From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Gleason, Eliza Atkins

(born: 1909  -  died: 2009) 

Eliza Atkins Gleason was born in North Carolina, she came to Kentucky in 1931 to take up her first library job at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes. In 1932 she became head librarian and also taught library classes in the new library department that she had created. The department, in conjunction with the Louisville Western Colored Branch Library, was established to continue offering the only library classes for African Americans in Kentucky between 1932 and 1951. Dr. Gleason left Kentucky in 1936, and in 1940 she graduated from the University of Chicago and became the first African American to earn a Ph. D. in librarianship. She was later hired at Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], where she structured and organized the library school beginning in 1940 and would become the first African American library school dean 1941-1946. Decades later, Dr. Gleason returned to Louisville. She was a younger sister to librarian Olie Atkins Carpenter, and they were the daughters of Simon Green Atkins and Oleona Pegram Atkins. In 1892, Simon Green Atkins was the founder of what is today Winston-Salem State University, and his wife Oleona Atkins was a teacher and assistant principal at the school. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 24 (Sept. 1998-Aug. 1999); Who's Who in America, 38th-46th eds.; and Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award. See photo image and obituary of Eliza Atkins Gleason in the Winston-Salem Journal, 12/24/2009. For more on Simon G. Atkins, see the chapter "For Service Rather than Success" in Winston-Salem by F. V. Tursi. * Additional information for this entry was provided by Professor J. G. Carew at the University of Louisville, she is the daughter of Dr. Eliza A. Gleason.

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“Gleason, Eliza Atkins,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-09-14 18:14:17