Answered By: Joe Bourneuf Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015 Views: 43
Part of the difficulty, of which you may be aware, is that this occurred prior to the "professionalization" of librarianship, which began, not coincidentally, in the 1870s. Barbara Mitchell, a former colleague of ours at Harvard, has done a lot of work in this area. Two of Her published articles, point to a Miss Annie E. Hutchins as the first woman professional librarian at Harvard. Ezra Abbot, John Langdon Sibley's assistant librarian, hired her to manage a department of assistants, and in 1873 and she "became the first woman to receive a salaried corporation appointment at Harvard." Boston Library Catalogues 1850-1875," in Thomas Augst and Ken Carpenter's Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States, page 136. At Harvard, a corporation appointment is still the primary signifier of a professional position. There seems little other information on Annie E. Hutchinson's career, but it is apparent that she was also associated with the Yale Library, as well as Dewey's library school at Columbia, which further certifies her standing as a professional in the field.