Saturday, July 2, 2011


While June had the birthdays of three women who were active unionists and also served as Branch Librarians, July’s first birthday has a different distinction.  July 2nd would be the 135th birthday of Charlotte H. Meade who was listed in the New York City Social Register during her entire 43 year career as a librarian.  Both Meade’s father and her mother’s father were Rear Admirals in the US Navy and the 1910 US census listed her mother (a widow) as having “her own income”  but no occupation.

Late in 1898, a year after her father Richard Worsam Meade III had died, Meade wrote to John Shaw Billings, Director of NYPL, and asked for a position in the Reference Department but was told there were no openings.  Instead she joined the New York Free Circulating Library in 1899 and was there in 1901 when it consolidated with NYPL.

Charlotte Meade was First Assistant at the George Bruce and St. Agnes branches before being promoted to Branch Librarian at the Aguilar Branch.  After two years at Aguilar she took a leave of absence for unknown reasons.  She returned to NYPL in 1911 and served as First Assistant at the St. George and 96th Street branches.  She was then promoted again to be Branch Librarian at St. George, 1912-1917, and then transferred as Branch Librarian at St. Agnes where she served until her retirement in 1941.

Meade was one of the half dozen early NYPL librarians who had articles published in the professional literature.  In September 1904 Library Journal published an extract from Meade’s promotion thesis which focused the reading choices of children of different ethnic groups. 

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