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Right Here I See My Own Books: The Women’s Building Library at the World’s Columbian Exposition

A presentation by Wayne A. Wiegand, F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University

 

Hosted by the GSLIS History Salon
April 24, 2012, 4:00 p.m.
Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Room 126
501 East Daniel Street, Champaign

Please join us for the GSLIS History Salon as we welcome Wayne A. Wiegand, F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University, for a special presentation of Right Here I See My Own Books: The Woman’s Building Library at the World’s Columbian Exposition (University of Massachusetts Press, January 2012), a book he co-authored with Sarah Wadsworth, associate professor of English at Marquette University.

Among the most popular of the attractions at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago was the Woman’s Building, a monumental exhibit hall filled with the products of women’s labor—including more than 8,000 volumes of writing by women from twenty-four countries between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. This landmark collection helped consolidate and institutionalize women’s writing in conjunction with the burgeoning women’s movement and the professionalization of librarianship in late nineteenth-century America.

Right Here I See My Own Books examines the progress, content, and significance of this historic first effort to assemble a comprehensive library of women’s texts.  By weaving together the behind-the-scenes story of the library’s formation and the stories between the covers of books on display, Wadsworth and Wiegand firmly situate the Woman’s Building Library within the historical context of the 1890s.

Speaker Biography:

Wayne A. Wiegand is F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University. He is the author of Main Street Public Library: Community Places and Reading Spaces in the Rural Heartland, 1876-1956, Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey, and several other books. He has been recognized three times with the G.K. Hall Award for Outstanding Contribution to Library Literature. Currently he is editing a series of essays by authors using the Main Street Public Library database for the Spring 2012 issue of Library Trends.

 

After I saw this event I hit my local web browser and visited assorted links associated with the Women’s Building at the Columbia World Exposition.  Here are a few:

The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair presents The Women’s Building

The Women’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exhibition from The Chicago History Journal

Art and Handicraft in the Women’s Building of the World’s Columbian Exposition

 

I’m putting this event on my personal calendar and hopefully will get to talk to the author of Right Here I See My Own Books.

 

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