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Theodore Roosevelt once said, "After the church and the school, the free public library is the most effective influence for good in America."1 It is true that almost anyone who has ever been curious or needed to know a fact or just plain loved to read, could have said the same, but Mary Frayser felt it most keenly because of all the characteristics that made up her personality. She was brought up in a family that valued education and encouraged intellectual pursuits, but most of all she had compassion for others and wanted them to have the same advantages. As she went from home to home during her extension service, Frayser saw a depressing lack of reading materials. This made her want to do something constructive to remedy this terrible deficiency. "You want to make the wonderful world of books accessible to everyone who wants to read."2

Frayser often engaged in several different projects at once, but always with one goal in mind the improvement of

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people's lives. Age, sex, or race did not concern her. She only wanted to help people live to their fullest potential and as comfortably as possible regardless of their circumstances. Frayser was not always successful, but she tried; she was a facilitator and one who paved the way for others to succeed.

For nearly fifty years, Frayser championed the cause of Library Service in South Carolina. She and the club women from many organizations throughout the state worked persistently to secure tax-supported free libraries.3 There were few libraries in the early history of South Carolina. Those that existed were not tax-supported and were inadequate for the population of the state.

The Charleston free public library, established in 1698 and open to all white citizens, is believed to be the first of its kind in the American colonies. Although college libraries had been founded prior to and contemporaneous with the Charleston Library, (Henrico College, Virginia, 1621; Harvard, 1638; and Yale, 1701) these libraries limited their service to students and scholars. For almost a century there was little if any activity in library work. It was not until the early nineteenth century that several South Carolina communities followed the example of Charleston and formed libraries of

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their own.4

There are few records between 1837 and 1900 that offer information concerning South Carolina libraries. This can probably be attributed to diminished interest in library development before, during, and after the Civil War. It was not until the last decade of the nineteenth century, when economic conditions in the South began to improve, that leaders again gave attention to social and educational projects. Interest in creating efficient public school systems grew, but there was no corresponding interest in public libraries, since leaders considered libraries a luxury the economy could ill afford.5

The southern states ranked far below the national average in the number of public libraries, undoubtedly due to their low priority for state funding. The expenditure for library service nationally averaged about thirty-three cents per capita, but in the southern states, the average ranged from two to eighteen cents per person. Prior to the establishment of public libraries, library extension service was the preferred method of distributing reading material to

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the public. In each county books and magazines were placed wherever people gathered, in schools, stores, and centrally located homes. However, even this limited service was only available in about fifty counties over the entire South, while California provided forty-six of fifty-eight counties with library service.6

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the public library systems gradually expanded their services and acquired two additional objectives: recreation and reference. Librarians thought that once the public had a surfeit of recreational reading (e.g. popular novels), they would want to go on to more serious reading. This would contribute to intellectual growth and serve as a steppingstone to the library's primary objective--education. Following World War I, a small group of librarians attempted to revitalize the library's educational objectives and make education once more the dominant function of the public library. During this period, more libraries began to function as adult education agencies.7

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Frayser felt that adequate libraries were essential for the cultivation of intelligent citizens and it was obvious the South in general and South Carolina in particular lagged far behind the nation in this respect. She believed the people must have sources of information on current issues, if they were to make informed decisions in life.

In 1903, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an important act for library development. The act allowed towns and cities to build and maintain free public libraries within their geographical boundaries. What the act failed to do was provide money to build the libraries. In 1904 an act passed by the general assembly provided a five thousand dollar annual appropriation. The money was to be matched by funds procured from rural schools. This act stimulated interest in rural school libraries for a time. Although this act provided funds for rural areas, it did not go far enough. As late as 1924 E. B. Stoudemire, School Superintendent, Walhalla, South Carolina, wrote:

Any child deprived of the free use of books is being cheated of one of his rights as an American citizen. He went on to say, that urban children had an unfair advantage over children raised in the country and that a County library would change this. It would give

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equal opportunity to every child.8

However by 1933, the law was inoperative though still on the statute books, since no new state funds had been appropriated after 1927.9 This problem was not unique to South Carolina, the entire nation felt the effects of the Depression. Libraries throughout the country reported drastic cuts in service, personnel, and appropriations.10

It is a tragic statement of fact that the more things changed in the South, the more they stayed the same, meaning that the South's economic depression and the Negro question always had to be considered before providing any kind of service to the public. Mrs. Henry Buck, a Florence, South Carolina librarian, discussed some of the causes for the discouraging record of providing library service to many southern states and South Carolina in particular. In her article in the South Carolina University Weekly News, Buck wrote that it was only at the close of the First World War that the southern states were economically able to interest

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themselves in library activity. The economy had experienced cycles of growth and recession since colonial times, because of war and the agrarian nature of the South. It was not until the reconstruction period following the Civil War that the Negro population became part of the problem. Before that period, blacks were not allowed to learn to read.

