Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia (Castries, St. Lucia)

Located in Castries, St. Lucia, the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia was one of six libraries in the Caribbean built with Carnegie funds. Plans for a library in St. Lucia were discussed in 1909. Seven years later, in May 1916, philanthropist and businessman Andrew Carnegie donated  £2,500 (equivalent to $12,500 in U.S. currency at that time) for the library's construction. Land on which to build the library was purchased for £500 (at that time was about $2,500 in U.S. currency).

Construction of the library didn't began until May 1923 . The delay was due to disagreement between town officials on the library's location and the library's design.  The Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia's construction was finished in June 1924. A grand opening ceremony for the library was held on December 1, 1924.

In 1948, a fire spread through Castries, and the library was one of several buildings  in the town that were damaged.  Approximately, 20,000 volumes in the library's collection were destroyed. Afterwards, the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia was rebuilt, and in 1958, its name was changed to the Central Library of St. Lucia.

On November 25, 2014, Larry T. Nix, blogger for the "Library History Buff Blog", did a post about the St. Lucia Library's appearance on a postcard and the library's history. You can view his post here:

"St. Lucia's Carnegie Library on Carnegie's Birthday" by Larry T. Nix

Update 8/05/2015:

Related posts:  Carnegie Free Library of Barbados (Bridgetown, Barbados) and Carnegie Free Library of San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago.

Also, the Central Library of St. Lucia (formerly the Carnegie Free Library of St. Lucia) has a Facebook page:

Central Library of St. Lucia

Update 2/07/2016:

Related post: Carnegie Library Roseau (Roseau, Dominica)

Sources: Hinds, Beverly. Historical Overview of Public Library Development in the English-Speaking Caribbean. [San Juan, PR]: IFLA, 2011. 4. PDF File. ; Aimable, Anselma. "Did You Know: Controversy over Central Library." St. Lucia News Online, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 27 July 2015. ; Nix, Larry T. "St. Lucia's Carnegie Library on Carnegie's Birthday." Library History Buff Blog, 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 27 July 2015.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Poets and Libraries: Countee Cullen Visits the Indianapolis Public Library, 1927

Countee Cullen (1903-1946), a graduate of New York University and Harvard University, was a renowned African American poet, author, and playwright who achieved fame during the Harlem Renaissance. He was also a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an instructor of French, English, and creative writing at Frederic Douglass High School in the Bronx, New York; and wrote a column for Opportunity Magazine called "The Dark Tower". Cullen's first wife, Nina Yolande Du Bois, was the daughter of W.E.B. Du Bois; his second wife was Ida Mae Robertson.

On Saturday, February 26, 1927, Countee Cullen made a visit to the Paul Laurence Dunbar Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library in Indianapolis, Indiana where a tea was held for him by the library's staff. Hallie Beachem Brooks (1907-1985), manager of the Dunbar Branch; and Lillian Haydon Childress Hall (1889-1958), head librarian at the Crispus Attucks Branch served as the program's hostesses. Other attendees present at the tea were Charles E. Rush, director of the Indianapolis Public Library; music teacher Lillian LeMon, singer Lucretia Mitchell, Ada Dodson, Lucille Armsted, Juanita Bobson, Dora Atkins, Murray Atkins, and Sophia Freeman. Attendees at the tea were treated to a poetry reading by Cullen.

Cullen had travelled to Indianapolis, Indiana at the invitation of the Senate Avenue YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association). The Senate Avenue YMCA was preparing its annual recital and wanted Cullen to give a poetry reading at the event. [Note: Founded in 1913, the Senate Avenue YMCA served the African American men and boys of Indianapolis. Madame C.J. Walker gave a gift of $1,000 to aide in the building's construction; Booker T. Washington attended the dedication ceremony].

The Senate Avenue YMCA's recital took place on Friday, February 25, 1927 at Caleb Mills Hall inside Shortridge High School. In addition to Countee Cullen, other performers at the recital included Walter M. Price, a baritone who studied under Oscar Seagel; and the Reginald DuValle Orchestra, also known as the "Ten Blackbirds" (the group's leader, Reginald DuValle worked with musician Hoagy Carmichael and was an alumni of Shortridge High School; DuValle also performed at the 1927 grand opening of the Madame Walker Theatre). [Note: YouTube has a video of Reginald DuValle's son, Reginald Jr. speaking about his father's work with Hoagy Carmichael: ].

