Carroll Moore: Our First Supervisor of Work with Children
Anne Carroll Moore, an innovator in the field of children's librarianship,
was born in Limerick, Maine
on July 12, 1871. Anne was the youngest of the eight children of
Luther Sanborn Moore and Sarah
Hidden Barker, and the only daughter. She was particularly close
to her father, who was a lawyer
and had served as president of the State Senate of Maine. Anne
was educated at the Limerick
Academy, and then the Branford Academy for Women in Massachusetts.
She graduated in 1891,
and then began the study of law under her father's instruction.
Her pursuit of a legal career ended
upon the death of both of her parents, a few days apart in January
1892. She entered the Library
School at Pratt Institute in 1895, and graduated the following
year at the age of twenty-five. In the fall
of 1896, Mary Wright Plummer, the director of the school, offered
Moore a position as children's
librarian at the Pratt Institute Free Library. The children's library
was a new venture for Pratt, and
Moore was granted the opportunity to design it as she wished. She
took a great deal of initiative and
established new programs of storytelling and poetry for children.
In 1906, Dr. Arthur Bostwick, Chief of the Circulation Department of
the New York Public Library,
recruited Moore to head the Library's newly established Office
of Work with Children. In this position
Moore hired and trained children's librarians, oversaw book purchases
and planned children's rooms
for many neighborhood library branches constructed by NYPL during
this period. The NYPL Central
Building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, which opened in 1911,
included a Central Children's Room.
She encouraged the extension of borrowing privileges to children,
and initiated the custom of “the
pledge” - each child signed his or her name in an enrollment book
after reciting: “When I write my
name in this book I promise to take good care of the books I use
at home and in the library, and to
obey the rules of the library” (Sayers, p. 68). The pledge created
a bond between the child and the
library, and instilled a sense of responsibility.
Moore encouraged events and celebrations planned around special subject
areas. These events
were also designed to develop a love of reading. She hosted a celebration
in the children's room for
St. Nicholas' Eve every December 5th. She was a strong advocate
for storytelling as a library event.
Walter de la Mare, Ludwig Bemelmans and Carl Sandburg were among
the authors who presented at
the Central Children's Room. She was most influential in the promotion
of storyteller Marie
Shedlock's career in the United States, as well as in France. For
five years she assisted with booking
Shedlock's engagements and planning her United States itinerary.
In 1918 Moore inaugurated the pamphlet, Children's Books Suggested as
Holiday Gifts, and she
oversaw its publication until her retirement in 1941. She was among
the first to purchase books for
immigrant children in their native languages. She also organized
the first Children's Book Week in
1919. In that same year she began writing abot children's literature
and reviewed books for The
Horn Book, The Bookman and The New York Herald Tribune. The latter
carried her column, The
Three Owls, from 1924-1930. Moore believed the owls symbolized
the writer, the artist and the critic.
Moore was involved with the American Library Association, and participated
in the founding
of that organization's Children's Librarian Section in 1900. She
visited Europe several times. Her
influence was felt among the libraries in France, England and Sweden.
It was through her influence
that the first children's library was opened in Stockholm in 1911.
In 1921, Moore joined the American Committee for Devastated France.
Anne Morgan, daughter of
J. Pierpont Morgan, was its Founder. In the aftermath of World
War One, the Committee assisted
thirty villages behind the lines. In 1919, when physical needs
of the villagers were met, the Committee moved on to social concerns
and addressed the issue of libraries.
Moore authored two children's books of her own: Nicholas: A Manhattan
Christmas Story (1924) and
Nicholas and the Golden Goose (1932). Nicholas was an eight-inch
wooden doll with articulated
arms and legs, which could stand free of support. He was purchased,
at Bloomingdale's, by a library
employee during the 1920 Christmas season. Nicholas was a constant
presence in the library, and is
frequently a subject in Moore's correspondence.
There are several compilations of her reviews and literary criticism:
Roads to Childhood (1920), New
Roads to Childhood (1923), Crossroads to Childhood (1926), The
Three Owls (1931), and My Roads
to Childhood (1939). She also authored A Century of Kate Greenaway
Moore's 25th Anniversary with the NYPL was celebrated on October 14,
1931 in the children's room.
It was reported by the New York Herald Tribune as avery festive
party, with over three hundred
guests in attendance.
She cultivated lasting professional relationships with illustrator Leslie
Brooke (The Three Little Pigs),
author/illustrator Beatrix Potter, Eleanor Farjeon and librarian
In 1915, Moore had a unique relationship with Leo Frank. He provided
his attorneys with her name
as a reference from his youth. Frank remembered Moore from his
visits to the Pratt Children's
Library. Moore wrote articles and letters on Frank's behalf during
the attempted appeals of his
sentence, and visited him during his incarceration in Atlanta.
Anne Carroll Moore retired in from the New York Public Library in 1941.
During the years
after her retirement from the NYPL she continued to write and teach.
She taught at the Graduate
School of Library Studies in Berkeley, California, and lectured
Moore began consulting on The Art of Beatrix Potter in 1952. She wrote
the Appreciation and
Introduction for this book which Frederick Warne & Co. published
Her contributions were acknowledged by her professional colleagues and
in the press. Moore was
twice awarded the Doctor of Letters; in 1940 from the University
of Maine; and in 1955 from Pratt
Institute. In 1960 she was awarded the Regina Medal of the Catholic
Library Association. Anne
Carroll Moore died in New York City on January 20, 1961. Her obituary
appeared in the New York
Times the following day.
Francis Sayers, Moore's successor at the NYPL, published Anne Carroll
Moore : A Biography in
Article by Julie Miller, May 1988
Revised by Julia Mucci, May 2004
Carroll Moore, ca. 1930s.
Web resources for Anne Carroll Moore:
Anne Carroll Moore papers
at The New York Public Library
To Childhood by Anne Carroll Moore, 1920. (full text from Google
A brief biographical sketch of Anne Carroll Moore by Erin
The Three Owls Notebook: book reviews by Anne Carroll Moore
in the Horn Book Magazine, December 1952.
Roads to Childhood : Views and Reviews of Children's Books by Anne
Carroll Moore, 1939.
Anne Carroll Moore; A Biography by Frances Clarke Sayers,
Check The New York Public Library catalogs for additional
LEO: Branch Libraries Catalog
CATNYP: Research Libraries Catalog