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African American Library Employees, WPA, NYA, & Kentucky, 1940
Start Year : 1940
Though Louisville, KY, had been a leader in the training of Negro librarians beginning in 1912, by 1940 those efforts had come to an end. The training program at the Louisville Western Branch Library ended in 1931. Also gone were the 1932 library training program started by Eliza Atkins [Gleason] at the Louisville Municipal College and the 1936 state training agency housed at the Municipal College for the training of Negro library employees [source: Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones, pp. 94-95]. The continuation of the Western Branch library training program at Hampton Institute Library School ended in 1939 [now Hampton University]. The Atlanta University library school would open in 1941 [now Clark Atlanta University]. In 1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected, the country was still experiencing the Great Depression with record unemployment, and in Europe, it was the second year of what would become known as World War II. Employment was hard to come by, including library jobs, though Louisville was still the one location in Kentucky that offered the most employment opportunities for Negro librarians and library employees, which included teens and young adult library assistants who were hired via the National Youth Administration (NYA). Some of the adult librarians and library assistants were hired via the Work Projects Administration. Changes had taken place with the federal programs by 1940; the NYA, a New Deal program created during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, was no longer a part of the WPA; it moved to the Federal Security Agency with the passage of the Reorganization Act of 1939. Also in 1939, the Works Progress Administration was renamed the Work Projects Administration; both were referred to as the WPA. The WPA was a New Deal agency (a federal assistance program) that employed mostly men for public works projects. The WPA Library projects mostly hired women. The library projects were sponsored by the public library commissions or boards of education in the participating states. There was a qualified workforce in Kentucky: the Negro librarians were some of the most educated women in the state and the race. Below are the names, education levels, and additional information about African Americans in and from Kentucky who were employed as librarians and library assistants in 1940; WPA and NYA workers are indicated. - - [sources: 1940 U.S. Federal Census; Wilson Bulletin for Librarians, April 1938; and Library Extension Under the WPA, by E. B. Stanford]. [See also NKAA entries for the National Youth Administration (Kentucky), Colored Libraries, and African American Schools].

 

NYA=National Youth Administration

WPA=Work Projects Administration

 

Anna Allen (b. 1924), daughter of Booker Z. and Viola Allen / completed 8th grade / Lancaster, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Anne Anderson (b. 1907), wife of Charles W. Anderson, Jr. / completed 4th year of college / Frankfort, KY / Librarian, Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]

Alice Baker (b. 1924), daughter of Lone and Nellie Baker / completed 9th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Beulah Bolan (b. 1891), widow / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public school

Gwendolyn Blakley (b. 1918), daughter of William and Martha Blakley / completed 3rd year of college / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, reading project

Lorella Bradford (b. 1917), grandniece of Charles Batts / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, college

Jesse M. Brashear (b. 1922), daughter of John W. and Fanny Brashear / completed 9th grade / Hardin County, KY / Library Assistant, school

Frances Bush (b. 1909), daughter of Brize and Nettie Bush / completed 1st year of college / Cincinnati, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Sallie Churchville (b. 1904), single / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Minnie Cooper (b. 1884), widow / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, public library

James Cowherd (b. 1916), son of Lee and Stella Cowherd / completed 12th grade / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA Literary Project

Bessie Crenshaw (b. 1920), daughter of Samuel and Bessie Crenshaw / completed 1st year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Anna Dell (b. 1896), divorced / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public school

Julius Dickerson (b. 1909), divorced / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA, public library

Thelma Dunlap (b. 1923), daughter of Johnie Ross / completed 11th grade / Paducah, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Gertrude Durett (b. 1911), single / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, Toy Library

Clara Frank (b. 1902), single / completed 10th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA

Sophia Freeman (b. 1898), widow / completed 12 grade / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, high school

Thelma P. Froman (b. 1923), daughter of John Des and Minnie Froman / completed 11th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Wyetta Gilmore (b. 1906), married / completed 4th year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Vivian Glass (b. 1904), divorced / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, public library

Lillian C. Hall (b. 1891), wife of John Wesley Hall / completed 4th year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, Attucks High School

