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

Halliday, Thelma Dorothy Yancey

(born: 1912  -  died: 2005) Thelma Dorothy Yancey was one of the first African Americans in Kentucky to earn a library college degree. She was born in Great Falls, Montana on October 12, 1912 and moved to Lexington, KY after her father became ill. She attended Chandler School and Lincoln Institute in Kentucky. She later attended Kentucky Normal School for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University] and went to Hampton Institute [now Hampton University] where she received her Bachelor's in Library Science in 1938. She was one of the school's first library graduates from Kentucky [source: Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones, p.83]. Prior to receiving her library degree, she was an assistant librarian at Kentucky State Industrial College [Kentucky State University], and read a paper, "Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind and the Negro," during the 1937 Annual KNEA Librarians' and Teacher-Librarians' Conference in Louisville, KY [source: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.8, no.1, p.21]. The librarians' and teacher librarians' conference was a year old.

Thelma Yancey was also employed as a librarian in Pine Bluffs, Alabama. She was later librarian at Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY, up to 1955 or 1956. She married Neil Lilburn Halliday Sr. (formerly of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and had two children - Antoinette "Toni" and Neil Jr. Neil Halliday was a mail carrier in Lexington, KY. When he got a job with the US Postal Service in Washington, D.C., the family moved to D.C. Thelma D. Yancey Halliday was librarian at Anacostia High School and Cardoza High School in D.C.

She was later employed by Howard University, where she was in the reference department under Maurice Thomas and head librarian Dr. Paul Reason. She later accepted a position setting up the library for the Small Business Development Center under Dr. Wilfred White, and the library became part of the Howard University School of Business. She received her Masters Degree in Library Science from Catholic University. She retired from Howard University, and remained an active member of the American Library Association after her retirement. She was a golden soror of Delta Sigma Theta. She was author of the annotated bibliography The Negro in Business and the title City Directories of Black Businesses: a list, and was editor of Against the Tide by Ann Heartwell Hunter, the book is a history of Kentucky and Kentucky State University.

Thelma D. Yancey Halliday was the granddaughter of Jordan Carlisle Jackson Jr. and E. Belle Mitchell Jackson; the daughter of Charles H. Yancey and Minnie Carlisle Jackson Yancey; and the sister of Sadie Mae Yancey and Myrtle Yancey Mitchell. This entry was submitted by Toni H. Schooler, daughter of Thelma D. Yancey Halliday.

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“Halliday, Thelma Dorothy Yancey,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-07-20 17:00:57