Seattleites organize Seattle Library Association on August 7, 1868.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 1937

On August 7, 1868, Seattle's first library association, the future Seattle Public Library, is organized. The meeting takes place in Yesler's Hall. Sarah Yesler (1822-1887) is appointed first librarian.

Sarah Yesler was a key social activist in her own right, and not only the wife of the community's principal industrialist, Henry Yesler (1810-1892). She was a reader, an advocate of woman's suffrage, and active along with her husband in many aspects of the community.

The association gathered each fortnight for singing, reading, and speeches. Books were purchased ($60 worth) and the lending library opened the following spring.

Sources: Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Time and Tomes Past: a History of the Seattle Public Library" (by Paul Dorpat with Chris Goodman),; Judy Anderson, Gail Lee Dubrow, and John Koval, The Library Book: A Good Book for a Rainy Day (Seattle: Seattle Arts Commission, 1991), 5.

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