To continue our blog series highlighting pioneering women librarians, this next post will focus on Mary Wright Plummer (1856-1916). A member of Melvil Dewey’s first class in librarianship at Columbia College, Plummer went on to establish an impressive career in librarian education, children’s librarianship, and international librarianship, and served as the ALA’s 2nd female president from 1915-1916.
Born to a Quaker family, Plummer attended Wellesley College from 1881-1882, studying languages and creative writing. Her librarianship career began when she enrolled at the age of 30 in “the first class in library science on the planet”, Melvil Dewey’s 1887 class in the School of Library Economy at Columbia College. Distinguishing herself immediately in her studies, she was selected to present her experience in library school at the American Library Association’s 1887 meeting (“The Columbia College School of Library Economy from a Student’s Standpoint,” printed in Library Journal, September-December 1887). Continue reading “Mary Wright Plummer”→
People go to librarians when they need help researching, but where do librarians go when they need help with their own research? This post will explore the history of the Library Science Library at the University of Illinois, one of a few dedicated library science collections in the United States.
For an educated woman at the turn of the century, there were few options for a intellectually satisfying career, as Katharine L. Sharp discovered as a newly minted college graduate in 1885. She taught foreign languages at a high school in Illinois for two years, but then she took a position as Assistant Librarian at the Scoville Institute and seems to have found her calling. Believing so strongly in the burgeoning field of professional librarianship, she enrolled in the new New York State Library School in 1889, where she studied under Melvil Dewey.  Continue reading ““The Best Man in America is a Woman”: Katharine L. Sharp and the First “Lady Librarians””→