Tuesday, June 30, 2015
The American Library Association is concluding a successful conference in San Francisco today. I have a postcard (see above) in my collection that is related to a previous ALA conference in California. The postcard announces the travel arrangements for the 1911 ALA Conference in Pasadena, California. It was mailed on March 2, 1911. A report on the train trip to the conference and the sessions of the conference appeared in the June issue of the magazine Public Libraries. The train trip included a two day stay at the Grand Canyon. "A number of the men properly garbed went down to the river's brink afoot and tried to look happy over it during the next 36 hours, likewise did those who rode the mules. Less active persons sat and gazed for hours at the changing colors of the gorges, chasms and peaks , heedless of the lobster pink the open air bestowed on their faces." James Wyer, President of the Association and Director of the New York State Library, was unable to attend the conference because of a tragedy at the State Library. On March 29, 1911, a fire destroyed most of the library and its collection. On a happier note at the conference, ALA elected the first woman as president. As stated in Public Libraries: "Mrs. Theresa West Elmendorf, the first woman to be honored by the association with its presidency, comes into the office by right of achievement greater than that of any other woman in the library field and of an equal grade with that of any man. Her wholesome, sympathetic attitude toward library work and workers has been a distinct contribution to the craft and her freedom from personal ambition has made her a valuable aid in developing the power of the A. L. A. Her election to the presidency is a well-earned, a well-deserved honor, marking an epoch in which the A. L. A. honored itself in honoring her." Elmendorf was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 1908.