Putnam, Herbert

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1861-09-20
Death 1955-08-14
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Herbert Putnam (b. Sept. 20, 1861, New York City–d. Aug. 14, 1955, Woods Hole, MA) was the eighth Librarian of Congress from 1899 to 1939. Putnam was born in New York City to parents Victorine and George Palmer Putnam; his father owned publishing house, G. P. Putnam's Sons. He married Charlotte Elizabeth Munroe and had two daughters, Shirley and Brenda Putnam.

Putnam graduated from Harvard University in 1883. He served as librarian at Minneapolis Athenaeum, later Minneapolis Public Library, and was elected city librarian of the Minneapolis Public Library while simultaneously being admitted to the Minnesota bar of Law. While in Minneapolis, he developed the Putnam Classification System. In 1891, Putnam returned to Boston and practiced law until his appointed Librarian of the Boston Public Library in 1895. During his time at the BPL, Putnam implemented dramatic changes including opening a room for juvenile books, possibly the first. He was also involved in the American Library Association and served as President.

He was appointed Librarian of Congress by President William McKinley and officially confirmed December 12, 1899. As Librarian of Congress he was incredibly influential and successfully reorganized materials and also created new scheme of classification, the Library of Congress Classification. Further, he established an interlibrary loan system and expanded collecting of the library. During WWI, Putnam worked with the ALA and the government to donate books to soldiers.

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Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w60w92ts
Ark ID:
w60w92ts
SNAC ID:
83707363

Subjects:

  • Autographs--Collections
  • Incunabula
  • Librarians
  • Libraries
  • Decedents' estates

Occupations:

  • Librarians of Congress
  • Librarians

Places:

  • New York City, NY, US
  • Woods Hole, MA, US