The addition of a high percentage of the African American population to an already deprived economic region further contributed to the dismal library per capita statistic. Massachusetts had 2.5 percent Negro population in its state and a different attitude toward their colored citizens enabling them to provide better library service for all their citizens, however South Carolina had 51.4 percent black citizens and a strong belief in the separation of the races. Because of this belief, two separate institutions had to be maintained further overburdening the economy. The Greenville library provided the only branch in the state for Negroes, although there was a room set aside for use as a library in the black high school in Florence. The first year of the room assignment, the school bought 500 books for the students.11

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Frayser found a ready ally in Marion A. Wright, first Chairman of the Library Board, with whom she worked many years to procure more support for libraries which would serve blacks. They both felt libraries should be provided for both races. Both Frayser and Wright believed there was a causal relationship between literacy and good morals or ethics. Libraries tend, at least, to civilize, to humanize those who use them. In nothing is this process more evident than in the "allergy which literacy has for prejudice." Wright thought the thoroughly literate mind was always the open mind and bigotry would never thrive in a community of cultivated intellects.12 He wrote concerning the denial of use by Negroes of public facilities:

There was the slavery of chains, but custom and law may be harder masters. Wounds to the spirit may be deeper than mere leg sores produced by shackles. Slavery is but half abolished, emancipation but half complete, while millions of our fellow citizens are denied the right to use all the instrumentalities, institutions, and facilities of government upon precisely the same terms as every other citizen.13

That Frayser agreed with Wright was obvious. Her family and friends thought her a "wild-eyed radical, though they all

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loved her dearly."14 She was conservative only in her approach to addressing the problems she saw. Frayser felt that to work quietly and slowly made the changes she sought more palatable to the general public and provided greater results in the end.

Frayser believed that one of the gravest problems in the southern states concerned the rural areas where illiteracy hung like a heavy pall. She worked diligently for many years to secure library service for the people who lived in the country. In an address before the American Library Association, former Commissioner of Education Philemon Priestly Claxton made a strong plea for reading material to be distributed among rural people; recalling the truth in the saying, "with the love of books in his heart, no man is ever poor...especially if he has access to books".15

In 1915, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a bill allowing counties, townships, or school districts to acquire, own, or operate a public library. What gave this bill more strength than the 1903 act was the allowance for taxes to be levied and collected for support of these institutions. This statute provided support by taxation and,

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in turn, coverage of larger population areas. Studies in other states where notable library progress was made, showed more efficient and enlarged service at lower cost resulted from these two factors.16 Even though the act had given cities and counties the right to levy taxes for the support of libraries, not many of them took advantage of the right because of the economic situation at the time.

For years Frayser worked with the South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs to establish a state library commission and a field agent as the first steps in a plan for effective statewide library work. In 1924 and several succeeding sessions, both the State Library Association and the Federation of Women's Clubs sponsored bills to accomplish this goal, but they were unsuccessful. However, their combined efforts paved the way for the passage of a bill in 1929.17

The bill became law, thus creating a State Library Board. This might never have happened without Frayser's remarkable powers of persuasion and the political maneuvering of W. Anderson Clarkson, Clerk of the Senate. Clarkson wrote to Frayser in February 1929,

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I have gotten our bill back from the Governor. He did not disapprove of same, nor did he approve it. He told me to go ahead and get the bill through and, if and when it came to him, he would give it careful consideration.18

Clarkson planned to enlist the cooperation of two opposing legislators, one who supported and one who opposed Governor Richard, to introduce the bill in the house. He felt that by this means, he could get the bill through the Senate successfully. The Board's business was the promotion of a strong program of library development throughout the state.19

Even as the library bill passed, advocates recognized that more was needed. Therefore, Marion A. Wright first Chairman of the Library Board, and Lucy H. Bostick, a librarian from Columbia, made a study of state library laws and framed a new one which the Assembly passed in 1935. The law made legal provision for the work of the State Library Board and the development of libraries. The law empowered the Board to find places to put libraries, provide staff, books to stock them, and procure the money for all of the above. The state made no financial provision for the work at all. However, librarians felt the law was one of the best in the

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country. Only three states failed to allocate money for the library work of their state boards; Montana, West Virginia, and South Carolina.20 Certainly, this was a law with no teeth, but should the money suddenly materialize, the board was on solid ground legally.

