Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Willa Resnover and the Norwood Library (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Willa Resnover (1894-1978) was the earliest known African American librarian to work in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Although she had no formal library training, Ms. Resnover, a graduate of  Emmerich Manual High School and  Madame Blaker’s Teachers College (was also known as Teachers College of Indianapolis ; now the Butler University College of Education), served as the librarian for the Norwood Library, the first library in Indianapolis for African Americans. The library was housed inside the Norwood Boys’ Club on the city’s southeast side in the Norwood neighborhood. The Norwood Library was built in 1912 as a replacement for the Norwood School's  library collection which was lost in a fire in 1909 (the Norwood School was later known as Indianapolis Public School No. 64). Ada B. Harris, principal of the Norwood School, along with citizens and several organizations donated a total of 1,000 materials for the library's collection. Willa Resnover later married William Donaldson and taught school in Illinois in the cities of Carbondale and Cairo. She passed away in 1978.

*Note: The Norwood Library was an independent library. It was never part of the Indianapolis Public Library System.

See related posts: 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) ; Lillian Sunshine Haydon Childress Hall: Pioneer in the History of Library Services to African Americans in Indiana ; and Hallie Beachem Brooks: Librarian, Professor, and Indiana Native.

Sources: “News of Indiana Libraries.” Library Occurrent 3.5 (1912): 96. Print. ; “Colored Library Opened in Norwood.” Indianapolis Recorder 28 Sept. 1912: 1. Print. ; “Norwood Library.” Indianapolis Recorder 6 May 1911: 1. Print. ; Ferguson, Earline Rae. “Indianapolis: Civic, Literary, and Mutual Aid Associations.” Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations. Ed. Nina Mjagkij. New York: Garland, 2001. 235. Print. ; “Norwood.” Indianapolis Recorder 10 Aug. 1912: 6. Print. ; “Norwood School Now Public School No. 64.” Indianapolis Recorder 12 Oct. 1912: 2. Print. ; “Progress of the Norwood Schools.” Indianapolis Recorder 21 June 1913: 7. Print. ; “United States Census, 1920.” FamilySearch 4 Oct. 2011. Web. ; Hine, Darlene Clark. Hine Sight: Black Women and the Re-Construction of American History. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1997. 111-112. Print. ; “Playmates of School 19 Enjoy Home-coming, Impromptu Program.” Indianapolis Recorder 25 Sept. 1943: 5. Print. ; “Ethical Culture.” Indianapolis Recorder 9 Dec. 1916: 3. Print. ; “Local Social Events.” Indianapolis Recorder 18 Nov. 1916: 2. Print.  ; “Local News: Personal Mention.” Indianapolis Recorder 1 Aug. 1914: 8. Print. ; “Local News: Personal Mention.” Indianapolis Recorder 4 Apr. 1914: 8. Print. ; Gibbs, Wilma L. “June Resnover Curry Collection, 1905-1921 [Finding Aid].” Indiana Historical Society, 2 Feb. 1995. Pdf File. Web. 3 Jan. 2012. ; Blair, Francis G. “Illinois School Directory, 1922-1923.” Circular (Illinois. Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) 166 (1922): 71. Print.

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