Dear Chris Baggs,

  Thanks for drawing Ken Carpenter's precis to our attention. Yes, as he
says, American public libraries were seen by or before the turn of the
century as predominately female institutions, with a much higher percentage
of women users (and, I think, staff). I am interested in the
managment/sponsorship/influence of British libraries from women's point of
view, but have not had an opportunity to do much research on it. But from
what I have come across, I think the situation was very different in
Britain. For one thing, women had difficulties getting votes for, let alone
elected onto, local authorities in the nineteenth and early twentieth
century. Ladies of the manor had the best opportunity for donating or
supporting libraries, and there were a few - Elizabeth Haldane for example.
But probably the most influential women's group per se, and on legislative
aspects, ws the Women's Institute. 

   On the other hand, outside the public library system, there were women's
clubs and private libraries. There are a couple of excellent ground-breaking
entries on these (and including also some examples of women's
interest/suffrage-related books held by public libraries) in Elizabeth
Crawford's recent monumental 'The Women's Suffrage Movement: a Reference
Guide 1866-1928. (A fascinating and really useful book - despite the
monumental price there should be a copy on the shelf of every public (and
academic) library !).

So far as British public library attitudes towards and provision of
facilities for women library users is concerned - well it was a pity you
were not able to hear my paper at the Gendering Library History conference!

 So far as Manchester was concerned, the mayor was dubious about
'permitting' women to use the new public library:
'I am inclined to think that  will be rather a difficulty, but it will be
quite remedied if we carry out our circulating library when the women of
Manchester will have the opportunity of having the books  at  home and will
not be taken from their domestic duties.'
  (Quoted by Munford)

  Best wishes

  Lindy Moore

At 16:49 16/11/99 +0000, you wrote:
>I thought list members might be interested in the following:
>"Seminar in American Bibliography and Book Trade History
>American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street
>Worcester, Massachusetts 01609-1634
>(508) 755-5221
>Libraries Transformed: From Male to Female Institutions
>Ken Carpenter
>Harvard University
>Wednesday, November 17 at 4:30 p.m.
>Elmarion Room, Goddard-Daniels House
>190 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts
>Precis: Considerable attention has been devoted to the feminization of
>librarianship, but that is only one aspect of a process by which libraries
>that were for the most part male institutions in the eighteenth century have
>now become gendered female.  The form of the tax-supported public library
>was to a large extent shaped by a desire to serve women. Changes in the
>reasons for reading contributed to support for that new type of institution,
>as did changes in the reasons why some wanted others to read.  Thus, serving
>those who wished to read for pleasure became more acceptable in the
>libraries that preceded the public library, and the change in the reason why
>some wanted others to read is perhaps best exemplified by the libraries
>founded and supported by the WCTU.  In fact, after the Civil War, women
>increasingly came to be the donors of libraries, the trustees of libraries,
>the instigators of Carnegie grants, and the primary force behind legislative
>support for libraries.  In short, there's a pattern, with the feminization
>of librarianship being only a part of it, an aspect that must be understood
>differently when viewed from the perspective of being a square in a larger
>I'm not supposing that UK members will be rushing off to Worcester, Mass.,
>but I am interested in the precis of Ken Carpenter's talk. I was especially
>struck by the difference between the place of women in 19th and early 20th
>century British public library development, and what Carpenter is saying
>here about the same period in the US. To say "the form of the tax-supported
>public library was to a large extent shaped by a desire to serve women,"
>would simply not apply to the early public library movement in the UK. And
>it's hard to think of examples of women being involved in UK public library
>development in the way Carpenter outlines for the US. I can think of the
>Verneys in Buckinghamshire, and Lady Manners and her advocacy of country
>reading rooms etc. But, who else?
>Does anyone have any comments to add (where are you Evelyn?)? I hope I shall
>be inundated with other examples of women being involved in UK public
>library development. Has anyone undertaken any meaningful study comparing
>this aspect of UK and US public library development? 
>All the best,
>Chris Baggs
>University of Wales, Aberystwyth
Lindy Moore
Carmel Road
Flintshire, CH8 7DD
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