Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hiram E. Deats (1870-1963) of New Jersey Revisited

I have written two previous posts about Hiram E. Deats (click HERE and HERE), but a recent addition to my postal librariana collection (shown above) has prompted me to write another. The reason I am so interested in Deats is that he played a prominent role in both the library world and the philatelic world, two of my passions. Deats was a true "Renaissance man". A farmer by vocation, he was a prolific collector of stamps, coins, bookplates, and books. He held key offices in national organizations that promoted these collecting interests. His interest in libraries led him to become the first president of the Flemington (NJ) Library Association, a predecessor to the Flemington Free Public Library. The postal card above is addressed to Deats at the Flemington Library Association. The postal card which was mailed on March 6, 1905 is an acknowledgement for his payment to The Publishers' Weekly for subscriptions (including Library Journal) for himself and for Elizabeth Van Liew, the first librarian of the Flemington Library Association. It was good that Deats paid for Liew's $2 subscription to Library Journal since she only received $1 per week as salary. Deats served as President of the New Jersey Library Association in 1909-1910. He donated the land for the first Flemington Free Public Library building. The Hiram E. Deats Reference Library, a genealogical library, in Doric House in Flemington, NJ is named for him. I also have a page on the Library History Buff website with more information about Deats.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Brooklyn Naval YMCA Library

The Brooklyn Branch of the Naval Young Mens Christian Association in Brooklyn, NY was established in 1899. It was the first permanent branch of the Naval YMCA and was located near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The establishment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard YMCA Branch grew out of the work of the YMCA in providing services to soldiers and sailors in the 1898 Spanish-American War. One of the services provided at the Navy Yard YMCA Branch was a library. The YMCA involvement in providing library services to the military dated back to the Civil War and the work of the U.S. Christian Commission (see previous post). The YMCA also provided library services to the military along the U.S./Mexican border in 1916 and during World War I. I have two postcards in my collection that show sailors using the Library. The postcard above was mailed to Iowa on January 4, 1910. The postcard below was mailed on September 26, 1904 to Germany, and the message on the postcard is written in German. The message on the 1904 postcard was written on the picture side of the postcard. Prior to March 1, 1907 only the address could appear on the address side of the postcard. A third postcard (shown below) depicts the Naval YMCA building which was located on Sands Street in Brooklyn. The building which was a gift of philanthropists Miss Helen Miller Gould and Mrs. Russell Sage included a full range of services in addition to the Library. The Naval YMCA Branch was closed in 1964. The building has been converted into condominiums.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Library Service to Native Americans

This post is prompted by my acquisition of an original photograph (shown above) which depicts a bookmobile/traveling library on a Southwestern United States Indian reservation circa 1940s. A hand written caption on the back of the photograph reads: "Indian Day School and Traveling Library supplied by the govt. through the Indian Service." The signage on the bookmobile reads U.S.I.S. Traveling Library. The Indian Service became the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1947. There is no indication of the exact location of the school and bookmobile. It appears from the photograph that some sort of event has just taken place. The bookmobile could take the prize in an ugly bookmobile contest. Let's hope that the books inside were more attractive. The windows on the bookmobile are probably and indication that it was a converted bus of some kind. Library service to Native Americans and the education of children on reservations is an uneven story at best. The Summer 2000 issue of Library Trends contains an article by Lotsee Patterson titled "History and Status of Native Americans in Librarianship" which is online. There's a fairly good overview of American Indian boarding schools which preceded reservation day schools on Wikipedia. I have a previous post on the Carlisle Indian School Library in Pennsylvania. The American Indian Library Association (AILA) was formed in 1979 as a result of the awareness that library services to Native Americans were inadequate. The AILA is affiliated with ALA and will have a meeting on January 26 at the ALA conference in Philadelphia. Tribal libraries have benefited greatly from Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Library and Information Studies sponsors the Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums Project (TLAM) which brings "indigenous information topics to LIS education through service-learning, networking, and resource sharing with Wisconsin’s tribal cultural institutions."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Robert Wedgeworth and ALA

Robert Wedgeworth served as Executive Director of the American Library Association from 1972-1985. His tenure at ALA followed that of David Clift who had served from 1951-1972. A biography on the ALA website says this about Wedgeworth's accomplishments as Executive Director: "Assuming the leadership of ALA during a turbulent period of internal strife, he led the effort to democratize the Association and gave it new visibility and credibility nationally and internationally. Under his leadership the Association grew from 28,000 members to over 40,000. He developed a new Headquarters building in a joint venture that more than doubled the value of its property and produced a $3 million windfall profit in 1999. With the demise of the National Book Committee, Wedgeworth negotiated with the publishing industry to bring the National Library Week program to the ALA. It quickly became a nationally visible marketing tool and the third major revenue source for the Association." I have a couple of artifacts in my librariana collection related to Wedgeworth. The first (shown above) is a metal admissions ticket to a reception in honor of Wedgeworth at the 104th Annual Conference of ALA in Chicago on July 6 1985 at the Chicago Public Library. The second (shown below) is a First Day Cover for the America's Libraries postage stamp that was issued on July 13, 1982 at the ALA Conference in Philadelphia. Wedgeworth along with then ALA President Betty Stone signed the cover. The signed First Day Covers were available for sale for $3 and according to an article in American Libraries they sold like hotcakes. After leaving ALA Wedgeworth became Dean of the School of Library Service at Columbia University and later served as University Librarian and Professor of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Early in his library career Wedgeworth was one of the librarians who helped staff ALA's "Library-21" exhibit at the Seattle World's Fair in 1962. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Multiview Postcards With Libraries

Ft. Wayne, IN. Public Library
is right center.
A multiview postcard is a postcard with a collage of more than one photograph or illustration. These postcards often illustrate multiple views of buildings in a community, on an academic campus, or in other entities such as a military base. I'm, of course, interested in multiview postcards that include an image of a library among the views. That libraries are included in these multiview postcards is an indication of their significance to the community or campus. Multiview postcards represent a small percentage of all postcards, probably less than two percent. In the universe of library postcards, multiview postcards represent a similar small percentage. In my collection of more than twothousand library postcards, I only have a couple of dozen multiview postcards. I've included some of my favorites in this post. To see more click HERE.

Buck Memorial Library (upper left) Bucksport, ME.

Cornell University Library (lower left), Ithaca, NY

Camp Lee, VA during WWI. ALA Library in Center

Sunday, January 5, 2014

ALA and the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle

As I've written previously the American Library Association had a penchant for holding its conferences in conjunction with world fairs. It has also sponsored exhibits at other world fairs including the 1962 world's fair in Seattle, Washington. The official name for the 1962 fair was "The Century 21 Exposition" and ALA appropriately named its exhibit "Library-21". The exhibit was designed to highlight technology in the future of libraries, and it featured a state of the art Sperry-Rand Univac Computer. The exhibit ran from April 21 to October 21, 1962. I was prompted to do some Internet based research on the ALA exhibit after I added the microcard (shown above) produced by The Microcard Corportation to my librariana collection. A digital copy of an article about the exhibit in the ALA Bulletin for March, 1962 is available on the Seattle Public Library's website. ALA has a nice overview of the exhibit with some good links on its website. I was pleased to discover that ALA has added quite a bit of information about its history to its website. I have also put together a digital history of ALA on my Library History Buff website featuring items from my collection.