Friday, July 29, 2011

Fannie C. Porter and the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library

Fannie C. Porter was the earliest known African American librarian to work at the Evansville Public Library (now Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library).  Although not formally trained, Ms. Porter began her brief career at the Evansville Public Library on June 15, 1914. Initially she was trained by staff at the West Branch of the library system but was later sent to study for six weeks as an apprentice under Rev. Thomas Fountain Blue, director of the Western Colored Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library in Louisville, Kentucky. Upon completion of her training, Fannie Porter was appointed librarian of the Cherry Street Branch (Colored Branch) of the Evansville Public Library where she remained until her resignation in April 1915. Ms. Porter was succeeded by Lillian Sunshine Haydon Childress Hall. Ms. Hall was the earliest known formally trained African American librarian to work in Indiana and the first African American graduate of the Indiana Public Library Commission Summer School for Librarians (later Indiana State Library Summer School for Librarians).

See related posts: Article on Evansville, Indiana's Former African America Library Branch and Librarian Education: Louisville Free Public Library.

Sources: "Personals." Library Occurrent 3.12 (1914): 204. Print. ; Evansville Public Library. Second Annual Report, 1914. Evansville, IN: Evansville Public Library, 1915. 12. Print.; Evansville Public Library. Third Annual Report, 1915. Evansville, IN: Evansville Public Library, 1915. 12. Print.; Spradling, Mary Mace. "Black Librarians in Kentucky." The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, and Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 40. Print.; Jones, Reinette F. Library Services to African Americans in Kentucky: From the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s. Jefferson: McFarland, 2006. 53-55. Print.; Jordan, Casper LeRoy. "African American Forerunners in Librarianship." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva L. DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 28-29. Print.; Du Mont, Rosemary Ruhig and William Caynon. "Education of Black Librarians." Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Ed. Allen Kent. Vol. 45, suppl. 10. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1990. 111. Print. ; Fenton, Michele T. "Way Down Yonder at the Cherry Street Branch: A Short History of Evansville's Negro Library." Indiana Libraries 30.2 (2011): 37-38. Print. ; Blue, Thomas F. "Work with the Negro Round Table." The Southern Workman 51.9 (1922): 437-438. Print.

Update 04/18/2014:

Fannie C. Porter is briefly mentioned in an article I wrote about Lillian Haydon Childress Hall (1899-1958). The article was published in the latest issue of Indiana Libraries (v. 33, no. 1 ). Click on the link below to access:

Fenton, Michele T. "Stepping Out on Faith: Lillian Haydon Childress Hall, Pioneer Black Librarian." Indiana Libraries 33.1(2014): 5-11. Print.


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