Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dharathula Millender: Librarian, Author, and Historian -- One of Indiana's Own

Dharathula “Dolly” Hood Millender (1920-2015), a librarian, author, and historian, was born on February 4, 1920 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her parents were Orestes Hood and Daisy Eslick Hood. 

Ms. Millender attended Indiana State Teacher’s College (now Indiana State University) in Terre Haute, Indiana, receiving her undergraduate degree in 1941. She pursued her library science education at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, graduating in 1969 with a Masters of Science in Educational Media. In addition, Ms. Millender was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority and was the wife of Justyn Millender.

Throughout her career, Ms. Millender served as a librarian in various libraries across the country -- working in Maryland, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. (at the Library of Congress). From 1960 until 1978, she was a school librarian at Pulaski Junior High School in Gary, Indiana; and was a member of the Northwest Division of the Indiana State Teachers Association’s Library Section. In addition, she was a member of the Gary Public Library Board and was Gary’s first elected Councilwoman-at-Large.

As a historian and author, Mrs. Millender once served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Gary Historical and Cultural Society, and wrote several books on African American history for children, educators, and adults:

Crispus Attucks, Boy of Valor. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965. Print.

Real Negroes, Honest Settings: Children's and Young People's Books About Negro Life and History. Chicago: American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, 1967. Print.

"Through a Glass Darkly." School Library Journal 15 (Dec. 1967): 29-34. Print.

Yesterday in Gary: A Brief History of the Negro in Gary. Gary, Ind.: D. Millender, 1967. Print.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Boy with a Dream. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969. Print.

Louis Armstrong: Young Music Maker. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1972. Print.

Crispus Attucks, Black Leader of Colonial Patriots. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1982. Print.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Young Man with a Dream. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1983. Print.

“Through A Glass Darkly (Excerpt).” The Black American in Books for Children: Readings in Racism. Ed. MacCann, Donnarae and Gloria Woodard. Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1985. Print.

Millender, Naomi, Bettye Turner, Dharathula H. Millender, and Barbara Polk. The Black History Resource Manual of Classroom Activities: The Cultural Linguistic Approach. Chicago: Cultural Linguistic Approach to Education, 1989. Print.

Gary's Central Business Community. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2003. Print.


On Tuesday, February 2, 2010, U.S. Representative Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana honored Ms. Millender on celebrating her 90th birthday (February 4th) and her lifework. In April 2011, the Indiana University-Northwest Chapter of the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club  presented Ms. Millender with the Legacy of Leadership Award.

Ms. Millender passed away at the age of 95 on December 25, 2015 in Gary, Indiana.



In 2012, I compiled a bibliography on Ms. Millender:


Fenton, Michele T. A Bibliography of Books by Author and Librarian Dharathula Millender: With a Brief Biography of Her Life. Indianapolis, Ind.: Little Known Black Librarian Facts, 2012. Print.


Update 05/10/2016:

See related posts: Etka Braboy Gaskin and the Gary Public Library (Gary, Indiana); and Bernice Appleton Wilder: First African American Director of the Gary Public Library (Gary, Indiana).

Sources: “May We Introduce Mrs. Dharathula Millender.” Gary Public Library Bulletin 1973 Jan.: 3. Print. ; “Officers and Committees of Indiana Library Organizations, 1971-1972.” Library Occurrent 24.1 (1972): 20. Print. ; Visclosky, Peter J. “Dolly Millender.” Congressional Record 156.15 (2010): E125-E126. Print. ; Millender, Dharathula H. "Through A Glass Darkly." School Library Journal 15 (1967): 29-34. Print. ; “It’s No Military Secret!” Indianapolis Recorder 1945 Sept. 15: 3. Print. ; “City Observes Crispus Attucks Day in Ceremonies on Circle.” Indianapolis Recorder 1968 Mar. 9: 15. Print. ; Rogers, Clema V. “Eastside News.” Indianapolis Recorder 1979 Jan. 20: 4. Print. ; Grant, George, comp. “Millender, Dharathula (Dolly).” The Directory of Ethnic Professionals in LIS. Winter Park: Four-G Publishers, 1991. 154. Print. ; Wilson, Rose Ann. “Dolly Millender Inspires M.I.S. Students.” Northwest Indiana Times 2012 Apr. 26:n.pag. Web. 2012 Nov. 11. ; Banas, Emily and Charles Shield. “IU Northwest Neal Marshall Club Recognizes 2011 Award Recipients: Student and Community-Centered Service Central to Awardees.” Indiana University Northwest News 2011 Apr. 26:n.pag. Web. 2012 Nov. 11 ; Fenton, Michele T. A Bibliography of Books by Author and Librarian Dharathula Millender: With a Brief Biography of Her Life. Indianapolis, Ind.: Little Known Black Librarian Facts, 2012. Print. ; Davich, Jerry. "Gary Loses Its Beloved Historian on Christmas Day." Chicago Tribune 2015 Dec. 27: n.pag. Web. 2016 Apr. 28.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Michele. Your research work is how I learned about Librarian Rachel Davis Harris. She is a character in my newly released MG novel SWORD IN THE STACKS. I'd be honored to send you a copy. I can be reached at jsdowney@earthlink.net

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