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Prepared by Gail R. Redmann, April 7, 1994; Prepared for the Web by Barbara Bass, June 10, 1996; Last Updated: January 2022
Inclusive Dates: 1928-1984
Extent: 7 cubic feet (7 record storage boxes, 1 slim document case)
Physical Location: Storage
Storage Note: This collection is housed in a climate-controlled environment off site and requires at least up to three weeks for retrieval. Please call or email the department with requests for this material prior to planning your visit.
Biographical Note: Rose L. Vormelker has been making unique contributions to the field of librarianship for over three-quarters of a century. Born in Cleveland in 1895, she began working as a page at the Cleveland Public Library at age 16. After receiving her library science certificate from Western Reserve University in 1919, she accepted her first professional library position as a reference assistant at the Detroit Public Library. In 1923, she returned to Cleveland to become a reference assistant at Cleveland Public Library, and in 1925, she accepted a position as research librarian at White Motor Company.
Miss Vormelker returned to Cleveland Public Library in 1928 with a business librarian's perspective. Her innovative ideas about how to improve cooperation between libraries and the business community provided the impetus for the creation of Cleveland Public Library's Business Information Bureau in December, 1929. Miss Vormelker's creativity in providing information to the community drew the attention of an aide to President Franklin Roosevelt who was visiting the War Information Center at Cleveland Public Library in 1942. This encounter led to Miss Vormelker's appointment as temporary head of Publicity and Exhibits for the War Information Service in Washington, D.C., a position she filled during a two month leave of absence from the Cleveland Public Library.
During her tenure at Cleveland Public Library, Rose Vormelker began her career as an instructor in library science. She taught "Business Information Sources" at [Case] Western Reserve University's Cleveland College (1933-58) and "Special Libraries" at its School of Library Science (1943-66) and developed a strong commitment to professional and community organizations. She served as the Special Library Association (SLA) secretary-treasurer (1926-28), chairman of public business librarians (1937-38), and national president (1948-49). She was also a frequent contributor to Special Libraries and edited the association's two volume reference work, Special Library Resources (1941-46). In recognition of her contributions, she was honored with SLA's Professional Award in 1953. In addition, Miss Vormelker served on the American Library Association (ALA) Committee on Relations with Business Groups in the mid-1940s, becoming Chairman of ALA's Business and Technology section for 1947-48. On the local level, she served as president of the Cleveland chapter of the American Statistical Association (1944-45) and as president of the Library Club of Cleveland (1951-52).
After her tenure as Head of the Business Information Bureau, Miss Vormelker served one year as Assistant Director of Cleveland Public Library (1955-56). She taught Special Libraries and Business Information Sources at the University of Michigan during the summer of 1956 (and for two subsequent summers). In September of 1956, she was hired by Forest City Publishing Company as Library Director of both the Cleveland Plain Dealer and News. Miss Vormelker quickly developed expertise in newspaper librarianship to add to her knowledge of business libraries. In recognition of her broad expertise, she was appointed by SLA in 1958 as the Cleveland Chapter Consultation Officer for the organization's newly-created Consultation Service. She also became a key figure in the Newspaper Division of SLA, and was appointed chairman of the Division's Standards Committee in 1961.
In June of 1962, Miss Vormelker retired as Library Director of the Plain Dealer to work as a library consultant, both privately and for the SLA. She also served as a visiting professor at Kent State University's School of Library Science during the Summer 1962 term. In June of 1963, she was inducted into SLA's Hall of Fame and appointed Assistant Professor of Library Science at KSU. Meanwhile, she had also taken on the editorship of the Directory of Community Resources, a reference work published by the Community Research Conference of Northeast Ohio in 1964. In addition, she served as president of the Cleveland Chapter of the Women's National Book Association (1962-64).
In 1966, Miss Vormelker began teaching a unique course in "Newspaper and Mass Media Libraries," funded with a grant from the Scripps-Howard Foundation. Although 71 years old, she also became Acting Director of the Kent State University Library (1966-67), and was elected president of ALA's Library Education Division. In the summer of 1967, she was appointed Chief of the Library and Information Service of KSU's Center for Urban Regionalism, and was honored by SLA in her appointment as a John Cotton Dana Lecturer for 1967-68.
In 1974, Rose Vormelker was inducted into the Ohio Library Association's Hall of Fame, and the KSU School of Library Science augmented that honor by initiating a scholarship in her name. In 1977, she retired from full-time teaching at KSU. However, she was appointed Adjunct Professor and continued to teach a summer workshop in "Newspaper and Mass Media Libraries" through 1984. She was honored by Kent State University with an Outstanding Service Commendation in 1978 and the President's Medal in 1984.
Scope and Content: These papers record the history of an extraordinary career in librarianship, and shed light on the development of that field's major professional organizations. Ms. Vormelker's community involvement in her native city of Cleveland and her work on the Community Resources Directory will also be of value to researchers studying the growth and development of northeastern Ohio.
Arrangement: The Rose L. Vormelker Papers are arranged alphabetically, according to the names of the institutions and organizations with which Ms. Vormelker was affiliated. (Biographical information precedes the alphabetical arrangement, and Ms. Vormelker's work as a private consultant is entered alphabetically.) Within each institution or organization, material is arranged by document type, then alphabetically by subject.
Related Materials: See also School of Library and Information Science records.
Provenance: Rose L. Vormelker