In 1922, Kenneth C. Walker [Bureau of Mines] wanted a formal organization of local Pittsburgh area librarians for purposes of mutual benefit in order to exchange ideas on (library science) methods, arrange for interchange of material, and eliminate unnecessary duplication in buying.
Walker wrote to Miss Adeline Macrum [Tuberculosis League], the Chairman of the Special Libraries Association Section of the Keystone State Library Association, and asked her to arrange this informal meeting of the special librarians in the city of Pittsburgh.
Macrum arranged for this historic meeting to take place on December 5, 1922, which is considered to be the founding date of the Pittsburgh Chapter.
It was proposed that the group were either to meet at the Hotel Schenley for a supper at 5:45 pm and to hold a discussion immediately afterwards. Or, if preferred, dispense with the supper and meet at the Bureau of Mines, on Forbes Street at 7:00 pm, in order to hold the meeting from 7 pm to 8 pm. The price for attending this meeting was determined to be $1.00 each.
Those attending this first meeting were:
Mr. Heinrichs – Westinghouse Air Brake Company, Wilmerding
Edith Portman – Koppers Company
Ruth Burgert – Employers’ Association
O.E. Bradshaw – Farmers Bank
Mr. Parker – Library Bureau
Miss Kornhauser – Equitable Life Insurance Association
Eva Abrams – representing Morris Knowles, Engineers & Irene Kaufmann Settlement House Libraries
Mr. K.C. Walker – Bureau of Mines
Mr. McClelland – Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Technology Librarian
Adelaide Haggerty – Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce Library
Mrs. Stateler – Mellon Institute of University of Pittsburgh
Miss MacNary – Dental School of University of Pittsburgh
Miss Metzger – Medical Library of the University of Pittsburgh
Mrs. Wappat – Carnegie Institute of Technology
Miss McCloskey – Mercy Hospital Staff Library
Miss Mary Lynch – Academy of Medicine
Miss Adeline Macrum – Tuberculosis League
Adeline Macrum had prepared the constitution, which was read and adopted at the meeting.
The initial chapter officers were as follows:
President – Mr. K.C. Walker
Vice-President – Miss Mary Lynch
Secretary-Treasurer – Adeline Macrum
Board Member – Mr. O.E. Bradshaw
Board Member – Miss McNary
The following March, in 1923, K.C. Walker asked Adeline Macrum to incorporate the following statement when making up her notice for the Annual Meeting and Election of Officers:
I hold every man a debtor to his profession, from that which, as men of course do seek to receive countenance and profit, so ought they of duty to endeavor themselves, by way of amends, to be a help and ornament thereunto. – Sir Francis Bacon
When Mr. K.C. Walker left Pittsburgh in July 1923, the success of this new venture was already assured and a definite and long term plan was laid out as such
- Familiarity with the resources of the libraries of the district would be insured by agreeing to hold meetings in different libraries,
- Exchange of duplicate material was arranged,
- Union List of Periodicals; two lists of which were published – the first in 1926 and a second revised and greatly enlarged edition in 1934
In October 1927, by the unanimous vote of its members, the organization became a chapter of the national Special Libraries Association and its constitution was amended in 1934 to adopt the name, Special Libraries Association, Pittsburgh Chapter. The year 1933 also marked the appearance of the Chapter Bulletin. This provided not only month-to-month news and announcements to members but also a permanent record of events and achievements or non-achievement for future analysis.
Another important date in chapter history is February 1936, the organization date of the University and College Departmental Librarians Group and The first Directory of Special Libraries in Pittsburgh was published in that same year.