Thursday, December 5, 2013

John Edmands (1820-1915), Philadelphia Librarian

The Mercantile Library Company of Philadelphia which was the topic of my previous post was led by its Librarian John Edmands from 1856 to 1901, a total of 45 years. He was made Librarian Emeritus in 1901 and continued to be active in the affairs of the library until his death in 1915. I have in my collection the 1915 annual report of the Mercantile Library which includes a tribute to the contributions of Edmands. The photograph of Edmands in the reading room of the Mercantile Library shown above is from that report. When Edmands became Librarian the collection totaled 13,000 volumes. At his retirement the collection totaled 185,000 volumes. Edmands was a founding member of the American Library Association in 1876 and served as its Vice President at one point. He developed a system for classifying books for the Mercantile Library in 1882 which grouped books by subject.

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