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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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lillian Sunshine Haydon Childress Hall:Pioneer in the History of Library Services to African Americans in Indiana

Born in 1889 in Louisville, Kentucky, Lillian Sunshine Haydon Childress Hall is the earliest known African American to receive a formal library science education in Indiana. In addition, Ms. Hall was the first African American graduate of the Indiana Public Library Commission Summer School for Librarians (later the Indiana State Library Summer School for Librarians), receiving her certificate on July 24, 1915.

She began her career at the Cherry Street Branch Library (1915-1921) of the Evansville Public Library (now Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library). Ms. Hall later became the first branch manager of the Indianapolis Public Library's Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch (1921-1927) and the first head librarian of its Crispus Attucks Branch (1927-1956). 

Hall also served as president of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Indianapolis. During the Conference of Public Librarians held in 1947 at Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University), Ms. Hall gave a lecture, “Administrative Methods Which Tend Towards Better Services in the Combination School and Public Library.” After 41 years of library service, Ms. Hall retired in 1956. She passed away in 1958 and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her son, William H. Childress, Jr. (1911-1993), served one term as a representative in the Kentucky Commonwealth House of Representatives in the early 1960s.

See related posts: Article on Evansville, Indiana's Former African American Library Branch ; ALA History: 1928 Annual Conference of the American Library Association, West Baden, Indiana ; and The Flanner Guild Deposit Station, Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch, Crispus Attucks Branch, and the George Washington Carver Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library (Indianapolis, Indiana).

Update 4/18/2014:
I wrote an article on Lillian Haydon Childress Hall that was featured in the latest issue of Indiana Libraries (v. 33, no. 1). The link is below:

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

Update 12/06/2014:


In an article that was recently featured in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, there is a group picture of staff from the Indianapolis Public Library. According to the article, the picture was taken in April of 1948. Marian McFadden, director of the Indianapolis Public Library from 1945 until 1956, is standing in the center of the front row. Lillian Haydon Childress Hall is standing to the left of Marian McFadden (Hall is wearing a light-colored dress and a light-colored hat with lace on top).  The citation for the article is below  (the group picture is on page 16):

Peer, Jean. "Marian McFadden: Hoosier Librarian." Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History 26.4 (2014): 14-23. Print.

Update 9/03/2015:

The University Press of Kentucky recently published "The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia". This reference and history resource contains a plethora of information on the history of African Americans in Kentucky. Several famous African American librarians who worked in and/or were from Kentucky are mentioned in this book:  Thomas Fountain Blue, Rachel Davis Harris, and Lillian Haydon Childress Hall (I contributed the entry on Lillian Haydon Childress Hall).

Here is the citation for the encyclopedia:

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia. Eds. Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2015. Print.

You can learn more about the encyclopedia at the University Press of Kentucky website:

