Sunday, March 31, 2013

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)

Today's blog post features historical facts relating to three former branches and a former deposit station of the Indianapolis Public Library in Indianapolis, Indiana: Flanner Guild Deposit Station, and the Crispus Attucks, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and George Washington Carver Branches. Pioneer black librarians such as Lillian Childress Hall, Hallie Beachem Brooks, Betsie Lou Baxter Collins, Edna Howard, Effie Stroud, and others spent all or part of their careers at these locations. Although these three branches and deposit station are now closed, they played an important part in providing access to library services to African Americans in Indianapolis.

Note: The Flanner Guild Deposit Station, and the Dunbar, Attucks, and Carver Branches were not built specifically for African Americans. These locations just happened to be in African American neighborhoods. From the day it opened its doors in 1873, the Indianapolis Public Library has always welcomed members of any race to all of its locations. 

The Flanner Guild Deposit Station
In 1919, the Indianapolis Public Library established a deposit station at the Flanner Guild African American Settlement (now Flanner House) in Indianapolis. Deposit stations were not branches, but were off-site locations authorized by the Indianapolis Public Library to lend books.

Sources: "New Libraries and Buildings." Library Occurrent 5.9 (1919): 316. 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. Print. 

The Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch
In 1922, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library opened its doors. The branch was located inside of Indianapolis Public School #26, an all-black elementary school on the city’s east side. Lillian Haydon Childress Hall was the branch’s first manager (1921-1927; note: Hall was appointed as the branch manager in the summer of 1921 but the branch did not officially open until the spring of 1922).

Previously, Hall was the branch manager of the Cherry Street Branch of the Evansville Public Library in Evansville, Indiana (1915-1921).  She was the first African American graduate of the Indiana Public Library Commission Summer School for Librarians (she graduated on July 24, 1915). In addition, Hall was an alumna of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1927, patrons of the Dunbar Branch were treated to a special visit and poetry reading from Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen at a tea hosted by the library in his honor. Hallie Beachem Brooks, former library science professor at the Atlanta University Library School, was the branch manager at the time of Cullen's visit.

Effie Stroud, a graduate of the Hampton Institute Library School, was the manager of the Dunbar Branch from 1935 until 1944. Ms. Stroud previously worked at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library (now the Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture). Olivia Mitchell Anderson, a graduate of Fisk University, was the Dunbar Branch's last manager (1962-1967).

The Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch operated for 45 years before becoming a regular school library in 1967.
 
Sources: 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. 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. ; Cain, Mary J. "History of the Indianapolis Public Library." Library Occurrent 11.4 (1933): 118. Print. ; Shores, Louis. "Public Library Service to Negroes." Library Journal 55.4 (1930): 153. Print. ; "Local News." Indianapolis Recorder 28 May 1932: 3. Print. ; "Dunbar Library Observes Week." Indianapolis Recorder 17 Nov. 1934: 2. Print. ; "Literary Corner: Book Reviews." Indianapolis Recorder 3 July 1937: 10. Print. ; "Books: Attucks-Dunbar." Indianapolis Recorder 29 July 1939: 10. Print. ; "Gives Tea for Mr. Cullen." Indianapolis Recorder 5 Mar. 1927: 5. Print. ; "Negro History Week is Observed Here." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Feb. 1939: 1-2. Print.  ; "Library Facilities Opened to the Public." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Feb. 1939. 2. Print. ; McGuire, Mary P. "Voice of the Eastside." Indianapolis Recorder 23 Feb. 1963: 4. Print. ; "School 26 PTA Meet is Dated." Indianapolis Recorder 3 Mar. 1965: 5. Print. ; McGuire, Mary P. "Voice of the Eastside." Indianapolis Recorder 26 Jan. 1963: 5. Print. ; McGuire, Mary P. "Voice of the Eastside." Indianapolis Recorder 25 Apr. 1964: 6. Print. ; "News of Indiana Libraries." Library Occurrent 11.8 (1934): 303. Print. ; A Directory of Negro Graduates of Accredited Library Schools, 1900-1936. Washington: Columbia Civic Library Association, 1937. 22. Print. ; "Miss Effie Stroud Speaks." Indianapolis Recorder 22 Feb. 1936: 5. Print. ; Stroud, Effie. "Literary Corner about Books and Reviews." Indianapolis Recorder 2 May 1936: 10. Print. ; "News of Indiana Libraries." Library Occurrent 12.4 (1936): 116. Print. ; "News Notes." Library Occurrent 14.8 (1943): 223. Print. ; "News of Indiana Libraries." Library Occurrent 15.7 (1946): 552. 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. ; Berry, S.L. and Gadski, Mary Ellen. Stacks: A History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation, 2011. 103. Print.
 

The Crispus Attucks Branch
In 1927, the Crispus Attucks Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library opened on the city’s west side. The library was located on the first floor of Crispus Attucks High School, a high school for the African American residents of Indianapolis. 

In January 1935, Lawrence Dunbar Reddick visited the Crispus Attucks Library while in Indianapolis on business. Mr. Reddick was the curator at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library (now the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture) from 1939 until 1948.

