Friday, June 17, 2011


Marjorie C. Burbank graduated from Rye Seminary in 1912.  She entered the NYPL Library School in 1914 and received her certificate in 1915.  She then started work as a Cataloger at NYPL.  She continued to take the advanced courses in the Library School and earned her two-year degree in 1917. 

In the 1920s Burbank worked as a children’s librarian in the branches and for most of the 1930s she served as Anne Carroll Moore’s assistant in the Office of Work with Children.  Burbank was promoted to Branch Librarian at the Melrose Branch, 1939-1946, and then held the same position at the High Bridge Branch, 1946-1954.  She retired in 1954.

In the 1930s when she worked closely with Anne Carroll Moore, another children’s librarian in the office was Margaret McElderry (1912-2011), who later became a famous children’s book editor.  Apparently there was both a “sisterly” and a competitive relationship between Burbank and McElderry.  McElderry described Marjorie Burbank as “a very good and caring librarian and reader, but she also had this wonderful nuttiness.”  One example of that “nuttiness” was that Burbank brought jelly beans to the office every Easter and could hold a jelly bean on her finger tips, slap the heel of that palm with her other hand, and flip the jelly bean into her mouth.  Margaret McElderry tried but had difficulty replicating Burbank’s trick.  For the relationship between Burbank and McElderry see Betsy Hearne, “Margaret K. McElderry and theProfessional Matriarchy of Children’s Books.”

June 17th would be Marjorie Burbank’s 118th birthday,

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