Magazine article American Libraries

This Month, 109 Years Ago

Magazine article American Libraries

This Month, 109 Years Ago

Article excerpt

IN MAY 1892, ALA found itself on the horns of a dilemma. As the Association prepared for its conference in Lakewood, New Jersey, executive committee members received word that ALA President Klas August Linderfelt had been arrested on April 28 for embezzling funds as director of the Milwaukee Public Library. A local newspaper reported that over the years Linderfelt had absconded with about $4,000, mostly from the library fines collection.

On May 2, the executive committee met unofficially at the home of Frank Hill, Newark (N. J.) Public Library director (and ALA secretary), to discuss the problem. New York State Librarian Melvil Dewey had already suggested that "the best way is to avoid any mention and apparent knowledge of the dreadful episode at our meeting." Harvard University Library Director Justin Winsor lamented that "it would be a pity to have notices respecting the coming conference go out with his name attached."

What the executive committee resolved at that May 2 session became obvious from the action that resulted at its first conference meeting on May 22, when it voted to accept Linderfelt's resignation as ALA president "to take effect from the time of his election" in 1891. …

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