Reuben A. Guild (1822-1899), Librarian of Brown from 1848 to 1893. A librarian acquaintance who knew of my interest in both library history and philately alerted me yesterday to a philatelic event that will be held at the Brown University Library on February 2, 2010. It will be part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Rhode Island Philatelic Society. I recalled that I had a few items in my postal librariana collection relating to the Library and after a brief search I found them. Two of the items were letters from Reuben Guild to Reverend George W. Anderson, who was the editor for at least two of Guild's books. Both of the letters were written in 1885, the year that the Rhode Island Philatelic Society was founded, and one was written on January 23, 125 years ago today. I checked the biography of Guild written by Jonathan S. Tryon in the Dictionary of American Library Biography (Libraries Unlimited, 1978) and was very impressed with what I found. Guild became Librarian at Brown at the age of 26. At the beginning of his tenure he had an assistant but from 1860 to 1877, according to Tryon, he ran the library by himself. During that period he helped plan a new library building which opened in 1878. Guild then developed a new cataloging system and personally cataloged 48,000 volumes between 1878 and his retirement in 1893. On the national scene, Guild was present at the first national meeting of librarians in 1853 and was one of three secretaries, along with Melvil Dewey, at the conference in 1876 where the American Library Association was founded. Tryon's article in the DALB paints a picture of a man of boundless energy who was highly regarded by the students at the University. In short, someone who makes you proud to be a librarian. For information on the philatelic event being held at the Library on February 2, click HERE. More on the history of the Library can be found HERE.

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