Friday, March 30, 2012

Deaderick and Rothrock, Uncommon Women

Both Rothrock and Deaderick were directors of this library.
Looking back over my library career I feel fortunate to have met and come to know many exceptional library people. Since this is Women's History Month I thought I would close it with a post about a couple of those exceptional people who happen to be women. After I was released in 1969 from a military obligation that had interrupted my library career, I managed to land a job as Director of the Clinch-Powell Regional Library System located in East Tennessee.   The library system consisted of six rural counties in Appalachia and I was the only public librarian with a library degree in the six counties. Feeling a little isolated I sought out connections with librarians in the nearby Knoxville urban area. It was through this effort that I met Lucile Deaderick (1914-2006) who had recently taken the position of Director of the Knox County Public Library. Tennessee had twelve multi-county regional library systems and four metropolitan county library systems. The directors of all of these library systems met quarterly with the state library staff in Nashville. For one of those meetings Lucile invited me to ride with her and a friend. The friend turned out to be Mary Utopia Rothrock (1890-1976), a pioneer in rural public library development and former Librarian for the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Rothrock was also a former President of the American Library Association (1946-47). While Lucile and I were in meetings Rothrock conducted research at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. This trip was a memorable one for a young librarian embarking on a library career. Thinking about that trip I did some online searching and came across an online article about Lucile Deaderick in Metro Pulse written by Jack Neely shortly after her death in 2006. Neely used the phrase "An Uncommon Life" in the title of his article about Deaderick.  In addition to a varied library career which included a stint as editor of the A.L.A. Bulletin, Deaderick and a friend operated a small farm for a number of years. Read Neely's article to learn more about her "uncommon life". Both Deaderick and Rothrock were strong individuals who chartered their own courses. Both were also historians which makes their story even more appropriate for Women's History Month.  

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