Biographical/historical: Edwin Hatfield Anderson (1861-1947) served as Director of the New York Public Library from 1913-1934.
Anderson graduated from Wabash College in 1883 and received a master's degree from the same institution in 1887. In 1890 he entered the New York State Library School in Albany although he did not finish his studies. Instead he returned to his family and in 1891 was hired as a cataloger for the Newberry Library. After that he served as a librarian in Braddock (Pa.) and then the new Carnegie branch library in Pittsburgh. In 1904 Anderson quit librarianship to work with a zinc and lead mining company. In January 1906 he returned to librarianship as Director of the New York State Library as successor to Melvil Dewey.
In June 1908, Anderson became Assistant Director of the New York Public Library where he served under Dr. John Shaw Billings. In this position he had special responsibility for developing the Circulation Department and the NYPL Library School. After the death of Billings, Anderson became Director of The Library in May 1913 and served in that post until his retirement in November 1934. As Director, he had responsibility for overseeing both the Reference and Circulation departments.
Anderson was noted for his ability to select staff members and especially sought out librarians who were also scholars. His creation of the NYPL Library School also helped strengthen the staffing of The Library. During his tenure at NYPL the number of branches increased as did the size of The Library's holdings and numbers of users.
Content: The Edwin Hatfield Anderson Records contain correspondence, personnel records and related materials dealing with Library matters. Also included are American Library Association (ALA) files from the office of Harry Miller Lydenberg, Assistant Director under Anderson.
General correspondence consists of letters to and from Anderson, Lydenberg, and Paul North Rice, Chief of the Reference Department. Correspondence focuses on the acquisition of materials for The Library, program proposals, reference queries, complaints, and interaction with other libraries and agencies. Personnel records consist of files on hiring staff and on employee accidents. ALA files of Lydenberg include correspondence, invoices, and other materials relating to projects with which Lydenberg was involved for the professional organization.