The first person to hold the title of Assistant State Librarian was Edith Wallbridge, who was appointed to that position in 1881. It was the first stop for Wallbridge in a long and respected career in librarianship.
Wallbridge was born in North East, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 2, 1854, and graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan. Three years later, she became Assistant State Librarian, the first person so named. That designation was given to the highest-ranking employee of the State Library for decades and is a forerunner to today’s position of “Director.” 1
In 1882, Wallbridge joined the American Library Association, one of many professional and fraternal memberships she held. In her lifetime, she attended 42 ALA conferences and was the oldest member of the organization at the time of her death. By then, she was affectionately known as “the great-grandmother of the ALA.” 2
On May 13, 1886, Wallbridge married Henry Carr and that same year resigned her position at the Illinois State Library. In 1891, the couple relocated to Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Henry Carr became that city’s first public librarian, a position he held until his death in 1929. The Carrs had no children. Throughout her lifetime, Edith Wallbridge Carr was active in countless organizations, many with an interest in genealogy. She held memberships in the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of 1812, the National Society of New England, the Scranton and Priscilla Mullins Colonies, the National Association of State Presidents and Charter Members, the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, the Institute of American Genealogy, the American Flag Association, the Order of the Dames of the Loyal Legion, the Women Descendants of the Ancient and Honorable Company, the Order of the First Crusade, the American Order of Pioneers, and the Pennsylvania Society of the Colonial Dames of America. 3
In addition, she compiled two genealogical reference works, the Pennsylvania Lineage Book as well as the Index to Prisoners of the War of 1812. She was the Pennsylvania state treasurer for the Y.W.C.A. from 1892 to 1907, and served as chairman of the Lackawanna County committee. 4
In June 1930, she was awarded an honorary degree from her alma mater, Hillsdale, and despite her advanced age, attended her 60th class reunion at Hillsdale in 1937. She died in Scranton on Dec. 9, 1940, following a brief illness and is buried in Grand Rapids, Mich. 5
- Scranton Times Dec. 9, 1940.
- Scranton Times Dec. 9, 1940; Illinois Libraries Dec. 1940, 6, Dec. 1942, 283; Illinois State Journal Dec. 8, 1940.
- Scranton Times Dec. 9, 1940; Illinois State Journal Dec. 8, 1940.