Elva Sophronia Smith

1871 - 1965



Elva Sophronia Smith
Elva Sophronia Smith was an authority on both children's literature and on cataloging children's literature.  She was born on April 28, 1871, in Burke Hollow, Vermont.  She began her professional life as a teacher.  Then in 1899 she earned a certificate from the Los Angeles Public Library training class.  She relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1901 to enter the first class of the Carnegie Library Training School for Children's Librarians.  She graduated in 1903 and became an instructor in the program one year later.  During the rest of her career, she split her time between teaching in the Training School and working in the Boys' and Girls' Department of cataloging.  She taught a number of different subjects: cataloging, children's library work, book selection, bibliography, storytelling, and even the history of children's literature.  She also wrote throughout her career publishing professional articles for librarians as well as special collections of poems, stories, and histories for children.  She served on the American Library Association Council from 1926 to 1930.  Then in 1945 she retired but she continued to teach courses at the Pennsylvania State College during the summers.  She died on October 26, 1965, in Concord, New Hampshire.

Selected Works
  • Cataloging of Children's Books, American Library Association, 1933
  • History of Children's Literature, American Library Association, 1937
  • Hodges, M. (1978). Smith, Elva Sophronia. In B. S. Wynar (Ed.), Dictionary of American library biography (pp. 490-491). Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

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Last Modified: May 6, 2002