http://www.kentuckypress.com/live/title_detail.php?titleid=3264#.VekTfE5RHIU


Sources: Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library; Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library; "Summer School 1915." Library Occurrent 4.4 (1915): 51. Print. ; Evansville Public Library. Report of the Evansville Public Library for the Year Ending 1915. Evansville: Evansville Public Library, 1916. Print. ; "Personals." Library Occurrent 6.2 (1921): 89. Print. ; "Among Librarians." Library Journal 46.19 (1921): 912. Print. ; "News from the Field." Public Libraries 27.1 (1922): 68. Print. ; "News from the Field." Public Libraries 27.7 (1922): 458. Print. ; "District Meetings." Library Occurrent 6.10 (1923): 386. Print. ; "Personals." Library Occurrent 8.2 (1927): 66. Print. ; "News of Indiana Libraries." Library Occurrent 8.3 (1927): 118, 122. Print. ; Crispus Attucks High School Yearbook, 1928. Indianapolis: Crispus Attucks High School, 1929. 24. Print. ; Crispus Attucks High School Yearbook, 1929. Indianapolis: Crispus Attucks High School, 1930. 28. Print. ; Crispus Attucks High School Yearbook, 1956. Indianapolis: Crispus Attucks High School, 1957. 42. Print. ; Fleming, George James and Christian E. Burckel, ed. Who's Who in Colored America: An Illustrated Biographical Directory of Notable Living Persons of African Descent in the United States, 1950. 7th ed. New York: Burckel, 1950. 234. Print. ; Cole, D.E. Who's Who in Library Service: A Biographical Directory of Professional Librarians of the United States and Canada. 3rd ed. New York: Grolier Society, 1955. 195. Print.; Williamson, C.C. and Alice L. Jewett, ed. Who's Who in Library Service. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1933, 197. Print. ; NAACP. "Along the Color Line: Social Uplift." Crisis 11.1 (1915): 8. Print. ; "Tea Party Sunday to Fete 4 Retiring Librarians." Indianapolis Star 25 May 1956: 8. Print. ; "Mrs. Hall Succumbs; Ex-Attucks Librarian." Indianapolis Star 25 Apr. 1958: 23. Print. ; "Necrology." Library Journal 83.12 (1958): 1895. Print. ; Downey, Lawrence J. A Live Thing in the Whole Town: History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Carmel: Guild P of IN, 1991. 156-158, 160. Print. ; Warren, Stanley. Crispus Attucks High School: Hail to the Green, Hail to the Gold. Virginia Beach: Donning, 1998. 35. Print. ; Fenton, Michele T. "A Great Day in Indiana: the Legend of Lillian Childress Hall." Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. Newsletter 39.2 (2010): 5-6. Print. ; Fenton, Michele T. "Building Spotlight: The Cherry Street (African American) Branch of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County, IN Public Library." Library History Roundtable Newsletter 10.2 (2011):6. Print. ; McPheeters, Annie L. Library Service in Black and White: Some Personal Recollections, 1921-1980. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1988. 11. Print. ; Hall, Lillian Childress. "Devotional Study for Missionary Societies." World Call Apr. 1939: 38. 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. ; "Youth Movement to Hear Russell Berg." Indianapolis Recorder 18 Jan. 1936: 1. Print. ; Fenton, Michele T. "Stepping Out on Faith: Lillian Haydon Childress Hall, Pioneer Black Librarian." Indiana Libraries 33.1 (2014): 5-11. Print. ; Fenton, Michele T. "Hall, Lillian Haydon Childress." The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia. Eds. Gerald L. Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel, and John A. Hardin. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2015. 234. Print.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Amos Fortune and the Jaffrey Social Library

Amos Fortune, a former slave, helped found the Jaffrey Social Library of Jaffrey, New Hampshire in 1795.

Sources: “Yesterday in Negro History.” Jet 27.7 (1964): 15. Print. ; Dedication of the Clay Library Building at East Jaffrey, New Hampshire, Saturday, July 4, 1896. Concord: Republican, 1896. 34-42. Print.; “Amos Fortune (Citizen of Jaffrey).”  Freedom Train Theatre Works USA: A Study Guide. Keene: Colonial Theatre, 2008. 8-9. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2008. 10. Print. ; Marshall, A.P. “The Black Librarian’s Stride Toward Equality.” Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Durham: NCCU School of Library Service, 1980. 10. Print. ; Du Mont, Rosemary Ruhig and William Caynon. “Education of Black Librarians.” Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Ed. Kent Allen, Harold Lancour, and Jay Daily. Vol. 45, suppl. 10.  New York: Marcel Dekker, 1990. 110. Print. ; Ziyad, Dawud B. and George R. Johnson. “Amos Fortune and the Early American Library Movement.” The Negro History Bulletin 42.3 (July/Aug./Sept. 1979): 77-78. Print.

Friday, July 15, 2011

William Howard Day and the Cleveland Library Association

In 1854, William Howard Day (1825-1900) became the first African American to serve as librarian for the Cleveland Library Association, a subscription library organization in which members paid a fee to use its services. Mr. Day,  a graduate of Oberlin College, helped found Livingstone College (Salisbury, NC) and the African Aid Society. In addition, he was an abolitionist, the editor of the Cleveland True Democrat, editor of Zion's National Standard and Weekly Review, editor of the Aliened American, and in 1850 elected president of the National Board of Commissioners of the Colored People. Mr. Day passed away in 1900 at the age of 75. 

