Friday, April 15, 2011

MARIE C. SAXER (1862-1933)

Today would be the 149th birthday of Marie C. Saxer.

Marie Saxer headed the Bond Street Branch of the New York Free Circulating Library (NYFCL), 1891-1901.  Although her father had been director of Concordia Seminary, she apparently had neither college nor library training

After NYPL absorbed the NYFCL in 1901, Saxer headed the Bond Street, St. Agnes and St. George Branches until 1911 when she took a leave of absence.  So far, I have not been able to determine what she did during the six years she was on leave. 

When Saxer returned to NYPL in 1917, she was not reappointed as a Branch Librarian.  Instead, she served as a reference librarian at the Hamilton Fish Park & St. Agnes branches until 1933, when she died.

During her last years at NYPL, Saxer was described as “very feeble, and almost unable to walk.”  Nonetheless, the Library allowed Saxer to keep her position since there was no pension plan for NYPL staff.  This is somewhat ironic, because in 1906 the Library’s Director, Dr. John Shaw Billings, had appointed Saxer to a committee to look into creating a staff pension system. Nothing came of that effort, and Saxer died just four years before a regular pension system was finally implemented for all NYPL librarians

The pension issue was a difficult one for the Library and the librarians and I will be writing more about it in future posts.

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