Lillian Haydon Childress Hall of the Indianapolis Public Library; Lula Hoss of the All Souls Unitarian Church; Homer Borst of the Indianapolis Community Fund; the Kirshbaum Center; the  Kautz Stationary Company; the Senate Avenue YMCA Committee of Management along with Marimon Hansberry, Ada Dodson, Phyllis Waters, Daisy Payne, J.B. Coleman, J.K. Lilly, and Sue Artis successfully combined their efforts in selling as many tickets as possible to this historic event. [Note: Sue Artis was the wife of Lionel F. Artis. Lionel F. Artis was the assistant secretary of the Senate Avenue YMCA, served as an officer of the Indianapolis branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, served on the board of the Urban League of Indianapolis, worked with the Boy Scouts, and was a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Chicago. His papers are housed at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis, Indiana]

Before leaving town, Countee Cullen visited his friend Hale A. Woodruff (1900-1980), an African American painter and muralist famous for the murals "Amistad Mutiny". Woodruff studied under artist Diego Rivera (his wife was painter Frida Kahlo), attended the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis (now the Herron School of Art and Design), and once worked for the Senate Avenue YMCA. In addition, he taught art at Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta University and New York University. Mr. Woodruff passed away in 1980 at the age of 80.

Sources: "Negro Poet to Read." Indianapolis News 12 Feb. 1927: 8. Print. ; "Gives Tea for Mr. Cullen." Indianapolis Recorder 5 Mar. 1927: 5 Print. ; Thompson, Aaron Belford. "Welcome to Countee Cullen." Indianapolis Recorder 26 Feb. 1927: 2. Print. ; "Cullen, Price, DuValle Orchestra Recital Promise Treat at Caleb Mills Hall." Indianapolis Recorder 19 Feb. 1927: 5. Print. ; "Author is to Speak at Monster Meeting." Indianapolis News 5 Feb 1927: 3 Print. ; Fenton, Michele T. "Stepping Out on Faith: Lillian Haydon Childress Hall, Pioneer Black Librarian." Indiana Libraries 33.1 (2014): 7. Print. ; Molesworth, Charles. And Bid Him Sing: A Biography of Countee Cullen. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2012. 162-163. Print. ; "Countee Cullen." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 17 May 2015. ; "Wavelengths - Bits of Static." Indianapolis News 10 Feb. 1927: 16. Print. ; Williams, David Leander. Indianapolis Jazz: The Masters, Legends, and Legacy of Indiana Avenue. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2014. 27-29. Print. ; Bolden, C. Nickerson. Indiana Avenue: Entertainment Boulevard. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2009. Print. ; Bundles, A'Lelia. Madam Walker Theatre Center: An Indianapolis Treasure. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2013. Print. ; Warren, Stanley. "The Monster Meetings at the Negro YMCA in Indianapolis." Indiana Magazine of History 91.1 (1995): 57-80. Print. ; Burlock, Melissa Grace. "The Battle Over a Black YMCA and Its Inner-City Community: The Fall Creek Parkway YMCA As a Lens on Indianapolis' Urban Revitalization and School Desegregation, 1959-2003." MA thesis. Indiana University, 2014. PDF file. ; Jennings, Corrine. "Hale Woodruff: African-American Metaphor, Myth, and Allegory." A Shared Heritage: Art by Four African Americans. Ed. William E. Taylor and Harriet G. Warkel. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1996. 78. Print. ; Dunkley, Tina. "Hale Woodruff (1900-1980)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 24 May 2015. ; Yoon, Christina Jin. "Woodruff, Hale Aspacio (1900-1980)." BlackPast., n.d. Web. 24 May 2015. ; Davis, Donald F. "Hale Woodruff of Atlanta: Molder of Black Artists." Journal of Negro History 69.3-4 (1984):147-154. Print. ; Taylor, William E. "Woodruff, Hale Aspacio (Aug. 6, 1900-Sept. 6, 1980)." Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Eds. David J. Bodenhamer and Roger G. Barrows. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1994. 1452. Print.; Taylor, William E. "Hardrick, John Wesley (1891-Oct. 18, 1968)." Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Eds. David J. Bodenhamer and Roger G. Barrows. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1994. 660. Print. ; Pierce, Richard. "Little Progress 'Happens'": Faburn E. DeFrantz and the Indianapolis Senate Avenue YMCA." Indiana Magazine of History 108.2 (2012): 98-103. Print. ; Warren, Stanley. Senate Avenue YMCA: For African American Men and Boys, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1913-1959. Indianapolis: Donning, 2006. Print. ; "Lionel F. Artis Eulogized as Outstanding Leader in the Indianapolis Community." Indianapolis Recorder 11 Sept. 1971: 1, 15. Print. ; "Lionel Artis (Photo)." Indianapolis Recorder 4 Sept. 1971:1. Print. ; "Local Branch of N.A.A.C.P. Elects Officers." Indianapolis Recorder 7 Apr. 1928: 2. Print. ; "Governor Speaks to Y.M.C.A. Men." Indianapolis Recorder 20 Feb. 1926: 1. Print. ; "St. Philip's Episcopal Church." Indianapolis Recorder 18 Sept. 1915: 4. Print. ; "Indianapolis Business Association." Indianapolis Recorder 12 Mar. 1927: 3. Print. ; "Local N.A.A.C.P. Selects Committee for Conference." Indianapolis Recorder 12 Mar. 1927: 2. Print. ; "Y.M.C.A. Notes." Indianapolis Recorder 18 Sept. 1915: 4. Print. ; "Y.M.C.A." Indianapolis Recorder 15 Sept. 1911: 2. Print. ; "Twelfth Annual Lenton Tea to Be Given By Members of St. Monica's Guild." Indianapolis Recorder 6 Mar. 1937: 5. Print. ; "Simpson M.E. Will Observe Anniversary." Indianapolis Recorder 5 Nov. 1932: 3. Print. ; "Guidance Program for H.S. Seniors." Indianapolis Recorder 21 May 1932: 6. Print. ; "Kappas Will Give Prom Soon." Indianapolis Recorder 21 May 1932: 6. Print. ; "Lockefield Rents on Same Level as Slum Houses." Indianapolis Recorder 15 May 1937: 1.Print. ; Skeleton, Robert E. "Donations Received for Drum and Bugle Corps." Indianapolis Recorder 6 Mar. 1936. 5. Print.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jean Blackwell Hutson (1914-1998): Culture Keeper Extraordinaire

