Mr Hutchings Goes to Washington: British Librarians in the United States, 1876-1951

BLACK, Alistair (2014) Mr Hutchings Goes to Washington: British Librarians in the United States, 1876-1951. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 71 - Library History Special Interest Group. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Mr Hutchings Goes to Washington: British Librarians in the United States, 1876-1951

In October 1951, F.G.B. Hutchings, the Chief Librarian of Leeds Public Libraries (Yorkshire, UK), spent a month in the United States, having received an invitation from the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. to act as an adviser on its collection of English local history books. The trip gave Hutchings the opportunity to visit a number of other libraries on the East Coast of the U.S. and in Canada. He was also invited to address a meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) in Philadelphia celebrating its 75th anniversary. It was a task for which he was specifically chosen, the only foreign visitor present at the ALA's inaugural meeting in 1876, also in Philadelphia, having been one of Hutchings' predecessor as the Chief of Leeds Public Libraries, James Yates. Hutchings wrote an extensive diary documenting his trip. Extracts from the diary, supplemented by articles about the trip that Hutchings later sent to a local newspaper and a local periodical, are presented and contextualized. Such evidence points to a special -- though by no mean uncomplicated -- relationship between Britain and the United States in the library sphere, one that paralleled that which developed in the geo-political domain. This paper forms part of what will become a much larger study of British librarians who travelled to the United States to study its library systems in the formative decades of the library profession.

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