Frayser would spend years trying to procure funding before library work expanded across the state. In the meantime, with the help of club women, she had to create a program to effectively ignite interest in libraries. Wright felt there could be no permanent establishment and support for public libraries except as they "spring from public demand and have behind them public sanction."21

Frayser's answer to no state appropriations was library extension--an attempt to carry books to the people who needed them. This was not a new idea. In 1698, the rules of the Charleston public library stated:

Books should be carried into the home. Standing libraries signify little in this country where persons must ride miles to look into a Book. [sic] There should be Lending Libraries which come home to 'em

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without charge.22

Two hundred and thirty years later, Arthur Bostwick of the American Library Association, wrote, "To have access to books in bulk, to be able to enjoy them in the privacy of one's own home, these are the prime necessities of the reader in the United States."23

In 1929, Frayser learned that the Julius Rosenwald Foundation was offering aid to libraries in the southern states. Two demonstration libraries would be selected in each of the thirteen southern states if services were available to all residents of the county in which each library operated. However, certain criteria had to be met by the applying library in order to obtain the aid. The library staff must provide a budget, including the Rosenwald contribution, of fifty cents per capita of county population. The two libraries elected in each state would stimulate the movement for tax- supported libraries. The conditions of the grant called for service to all elements of the population, urban and rural, white and negro, with service to rural people being

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emphasized. In South Carolina, the libraries in Charleston and Columbia received assistance from the Rosenwald Fund in 1930 and 1931, which was to be continued to each county library for five years in amounts decreasing annually. At the end of the five years the county was to take over support of its library.24

Book acquisition data for 1931-32 showed 39 percent of the white elementary schools lacked library facilities for their pupils. In the 2,330 Negro schools, 91 percent were entirely without library books for their students. Without the funds provided by the Rosenwald fund in 1928, the statistics for black schools would probably have been worse; this was a one-time donation by the Rosenwald Foundation. Frayser learned about the Rosenwald offer in 1929, but the Foundation designated that fund for the two demonstration libraries only. In 1931-32 only three counties in the state expended any money for library books for African-American elementary school children. The depression was a contributing factor for the decrease in sums spent for library books for both races.25 The extension service had set up book drops in some schools, but they were entirely inadequate to meet the

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students' needs.

The Library Board also received money from the Rosenwald Fund to pay a library field agent to assess library needs throughout the state. The Board appointed Parmelee Cheves field agent and in 1930-1931 she worked closely with Frayser to promote standing libraries. They contacted newspapers across the state in an effort to raise interest in libraries and obtain the funding to make them a reality.26 However, the funding for Cheves' position ran out in March, 1931, leaving Frayser to carry on alone. Unable to provide for standing libraries, extension work seemed the best way to carry books to the masses.

One of the best plans for a county library extension system was an extremely flexible plan in which two counties could combine to make one strong unit. The system would be established by the action of the county authorities or by popular vote and supported by a county appropriation or tax levy. The system provided service to scattered country people and to small communities. The headquarters, usually the county seat, set up book distribution throughout the county. Workers accomplished this by depositing books in rural

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schools, community houses, farm bureau centers, branch libraries or reading rooms in larger villages and even in farm homes. In addition, a "rolling library" or bookmobile often stopped at individual homes in outlying areas.27

The county extension library objective was to be a "service of books," where the book seeks the reader rather than waiting for the reader to seek the book. State Library Board members expected the Rosenwald county library demonstration program, which mandated the extension of library services to all rural areas, would have a stimulating effect on the development of county libraries throughout the region and promote libraries in other sections of the United States.28

In fact, the movement to carry books to the "back country" began in the South. The first book "truck" in the United States was a wagon drawn by horses out of Hagerstown, Maryland and serving the people of Washington County. When the wagon met with an accident, the citizens replaced it with a motor truck.29 Even though the book trucks were better than

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no library, they were still woefully inadequate.

