Abstract

This essay explores the establishment of public library service in Portland, Oregon, which occurred when the Library Association of Portland, a private subscription library, opened to the public in 1902. Four main elements of the transition are identified and examined: opposition by library board members to opening to the public; the 1900 bequest of a major collection of books, left to the association by merchant John Wilson with the condition that the collection be made available to the public at no charge; the role of Mary Frances Isom, the new and untried head of the library in 1902; and the library's unusual form of governance, under which the Library Association board operated the institution under a contract arrangement with the city and county, which provided its funding.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-3033
Print ISSN
2164-8034
Pages
pp. 432-464
Launched on MUSE
2001-08-01
Open Access
No
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