The Attucks Branch ceased operation as a branch on June 30, 1959 and became a regular high school library on July 1, 1959. Lillian Haydon Childress Hall, former manager of the Dunbar Branch, was the Attucks Branch’s first manager (1927-1956). Betsie Lou Baxter Collins was the last manager (1956-1959).

Betsie Lou Baxter Collins was a graduate of the Atlanta University School of Library Science. After serving at the Attucks Branch, Ms. Collins worked at the Rauh, Broadripple, Riverside, Haughville, and College Branches. In 1972, she received the Helen L. Norris Distinguished Service Award from the Indianapolis Public Library.

*Note: Crispus Attucks High School is still in operation today and is the home of the Crispus Attucks Museum.

Sources: "Library Has Formal Opening." Indianapolis Recorder 24 Sept. 1927: 5. Print. ; "Personals." Library Occurrent 8.3 (1927): 118. Print. ; "News of Indiana Libraries." Library Occurrent (1927): 122. Print. ; Warren, Stanley. Crispus Attucks High School: Hail to the Green, Hail to the Gold. Virginia Beach: Donning, 1998. 35. 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. 132, 135, 148, 160, 202. Print. ; Cain, Mary J. "History of the Indianapolis Public Library." Library Occurrent 11.4 (1933): 118. Print. ; LeMon, Lillian M. "Indiana State: Indianapolis News." Chicago Defender 9 June 1934: 18. Print. ; Shores, Louis. "Public Library Service to Negroes." Library Journal 55.4 (1930): 153. Print. ; "Neighborhood Clubs." Indianapolis Recorder 24 Oct. 1936: 5. Print. ; "Libraries Observe Garden Week; Exhibits of Miniature Gardens on Display at Attucks." Indianapolis Recorder 26 Mar. 1938: 5. Print. ; "Negro History Week is Observed Here." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Feb. 1939: 1-2. Print. ; "Library Facilities Opened to the Public." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Feb. 1939: 2. Print. ; Brascher, Nahum Daniel. "Random Thoughts: A Little Light Along the Way." Chicago Defender 25 Feb. 1939: 17. Print. ; "Social Scene." Indianapolis Recorder 9 May 1959: 8. Print. ; "Society." Indianapolis Recorder 2 Feb. 1935: 3. Print. ; Crispus Attucks High School Yearbook, 1957. Indianapolis: Crispus Attucks High School, 1958. 84. Print. ; "Names in the News." Library Occurrent 24.3 (1972): 108. Print. ; Spradling, Mary Mace. "Black Librarians in Kentucky." The Black Librarian in the Southeast: Reminiscences, Activities, Challenges. Ed. Annette L. Phinazee. Durham: NCCU School of Library Science, 1980. 42. Print. ; Berry, S.L. and Gadski, Mary Ellen. Stacks: A History of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation, 2011. 103. Print.
 
The George Washington Carver Branch
In 1937, the George Washington Carver Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library opened. The library was located inside of Indianapolis Public School #87, an all-black elementary school on the city’s north side. Edna M. Howard was the branch’s manager from the time it opened in 1937 until its closure in 1950. After its closure, the branch was converted into a regular school library.

Ms. Howard was a graduate of the Hampton Institute Library School. Before becoming manager of the George Washington Carver Branch, she was a junior assistant at the Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch. In addition, Ms. Howard was a graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Ms. Joyce G. Taylor, former librarian at the Indianapolis Public Library and retired professor at the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science (now called the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing), mentions visiting the George Washington Carver Branch during her childhood in her article "The Smile That Hooked Me for Life". The article was published in v. 22, no. 2 of the journal Indiana Libraries in 2003:

https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/bitstream/handle/1805/1307/The%20Smile%20That%20Hooked%20Me%20for%20Life.pdf?sequence=1

Sources: "School Board Likely to Reject Proposal to Build All-Colored Library Branch." Indianapolis Recorder 6 July 1935: 1. Print. ; "Branch Library Opens at School 87." Indianapolis Recorder 16 Oct. 1937 5. Print. ; "School 87 Gets Library Unit." Indianapolis Recorder 9 Oct. 1937 1. Print. ; "Librarian." Indianapolis Recorder 2 Oct. 1937: 4. Print. ; "News of Indiana Libraries." Library Occurrent 12.7 (1937): 212. Print. ; "News of Indiana Libraries." Library Occurrent 12.8 (1937): 250. Print. ; "Negro History Week Is Observed Here." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Feb. 1939: 1-2. Print. ; "Library Facilities Opened to the Public." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Feb. 1939: 2. Print. ; "School No. 87 PTA Plans Annual Matinee Musicale." Indianapolis Recorder 17 Apr. 1948: 5. Print. ; "School 87 PTA Plans Travelogue." Indianapolis Recorder 1949 Dec. 3: 5. Print. ; "Library Acquires Negro Collection." Indianapolis Recorder 7 Oct. 1950: 5. 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. 162-163. Print. ; Taylor, Joyce G. "The Smile That Hooked Me for Life." Indiana Libraries 22.2 (2003): 8-10. Print.

See related posts: Willa Resnover and the Norwood 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.
 

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