Sunday, May 29, 2011
CHARLOTTE J. HUBACH (1892-1966)
Today would be Charlotte Hubach’s 119th birthday. Charlotte Hubach was born in Brooklyn NY of German parents. She graduated from Girls High School in Brooklyn but had no college education.
Hubach received her library training in the Brooklyn Public Library Training Class in 1911 and worked at BPL until 1919. Hubach spent the following eight years working in special libraries.
Hubach entered NYPL in 1928 as First Assistant at the St. George Branch, 1928-1933, but she spent the rest of her career at two branches—Yorkville and Ottendorfer--in German neighborhoods. She was Acting Branch Librarian at Ottendorfer, 1933-1948 and Branch Librarian there until her retirement in 1957.
Given her German background, the outbreak of war in Europe caused Hubach a range of emotions between optimism and despair. In 1939 she was optimistic that the refugees from Europe provided “a wonderful opportunity here as librarians to sell America and the idea of a democratic state to these bewildered people.” In her 1941 annual report, written the day that Germany declared war on the US, she described the war as “a bitter personal blow”. Yet at war’s end, she rejoiced at the interaction with one former user who returned to the branch after serving in the Army. He “paid us a high tribute when he said, ‘while I froze in my foxhole in Germany I often thought of the three nicest, friendliest places I knew—Home, Nick’s Poolroom, and the Library!’”
The young veteran had brought Hubach’s optimism to the fore again.