Monday, May 9, 2011


Julia Elizabeth True was born in Maine on May 8, 1849 and married William Augustus Durnett in 1865.  Her husband died sometime between 1870 when their daughter was born and 1880 when the census lists her as a widow.  Julia Durnett then supported herself and her daughter by working as a music teacher. 

In 1894 Durnett began a cataloger at the Aguilar Free Library Society (AFLS) the same year her daughter, Elizabeth (Bessie) Durnett Shumway, was married. 

Julia E. Durnett joined NYPL in 1903 when the AFLS was absorbed into the system.  Two years later she was promoted to head the Port Richmond Branch on Staten Island and worked there until her retirement in 1917 at the age of 69. 

Elizabeth D. Shumway, who became a widow in 1899, became an NYPL librarian in 1906 and for a short time followed her mother as head of the Port Richmond Branch.  She resigned to become a librarian in Pelham and later Buffalo, NY.  Julia Durnett lived with her daughter in retirement and died Buffalo in 1929. 

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