Meet Me in St. Louis
February 19, 2016 - Kindle Unlimited
Imagine an American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference where we accommodate in one vast room from 9:30 a.m. to usually half past noon for 6 days, after that we are giveaway to go erratic around an vaunt and entertainment area 13 times a distance of Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida.
Imagine a discussion where, after listening to a “characteristic address” by Melvil Dewey—“full of a unrestrained of invention and a zeal of prophecy, that never fails to excite a manageable hint in his audience”—you try out to float on a biggest Ferris Wheel in a world, eat some new-fangled ice cream cones, watch Alexander Graham Bell attend in a kite-flying contest, listen to rousing performances by John Philip Sousa’s band, or disturb to reenactments of Spanish-American War naval battles and a Boer War Battle of Colenso.
October 17–22, 1904, was “American Library Association Week” during a St. Louis World’s Fair, rigourously famous as a Louisiana Purchase Exposition in decoration of President Thomas Jefferson’s merger of a Louisiana Territory from France in 1803. Like many other organizations, ALA saw a acceptable as a smashing eventuality to reason a annual assembly in a ancestral venue that offering total educational benefits.
And, given not? ALA itself was founded and initial met during a 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, afterwards went on to accommodate in Chicago in 1893 for a World’s Columbian Exposition—although a discussion arrangements there were a bit pell-mell and attendees apparently goofed off some-more than common given they couldn’t get to a sessions. But St. Louis acceptable promoters were out to one-up Chicago in any approach they could, and they done it easy for ALA to spin adult a members for a program. Library Journal (at that time a executive ALA magazine) reported in a Nov emanate that “The good physique of a assembly came to listen and learn, and zero could obstruct even a younger folk from that unrelenting avocation and pleasing privilege.”
The infancy of a ALA attendees stayed during a Inside Inn, a usually hotel that was indeed inside a fairgrounds. Visitors could stay for as small as $1.50 per day on a European plan, or $3.00 per day on a American plan, that enclosed 3 meals. Both skeleton lonesome acknowledgment to a fair, that usually would cost 50 cents daily (the homogeneous of $10 today). After a breathless St. Louis summer, a continue had usually started to spin in October, and some librarians complained about a hotel’s cold beds and miss of elevators in a building that lonesome 10 acres and offering 2,257 rooms. (Little did they know that a Inside Inn, run by a soon-to-be-famous hotel lord E. M. Statler, had lined any room with asbestos as a fire-protection measure.)
In a morning, conference-goers hopped on a Intramural Railway for 20 mins to get to their assembly room in a Hall of Congresses, a vast building with 40 auditoriums. The room was described as “pleasant and satisfactory, good ventilated, and with good acoustics” and ALA claimed that acceptable officials pronounced no other gathering “had been attended so mostly and continuously” as a ALA sessions. The usually confusion occurred when deaf and blind author and romantic Helen Keller was reserved a ALA room by mistake for her speech, and attendees had to pull by an crawl throng to accommodate in a smaller room down a corridor.
The Hall of Congresses
Amazingly, we can still revisit a really mark where ALA met and Helen Keller spoke. Washington University was about to pierce from downtown St. Louis to a site during a corner of a city when acceptable organizers asked about renting a newly assembled buildings in 1903 and 1904 as domicile for a exposition. The university concluded and deferred a pierce until after a fair. One of a new buildings was a Hall of Congresses, that became a university’s Stephen Ridgley Hall in Jan 1905 and housed (appropriately) a categorical library until a 1960s. Ridgley Hall still stands and is a home of a departments of Germanic and Romance languages and literatures. The ALA assembly room was remade initial into Ridgley Library’s reading room, afterwards into a loll area, and now it persists as a Holmes Lounge, a venue for jazz performances and other special events.
An essay patrician “Seven Days during a St. Louis Fair: The Lighter Side of a Conference” seemed in Library Journal as partial of a discussion proceedings. Written by “One during Headquarters”—an mocking designation, given ALA during a time was though a executive office, with association rubbed by ALA Secretary James Ingersoll Wyer in Nebraska and a ALA Publishing Board and Library Journal editors in New York—the square was substantially penned by nothing other than LJ editor and owner Richard Rogers Bowker.
Bowker waxed expressive about a fairgrounds, that he visited on Sunday when a acceptable was closed: “Seen thus, in calm and analogous solitude, a Fair was a design prolonged to be remembered—the Sunken Gardens, bordered by a columned arcades of a good buildings on possibly side; a pretentious semicircle of a Colonnade of States surveying a eminent terraces flanking Festival Hall; a vistas of cascades, lagoons, and pleasing structures, all grouped in harmony—at no other time were a bulk and beauty of a source so clear and overpowering.”
He also reveals that a pretentious Tyrolean Alps Restaurant became a after-hours “recognized domicile of a Association,” set in an authentic Alpine encampment (complete with specifically assembled feign mountains) where diners could splash drink or lemonade and listen to a melodies of “Kounzak’s pretentious orchestra.” In fact, Bowker admits to carrying so many fun there that he forgot he had been entrusted with tickets to an Oct 19 “moonlight launch outing on a lagoons during a special enlightenment of buildings and grounds,” that done a acceptable “gleam with a many-colored glow that done a sky demeanour like black velvet and a moon seem insignificant.” He sheepishly incited adult late for a event.