Willa Hall (b. 1918), daughter of Bessie and Gabie Hall / completed 1st year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA Project

Margaret Hampton (b. 1916), single / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Rachel D. Harris (b. 1869), widow / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Beatrice Hatchett (b. 1921), daughter of Elisha Hatchett / completed 12th grade / Henderson, KY / Library Assistant, school work program

Hattie Hays(b. 1886), widow / completed 12th grade / Fulton County, KY / Librarian, school project

Robert Jackson (b. 1911), husband of Naomi Jackson / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA Recreation Center

Marjorie Johnson (b. 1906), married / completed 6th year of college / Paducah, KY / Librarian, school

Mary Jones (b. 1919), single / completed 10th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA Library

Cordelia Knight (b. 1920), daughter of Patrick and Emma Knight / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, Municipal College Library

Naomi Lattimore (b. 1904), wife of John A. C. Lattimore / completed 5th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Illinois) / Librarian, public and college libraries

Hariett Lawson (b. 1907), single / completed 4th year of college / Gary, Indiana (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public school

Evelyn Lewis (b. 1914), single / completed 1st year of college / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, WPA Project

Pearl Lewis (b. 1890), widowed / completed 8th grade / Letcher County, KY / Librarian, WPA Office

Charlotte Lytte (b. 1913), single / completed 12th grade / Springfield, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public college

Eva Mallory (b. 1901), wife of Robert A. Mallory / completed 1st year of college / Minneapolis, MN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian

Esther Maray (b. 1920), daughter of Caroline Maray / completed 12th grade / Cleveland, OH (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA

Charles Marrs (b. 1917), son of Charles and Julia Marrs / completed 12th grade / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Ruth McCoy (b. 1916), single / completed 4th year of college / New Orleans, LA (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, university

Elnora McIntyre Muir (b. 1886), married / completed 5th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Tennessee) / Library Assistant, public library

Mamie Melton (b. 1897), widowed / completed 8th grade / Washington, PA (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, neighborhood house

Carolyn E. Mundy (b. 1908), wife of John Mundy / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Tennessee) / Librarian, public school

Mary Myall (b. 1907), single / completed 4th year of college / Xenia, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, university library

Hugh Osborne, Jr. (b. 1919), married / completed 4th year of college / Paducah, KY (born in Alabama) / Librarian, judge's office

Hugh Osbourne (b. 1919), single / completed 7th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Alabama) / Law Librarian, Court of Appeals

Alice Parker (b. 1912), married / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA

Noverta Peoples (b. 1922), daughter of John B. and Leana N. Peoples / completed 11th grade / Paducah, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Lizzie Pierce (b. 1882), wife of B. L. Pierce / completed 11th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Pruline Pigeon (b. 1910), wife of Barbee Pigeon / completed 8th grade / Indianapolis, IN / Librarian, WPA

Lizzie S. Price (b. 1878), wife of Henry M. Price / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, free public library

Elmarie Robinson (b. 1911), single / completed 11th grade / Covington, KY / Librarian, public school

Rose Sellers (b. 1921), daughter of Oliver P. and Mary Sellers / completed 1st year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Georgia Shipley (b. 1921), daughter of Lovie and Jerry Shipley / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, library project

Gertrude Silves (b. 1902), widow / completed 3rd grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, Ribhi (sp) Library

Bessie R. Stone (b. 1917), married / completed 5th year of college / Frankfort, KY / Library Assistant, Kentucky State College for Negroes [now Kentucky State University]

Lee Ella Watkins (b. 1918), daughter of Virginia Watkins / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Bruce Weaver (b. 1917), single / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Indiana) / Library Assistant, school library

Garnett Witherspoon (b. 1911), wife of James Witherspoon / completed 2nd year of college / Paducah, KY (born in Illinois) / Librarian, college

Thelma Yancey (b. 1914), single / completed 4th year of college / Lexington, KY (born in Montana) / Librarian, college

Hortense H. Young (b. 1904), wife of Coleman Milton Young II / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Texas) / Librarian, Municipal College Library

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA), National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky



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