Interesting Discovery in Public Library History


Nicolette Hall has sent us an interesting paper examining how budgetary limitations, saloons, an earthquake, and a highly-skilled but volatile library director figured into the history of the San Francisco Public Library.

Of special note, Ms. Hall discovered a study conducted by the library’s early founders, who had surveyed two hundred libraries in Europe and America about their development, services, and collections.  Henry George analyzed the results, and his conclusions are quoted in Ms. Hall’s paper:

These results provide an interesting snapshot of libraries of the 1800s.

Ms. Hall is a LIS graduate student at San Jose State University. She also holds an MA in Art History from San Francisco State University, where she received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Academic Excellence for her thesis and participated in the Western Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Master’s Thesis Competition.



Some July Posts to LHRT News and Notes

A History of Christian Publishing in Grand Rapids: How Four Families Shaped an Industry

By Erinn Huebner, Wayne State University

Summarizes the historical significance of the four great publishing houses of Grand Rapids–Kregel, Baker, Eerdmans, and Zondervan.  I found this paper fascinating because the story draws from original interviews conducted by the author with descendants of the first publishers; it chronicles a little known part of book history; and it sets the story against the backdrop of Dutch Calvinist immigration to the United States.

Available at:

A Study in Patience and Fortitude: A Brief History of the New York Public Library’s Early Decades

By Sarah Edwards Obenauf, San Jose State University

An excellent and well-illustrated account of the dawning of the nation’s largest public library, weaving together facts and stories from the Bulletin of the New York Public Library and other primary sources.  You’ll find a number of interesting, little-known NYPL anecdotes peppering her paper.

Available at:

All the Best,