The York County Superintendent of Education reported 2,460 registered users of the traveling library, but only 2,156 books. He said the library truck did not dare stop at the school house, for every child above the third grade wanted a book and there were not enough to go around. In most counties the bookmobile faced similar problems. Librarians tried to remind the communities receiving service that rolling libraries were limited, but that with increased funds adequate service would become possible.30

The American Library Association, in 1931, opened an extension office in Atlanta, "from which to extend facilities to even the most remote rural areas." Tommie Dora Barker, southern field agent, stated the library extension service would develop along three lines: a consulting service, field work, and publicity. Time would be spent in the field making contacts with organizations, groups, and individuals interested in or working for library extension. Constant publicity would be carried on through the press and periodicals to disseminate information on library conditions and needs, as public opinion convinced of the value of

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libraries must precede any great development. Encouragement would be given to a county library system so that there would be a continuing supply of new books available. The library on wheels constituted one of the more economical means of distribution.31

However, rolling libraries faced a difficult situation; a growing interest in reading for which the book and magazine supply proved inadequate. In many states the library truck was revolutionizing reading, thinking, and living habits of rural communities. It was satisfying the intellectual hunger which has existed on farms since long before Abraham Lincoln lay on the floor of a log cabin reading.32

The federal government invested funds in the library extension service through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Women's clubs, service organizations, boards of education, library boards et al, cooperated with the WPA in securing books, book trucks, and in inaugurating "rolling libraries." The funds made available through WPA for the circulation of books stimulated interest in the whole question of meeting the reading needs of every citizen. The traveling

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libraries were intended to demonstrate to the people, for the first time, what it meant to be able to freely borrow books and magazines.33

Frayser urged club women to increase the rolling library stocks by calls for donations of books, holding entertainment benefits for libraries, and by appeals to their county delegations for appropriations. Frayser asked club women to constantly remind themselves and others that the rolling library was meant to "blaze a trail." The rolling library was not intended as an end in itself, but to be the forerunner of the tax supported standing free library, which alone could be relied upon to adequately meet the reading needs of all the people.34

Frayser was not alone in her desire to get people to loosen their purse strings and help the growth of the library movement. Clarence Poe, Editor, of The Progressive Farmer, wrote "A Nickel a Day for Mind Food" to get the attention of the farm family and get them to recognize the need for education through reading. He wrote that just as victuals are body food, so papers, magazines, and books were mind food and

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without them, neither the South nor country life would be what it ought to be. The farmers had to be shown that their minds were worth feeding. The farmer must believe that his own and his children's minds deserved the best intellectual food available. A nickel a day would insure that to any family.35 Even at five cents a day, the stimulation Poe sought for rural people was often beyond their means. Many farmers' only hope was that the bookmobile, provided by the county extension service, would continue to stop by individual farmsteads and fill the reading needs of the occupants.

Frayser's vision was that every South Carolinian would have access to reading material. She had not forgotten the dismal lack of reading material for the state's black citizens. However, with the depressed economy and the white citizens' demand for separate facilities, little could be done at that time--though she tried.

In 1931, Frayser became Library Division Chairman of the South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs and immediately renewed her urgent plea for vigorous effort on behalf of library extension. In a letter to club presidents, she set down three goals for the clubs: that the clubs sponsor a

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moving picture in their community with proceeds from ticket sales to be used in library extension; that the federated clubs take a club membership in the Citizens' Library Association; and finally, that all the club women take the lead in stimulating public interest in library extension until free book service was within the reach of every citizen of the state--rural and urban. Frayser and the State Library Board also contacted men's organizations--Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Elks, American Legion, and others--to ask them to unite with the women's clubs in supporting library extension service and standing libraries.36

By 1933, South Carolina had only three well-organized, adequately supported public libraries giving systematic county-wide service. Two others in the state were giving county service on limited resources. The state so inadequately supported many of the other fifty-one libraries that they gave the wrong impression of public library service.37 Grim statistics appeared in a 1933 newsletter concerning the number of books per person in South Carolina. There were only eighteen hundredths of a book (sixty-three

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hundredths of a library book in circulation) per person.38 In the March 1934 Winthrop Alumnae News, Frayser challenged the Winthrop Daughters to make library extension their "especial work," to use their influence on other organizations, and to unite with them in creating an interest in libraries so extensive that a dynamic Citizen's Library Association would result. "The library need is a gauntlet thrown to you."39 In Frayser's opinion, the public was uninformed concerning the worth and service of a good free library and that this was the reason for the lackluster support for library service.

