township & company

Winifred Fleming Ticer

Today’s post is from Jeri Toney Davis, Huntington City Township Public Library, Huntington, Indiana, who notes that “Miss Ticer is my favorite subject.”

In the fall of 1901, three railroad men from the small town of Huntington, Indiana, travelled to New York City to meet with Andrew Carnegie with the hope of securing money to build a free standing library. Two years later, on Saturday, February 21, 1903, a beautiful, 7,700 sq. ft. Bedford stone Carnegie Library was opened to the public in grandeur style. I could say the ole cliche “and the rest is history”, but for this small town with a new library, their journey was just beginning.

In 1904, with the resignation of Miss Lyle Harter, the board decided to promote the Assistant Librarian, Miss Winifred Ticer, to the position of Librarian. Winifred was an ambitious 32-year-old single woman with plenty of ideas of her own. In the years that followed, progress was steady, with new books added and circulation numbers increasing yearly. More and more services were provided while older services were evaluated as to their usefulness.

The library came to life under Winifred’s reign. Winifred listened to the needs of women and understood they wanted more in-depth reading and activities from their library. Winifred introduced a broad range of nonfiction books as well as fiction books for the adult woman. Reading clubs for children were initiated, and reference and genealogical work became important. The library was continuously changing and evolving as the city went through its growing period. Winifred kept up with what was going on around her and kept her library up to date and inspiring for the city of Huntington. She even saw the need for growth and opened a branch library in a small room located in the school.

The Railroad and Scientific reading room was also formed under Winifred. This room contained over 600 volumes of books designed for the workingman to get all the knowledge he needed on the subject he was researching. The reading room was well received for the early 1900’s. Today we would call such a room a “career center”.

Winifred was accomplished in other areas of library work as well. Her library was the first library in Indiana to advertise in the newspaper. Soon she found herself receiving questions from other libraries about how they could advertise their own library. This prompted Winifred to write a book called Advertising the Public Library, published in 1921 by the Democrat Printing Company of Madison, Wisconsin. She also wrote poetry, titled Fellowship and Other Poems and Hill Tops and Other Poems.

In 1922, Winifred was offered a job at the Democrat Printing Company, the same company that published her book. That company today is known as Demco. She stayed at the Democrat until 1929, then moved to Ohio to take a job with Warren Public Library. Winifred retired from the Warren Public Library in 1949 at the age of 77. She passed away in 1964 at 92.

I have only given you a small glimpse into the world of Winifred Ticer. She was ahead of her time in how she viewed libraries and their purpose. The library was more than a brick and mortar building to her. She felt the library had something to offer for everyone and she made sure everyone knew it. Huntington, Indiana, will forever be a better place because of her. 

Reference: Huntington City Township Public Library history scrapbook - Indiana Room Archives, Warren -Trumbell County Public Library of Ohio