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Ahern, Mary Eileen (01 October 1860–22 May 1938), librarian and editor, was born on a farm southwest of Indianapolis, Indiana, to William Ahern, a farmer, and Mary O’Neill, both Irish immigrants. In 1870 the family left the farm for Spencer, Indiana, where Mary Eileen graduated from high school in 1878. Following her graduation from Central Normal College in Danville, Indiana, in 1881, she worked as a teacher in the public schools of Bloomfield, Spencer, and Peru, Indiana, for eight years....

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Andrews, Regina (21 May 1901–05 February 1993), librarian and dramatist, was born Regina M. Anderson in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, Illinois, to Margaret Simons Anderson, a clubwoman and ceramics artist, and William Grant Anderson, an attorney. Regina grew up in an upper-middle-class family because of her father’s success as a defense attorney, which earned him the nickname “Habeas Corpus.” Her views about race were no doubt shaped by her father’s fighting for racial justice for his clients and his collaboration with the antilynching advocate ...

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Bogle, Sarah Comly Norris (17 November 1870–11 January 1932), librarian, educator, and administrator, was born in White Deer Mills, Union County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Armstrong Bogle, a chemical engineer, and Emma Ridgway Norris. Bogle’s early years were typical of those expected of a young woman of her comfortable status. She and her brother John grew up in Milton, Pennsylvania. Bogle was privately tutored until age fourteen when she attended Miss Steven’s School in Germantown. Bogle attended the University College of the University of Chicago but did not finish her undergraduate degree. In 1904 she earned a certificate from the library school at Drexel Institute. According to Harrison Craver, “the pleasure of society was no longer sufficient,” and she decided to find “more satisfying employment” (Craver, p. 489). Bogle received an M.A. (field unknown) from Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania in 1917....

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Fairchild, Mary Salome Cutler (21 June 1855–20 December 1921), librarian, was born in Dalton, Massachusetts, the daughter of Artemas Hubbard Cutler, a papermaker, and Lydia Wakefield, his second wife. After high school, she was offered a position in a community library but turned it down to attend Mount Holyoke Seminary (now College). After graduation from Mount Holyoke in 1875, she was a member of its Latin faculty for three years until she resigned because of poor health. Ambitious to fulfill a childhood desire to do something worthwhile and attracted to library work partly from the activities of the newly formed American Library Association, Cutler cataloged a small country library, then wrote to ...

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Flexner, Jennie Maas (06 November 1882–17 November 1944), librarian and adult educator, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Jacob Aaron Flexner, a physician, and Rosa Maas. Flexner was educated first in the public schools of Louisville and then through private study. She worked for several years as a legal secretary and then as an administrative secretary before accepting a position at the Louisville Public Library in 1905. Her keen mind, love of reading, and intellectual curiosity led William F. Yust, chief librarian, to endorse her unqualifiedly for professional study at the Library School of Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She entered the class of 1908, was elected president of her class, and had close contact with library leaders on the faculty. Fourteen years later Flexner accepted the office of president of the library school’s alumni association. Never married, Flexner was a dedicated career librarian typical of her generation....

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Foster, Jeannette Howard (03 November 1895–26 July 1981), librarian and bibliographer, was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Winslow Howard Foster, a civil engineer, and Anna Mabel Burr. Lacking a son, Winslow Foster had high expectations for his firstborn daughter. She grew up hearing stories about her courageous paternal ancestors who faced witchcraft allegations at Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 and a cousin, ...

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Belle da Costa Greene. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-91222).

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Greene, Belle da Costa (26 November 1879–10 May 1950), library director, bibliographer, and art connoisseur, was born Belle Marion Greener, the daughter of Richard Greener, a lawyer and Republican party activist, and Genevieve Ida Fleet Greener. Her place of birth was probably Washington, D.C., where her father held a variety of jobs. But specifics concerning Greene's childhood and education are scarce because she preferred to keep them a mystery. Apparently, she attended Teachers College in New York City, where the family had relocated after Richard Greener was rewarded with a patronage job for his efforts on behalf of the Republican party. Around 1897, Belle Marion Greener's parents separated, the children staying with their mother, who within a few years changed the surname to Greene and some years thereafter altered her maiden name from Fleet to Van Vliet. During this time the Greenes fully “passed” in the white world, and Belle da Costa Greene (who claimed for herself nonexistent Portuguese forebears) never acknowledged her African lineage....

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Hutchins, Margaret (21 September 1884–04 January 1961), librarian and professor, was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire, the daughter of Frank D. Hutchins, a flourishing attorney and banker, and Elizabeth Carleton. Hutchins graduated from Lancaster High School and Academy in 1902 and enrolled in Smith College that fall. A double major in Greek and philosophy, Hutchins was a member of the Literary Society and the Philosophical Club and could also read French, German, and Latin. Upon her graduation with a bachelor of arts degree in June 1906, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa....

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Isom, Mary Frances (27 February 1865–15 April 1920), librarian, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the daughter of Frances A. Walter and John Franklin Isom, a prominent Union army surgeon from Cleveland, Ohio. Isom attended Cleveland public schools, and in 1883 she attended Wellesley College but left after one year because of poor health. Her mother died in 1891, and Isom took over managing the house for her father....

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Klingelsmith, Margaret Center (27 November 1859–19 January 1931), law librarian and author, was born in Portland, Maine, the daughter of Isaac Henry Center and Carolina How Evans, both of whom were members of prominent New England families. Margaret’s early education was in private schools in Newton, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine. In 1884 she married Joseph M. Klingelsmith in Atlanta, Georgia....

