Thursday, October 6, 2016
One hundred and forty years ago today the American Library Association was created in Philadelphia, PA. Below are some links to online exhibits that help celebrate this milestone in the history of ALA.
Celebrating the Organizers - 140 Years of Library Conference Planners in Letters and Images at the ALA Archives
Pinterest - ALA 140th Anniversary (American Libraries magazine)
Highlights in the History of the American Library Association - Library History Buff website
Previous LHBB posts about the American Library Association
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
I’ve recently added a name badge for R. L. Walkley (Raymond L. Walkley) at the American Library Association conference in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1918 to my collection of librariana. The ALA conference ran from July 1 to July 6 and had 620 attendees. It’s nice to be able to tie a library artifact to a specific librarian. Walkley served as Assistant Librarian of the Minneapolis Public Library from 1914-1920. He took a leave from MPL to serve in ALA’s Library War Service in 1917-1918. Obviously a major topic of discussion at the 1918 conference was the war effort of ALA. The 1918 conference hotel was the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs. Walkley later served as Librarian of Tufts College. See some other early ALA conference name badges HERE.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
As those who follow this blog know, I collect library related envelopes (called covers by collectors) of all types. My largest collection of these envelopes consists of those which have actually been sent either to or from libraries. I also collect envelopes, however, that have been specially created for collectors to celebrate the issuance of a new stamp (first day covers) or to celebrate a special event. I have recently acquired a collection of envelopes that were created by Joshua McGee to celebrate the centennials of libraries. So far McGee has created envelopes for 25 libraries and plans to continue creating them in the future. I’m impressed by the effort McGee, a non-librarian, has undertaken to create the envelopes. The envelope shown above is an example that features the Paulding County Carnegie Library in Paulding, OH which was established on March 3, 1916. After research to identify the centennial date of establishment for the library, McGee had to design the envelope, add appropriate stamps, and get the envelope to the post office in Paulding, OH to postmark the envelope on the date of establishment. I especially like the use of the 1982 America’s Libraries postage stamp, one of my favorites. McGee only creates six envelopes for each library. He sends one of the envelopes as a gift to the library and keeps one for himself. The other four are available for sale on eBay or by subscription which is how I acquired my collection. The creation of the library centennial envelopes and other illustrated envelopes is a sideline for McGee who is a software engineer. All of the library centennial envelopes are shown on McGee’s website and more information about each library can be found by clicking on the images of the envelope.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
If you’ve ever attended a library conference the odds are that you’ve brought home a few of the pinback buttons that vendors give away in the exhibits. I have an enormous library button collection that I’ve accumulated at library conferences and which have been given to me by other collectors. Below are a few buttons from my collection related to the American Library Association. More examples from my collection can be found HERE.
Monday, July 25, 2016
|Boston Mercantile Library, 1823|
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I’ve written several previous posts about Melvil Dewey and his Lake Placid Club. I’m writing another one because of the acquisition of a postcard mailed to Florence Woodworth at the Lake Placid Club in 1903 (see above). Florence Woodworth was one of the female librarians who were closely associated with Dewey throughout his life. Woodworth first came into contact with Dewey as one of the students at the library school he established at Columbia University and which was later moved to the New York State Library in Albany, NY. Woodworth was employed at the New York State Library in several capacities and held the title of Director’s Assistant for a number of years. She was a boarder in the home of Dewey and his wife in Albany. One of her special assignments included serving as one of the librarians for the Woman’s Library at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. She was also in charge of creating the ALA exhibit at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Woodworth was a regular guest at the Lake Placid Club created by Dewey and his wife in Lake Placid, New York. Note that the postcard above is addressed to Morningside, NY which is the name that Dewey gave to the side of Lake Placid where the club was located. Woodworth was a stock holder in the Lake Placid Company, and I have a fragment of a share of stock in the Company held by her (see below). Someone evidently cut out the fragment for Dewey’s signature. An interesting account of the history of Lake Placid can be found on this website. In his biography of Dewey Irrepressible Reformer (ALA, 1996) Wayne A. Wiegand provides an excellent account of the creation and workings of the Lake Placid Club and the Lake Placid Company.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
|Denver Public Library|
|Jefferson Building, Library of Congress|
|Riverside, CA Public Library|
|Handley Library, Winchester, VA|
|Boston Public Library|
Friday, June 24, 2016
|Early Harvard College Library catalog card|
|Catalog card from a small Wisconsin public library|
Monday, June 6, 2016
In a previous blog post I claimed to have the world’s largest collection of overdue notices on postal cards. Postal cards are the pre-stamped cards sold by the post office which were first issued in 1873. I also wrote posts about possibly the oldest (December, 1873) and second oldest (May,1874) overdue notices mailed on postal cards. I now have another contender for the second oldest overdue notice mailed on a postal card. It was mailed by the Boston Public Library on February 5, 1874, and is shown above and to the left. The postal card itself was printed for use in 1873 but the “3” has been struck out and replaced with a “4”. It is an especially elaborate overdue notice citing the library’s rules about overdue books in their entirety. The library staff member taking ownership for sending the overdue notice was Edward Capen, Keeper of the Lower Halls. The postal card notes that, “In charging yearly several hundred thousand volumes to borrowers, the utmost precaution will not prevent an occasional mistake; and borrowers are particularly requested to notify the Superintendent promptly of any errors on the Library’s part.” Although Edward Capen is listed on the postal card as the "Keeper of the Lower Halls" he had been appointed as the first "Librarian" of the Boston Public Library in 1852 by the Boston City Council and continued to officially hold this designation until 1874. In 1858 a position designated as "Superintendent" was created over the "Librarian" position. The first Superintendent was Charles Coffin Jewett. Although the overdue notice was not mailed on a postal card, I have in my collection of librariana an overdue notice mailed on Jan. 7, 1832 by the Sir P. Dun's Library in Dublin, Ireland.
