New York Public Library. Central Administration. Director's Office.

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Richard De Gennaro (1926-) was Director of the New York Public Library from 1987 to 1990, at which time he assumed the position of Librarian of Harvard College. Prior to his appointment at N.Y.P.L., he had held senior library positions at Harvard and was the Director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania from 1970 to 1986.

From the guide to the Richard De Gennaro records, 1987-1990, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

Franklin Ferguson Hopper (1878-1950) served as Director of the New York Public Library from October 1, 1941 until his retirement on September 30, 1946. After joining The Library in 1914 as Chief of the Order Division, he served as Chief of the Circulation Department (later known as The Branch Libraries) from 1919 until his appointment as Director. During much of his term as Director, Hopper was concerned with The Library's role in wartime society.

From the guide to the Franklin F. Hopper records, 1940-1946, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

Edward Geier Freehafer (1909-1985) was Director of the New York Public Library from 1954 to 1971. Except for a brief tenure in 1944-1945 as Assistant Librarian of the Brown University Library, he spent his entire career at N.Y.P.L. Between 1932 and 1954, he was Chief of the American History and Genealogy Division, Chief of the Personnel Office and Chief of the Reference Dept. He also served as Acting Director before assuming the directorshop in 1954. As Director he oversaw the expansion of the Library and its services which had begun under the previous Director, Ralph A. Beals. During Freehafer's tenure, sixteen new branch libraries were built, a new annex was acquired to house research materials, and acquisition budgets were increased.

From the description of Edward Geier Freehafer records, 1948-1971. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517520

Edward Geier Freehafer, Director of The New York Public Library from 1954 to 1971, was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on February 11, 1909. He received a B.A. from Brown University in 1930 and graduated from the Columbia University Library School in 1932. On July 7, 1934, he married E. Isabel Houck, with whom he had one son, John Geier Freehafer.

Except for a brief tenure as assistant librarian of the Brown University Library (1944-45), Freehafer's entire career was spent at The New York Public Library. Between 1932 and 1954 he held the following of positions: Reference Assistant (1932-36), General Assistant (1936-41), Chief of American History and Genealogy Division (1941-44), Executive Assistant (1945-47), Chief of the Personnel Office (1947-53), Chief of the Reference Department (1954). He also served as acting Director of NYPL during much of 1954, because an illness prevented his predecessor, Ralph A. Beals, from carrying out the duties of this position.

Freehafer was named Director of The New York Public Library on December 8, 1954. He oversaw the expansion of The Library and its services which had begun under Beals. During his tenure sixteen new branch libraries were built, a new Annex was acquired to house portions of the expanding collections of the Reference Department (later known as the Research Libraries), and the acquisition budgets for both the Circulation Department and the Reference Departments were increased. Because of this expansion, Freehafer's time was primarily devoted to addressing the financial needs of The Library. He was not as directly involved in the day-to-day operations of The Library as some of his predecessors. He was, however, concerned about the need for additional library space; the preservation of older library materials; the acquisition of new collections of art, manuscripts, and rare books; and the use of automation to increase efficiency in The Library. The records of his directorship reflect his active involvement in these facets of the administration of NYPL.

Freehafer retired on January 1, 1971 and died on December 16, 1985.

From the guide to the Edward Geier Freehafer records, 1948-1971, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

Harry Miller Lydenberg became the third director of The New York Public Library in 1934, after nearly forty years of employment with The Library. Born in Dayton, Ohio, on Nov. 18, 1876, he graduated from Harvard in 1896, and began work as a cataloger in the Lenox Library. From 1896 to 1899, he headed the Lenox's Manuscripts Division, and from 1899 to 1908, served as administrative assistant to John Shaw Billings, helping to plan the Central Building for the newly-consolidated New York Public Library. He was the Library's chief reference librarian from 1908 to 1927, and in that capacity spent much of his time increasing and strengthening its various reference collections. In 1928, he became assistant director under Edwin H. Anderson, assuming the directorship after Anderson's retirement at the end of October 1934.

As Director, Lydenberg continued his work in building up the reference collections, and began expanding the branch library system. He was also active in a number of professional organizations, most notably the American Library Association, the American National Committee on International Intellectual Cooperation, and the Social Science Research Council's Joint Committee on Materials for Research.

