Portrait of Mary Frances Isom


Mary Frances Isom, a native of Cleveland, Ohio and a graduate of the library school of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, was the library's first female director. In 1902, at age 37 and still in her first year of library work, Ms. Isom was appointed to succeed David P. Leach as director, a position that since 1864 had been occupied only by men. She assumed this position just as the Library Association opened its entire collection to the public free of charge. During her 18 year tenure she achieved her vision of a new Central Library building, a county-wide branch system, and branches in the public schools. Transcribed from back of photo: 'Mary Frances Isom. Miss Isom'.

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