Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fremont Rider, Editor-Publisher-Academic Librarian-Dewey Biographer

Yesterday was the 125th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Fremont Rider (1885-1962). I didn't want to let this anniversary pass without some acknowledgement of Rider's contribution to librarianship. Although Rider is often linked to his well known mentor Melvil Dewey, his own achievements are exceptional. They are well recorded in the Dictionary of American Biography (Libraries Unlimited, 1978) by Wyman W. Parker. Rider attended the New York State Library School (1907) founded by Dewey and then worked with Dewey at the Lake Placid Club on a Revision of Dewey's Decimal System. There followed a very successful career in publishing. He didn't actually start his library career until 1933 when he became Librarian of Wesleyan University Library in Middletown, Connecticut. Although a history of the Olin Memorial Library at Wesleyan omits any mention of Rider, he was responsible for expanding the size of the library's collection from 174,000 volumes to 389,000 volumes during his 20 year career at the library. To help deal with this growth in the collection, Rider implemented a somewhat controversial compact book storage system which sometimes involved shaving off parts of books. Rider was the inventor of the microcard, another device created to deal with the growth of academic libraries. This article in the Association of Research Libraries Newsletter goes into more detail in regard to Rider's contribution to academic libraries. Rider was the founder of the Godfrey Memorial Library, a genealogical research library. He was also the creator of the American Genealogical-Biographical Index. Back to Melvil Dewey. In 1944 Rider's highly favorable biography of Melvil Dewey was published by the American Library Association.

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