Thursday, May 31, 2012


A recent comment on my original post on Margaret Toliver Garner  passed along the information that she had died in Lincolnville Maine an May 17th at the age of 96.

Her obituary in the Republican Journal provides more information on her life.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Adelaide Bowles was educated in a private school in Elmira, NY, and married Silas B. Maltby (1873-1898) around 1895.  She was the aunt of the writer Paul Bowles (1910-1999), her brother’s son.

Adelaide B. Maltby came to NYC in 1899 to attend the Pratt Institute library school.  After graduating from the one-year course in 1900, she worked in the Pratt Library for six months.  She then returned upstate to work as a Children’s Librarian at the Buffalo Public Library, 1901-1905.  She was forced to resign due to poor health.

Maltby returned to NYC and in November 1906 was hired by Anne Carroll Moore to organize children’s work at the Chatham Square Branch.  Moore had recently become NYPL’s first Supervisor of Work with Children and Maltby was one of her first new hires.  In 1907 Maltby was promoted to Branch Librarian at the Chatham Square Branch and later also headed the Tompkins Square (1908-1917) and St. George (1917-1919) branches.

Adelaide Maltby and Anne Carroll Moore were listed as boarders at the same address in the 1910 census.  Paul Bowles’ biographers note that his aunt and Moore were roommates in a Greenwich Village apartment, circa 1917 or 1918.  Paul Bowles credited Anne Carroll Moore with suggesting that he attend the University of Virginia.

Adelaide Maltby died suddenly of pneumonia during the 1919 influenza pandemic.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


In researching my post on Ella Wagar, I wrote the Chatham Public Library for information.   The library generously sent me a copy of its recently published history by Dominick C. Lizzi.  That publication also provided new information on Frances Westover’s career.

In my earlier post on Frances L. Westover, I noted that she worked in Chatham in 1909-1910.  It’s now clear that Westover was hired to be the Assistant Librarian by Ella Wagar, perhaps as early as 1903.  When Wagar left Chatham to accept a position at NYPL in 1907, Westover took over as the head librarian.  Westover resigned in 1910 and accepted a position at NYPL. 

Monday, May 14, 2012


Ella E. Wagar grew up in upstate NY, where she was educated in private schools.

Wagar began teaching at the age of 16 and in 1881 became an English teacher and later also served as the librarian at the Union Free School District of Chatham NY where she opened the school library to use by the public.  In 1901, Andrew Carnegie donated the money required for the town to build a library.  Wagar became the librarian of the Chatham Public Library in 1903 and held that position until she resigned in 1907.

Ella Wagar became a children’s librarian at NYPL in 1907.  She later took a leave of absence to attend the NYPL Library School and received her diploma in 1916.  In 1923 she became the Acting Branch Librarian at the Kingsbridge Branch.  The following year, Wagar became the Branch Librarian at the Tottenville Branch on Staten Island. 

Once pensions for librarians were enacted in 1937, those over 70 years old required special permission to continue working.  In 1938, the library determined that Wagar “cannot, of course, be retained” after her 78th  birthday and so she retired from Tottenville later that year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Ellen H. Tobey was the younger sister of Lillian Q. Tobey who was also an NYPL Branch Librarian.  Their sister Grace worked at the Brooklyn Public Library.

Ellen Tobey began working at the New York Free Circulating Library in 1897 and became First Assistant at the Bloomingdale Branch in 1900.  She continued in that position after consolidation until she was promoted to Branch Librarian at the branch in 1905.  In 1907 she transferred to head the Tremont Branch. 

In 1911 Ellen Tobey resigned from NYPL to be married to Donald Banks Tobey (1879-1967) who was the treasurer of an oil company.  She seems to have left librarianship at that point.  They are listed together in the Ridgewood NJ directories 1928-1935.

In the late 1930s Ellen Tobey is listed as living in Ridgewood NJ with her son, Wendell B. Tobey.  In 1941, the three sisters—Ellen, Lillian and Grace—were living together in Ridgewood and apparently no longer working.  The 1946 city directory indicates that three sisters had moved from Ridgewood to Asbury Park NJ.