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Kroeger, Alice Bertha (02 May 1864–31 October 1909), librarian and administrator, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Adolph Ernst Kroeger, a journalist, philosopher, and translator, and Eliza Bertha Curren. Kroeger’s father participated in a philosophical organization in St. Louis headed by ...

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Marvin, Cornelia (26 December 1873–13 February 1957), librarian and social reformer, was born in Monticello, Iowa, the daughter of Charles Elwell Marvin and Cornelia Moody. Her father’s business failure and her mother’s tuberculosis led the family to relocate in Tacoma, Washington, where she completed her secondary education in 1891. In 1893, a year after her mother’s death, Marvin moved to Chicago and became a “mother’s helper” while she took extension courses through the University of Chicago. A motivated student, Marvin confided to her sister: “I am afraid I worship ‘culture’—and ‘knowledge’ combined as much as some do money.” Although she dreamed of becoming a literary critic or dramatist, Marvin, who “resolved to be a bachelor so I won’t have a family to rear,” felt obliged to assist her siblings while they attended college. By September 1894, Marvin had persuaded her father to provide the $500 she needed to attend the recently established Library School at the Armour Institute of Technology. She envisioned library school as a way to enter the work force quickly, earn money to help her siblings, and then pay for her own college education....

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Miner, Dorothy Eugenia (04 November 1904–15 May 1973), curator of manuscripts, librarian, and art historian, was born in New York City, the daughter of Roy Waldo Miner, a marine biologist, and Anna Elizabeth Carroll. In 1905 Miner’s father became a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York....

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Moore, Anne Carroll (12 July 1871–20 January 1961), librarian, was born in Limerick, Maine, the daughter of Luther Sanborn Moore, a lawyer and state senator, and Sarah Hidden Barker. She was christened “Annie” but later changed it to Anne to avoid confusion with Annie E. Moore, who also wrote about children and books. As the only girl, and the youngest of eight surviving children, she was exposed to “boy” games as well as girlish pursuits and enjoyed a happy childhood. Her father often took her through rural New England on legal business trips, and she developed a taste for law. She was educated at the Limerick Academy, went on to Bradford Academy for Women in Massachusetts, from which she graduated in 1891, and began to read for the law, but she was forced to give it up when her father suddenly died and no other lawyer would take on a girl as an assistant....

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Mudge, Isadore Gilbert (14 March 1875– May 1957), reference librarian, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest child of Alfred Mudge, a lawyer, and Mary Gilbert Ten Brook, daughter of Andrew Ten Brook, the one-time librarian of the University of Michigan. Mudge graduated from Brooklyn’s Adelphi Academy in 1893 and enrolled that fall in Cornell University, where her paternal step-grandfather, Charles K. Adams, was president. Earning her bachelor of philosophy degree in 1897, she was inspired by ...

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Plummer, Mary Wright (08 March 1856–21 September 1916), library educator and poet, was born in Richmond, Indiana, the daughter of Jonathan Wright Plummer, a businessman, and Hannah Bullard. She attended the Friends Academy, a Quaker school in Richmond, until 1873 when the family moved to Chicago, where her father was employed as a druggist. Except for a year spent at Wellesley College (1881–1882), she remained in Chicago with her family until 1887. In that year she left to attend the beginning class of the first library school in the United States, the School of Library Economy, organized by ...

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Rollins, Charlemae Hill (20 June 1897–03 February 1979), children's librarian, was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, daughter of Allen Hill, a farmer, and Birdie Tucker, a schoolteacher. The Hills moved to Beggs in the Oklahoma Territory in 1904. Until she was an adult, Rollins attended segregated schools, including Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and Western University in Quindaro, Kansas, for the equivalent of a high school education. She spent the 1917-1918 academic year at Howard University in Washington, D.C....

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Sharp, Katharine Lucinda (21 May 1865–01 June 1914), librarian and library educator, was born in Elgin, Illinois, the daughter of John William Sharp, a salesman and commission merchant, and Phebe Thompson. Sharp’s mother died when Katharine was seven years old, and she was raised by maternal relatives in Elgin, where she attended the progressive Elgin Academy, from which she graduated in 1880. In 1881, she matriculated at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, earning a bachelor of philosophy with honors in general, Latin, and special scholarship in 1885 and a master of philosophy in 1889. After receiving her Ph.B. from Northwestern, Sharp returned to the Elgin Academy as an instructor in Latin, French, and German from 1886 to 1888. In October 1888, she accepted her first library position as assistant librarian of the Scoville Institute, later to become the public library, in Oak Park, Illinois, where she stayed for two years until she enrolled at the New York State Library School, Albany, in the fall of 1890. She earned the bachelor and master of library science from the Albany school in 1892 and 1907, respectively....

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Spencer, Anne (06 February 1882–27 July 1975), poet, librarian, and teacher, was born Annie Bethel Scales Bannister in Henry County, near Danville, Virginia, the daughter of Joel Cephus Bannister, a former slave and saloon owner, and Sarah Louise Scales. The only child of divorced parents, at the age of eleven Annie was sent to Virginia Seminary in Lynchburg, where she excelled in literature and languages. After graduating in 1899 she taught for two years, then in 1901 married fellow student Edward Spencer and lived the rest of her life in Lynchburg....