Jean Blackwell Hutson (1914-1998), a native of Sommerfield, Florida, was the curator and chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture from 1948 until 1980. Hutson was a culture keeper extraordinaire in that she worked tirelessly to ensure the acquisition, preservation, and promotion of materials relating to African and African American history.

Ms. Hutson was born Jean Frances Blackwell on September 3, 1914 in Sommerfield, Florida. She was the daughter of Paul Blackwell, a farmer and commission merchant; and Sarah Myers Blackwell, a teacher. Ms. Hutson later moved to Baltimore, Maryland. She was the class valedictorian when she graduated in 1929 from Douglass High School, a high school for African Americans in Baltimore. After high school, Ms. Hutson briefly attended the University of Michigan before transferring to Barnard College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1935. In 1936, she received her library science degree from Columbia University. In addition, Ms. Hutson was a member of Delta Sigma Theta.

She began her library career at the New York Public Library. She worked at the 135th Street Branch where she was mentored by library pioneer Ernestine Rose. Ms. Hutson also worked at the Harlem Branch, the Countee Cullen Branch, the Woodstock Branch, and the Washington Heights Branch. In 1939, Ms. Hutson married songwriter Andy Razaf (1895-1973). From 1939 until 1942, Ms. Hutson was a school librarian at the Paul Lawrence Dunbar Junior High School in Baltimore, Maryland. She returned to the New York Public Library in 1942. Her marriage to Andy Razaf ended in divorce in 1947.

