The Rutgers library was originally established as a collection of theology books for what was mainly a theological institution. By 1827, the library, modest when compared to the libraries of the Peithossophian and Philoclean literary societies, filled a small room in the old Queen's Building. Irving S. Upson, Osborn's predecessor as Rutgers Librarian, became the first nonfaculty librarian in 1884. In 1890, the library held 26,000 volumes, and by 1903, when it moved into a new building, the Voorhees Library, it held 46,000 books.
After the move, George A. Osborn, Upson's assistant since 1897, took over as acting librarian in 1904, and was appointed librarian in 1907. In 1916, the library held 85,000 volumes; in 1919, 100,000 volumes; and in 1925, 128,000 volumes. The Voorhees Library was expanded in 1926, but by the time of a federal survey of the university in 1927, it was obvious that the library still desperately needed more space.
The library's relationships with the libraries of other Rutgers colleges is not clearly defined in these records. However, some information about these bureaucratic ties can be gleaned from the files.
August 18, George Augustus Osborn is born in Jersey City, NJ
Osborn, as a freshman, starts working in the library as a student assistant
(member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity)
Osborn receives his B.Sc., in chemistry, from Rutgers College and becomes
assistant in charge of the library
Osborn marries Edith Octavia Tye, a Canadian, they have two daughters
Appointed Acting Librarian
Osborn becomes College Librarian
Osborn starts the Rutgers Alumni Quarterly
Receives honorary A.M. degree from Rutgers University
Elected president of the New Jersey Library Association
Osborn becomes an appointed professor
Receives Rutgers award of merit (“Rutgers University Award”)
Publishes “The Use of the Library” in the first
Journal of the Rutgers University Library (Vol. 1, no.
1, Dec. 1937)
Osborn receives a honorary degree from Rutgers University
Resigns as University Librarian on June 25
George Augustus Osborn dies at his home on May 1
From the guide to the Records of the Rutgers University Librarian (George A. Osborn), 1880-1955, (Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.)