Sunday, January 29, 2012


Lillian Q. Tobey came from a family of sisters who were librarians.  She spent much of her life living with her sisters Ellen (who was also an NYPL librarian) and Grace (who worked at the Brooklyn Public Library).

Lillian Tobey was born in Portland, Maine, but her family had moved to New York City by the 1890s.  So far, I have been unable to find any information on Lillian Tobey’s educational background. 
In 1897 both Lillian and Ellen Tobey were assistants in the New York Free Circulating Library and continued to serve there until the NYFCL joined NYPL in 1901.

In 1905 Ellen became Branch Librarian at Bloomingdale, and Lillian transferred to serve as her First Assistant.  When Ellen Tobey was transferred in 1907, Lillian was promoted to replace her as Branch Librarian.

In 1910 Lillian was transferred to be Branch Librarian at Washington Heights and after three years transferred again to head the Bond Street Branch.  The Bond Street building (the original headquarters of the NYFCL) was closed in 1918 and Tobey left NYPL.

From 1919-1929 Lillian Tobey worked in the library of the Brooklyn Museum, and it is not known why she left that position. 

Tobey died in Ocean Grove NJ in 1962, and her death certificate indicates she had lived in the area since at least 1948.

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