After retiring from The New York Public Library in September 1941, Lydenberg organized and headed the Biblioteca Benjamin Franklin in Mexico City, a library of information on the United States jointly sponsored by a the American Library Association (ALA) and the Coordinator on Inter-American Affairs. In 1943, he became director of the ALA's Board on International Relations, and in 1946, participated in the Library of Congress's Purchasing Mission to Germany, procuring materials that had been unavailable during World War II for American research libraries.

In November 1946, Lydenberg retired formally from library work. He moved first to Greensboro, North Carolina, and then to Westerville, Ohio in 1956. He died in Westerville on April 16, 1960.

Lydenberg married Madeleine Day in 1912. The couple had two children, John (b. 1913) and Mary (b. 1915).

From the guide to the Harry Miller Lydenberg records, 1926-1970, 1926-1944, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

Harry Miller Lydenberg (1874-1960) became the third director of The New York Public Library in 1934, after nearly forty years of employment with The Library. He started at the Lenox Library, then served as administrative assistant to John Shaw Billings from 1899 to 1908, helping to plan the Central Building for the newly consolidated New York Public Library. He was the Chief Reference Librarian from 1908 to 1927, and in 1928 became Assistant Director under Edwin H. Anderson, assuming the directorship in 1934. Lydenberg was responsible for building the reference collections and began expanding the branch library system. He also was active in various professional organizations, continuing to work with international groups after his retirement from The Library in 1941.

Franklin Ferguson Hopper (1878-1950) served as Director of The New York Public Library from 1941 until his retirement in 1946. After joining The Library in 1914 as Chief of the Order Division, he served as Chief of the Circulation Department from 1919 until his appointment as Director.

Ralph Albert Beals (1899-1954) began his library career in 1940 at the Washington D.C. Public Library. Two years later he went to the University of Chicago as Director of Libraries and then Dean of the Library School. From 1946 until 1954, Beals was Director of The New York Public Library where he concentrated on increasing funding for staff salaries and acquisition budgets and was noted for improving the administrative structure of The Library.

From the guide to the Lydenberg, Hopper and Beals general correspondence, 1926-1957, 1934-1954, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

Ralph Albert Beals, the director of the New York Public Library from 1946 to 1954, was born in Deming, New Mexico, on March 29, 1899. He completed an A.B. at the University of California in 1921 and received an M.A. from Harvard in 1925. On June 12, 1928, he married Alice B. Stone, with whom he had one daughter, Mary Druitt.

After graduating from Harvard, Beals initially pursued a career in education. From 1926 to 1933 he taught English at Harvard University and New York University. In 1933 he took a position as assistant director of the American Association for Adult Education. During his tenure there he edited the Journal of Adult Education and prepared for publication two books relating to adult education.

Beals began his library career in 1940, when he was hired as the assistant librarian at the Washington D.C. Public Library. Two years later he accepted a position as Professor of Library Science and Director of Libraries at the University of Chicago. He became Dean of the Library School there in 1945.

In 1946, Beals was recruited as director of The New York Public Library. During his years as director, he attempted to revitalize the library following several years of diminished funding resulting from World War II. For example, Beals immediately raised employee salaries, introduced merit raises, reorganized many of the administrative units of the library, and increased the library's acquisition budget. To help support these changes he sought increased financial support from corporations, and participated in a lobbying effort that resulted in state funding for local libraries.

Beals' tenure as director ended with his death on October 14, 1954, which followed an illness that kept him away from his office for several months. A number of the procedural and structural changes that were studied and considered during his directorship, such as the adoption of a library-wide job classification system, were implemented by his successor, Edward G. Freehafer.

From the guide to the Ralph A. Beals records, 1946-1954, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

John Shaw Billings, the first director of The New York Public Library, was born in Switzerland County, Indiana, on April 12, 1838. He completed his B.A. degree at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1857 and received his M.D. in 1860 at the Medical College of Ohio. On September 3, 1862, he married Katharine Mary Stevens of Washington, D.C. The couple had six children.

From 1862 to 1864, Billings served as a field surgeon with the U.S. Army. In December 1864, he was transferred to the Surgeon-General's office in Washington to do administrative work. He was put in charge of the Surgeon-General's Library, and, over the next thirty years, built it up into one of the world's largest and most comprehensive medical collections. In 1879, he began editing the monthly guide to medical literature, the Index Medicus .

Also during these years, he produced numerous articles and lectures, mostly on public hygiene and sanitation, and served as a consultant in the planning of Johns Hopkins Hospital and the hygiene laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania.

