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Wyer, James I. (1869-1955) | The American Library Association Archives

Name: Wyer, James I. (1869-1955)
Variant Name: Wyer, J. I.
Fuller Form: Wyer, James Ingersoll


Historical Note: James Ingersoll Wyer was born in Red Wing, Minnesota on May 14, 1869. Before college, he worked at a bank that his father started in Minnesota. He married May Tyner on May 3, 1894 at the age of 25 and they had two children, William and Margaret. He began his education at the University of Minnesota in 1895, but transferred to the New York State Library School at Albany in 1896. He studied under Melvil Dewey, who had brought the school from Columbia seven years earlier. He graduated in 1898 with a B.L.S. and served as a librarian and professor of bibliography at the University of Nebraska upon finishing his degree. Wyer served as President of the Nebraska Library Association from 1899-1902 and President of the Nebraska Public Library Commission from 1901-1905. He also served as Secretary of the American Library Association from 1902-1909, during which he received his MLS degree from the New York State Library School in 1905. After receiving his MLS, he became a reference librarian at the New York State Library and vice-director of the library school in 1906. In 1908, he was promoted to Director of the New York State Library School, a position he held until 1926, making him the longest serving director since the school's founding in 1818. During his time as Director, Wyer was elected president of the American Library Association from 1910-11, president of the New York Library Association from 1913-14, and president of the Association of American Library Schools in 1915. He also received an honorary Doctor of Pedagogy degree from the New York State College for Teachers in 1919. He served as chairman of the ALA Library War Service Committee from 1917-1920, raising over $5 million for camp libraries. In 1938, Wyer retired and moved to Salt Lake City until his death on November 1, 1955. [1]
Sources: [1] Peter J. Paulson, "Wyer, James Ingersoll (1869-1955)," in Dictionary of American Library Biography, ed. Bohdan S. Wynar (Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1978), 576-579.





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