The history of Dartmouth's library is a rich and fascinating one. So, too, are the biographies of the individuals who provided leadership for the Library from its founding to the present day. There have been sixteen librarians, a number equal to the number of presidents of the College, from the appointment of the first Librarian of the College in 1773. They are:
|John Smith 1773||1779-1809|
|Roswell Shurtleff 1799||1810-1820|
|John Aiken 1819||1820-1822|
|Timothy Farrar, Jr. 1807||1822-1826|
|Charles Bricket Haddock 1816||1826-1850|
|Oliver Payson Hubbard||1851-1865|
|Charles Augustus Aiken 1846||1865-1866|
|Edwin David Sanborn 1832||1866-1874|
|Clarence Watkins Scott 1874||1874-1878|
|Marvin Davis Bisbee 1871||1886-1910|
|Nathaniel Lewis Goodrich||1911-1950|
|Richard Wedge Morin 1924||1950-1968|
|Edward Connery Lathem 1951||1968-1978|
|Margaret A. Otto||1979-|
The raw list, however, provides little in the way of information on the lives and careers of these individuals. Four were trained as lawyers (John Aiken, Timothy Farrar, Clarence Scott, and Richard Morin); five were ordained ministers (John Smith, Roswell Shurtleff, Charles Haddock, Charles Aiken, and Marvin Bisbee); one (Oliver Hubbard) was a physician; and three (Nathaniel Goodrich, Edward Lathem, and Margaret Otto) were trained as librarians. While the majority were Dartmouth alumni, several were not: Bezaleel Woodward was a graduate of Yale as was Oliver Hubbard, Louis Pollens was a graduate of the University of Vermont, Nathaniel Goodrich graduated from Amherst, and Margaret Otto is a Boston University alumna.
Among this distinguished body of librarians, two (Timothy Farrar and Bezaleel Woodward) had judicial careers: Bezaleel Woodward as a Justice of the Peace and Timothy Farrar as Justice of the New Hampshire Court of Common Pleas. Charles Aiken served as President of Union College from 1869 to 1871. Oliver Hubbard is credited, along with Dartmouth's Dixie Crosby, with performing the first chemical analysis of oil in 1853.
There have been two diplomats in the group. Charles Haddock served as the U. S. chargé d'affaires in Portugal from 1850 to 1855, and Richard Morin was Vice Consul in Paris from 1929 to 1933, in the State Department in Washington from 1933 to 1935 and 1942 to 1945, and assisted with the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.
Three of the librarians also served as Trustees of the College:
Bezaleel Woodward from 1773 to 1804, John Smith from 1788 to 1809, and John Aiken from 1831 to 1835. There were two librarians who were father and son. John Aiken was succeeded some four decades later by his son Charles.
The concept of joint appointments was sometimes taken to the extreme with the librarians. For example, John Smith was Professor of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew as well as minister of the College Church while serving as librarian. Roswell Shurtleff held the Phillips Professorship of Theology and was minister of the College Church during his tenure. Timothy Farrar served both as the College treasurer and as librarian for four years. Oliver Hubbard was Hall Professor of Minerology and Geology and was Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacology during his years as librarian. Marvin Bisbee was Phillips Professor of Theology and an instructor in medieval history while librarian.
The three individuals who were trained as librarians followed interesting career paths. Nathaniel Goodrich received his BLS from the New York State Library School and was Librarian of the University of West Virginia and the University of Texas before being named Librarian of the College at Dartmouth. Edward Lathem received his graduate training in the library school at Columbia University and was appointed assistant to Librarian Richard Morin. He then became Director of Special Collections, Assistant Librarian, and Associate Librarian of the College. Margaret Otto was trained at the library school of Simmons College and joined the staff of the MIT libraries as assistant science librarian. She rose through the ranks at MIT and was Associate Director of Libraries before joining the Dartmouth staff.
Honors have come to many of the librarians. Doctorates in divinity were granted to John Smith (Brown University 1803), Roswell Shurtleff (University of Vermont 1834), and Charles Aiken (Princeton University 1869). Doctorates in law were granted to Timothy Farrar (Dartmouth 1867), Oliver Hubbard (Hamilton College 1861), and Edwin Sanborn (University of Vermont 1859 and Dartmouth 1879). A doctorate in letters was granted to Nathaniel Goodrich by Amherst College in 1941 and an honorary doctorate in philosophy was granted to Louis Pollens by Dartmouth in 1891.
With only sixteen Librarians of the College in over 225 years, it would be expected that tenure in office is long. Nathaniel Goodrich, for example, served 39 years, while John Smith served 30, and Charles Haddock and Marvin Bisbee are tied with 24 years. The shortest tenure was that of Charles Aiken. Aiken was, at the same time, Professor of Latin and a distinguished scholar. In the year that he served as librarian, Aiken was recruited by Princeton University and joined their faculty as Professor of Latin in 1866. Four years later, he became the President of Union College, returning to Princeton to serve on the faculty of the theological seminary where he remained until his death in 1892. Perhaps Aiken was thinking of his abbreviated tenure as librarian of Dartmouth College when he agreed to serve as the librarian of Princeton Theological Seminary from 1871 to 1877.
P. N. C.
Last Updated: 4/19/17