Friday, June 3, 2016
Monday, May 16, 2016
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
|Calvert County, Prince Frederick, MD|
|Four County Library, Binghamton, NY|
|Henderson County, Athens, TX|
|Mercer County, Trenton, NJ|
|Bucks County, Doylestown, PA|
Sunday, April 10, 2016
Today is the first day of National Library Week with a national theme of “Libraries Transform”. In 1957 the National Book Committee, a joint committee of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, recommended the establishment of a National Library Week. The first National Library Week was observed May 16-22, 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read". It has continued every year since 1958. In 1974, the American Library Association became the sole sponsor of the event. Libraries and other organization that used meter postage machines for their mail were able to add slogans for special events such as National Library Week. Below are some examples of these slogans for previous National Library Week campaigns.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
This past weekend I displayed a major revision of my philatelic exhibit about the Library of Congress at the Saint Louis Stamp Expo. I was rewarded with a gold medal and the Best Display Exhibit award. Display exhibits are those that include non-philatelic as well as philatelic elements in the exhibit, usually ephemera related to the topic of the exhibit. The items in the exhibit are mounted on ninety-six 8 1/2 by 11 inch pages displayed in special exhibit frames. I’ve been collecting philatelic and other items related to the Library of Congress for more than twenty years. Of particular significance in the exhibit are those items that document the role that mail played in the operations of the Library of Congress. I will also be displaying the exhibit at the Danepex stamp show in Madison on April 10, the first day of National Library Week, and later in the month at Wiscopex in Fond du Lac, WI. I will also show it in a couple of other national level shows later this year. This is my thirteenth year of displaying library related exhibits at stamp shows. Although my primary impetus for exhibiting at stamp shows has been the promotion and appreciation of library history, I’ve been delighted to have my efforts recognized in a positive way by the philatelic community.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
I recently came across a packet of correspondence related to uniform problems of a worker in the WWI ALA Library War Service. The 1918 correspondence involved Alvin W. Clark at the Camp Sevier South Carolina Library, the ALA Library War Service Headquarters in Washington, DC, and the contractor engaged by ALA to provide uniforms. The gist of the matter relates to the fact that Clark was entitled to two pairs of breeches for his uniform and he only received one pair. Further, the measurements for the first pair were not satisfactory, and finally according to Clark the leggings he received “have now become creased or wrinkled in two or three places and consequently they look bad”. Poor guy. The letter above from LWS Executive Director George B. Utley, who was simultaneously ALA’s Executive Director, advises Clark of how he can correct his problems. Interesting example of the practical logistics involved in the operation of ALA’s Library War Service.
Friday, March 11, 2016
Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford who served from 1864 to 1897 was the first librarian to select and purchase books. Formerly this had been done by the members of the Congressional Joint Committee on the Library. In the letter above dated May 15, 1875 Spofford negotiates the purchase of a book for the library's collection. Spofford writes to M.M. Jones of Utica, NY: " A French gentleman of this city informs me that you have 2 copies of the "New York Balloting Book" folio 1825 which you offer at $5 each. My informant not wishing to purchase asked if this Library world make the purchase for its shelves. If you will send a copy of the work with bill of the same at $5 the amount will be promptly submitted." It is extraordinary that Spofford with so many demands on his time would engage in a transaction involving a single book. Spofford is writing on stationery of the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. The responsibility for copyright had been transferred to the Library in 1870. This letter which is part of my collection will be included in a philatelic exhibit that I'm working on about the Library of Congress.