Monday, September 28, 2015

New York’s Library Week 1902

Library week in New York began not as a public celebration of libraries but as a week long retreat and conference for librarians. The week was sponsored by the New York Library Association which was founded in 1890 with the encouragement of Melvil Dewey. Initially the weeklong conference was held annually at Dewey’s Lake Placid Club in the Adirondacks. I have in my collection of postal librariana an envelope and a brochure announcing Library Week for 1902 which was held on September 20-29 of that year (113 years ago this week). They were mailed to Miss Mary Medlicott, Reference Librarian for the Springfield (MA) City Library. The content of the small brochure indicates that: “The meeting is planned to give opportunity not only for help and encouragement in library work, but for renewal of health and strength.” It further states: “The Association specially wishes to gather all New York library folk at this meeting, but all persons interested in library work, whether as trustees, librarians or assistants, whether inside or outside New York, are cordially welcome during Library Week to share its work and pleasure.” After Melvil Dewey and the Lake Placid Club fell out of favor for practices of discrimination, the week was held elsewhere. I have written previously about New York Library Week in another blog post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Boston’s Congregational Library

This blog post, like many on this blog, began with my acquisition of an artifact related to the history of a library. In this case the library is Boston’s Congregational Library or more specifically the Congregational Library and Archives of the American Congregational Association. The artifact is a stampless folded letter that is an announcement of a meeting of the Congregational Library Association mailed on April 16, 1853. The original name of the American Congregational Association was the Congregational Library Association. What makes this example of postal librariana special is that it was mailed before the official founding of the Congregational Library Association/American Congregational Association on May 25, 1853. The association was founded “for the purpose of establishing and perpetuating a library of religious history and literature of New England, and for the erection of a suitable building for the accommodation of the same, and for the use of charitable societies.” The founders of the association felt that such a library should be created to preserve the original Puritan literature. The announcement in the letter indicates that the discussion at the meeting will be about the section of the library related to Ecclesiastical History. The other two sections of the library were Biblical Literature and Systematic Theology. More about the Congregational Library can be found on the library’s website and on Wikipedia.