Caroline Maria Hewins

1846 - 1926



Caroline Maria Hewins
Born on October, 10, 1846, Caroline Maria Hewins was one of the pioneers of library work with children.  After writing a report on the Boston Athenaeum, she arranged to work there from 1866 to 1867 before a brief stint as a teacher.  She returned to library work in 1875 when the Young Men's Institute of Hartford, Connecticut (a private subscription library) needed a librarian.  She immediately turned her attention to improving the children's collection.  She soon began giving book talks, telling stories to children, and compiling booklists.  After a number of name changes the Institute became the Hartford Public Library in 1893.   Then in 1904 she was finally able to convince the library's trustees to open a separate room in the library for children.  She was also very active in the American Library Association.  She served as an ALA councilor in 1885 to 1888 and again in 1893 to 1902.  She served as vice-president of ALA in 1891.  She was one of the eight women who attended the Children's Librarians Club meeting in 1900 (the Club would eventually become the Children's Section of ALA).  She died on November 4, 1926 in Hartford, Connecticut.  

Photograph from Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame.

  • Received an Honorary Master's Degree, Trinity College of Hartford, 1911
  • The Caroline M. Hewins Lectureship was established in her memory by Frederic G. Melcher, 1946
Selected Works
  • Books for the Young: A Guide for Parents and Children, Leyboldt, 1883
  • A Traveler's Letters to Boys and Girls, Macmillan, 1923
  • A Mid-Century Child and Her Books, Macmillan, 1926
  • Bush, M. (1996, Spring). New England book women: Their increasing influence. Library Trends, 44 (4), 719-735.
  • Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. Caroline Marie Hewins. Retrieved May 6, 2002, from
  • Gambee, B. L. (1978). Hewins, Caroline Maria. In B. S. Wynar (Ed.), Dictionary of American library biography (pp. 240-243). Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Lundin, A. (1995). A delicate balance: Collection development and women's history. Collection Building, 14 (2), 42-46.
  • 100 of the most important leaders we had in the 20th century. (1999, December). American Libraries, 30 (11), 38-48.
  • Vandergrift, K.E. (1996, Spring). Female advocacy and harmonious voices: A history of public library services and publishing for children in the United States. Library Trends, 44 (4), 683-718.

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Last Modified: May 6, 2002