Friday, March 23, 2012


Ruth A. Saxton graduated from the five-year classical course at the Friends Central School in Philadelphia in 1902.  It is not clear what she did over the next 14 years.  She is listed in the 1910 US Census as living with her parents on E. 87th Street in New York City, and no occupation is given for her.  Even after she became a librarian, Saxton was listed in the 1920 and 1930 censuses as living with her parents.

Saxton was hired at NYPL in 1916 when she entered the NYPL Library School.  She took the two-year course and received her library degree in 1918.

Ruth Saxton served as Acting Branch Librarian at the W. 40th Street Branch, 1921-1923 and then headed that branch until 1943.  For a few months in 1943 she headed the 96th Street Branch before transferring to be the Branch Librarian at the 125th Street Branch, serving there until her retirement in 1943.

Ruth Saxton died in Danbury CT in 1974.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Last November, I posted a short biography on Gladys Y. Leslie .  Thanks to the courtesy of the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana, I can now add some additional information on her 1915 marriage to Noel Leslie, a British actor. 

Her husband’s given name was actually Noel Leslie Brown, but he used the shorter version as his stage name.  In my earlier post I mentioned her marriage but speculated that it had not lasted.

Under US law in 1915, Gladys Young lost her US citizenship since her husband was a British national.  Apparently this law only applied to American women; American men who married a foreign national kept their US citizenship.  (See the Wikipedia article on the Married Women's Independent Nationality Act for more information.)

The Lilly Library holds the papers of John J. O’Connor (a New York City Congressman) and provided copies from his file on Gladys Young Leslie’s effort to regain her US citizenship. The papers confirm that Gladys Young Leslie divorced her husband in 1924.  Six years later she sought O’Connor’s assistance to have her US citizenship restored.  Finally, in 1930 Gladys Young Leslie once again became a citizen of the United States of America.    

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Florence Bradley’s mother, Frances Sage Bradley (1866-1949), was a physician who worked for the US Children’s Bureau.  Her father, Horace James Bradley (1862-1896), was an artist and a founder of the Art Students League in New York City.

While Florence Bradley worked for both the Atlanta Carnegie Library and NYPL, her major contributions to the library profession were based on her work in special libraries. 

Bradley began working in the Atlanta Carnegie Library after graduating from high school in 1904 and completed that library’s Training School in 1906.  Bradley worked as an Assistant in the Atlanta Carnegie Library, 1906-1910.  Bradley left Atlanta for two years to work at NYPL, 1911-1912, and then returned to Atlanta to become the head of Circulation.  In 1915 she resigned after being passed over for promotion to become head of the system.

Following her resignation, Bradley returned to NYPL and served as First Assistant at the Tompkins Square Branch. In 1918 she was promoted to be head of Tompkins Square.  Bradley held that position for two years before taking a leave of absence and never returned to NYPL.

Bradley became head librarian at the National Organization for Public Health Nursing, 1920-1923, and then spent the next 25 years as head librarian at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.  As a corporate librarian she worked to improve the status of librarians in a business setting and also developed programs to train paraprofessionals to work in a special library.

Bradley helped form the New York chapter of the Special Libraries Association, served as Vice-President of SLA, 1929-1930, and edited Special Libraries in the 1930s.  She also authored at least 10 articles on special libraries.  Bradley was elected to the SLA Hall of Fame in 1960.  Her obituary in Special Libraries described her as a "lovely lady with a gentle wit and true southern charm" who had “a particularly creative and distinguished career.”

It appears that Bradley lived with Esther Johnston, who also worked at NYPL, from 1927 until 1968 when Johnston died.