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Milam, Carl H. (1884-1963) | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Milam, Carl H. (1884-1963)

Historical Note: Carl H. Milam was born on October 22, 1884 in Harper County, Kansas. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1907 and then went on to earn a certificate from the New York State Library School in 1908. He worked as a cataloger in the Perdue University Library from 1908 to 1909 and then as an organizer for the Public Library Commission of Indiana from 1909 to 1913. He was the director of the Birmingham Public Library in Alabama until 1919, and during this period he spent some time on leave to work for the ALA Library War Service. In 1917, he became assistant to the program's director, Herbert Putnam, the Librarian of Congress, before becoming the general director in 1919. In 1920, he accepted appointment as ALA secretary and remained in the position for the next 28 years. Two of his main interests were library education and international library development. He left in 1948 to become the director of the United Nations Library. After two years, he retired at the age of 65 and returned to Barrington, Illinois. Milam was president of the League of Library Commissions from 1912 to 1913, an elected member of ALA Council in 1915, and a member of the Executive Board in 1919. He was invited to run for president of ALA in 1948 in what became a controversial election, but he was defeated by Clarence Graham, the director of the Louisville Public Library in Kentucky. He was named an honorary member of ALA in 1954. Milam was also awarded with honorary doctoral degrees from Southwestern College in Memphis, Tennessee and from Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin. He died on August 26, 1963 [1].
Sources: 1. Peggy A. Sullvian, "Milam, Carl Hastings (1884-1963)," in Dictionary of American Library Biography, ed. Bohdan S. Wynar (Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1978), 364-366.

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