Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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POOLE, William Frederick, librarian, born in Salem, Massachusetts, 24 December, 1821. He is descended in the eighth generation from John Poole, who came from Reading, England, was in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1632, and became the chief proprietor of Reading, Massachusetts, in 1635. He was graduated at Yale in 1849, and while in college was librarian of the "Brothers in Unity" literary society, and prepared an index to periodical literature containing 154 pages, which was published in 1848. During his senior year he prepared a new edition of 521 pages, which was published in 1853, and followed in 1882 by a third edition of 1,469 pages, prepared with the co-operation of the American library association and the Library association of the United Kingdom. He was assistant librarian of the Boston atheneaum in 1851, and in 1852 became librarian of the Boston mercantile library, where he remained four years, and printed a dictionary catalogue of the library on the "title-a-line" principle, which has since been followed widely. From 1856 till 1869 he was librarian of the Boston athenaeum. He organized the Bronson library, Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1869, the Athenaeum library at St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and did similar work at Newton and East Hampton, Massachusetts, and in the library of the United States naval academy at Annapolis. He began, in October, 1869, as librarian, the organization of the public library of Cincinnati, and in January, 1874, the organization of the Chicago public library. He resigned this position in August, 1887, and is now (1888) engaged in the organization of the library in Chicago founded by Walter L. Newberry. Mr. Poole has devoted much attention to the study of American history, and is president of the American historical association, and a member of many other similar societies. He was president from 1885 till 1887 of the American library association, and vice-president of the international conference of librarians in London in 1877. He has published many papers on library and historical topics, including the construction of buildings and the organization and management of public libraries. These in-elude "Cotton Mather and Salem Witchcraft," the chapter on "Witchcraft" in the "Memorial History of Boston," "The Popham Colony," "The Ordinance of 1787," and "Anti-Slavery Opinions before 1800." He edited "The Owl," a literary monthly, in 1874-'5 in Chicago, and since 1880 has been a constant contributor to "The Dial."
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