In 1939 President Roosevelt nominated the poet Archibald MacLeish to be the Librarian of Congress, replacing Herbert Putnam, who had held the post since 1899. MacLeish had not previously been employed in a library. American librarians reacted to the news with outrage and disbelief, with one of their leaders claiming that he could no more think of a poet as the Librarian of Congress than as the chief engineer of a new Brooklyn Bridge. Roosevelt was unmoved by the protests and petitions, and MacLeish duly took up the position. He held it for less than five years, but in that time he achieved a major reorganisation of the Library, broadened its research and cultural roles, and made some astute staff appointments, including two of his successors.
An Unqualified Success
The Extraordinary Life of Allan Percy Fleming
An Unqualified Success: The Extraordinary Life of Allan Percy Fleming
by Peter Golding
Rosenberg Publishing, $39.95 hb, 344 pp, 9781922013545
Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month. We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Graeme Powell was formerly Manuscripts Librarian at the National Library of Australia.
By this contributor
Leave a comment
Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.
NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.