In 1948, Ms. Hutson became chief of the Schomburg Research Center. While serving as chief of the Schomburg Research Center, Ms. Hutson married John Hutson in 1950 (the couple had one child, Jean Frances Hutson); was an adjunct professor in history at City College of New York (CUNY) from 1962 until 1971; and an assistant librarian from 1964 until 1965 at the University of Ghana where she managed the Africana collection. Also during Hutson's time at Schomburg, the center received money from the Ford Foundation, the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA), and 3M enabling the creation of  an archival program, the hiring of additional personnel to perform preservation work, and the microfilming of the Schomburg Research Center's collection. In addition, Hutson helped secure federal funds to have a new building created for the Schomburg Center (the new facility opened in 1981); was a member of the African Studies Association and the Africana Librarians Council; and participated in the National Commission on Libraries Task Force on Library and Information Services to Cultural Minorities.

Ms. Hutson left the Schomburg Research Center in 1980 and worked as the Assistant Director, Collection Management and Development, Black Studies at the New York Public Library's main branch, retiring in 1984. She passed away in 1998 at the age of 83. The Jean Blackwell Hutson Library Residency Program, a diversity program that ran from 1992 until 2007, was created in her honor by the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Related post: Arthur Schomburg, 1874-1938: Noted Bibliophile, Collector, Curator, and Scholar

Sources: A Directory of Negro Graduates of Accredited Library School, 1900-1936. Washington: Columbia Civic Library Association, 1937. 7. Print. ; Kaiser, Ernest. "Library Holdings on African Americans." Handbook of Black Librarianship. Ed. E.J. Josey and Marva L. DeLoach. 2nd ed. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2000. 254, 261. Print. ; "Jean Blackwell Hutson, Ex-Chief of Schomburg Center Dies." Jet 93.13 (1998): 17. Print. ; Whitaker, Charles. "Schomburg Center Celebrates 75th Anniversary." Ebony 56.1 (2000): 144-146, 148, 150. Print. ; "Schomburg Center: Harlem's Gold Mine of Black Research Material." Ebony 37.11 (1982): 62-63, 66. Print. ; "Black History Prophets and Custodians: Handful of Men and Women Created Foundations of Saga of Persistence and Creativity." Ebony 50.4 (1995): 90. Print. ; Shockley, Ann Allen. "Librarians, Archivists, and Writers: A Personal Perspective." Ed. E.J. Josey. The Black Librarian in America Revisited. Metuchen: Scarecrow, 1994. 321. Print. ; Cooper, Glendora Johnson. "African American Historical Continuity: Jean Blackwell Hutson and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture." Reclaiming the American Library Past: Writing the Women In. Ed. Suzanne Hildenbrand. Norwood: Ablex, 1996. 27-51. Print. ; Sinnette, Elinor D. V. Arthur Alfonso Schomburg, Black Bibliophile & Collector: A Biography. New York: New York Public Library, 1989. 218. Print. ; Sink, Bob. "Ernestine Rose (1880-1961)." NYPL Librarians. N.p., 19 Mar. 2011. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; Biddle, Stanton. "'A Partnership in Progress': The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture." Crisis 85.10 (Dec. 1978): 330-337. Print. ; Easterbrook, David L. "Jean Blackwell Hutson, 1914-1998." ASA News (Apr./June 1999): 5. Print. ; Sink, Bob. "Jean Frances Blackwell Hutson (1914-1998)." NYPL Librarians. N.p., 4 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; "Legacies Live On Despite '98 Celebrity Deaths." The Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.) 22 Dec. 1998: C5. Print. ; "Goodbye: World Loses Entertainers in '98." The Kerrville Times (Kerrville, Tex.) 27 Dec. 1998: 3. Print. ; "Year: Entertainers Lost This Year Include Eddie Rabbitt and Flip Wilson." The Index-Journal (Greenwood, S.C.) 27 Dec. 1998: 2C. Print. ; Wolf, Gillian. "Hutson, Jean Blackwell 1914-." Contemporary Black Biography., 1998. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; Smith, Dinitia. "Jean Hutson, Schomburg Chief, Dies at 83." The New York Times. The New York Times, 7 Feb. 1998. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. ; National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Task Force on Library and Information Services to Cultural Minorities: Report. Washington, D.C.: National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, 1983. 105. PDF File. ; Wedin, Carolyn. "Hutson, Jean Blackwell." Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century. Vol. 1. Ed. Paul Finkelman. New York, N.Y.: Oxford UP, 2009. 480-481. Print.