A dedicated room for Georgia Tech's library was first established in 1899, and the first librarian, Madge Flynn, was hired in 1901. From these humble beginnings, the library grew steadily over the years. These reports include monthly summaries of finances and activities to the president and library committee from librarians Madge Flynn and her successor, Laura Hammond.
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The librarian's reports include hand and typewritten monthly reports from January 1901 through May 1912, excepting the summer months, when the library was closed. The reports provide information on numbers of books cataloged, circulated, acquired and discarded, patron statistics, and financial summaries. Initially, the Georgia Tech library was a subscription library, with dues largely financing the administration of the library. Some of the early reports were given directly to President Lyman Hall, while later reports were to the library committee.
Interspersed among the reports are a few letters to President Hall from Madge Flynn, requesting special appropriations for a charging system and increased wages for the librarian. Of special note are instructions written by Madge Flynn in 1899 for cataloging and preparing books for the shelves.
The later reports, when Laura Hammond was librarian, include both a prose report to the library committee, as well as a form, providing only statistical information on additions, circulation, registration, receipts and disbursements. The reports occasionally provide insight into social activities on campus, noting for example that attendance decreased due to fine weather or the celebration of a sports victory. Evening and weekend attendance were noted separately, as a faculty member appointed by the library committee covered these time periods. The October 1907 report provides expenses for furnishing the new library, while the November 1907 details the "book shower" given for the library. Throughout the years, the librarian consistently complains about the lack of interest and help from the faculty in supporting the library.
The Georgia Tech library originated as a bookshelf in English Professor Kenneth G. Matheson'soffice. In April 1899, a room was set aside in the Administration Building (then called the Academic Building) for use as a library. The library received its first appropriation in 1901, enabling a librarian, Madge Flynn,to be hired. She held this position until May 1905, when Laura Hammond succeeded her. Laura Hammond, later assisted by her sister Julia Hammond,served as librarian until the early 1920s.
Dr. Matheson became president of Georgia Tech in 1906, determined that Tech should have a decent library. Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie donated $20,000 for the construction of a new library on March 12, 1906, stipulating that the institution must provide an annual appropriation of at least $2,000. Despite the fact that in past years the library had difficulty obtaining appropriations of several hundred dollars, the trustees quickly complied with Carnegie's condition. The Carnegie Library opened in September 1907.
After obtaining the new library, Matheson turned his attention to building its collection. Inspired by a donation from Columbia University of several hundred duplicate volumes from their collection, Matheson contacted other universities, requesting that they send Georgia Tech their duplicate books. Although none matched Columbia's largesse, the collection did grow. Atlantan Julius L. Brown,son of Civil War governor Joseph E. Brown,bequeathed 3,000 volumes from his personal library to Georgia Tech, along with substantial funds and property.
For many years, a three-person committee administered the library, reporting in turn to the faculty committee. The committee consisted of Dr. G. H. Boggs (chair), Professor H. P. Woods,and Professor William Gilmer Perry.Perry would continue to serve on the library committee well into the administration of librarian Dorothy Murray Crosland.
The reports are arranged chronologically.
A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.
The library transferred the reports to the Archives (Accession #1988.0401; old number: 88-04-01).
(one half-sized document case)
Susan J. Illis processed these papers in 2000.