Saturday, May 11, 2013

LEONA DURKES WILSON (1902-1981)

Leona Durkes was born in Illinois and earned her BA from Wellesley College in 1924.  After graduation she worked in bookstores in Boston.

Durkes entered the NYPL Training Class in 1929 and received a regular Library appointment that same year.  She temporarily left NYPL to earn her library degree at the University of Illinois in 1932.

Durkes returned to NYPL in 1932 and six years later was promoted to Branch Librarian at the Washington Heights Branch.  She transferred to head the 96th Street Branch in 1943.

In 1936 she married Burr Polk Wilson (1905-1963) of Ossining NY.

Leona Durkes Wilson‘s major impact on NYPL came after being a Branch Librarian.  In 1949 NYPL created a specialty office for Reference Services, and Wilson was named the first head of that unit.  In 1953 Wilson became just the second Coordinator of Adult Services.  Wilson often wrote on adult education during the six years she headed the Office of Adult Services. 

Leona Durkes Wilson retired from NYPL after 30 years of service and went to work as a librarian at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

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