Billings was fifty-seven when he retired from the Army in October 1895. He had intended to accept the position of professor of hygiene at the University of Pennsylvania, but was persuaded to become the director of The New York Public Library by its newly-formed Board of Trustees, following the merger of the Astor and Lenox Libraries and the Tilden Foundation. In January 1896, he formally assumed the directorship of The Library, a position he held for the next seventeen years.

As Director, Billings oversaw three major projects: the integration of the holdings of the Astor and Lenox Libraries, the design and completion of the Central Building, and the consolidation of New York's free circulating libraries into a branch library system administered by The New York Public Library. His director's office papers, particularly the correspondence, reflect his active involvement in all facets of The Library's operations, from the acquisition of new materials to personnel decisions at a variety of levels.

Billings's health began to decline in 1912, and further worsened after the death of his wife that August. He died of pneumonia following surgery on March 11, 1913.

From the guide to the John Shaw Billings records, 1885-1915, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

Edwin Hatfield Anderson (1861-1947) served as Director of the New York Public Library from 1913-1934.

Anderson graduated from Wabash College in 1883 and received a master's degree from the same institution in 1887. In 1890 he entered the New York State Library School in Albany although he did not finish his studies. Instead he returned to his family and in 1891 was hired as a cataloger for the Newberry Library. After that he served as a librarian in Braddock (Pa.) and then the new Carnegie branch library in Pittsburgh. In 1904 Anderson quit librarianship to work with a zinc and lead mining company. In January 1906 he returned to librarianship as Director of the New York State Library as successor to Melvil Dewey.

In June 1908, Anderson became Assistant Director of the New York Public Library where he served under Dr. John Shaw Billings. In this position he had special responsibility for developing the Circulation Department and the NYPL Library School. After the death of Billings, Anderson became Director of The Library in May 1913 and served in that post until his retirement in November 1934. As Director, he had responsibility for overseeing both the Reference and Circulation departments.

Anderson was noted for his ability to select staff members and especially sought out librarians who were also scholars. His creation of the NYPL Library School also helped strengthen the staffing of The Library. During his tenure at NYPL the number of branches increased as did the size of The Library's holdings and numbers of users.

From the guide to the Edwin Hatfield Anderson records, 1913-1934, (The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Lydenberg, Hopper and Beals general correspondence, 1926-1957, 1934-1954 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
creatorOf Richard De Gennaro records, 1987-1990 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
creatorOf Edward Geier Freehafer records, 1948-1971 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
creatorOf Franklin F. Hopper records, 1940-1946 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
creatorOf Harry Miller Lydenberg records, 1926-1970, 1926-1944 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
creatorOf New York Public Library. Central Administration. Director's Office. Edward Geier Freehafer records, 1948-1971. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Ralph A. Beals records, 1946-1954 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
creatorOf Edwin Hatfield Anderson records, 1913-1934 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
creatorOf John Shaw Billings records, 1885-1915 The New York Public Library. New York Public Library Archives.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Library Association corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Edwin Hatfield, 1861-1947 person
associatedWith Astor Library corporateBody
associatedWith Beals, Ralph A. (Ralph Albert) person
associatedWith Billings, John S. (John Shaw), 1838-1913 person
associatedWith Cory, John Mackenzie person
associatedWith Cory, John Mackenzie. person
associatedWith De Gennaro, Richard person
associatedWith Freehafer, Edward Geier, 1909-1985. person
associatedWith Hopper, F. F. (Franklin Ferguson) person
associatedWith Hopper, F. F. (Franklin Ferguson) person
associatedWith Hopper, F. F. (Franklin Ferguson) person
associatedWith International Research and Exchanges Board corporateBody
associatedWith Lenox Library corporateBody
associatedWith Library of Congress corporateBody
associatedWith Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Lydenberg, Harry Miller, 1874-1960 person
associatedWith New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. corporateBody
associatedWith Rice, Paul North person
associatedWith United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (N.Y.)
Subject
Libraries--Special collections
Research libraries--New York (State)--New York
Libraries
Libraries--History--19th century
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives
Public libraries--Administration
Libraries--Automation
Library employees--New York (State)--New York
Public libraries--Administration--New York (State)--New York
Research libraries
Research libraries--Acquisitions
Libraries--Planning
Books--Conservation and restoration
Branch libraries--New York (State)--New York
Library circulation and loans
Public libraries--New York (State)--New York
World War, 1939-1945--Libraries
Libraries--New York (State)--New York
Library buildings--New York (State)--New York
Library finance
World War, 1939-1945--War work
Occupation
Librarians
Function
Librarians

Corporate Body

Active 1948

Active 1971

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