In 1927, Susan Dart Butler (1888-1959), the daughter of Rev. John Lewis and Julia Pierre Dart, established the Dart Hall Library for the African American citizens of Charleston, South Carolina. The library was located in a room in Dart Hall which was formerly used as the printing office for the newspaper, The Southern Reporter. Prior to his death, Ms. Butler's father, Rev. John Lewis Dart, was the editor and owner of the newspaper.
The Dart Hall Library became a branch of the Charleston Free Library in 1931. Ms. Butler, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, served as the branch's manager from 1931 until her retirement in 1957. She passed away in 1959.
Susan Dart Butler was the wife of Nathaniel Lowe Butler, Sr. whom she married in 1912. Ms. Butler attended the Avery Normal Institute, Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University), the McDowell Millinery School, and the Hampton Institute Library School (Hampton Institute is now Hampton University).
Ethel Evangeline Martin Bolden, a 1959 graduate of the Atlanta University Library School, wrote her Master's thesis on Susan Dart Butler. Ms. Bolden was responsible for establishing the first elementary school library in Columbia, South Carolina for African American students. Ms. Bolden's thesis is now available online through the efforts of the University of South Carolina (click on the link below to access):
Sources: Lee, Dan R. "From Segregation to Integration: Library Services for Blacks in South Carolina, 1923-1962." Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship. Ed. John Mark Tucker. Champaign: Board of Trustees of the U of I, 1998. 95. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South, or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 61. 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. 20-30. Print. ; Walker, Lillie S. "Black Librarians in South Carolina." The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 90-93. Print. ; Josey, E.J. "Foreword." Educating Black Librarians: Papers from the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the School of Library and Information Science, North Carolina Central University. Jefferson: McFarland, 1991. x-xi. Print. ; "Susan E. Dart." United States Census, 1900. FamilySearch.org, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. ; "Ethel Bolden Papers, ca. 1900-2002." University of South Carolina, University Libraries, South Caroliniana Library. University of South Carolina, 24 Aug. 2007. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. ; "Ethel Martin Bolden." South Carolina African American History Calendar, Mar. 2004: n.pag. Web. 23 Jan. 2011. ; "AKA Honors Ethel Bolden." Columbia Star. Columbia Star, 30 Mar. 2007. Web. 12 Dec. 2010. ; Haith, Dorothy M. "The Southeastern Black School Librarian." The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 90-229. Print. ; Bolden, Ethel Evangeline Martin. "Susan Dart Butler: Pioneer Librarian." MS thesis. Atlanta University, 1959. Pdf.