Sources: "Day, William Howard." Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University, 15, Jul. 1997. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. ; Mealy, Todd. "William Howard Day: A Mid-State Civil Rights Leader Forgotten by Time." Patriot-News 26 Feb. 2011. PennLive.com. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. ; Josey, E.J. "Foreword." Educating Black Librarians: Papers from the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the School of Library and Information Sciences, North Carolina Central University. Ed. Benjamin F. Speller, Jr. Jefferson: McFarland, 1991. vii. Print. ; Cramer, C.H. Open Shelves, Open Minds: A History of the Cleveland Public Library. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve U P, 1972. 4. Print. ; Dooley, Dennis. "C.H. 'Red' Cramer, Historian, 1902-1983." The Cleveland Arts Prize. The Cleveland Arts Prize, 2003. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. ; "Little Known Facts About Cleveland." Jet 7.3 (Nov. 25, 1954): 12. Print.

 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Marblehead Libraries

James H. Gregory, a native of Marblehead, Massachusetts, established the Marblehead Libraries in 1910. The Marblehead Libraries was a travelling library service to aide African Americans in the South.

See related posts: The Faith Cabin Libraries ; The Freedom Libraries.

Sources: Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 36-38. Print. ; Jones, Reinette. Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, from the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s.  Jefferson: McFarland, 2002. 64. Print. ; Jordan, Casper Leroy, and Josey, E.J. "A Chronology of Events in Black Librarianship." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva L. DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 5. Print. ; Dickerman, G.S. "The Marblehead Libraries." The Southern Workman 39 (Sept. 1910):490-500. Print.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Freedom Libraries

The Freedom Libraries were part of the Freedom Summer Project, a project designed to aid in the effort to secure voting rights and other services for African Americans in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Era.  Housed in churches, old buildings, and other facilities, the Freedom Libraries provided library services and literacy guidance for many African Americans, some who had never had access to libraries before the Freedom Summer Project. 

See related posts: The Faith Cabin Libraries and  The Marblehead Libraries.       
                
Sources: Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 133-135. Print. ; Davis, Donald G. and Cheryl Knott Malone. "Reading for Liberation: The Role of Libraries in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project." Untold Stories: Civil Rights, Libraries, and Black Librarianship. Ed. John Mark Tucker. Champaign: Board of Trustees of the U of Illinois, 1998. 110-125. Print. ; Sturkey, William. "'I Want to Become A Part of History': Freedom Summer, Freedom Schools, and the Freedom News."  Journal of African American History 95.3-4 (2010): 348-368. Print. ; Beal, Billie C. "Freedom Summer and the Integrating of the Meridian, Mississippi Public Library." Newsletter of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association 36.3 (2007): 1. Print. ; Heinze, Frederick W. "The Freedom Libraries: A Wedge in the Closed Society." Library Journal 90 (1965):1991-1993. Print. ; Bobinski, George S. Libraries and Librarianship: Sixty Years of Challenge and Change, 1945-2005. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2007. 98. Print.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Founder of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and Pioneer Black Librarian: Dr. E. J. Josey (1924-2009)

    Two years ago today, the library world lost an awesome pioneer and leader -- Dr. E. J. Josey (1924-2009). Josey, founder and first president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (he founded the organization in 1970), was a graduate of the State University of New York Library School in Albany. He was also a graduate of I.C. Norcum High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. Dr. Josey held various positions at the New York State Library, the New York Public Library, Columbia University, Delaware State College, and Savannah State University. Dr. Josey was also a professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s library school. In addition, he was the second African American president of the American Library Association and the first African American member of the Georgia Library Association. During his lifetime, Dr. Josey was very active in the library field, serving on various committees and in several organizations. Dr. Josey also published several books including, The Black Librarian in America, What Black Librarians Are Saying, The Black Librarian in America Revisited, and the first and second editions of The Handbook of Black Librarianship. Dr. Josey passed away on July 3, 2009.     

