Tuesday, August 2, 2011

James D. Roberts and the Mt. Pleasant Library (Beech Settlement, Rush County, Indiana)

James D. Roberts was the earliest known African American male librarian to work in the state of Indiana. Although not formally trained, Mr. Roberts served as the first librarian of the Mt. Pleasant Library in Rush County from 1842 until 1843.  In operation from 1842 until 1867, the library was located inside the Mt. Pleasant A.M.E. Church and served the citizens of Rush County’s Beech Settlement. The Beech Settlement was a community settled by free African Americans who came North to Indiana from the southern United States.

Sources: O'Bryan, Ann. "Mt. Pleasant Library: Reading among African Americans in 19th Century Rush County." Black History News & Notes No. 102 (2005): 3-7. Print. ; Gibbs, Wilma L. "Mount Pleasant Library (Rush County, Ind.) Records, 1842-1869." Manuscript and Visual Collections Department, William Smith Memorial Library, Indiana Historical Society. Indiana Historical Society, 2 Dec. 2004. Web. 27 Feb. 2011. ; Vincent, Stephen A. Southern Seed, Northern , Soil: African-American Farm Communities in the Midwest, 1765-1900. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1999. 70-72, 75-76, 82, 105, 150, 159-161, 186, 195, 197, 219. Print. ; Thornbrough, Emma Lou. The Negro in Indiana: A Study of a Minority. Indianapolis : Indiana Historical Bureau, 1957. 171. Print.

Update 03/19/2013:

The Indiana Historical Society has digitized a copy of the records of the Mt. Pleasant Library. Click on the link below to view:


The Indiana Historical Society has also digitized a copy of the library's minute book:


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