Thursday, March 31, 2011


Alice Vielehr was born on March 31st in Constantinople in 1900 or 1901 and worked at the New York Public Library, 1927-1965.  I have found very little about her life during the years before she started at NYPL.  She came to the US about 1919 and did office work in Buffalo in 1923-1926.

When she started at NYPL in 1927, she was known as Mrs. Alice Van Arnam and was listed under that name in February 1930.  Sometime prior to 1932, she married Oscar A. Vielehr.

She was hired by NYPL in 1927 and worked primarily in Cataloging.  As she wrote in 1941 “I was never cut out to be a cataloger”, so she took a leave of absence in 1932 to get her library degree from Pratt Institute.  At Pratt she discovered work with young people and it was in that specialty that she made her first mark at NYPL working at the Harlem, Hamilton Fish Park, Muhlenberg, and Melrose branches.

Vielehr was promoted to Branch Librarian in 1945 at Hudson Park in Greenwich Village.  Over the next 20 years Vielehr made Hudson Park into a center for the cultural life of the Village.  The branch sponsored chamber music concerts, film forums, exhibits, poetry readings, theater presentations, and discussion groups.  Its small art gallery held exhibits of professional and amateur painters, photographers and sculptors.  Vielehr made certain that the programs were accompanied by tables with books relevant to the program so attendees could browse the books.  She believed that the programs would open new horizons and also promote more reading. 

Alice Vielehr died in New York City in 1994.

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