Update 04/26/2012:

  The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) recently published The 21st Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges in honor of Dr. Josey and his legacy.  This book is a compilation of essays on the challenges and changes faced by African American librarians in the 21st century. It's published by Scarecrow Press and is available from various booksellers including Amazon.

Sources: “Library Pioneer Dr. E.J. Josey Saluted During American Library Assn. Annual Confab.” Jet 88.10 (1995): 33. Print. ; “People.” Jet 56.2 (1979): 18. Print. ; “Librarians Group Elects E.J. Josey to Top Post.” Jet 64.24 (1983): 23. Print. ; “People.” Jet 45.11 (1973): 47. Print. ; “Racial Tension Seething in Library of Congress.” Jet 42.16 (1972): 46-47. Print. ; “Librarian Honored.” Jet 68.9 (1985): 22. Print. ; “Atlanta University Center Exhibition Hall Named for Dr. Virginia Lacy Jones.” Jet 68.16 (1985): 19. Print. ; “People.” Jet 58.22 (1980): 21. Print. ; “A Man Who Goes by the Books.” Ebony 40.9 (1985): 126, 128, 130. Print. ; Kniffel, Leonard. “To Be Black and A Librarian: Talking with E.J. Josey.” American Libraries 31.1 (2000): 80-82. Print. ; “Wilkins Scholarship Aid Goes to Seven Students.” Crisis 81.4 (1974): 138. Print. ; Josey, E.J. “A Dreamer with A Tiny Spark.” The Black Librarian in America. Ed. E.J. Josey. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1970. 297-324. Print. ; BCALA Newsletter 38.4 (2009). [Entire issue was devoted to Dr. Josey]. Print. ; Biblo, Lisa. “Black Caucus of the American Library Association: An Organization of Empowerment.” The Black Librarian in America Revisited. Ed. E.J. Josey.  Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1994. 324-337. Print.; Campbell, Lucy B. “Black Librarians in Virginia.” The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 130-132. Print. ; Berry, John and Norman Oder. “E.J. Josey, Legendary Activist, Librarian, and Leader, Dies at 85.” Library Journal.com, 6 Jul. 2009. Web. Feb. 26, 2011. ; Josey, E.J. and Ismael Abdullahi. E.J. Josey: An Activist Librarian. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1992. Print. ; Jefferson, Julius C. “The Black Male Librarian: An Endangered Species.” The National Diversity in Libraries Conference. Louisville Marriott Downtown, Louisville, KY. 3 Oct. 2008. Pdf. ; Bobinski, George S. Libraries and Librarianship: Sixty Years of Challenge and Change, 1945-2005. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2007. 100. Print.               

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Faith Cabin Libraries

The Faith Cabin Libraries were founded by Willie Lee Buffington, a white mill worker and Methodist minister from Saluda, South Carolina. The libraries were named so, in that they were "built on faith, and housed in cabins". From the 1930s until the 1970s, the Faith Cabin Libraries provided books and library services to African Americans in Georgia and South Carolina.

See related posts: The Freedom Libraries ; The Marblehead Libraries.


Sources: Monk, Jim. "Willie Lee Buffington." The State (Columbia, S.C.) 4 Apr. 2005:n.pag. Web. 26 Sept. 2010. ; Williams, Robert B. and Copp, Robert W.H. Adventures in Faith: Library Services to Blacks in South Carolina. Columbia: Board of Trustees of U of South Carolina, 2002. Web. 16 Jan. 2011. ; Allen, Francis W. "Faith Cabin Libraries." Library Journal 66 (1941): 187-188. Print. ; Lee, Dan R. "From Segregation to Integration: Library Services to 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 Illinois, 1998. 100-101. Print. ; Battles, David M. The History of Public Library Access for African Americans in the South, or, Leaving Behind the Plow. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 73, 95, 142. Print. ; Lee, Dan R. "Faith Cabin Libraries: A Study of an Alternative Library Service in the Segregated South, 1932-1960." Libraries and Culture 26.1 (1991): 169-182. Print.