Ramsey County History – Fall 2007: “The Other Librarian: Clara Baldwin and the Public Library Movement in Minnesota”
The Other Librarian: Clara Baldwin and the Public Library Movement in Minnesota
Author: Robert F. Garland
Clara Baldwin (1871–1951) was the state librarian from 1900 to 1936. She lived almost all her life in St. Paul and was part of a turn-of-the-century movement to establish public libraries throughout Minnesota. She became the director of the division of libraries and interacted with many local educational groups. One of her innovations was the traveling local library. Partly because of her efforts, new library buildings started to appear throughout the state. Baldwin traveled widely, gave summer institutes, and was active in the World War I effort to establish soldiers’ libraries. She struggled with the economic problems of the Great Depression that affected libraries and retired in 1936 at age sixty-five. Baldwin never married, lived with her parents, and later in a series of apartments, then with her sister. Baldwin suffered a stroke in 1949 and in 1951.
PDF of Garland article