February 5, 2017

Librarian #Shero, Vivian Gordon Harsh

Described as “the historian who never wrote,” Vivian Gordon Harsh was the first African American librarian in the Chicago Public Library system and a significant contributor to Chicago's Black Renaissance. Vivian Gordon Harsh devoted her life to building one of the most important research collections on African-American history and literature in the country.

Image courtesy of BlackPast.org
Fresh out of high school, Vivian Harsh began work in 1909 as a junior clerk at the Chicago Public Library where she would remain during her 60-year career. In 1921, she received her B.A. in library science from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, and later took advanced courses at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Library Science. 

In 1924 she became the city’s first black professional librarian. Through her involvement with The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History founded by Carter G. Woodson, Harsh recognized the need for library services on Chicago’s south side, the heart of the city’s African American community.

The library itself became a Mecca for literary and cultural icons of the period including Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Huston, and Gwendolyn Brooks, some of whom contributed manuscripts to the institution. The resources first accumulated by Harsh and Rollins in the 1920s have grown into the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature, the largest of its kind in the Midwest and currently located at the city’s Carter G. Woodson Regional Library.

Source: http://www.blackpast.org/
#schoollibraries #tlchat #boss_librarian #librariesofinstagram #shero #library #libraries #librarian #blackhistorymonth

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