Another special perk organised by a internal cabinet was an dusk during Hagenbeck’s Animal Circus and Zoological Paradise, that featured continual animal extravaganzas in a 3,000-seat locus and such special shows as elephants plummeting down a enormous H2O slide. “Somebody from Headquarters” (Bowker) showed adult to discharge a tickets this time to librarians though went unrecognized as a “ALA man.” He wrote, “This is pronounced to have harm him cruelly, for he had hoped that he looked a bibliothecal partial reserved to him on life’s stage.”
Librarians and cocktails “equally stimulating”
Among a 577 attendees were 30 representatives from 17 unfamiliar countries. One of a visitors was a farcical L. Stanley Jast, librarian of Croydon (England) Public Library, whose noted jokingly during a opening event bears repeating. After a welcoming oration by Fair President and former Missouri Governor David R. Francis, Jast responded on interest of a abroad librarians, observant (among other things), “I am prone to think, sir, that maybe a dual many profitable and acceptable evil products of American civilization are a librarian, on a one hand, and a cocktail on a other. we will not attempt, sir, a ethereal doubt of determining that is best, though we am given to know that some of us have sampled both and found them equally acceptable and equally stimulating.”
The register of US librarians enclosed no reduction than 26 former, current, or destiny ALA presidents, travelling scarcely a half century of Association history:
- 1889–1890, Frederick Morgan Crunden (St. Louis Public Library)
- 1890–1891, 1892–1893, Melvil Dewey (State Library of New York)
- 1891–1892, William Isaac Fletcher (Amherst College)
- 1894–1895, Henry Munson Utley (Detroit Public Library)
- 1896–1897, William Howard Brett (Cleveland Public Library)
- 1898–1899, William Coolidge Lane (Harvard University)
- 1899–1900, Reuben Gold Thwaites (Wisconsin Historical Society)
- 1900–1901, Henry James Carr (Scranton Public Library)
- 1903–1904, Herbert Putnam (Librarian of Congress)
- 1904–1905, Ernest Cushing Richardson (Princeton University)
- 1905–1906, Frank Pierce Hill (Brooklyn Public Library)
- 1906–1907, Clement Walker Andrews (John Crerar Library)
- 1907–1908, Arthur Elmore Bostwick (New York Public Library)
- 1909–1910, Nathaniel Dana Carlile Hodges (Cincinnati Public Library)
- 1910–1911, James Ingersoll Wyer Jr. (University of Nebraska)
- 1912–1913, Henry Eduard Legler (Wisconsin Free Library Commission)
- 1915–1916, Mary Wright Plummer (Pratt Institute)
- 1916–1917, Walter Lewis Brown (Buffalo Public Library)
- 1917–1918, Thomas Lynch Montgomery (Pennsylvania State Library)
- 1920–1921, Alice Sarah Tyler (Iowa Library Commission)
- 1922–1923, George Burwell Utley (Baltimore Diocesan Library)
- 1924–1925, Herman H. B. Meyer (Astor Library)
- 1927–1928, Carl B. Roden (Chicago Public Library)
- 1928–1929, Linda Anne Eastman (Cleveland Public Library)
- 1933–1934, Gratia A. Countryman (Minneapolis Public Library)
- 1936–1937, Malcolm Glenn Wyer (State University of Iowa)
ALA Model Library
I would be lingering if we didn’t discuss ALA’s possess vaunt during a St. Louis World’s Fair, that indeed won an award. The ALA Model Library, commissioned in a Missouri Building, was conducted as a bend of a St. Louis Public Library and consisted of a collection of 5,000 volumes comparison by ALA as essential, some 1,500 works by Missouri authors, and several thousand books, newspapers, and magazines from St. Louis Public Library. The books could disseminate to carnival employees. Melvil Dewey’s Library Bureau granted bookshelves, counters, desks, and tables, and a Library of Congress furnished cards for a catalog. The acceptable awarded ALA a “grand prize” for a Model Library and gave a bullion award to St. Louis Public Library Director Frederick Crunden for his services during a exhibit.
Unfortunately, a Missouri Building was broken by a glow that pennyless out around 6 p.m. on Nov 19, reduction than dual weeks before a acceptable closed. LJ reported in a Jan 1905 issue: “The bulk of a seat and a books were during once private from a building, and a usually repairs was to several hundred books that remained in a building and were busted by water. . . . Mr. Crunden and other members of a Public Library staff reached a drift shortly after a glow and assisted a deliver corps in safeguarding a books by tarpaulins.”
The Library of Congress also had an vaunt during a United States Government Building, featuring a sectional indication of a library, a set of catalog cards display a expansion from handwritten to printed cards, pages from President James Monroe’s journals, and a collection of Civil War music.
After St. Louis, ALA managed to reason a Annual Conference parallel with a world’s acceptable in 5 some-more cities:
- Portland, Oregon, Jul 4–8, 1905, for a Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition;
- Brussels, Belgium, Aug 28–31, 1910, for a Universal and Industrial Exposition;
- Berkeley, California, Jun 3–9, 1915, usually opposite a brook from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition;
- Chicago, Oct 16–21, 1933, for a Century of Progress Exposition; and
- San Francisco, Jun 18–24, 1939, for a Golden Gate International Exposition.
But a St. Louis World’s Fair represented a initial blossoming of 20th-century record that emerged from a Victorian Era. The normal American in 1904 frequency trafficked 20 miles from home. Few vital outward a vital cities had any believe of a wider universe or building technologies. For many, it was their initial possibility to see airships, wireless telegraphy, baby incubators, large displays of electrical lighting, or foreigners of any type. It was a ideal venue for an ALA conference.