Browsing items in: Library of Michigan History

  • Subject: state librarians
(23 results)
Thumbnail Title Date Time Period Description
Oren Marsh 1837-1840 Michigan was officially named a state on January 26th, 1837. Oren Marsh served as the first official State Librarian from 1837 to 1840. He expanded the collection to include items beyond legal materials including topics such as literature, philosopy and history. By 1838, there were over 294 titles in the collection. Problems with borrowing books led to instituting a six cent overdue fine for each day an item was more than ten days late.
Moses B. Hess 1847-1850 Moses B. Hess was born July 3, 1821 in Verona, New York. Moses emigrated to Hartland, Michigan at the age of ten, where he worked on a farm and served two years in the copper, tin and sheet-iron business. In 1847, prior to the state capital being moved from Detroit to Lansing, Moses made the move to Lansing where he worked as both Assistant Postmaster and State Librarian until 1850.
Charles P. Bush 1853-1854 Charles P. Bush served as State Librarian from 1853 to 1854.
John J. Bush 1854-1855 John J. Bush served as State Librarian from 1854 to 1855
Dewitt C. Leach 1855-1857 Dewitt C. Leach was born November 23, 1822 in Clarence, New York. He moved with his parents to Genesee County, Michigan in his early childhood. He eventually became editor of the Michigan State Republican and was a member of the State House of Representatives. He served as State Librarian from 1855 to 1857. After his term at the state library ended, he went on to serve as a congressman until 1861. Dewitt died December 21, 1909 after retiring to Springfield, Missouri in 1902.
George W. Swift 1857-1859 George W. Swift served as State Librarian from 1857 to 1859. During his time at the Michigan State Library, George also worked as a handyman and cabinet maker for the state government. This included building bookcases, boxes, map chests, and repairing chairs.
J. Eugene Tenney 1859-1869 J. Eugene Tenney served as State Librarian from 1859 to 1869. During his term, he was able to increase the size of the collection from 9,000 items to 24,000 items. He also played a major part in naming the library as a federal document depository in 1860.
Harriet A. Tenney 1869-1891 Harriet A. Tenney served as State Librarian from 1869 to 1891. She was the first State Librarian to be a member of the American Library Association. In 1877, Harriet convinced the legislature to create an Assistant Librarian position. During the 1880's, she persuaded legislature to open the library to the public as a reading library. She also had the task of moving the entire library collection twice during her term. Harriet died January 20, 1899.
Margaret Custer Calhoun 1891-1893 Margaret Custer Calhoun was born in 1852 in Harrison County, Ohio. Her family moved to Monroe, Michigan during her early childhood. Prior to her appointment as State Librarian, Margaret studied dramatic elocution in Detroit, Michigan under the training of Mrs. Edna Chaffe-Noble. Margaret served as State Librarian from 1891 to 1893. She passed away in 1910 in Detroit, Michigan.
Mary C. Spencer 1893-1923 Mary C. Spencer served as State Librarian from 1893 to 1923, making her term the longest served in history. Prior to serving as State Librarian, Mary served as Assistant State Librarian from 1875 to 1893. She initiated many statewide library services including a traveling library. Mary also oversaw the installation of electricity and the first telephones. Mary was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1985.
Mary E. Frankhauser 1923-1933 Mary E. Frankhauser served as State Librarian from 1923 to 1933. Mary had no prior library experience, however she was still able to improve library programs including statewide training programs. She also worked with the Jackson State Prison to improve their library. Mary continued to advocate for improvements to other state correctional and mental health facilities.
Evelyn S. Mershon 1933 Evelyn S. Mershon was born July 21, 1870. She grew up in Saginaw, Michigan and graduated from Saginaw High School in 1888. She served as State Librarian for a brief period in 1933. Prior to her stint at the state library, Evelyn was heavily active in community events as well as an early protagonist in the fight for women's suffrage. She was a lifelong resident of Saginaw. Evelyn died April 17, 1960.
Lillian S. Navarre 1933-1935 Lillian S. Navarre served as State Librarian from 1933 to 1935.
Grace S. McClure 1935-1941 Grace S. McClure served as State Librarian from 1935 to 1941.
Loleta D. Fyan 1941-1961 Loleta D. Fyan was born May 14, 1894. She served as State Librarian from 1941 to 1961. Loleta was the first professionally trained State Librarian from an American Library Association accredited library program. She was also the first librarian to oversee the distribution of state aid to Michigan libraries as well as federal funding later on. Loleta was the librarian during the fire in the State Office Building in 1951, which destroyed 20,000 books and damaged another 30,000. She was able to get the library up and running again seven months later. After her term as State Librarian ended, Loleta continued working with other library organizations such as ALA and MLA. She died March 15, 1990.
Genevieve M. Casey 1962-1968 Genevieve M. Casey served as State Librarian from 1962 to 1968.
Francis X. Scannell 1968-1983 Francis X. Scannell was born in 1918. He served as State Librarian from 1968 to 1983. He died June 17, 2013.
James Wilson Fry 1984-1994 James Wilson Fry served as State Librarian from 1984 to 1994. Prior to working for the Library of Michigan, James worked for both the Ohio State University library system as well as the State Library of Ohio.
Library Staff 1994-1996 During this phase in history, the Library of Michigan operated without an official State Librarian. The library staff dedicated themselves to continuing support for state libraries and services to the patrons.
George M. Needham 1996-1999 George M. Needham served as State Librarian from 1996 to 1999. During his term, he implemented many statewide library projects including AccessMichigan, a project which allowed libraries in Michigan access to full-text databases, indexes, abstracts and other various online reference services. George continued his library career by taking a position at OCLC in 1999, a company he is still with today.
Christie Pearson Brandau 2000-2005 Christie Pearson Brandau served as State Librarian from 2000 to 2005. During her term, the library moved from under the Legislative Branch to the Department of History, Arts and Libraries.
Nancy R. Robertson 2005-2014 Nancy R. Robertson served as State Librarian from 2005 to 2014.
Randy Riley 2014-2015 Randy Riley serves as State Librarian from 2014 to the present.