Saturday, February 23, 2019

Some Early Librarians of Roosevelt High School, Gary, Indiana

Built in 1930, the Theodore Roosevelt High School of Gary, Indiana (now Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy) was established to educate the city's African American students. Some of the early librarians employed at the school: 

1931-1934 -- Wilhemina Turner was hired as a librarian at the Theodore Roosevelt High School where she worked until 1934. After receiving her library science degree in 1935, Turner became an assistant librarian at the Du Sable High School in Chicago, Illinois. 

1935-1936  -- Hortense Houston Young, was hired in 1935. A 1934 graduate of the University of Illinois Library School, Young remained at Roosevelt High School until 1936 when she became an assistant librarian at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes (now Simmons College of Kentucky; Eliza Atkins Gleason and her sister, Ollie Atkins Carpenter once worked at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes; Eliza became the first African American to earn a PhD in library science). 

1935-1937? -- Marjorie Adelle Blackistone Bradfield began working at Roosevelt High School (at that time she was Marjorie Blackistone). A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Bradfield was the daughter of John Roger and Lucy Comfort Winston Blackistone. Bradfield was a 1935 graduate of the Columbia University School of Library Service (the school closed in 1992) and also attended the University of Michigan.  

In 1937, she became the first African American librarian hired by the Detroit Public Library in Detroit, Michigan. On June 29, 1938, she married Horace F. Bradfield.  Ms. Bradfield remained at the Detroit Public Library until 1968, when she left to accept a position as a school librarian for the Detroit Public Schools. 

In 1970, Ms. Bradfield was instrumental in the appointment of Clara Stanton Jones as the Detroit Public Library’s first African American female director (Ms. Jones would later serve as the first African American president of the American Library Association, 1976-1977). Also, in July 1970, Ms. Bradfield participated in a panel discussion, “Black History in Libraries”, given by the History Section of the American Library Association (now the Library History Round Table) at the 89th American Library Association Annual Conference held in Detroit.

Ms. Bradfield remained at the Detroit Public Schools until 1980. She passed away on November 19, 1999 at the age of 88.

Sources: A Directory of Negro Graduates of Accredited Library Schools, 1900-1936.  Washington: Columbia Civic Library Association, 1937. 7, 22, 25. Print. ; Jones, Reinette F. Library Service to African American in Kentucky: From the Reconstruction Era to the 1960s. Jefferson: McFarland, 2002. 91, 103, 126, 163. 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. 50. Print. ; Audi, Tamara. "Marjorie Bradfield: Put Black History into Library." Detroit Free Press 20 Nov. 1999: 123. Print. ; "Marjorie A. Blackistone and Horace Ferguson Bradfield Papers: 1931-1978." Bentley Historical Library. University of Michigan. May 2017. Web. 23 Feb. 2019. ; Taliaferro, Trudy Bradfield. "Special Guest Column: Benjamin Brown, Buffalo Soldier, Family Hero." African American Genealogical Society of Northern California. 2000. Web. 23 Feb. 2019.

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