Friday, September 23, 2011

CATHERINE A. FAY (1880-1953)

Catherine Fay was born in Northern Ireland on this day 131 years ago.

I know nothing of her schooling but do know that she had no formal library training.

Fay had been a volunteer at the Cathedral Free Library before she joined NYPL in 1908.  She spent most of her career at the Cathedral Branch, serving as a children’s librarian and then as head of the branch.  She retired in 1946.

It isn’t certain, but it is likely, that Catherine Fay was one of 16 Catholics who served as head of an NYPL branch, prior to 1950.  The Cathedral Branch was originally the headquarters of the Cathedral Free Library, which was absorbed by NYPL in 1905.  It was housed in space provided by the Archdiocese of New York, and Fay’s predecessor at the Cathedral Branch had been a Catholic.  Thus, it is very probable that Catherine Fay was herself Catholic, but I have not been able to prove this as yet.

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