For years Frayser and the Library Board sought valiantly to obtain funds for library service. They appealed to the state repeatedly and unsuccessfully. They pleaded with the public through men's and women's clubs and did obtain one thousand dollars from Citizen's Library Association members. The Rosenwald Fund met this amount with a matching grant, however the Board felt they could not stage a general fund drive until economic conditions improved. In 1931-1932, the board once more appealed to the General Assembly for support of the library service and again the Assembly refused. Due to

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lack of money, the Board discontinued work in March 1932. They agreed to resume at the earliest favorable opportunity.40

In a 1937 news release concerning the Citizens' Library Movement, Wright, Chairman of the State Library Board, stated that libraries existed for the use and benefit of the average man. He paid the freight and in the last analysis, controlled his own destiny. Various states had Citizens' Library Movements and those responsible realized the truth of the statement of Woodrow Wilson, "that freedom is never handed down as a gift from above, but will come only when it is earnestly sought and desired by those willing to make sacrifices for it."41 Only when the people recognize that public libraries are the legitimate objects of public interest and support will libraries be generally established and adequately maintained.

Frayser finally saw some growth of interest in libraries resulting from the work of the WPA, State Library Associations, teachers, club women, and other interested laymen. In 1938, the Library Board again initiated efforts to organize the Citizens' Library Association. An objective of

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the citizens' group was to arouse and mobilize public opinion in support of a state-wide program sponsored by the state, to take advantage of federal aid, and to work out library plans for each local district. The state committee would work to secure a group in each county, which would organize local committees. Individuals interested in library progress were invited to join. Frayser hoped the citizens would encourage their delegates to the state legislature to vote for library appropriations.42

There was an effort in 1938 by President Roosevelt's advisory committee on education to equalize opportunities for public schools and libraries, particularly in the South where two factors made equalization more necessary than in northern or western states. In February 1938, the committee reported that in the South the ratio of children to adult population was greater and there was a lower per capita income than in the areas mentioned above. The advisory committee gave these facts as reasons for equalizing opportunities in South Carolina and other states where the same conditions prevailed.

In the spring of 1938, the committee presented several bills to congress for federal aid to education. All of the bills carried an appropriation for public libraries, since

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their sponsors felt libraries furnished the best means for continuing the education begun in schools. The legislators agreed the nation had an urgent interest in the maintenance of public schools and libraries. They felt only the federal government could supply the means for equalizing educational opportunities between the rich and poor, and between urban and rural residents.43

Frank P. Graham, President of the University of North Carolina, wrote that libraries should be a matter of national concern. In order to have real democracy in America, the unequal library opportunity between towns and farms must be addressed. There are great regional disparities and inequities and the nation needs a federal equalization fund for cooperative federal-state-county library development.44

The federal government would provide aid but certain criteria had to be met by the state. In October 1938, Julia Merrill had a chance meeting with South Carolina Governor, Olin Johnston. She told him of the Library Board's need for a field secretary, in order to meet the requirements of the Bill for Federal Aid to libraries. Johnston replied,

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If one thousand dollars will help you, I will make that amount available from the Emergency Relief Fund for use in December, January, and February. Having someone in the field will help to secure an appropriation from the General Assembly to continue the work and procure the allotment from federal funds to South Carolina.45

The grant encouraged the board and made possible, for at least five months in 1939, the splendid work of Dr. Helen Gordon Stewart of British Columbia, Canada, an internationally known librarian. The Board hired Dr. Stewart for her expertise and help in constructive planning for further development of state libraries. Stewart advocated regional tax supported libraries as the most efficient and least expensive form of library service. She suggested three forms which the libraries might take if and when the Assembly made an appropriation for the work.

First a central collection of books which could be let on loan to local libraries, which could not build sufficient collections of books on specialized subjects. Stewart explained that it would be the province of the state board to purchase books of this type to be available for use by individuals or libraries in any part of the state. The second function of a central library facility would be to

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produce a union catalogue listing all the books and resources in the state for members to locate and borrow material not found locally. The third function of the state library board would entail extending aid to local libraries through grants and assistance in laying the foundation for logical development and maintenance of local libraries along with plans to maintain such service on a self-supporting basis. Finally, Stewart said this vision could only materialize with the active effort of every citizen of South Carolina. Such effort will induce those who think the state too poor to make an appropriation for libraries to see that she is too poor not to do so.46 In a letter to Frayser, Dr. Stewart wrote, "My heart is set on federal aid to education and it is not too much to say that it will be one of the great disappointments of my life, if we do not get a state appropriation."47

Grace W. Estes, Assistant for the Public Library Division of the American Library Association, sent particulars of the requirements for federal aid in a letter to Mary Frayser. Estes wrote that a state needed a state library agency supported from state funds with a paid staff, in order

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to qualify for a federal grant. Montana, West Virginia, and South Carolina had the legal set up for libraries, but no appropriation or paid staff. All the states were trying to secure state allocations, so they would be able to have an active library agency ready to accept and administer federal funds. A plan for the federal aid, based on a study of needs, should be made by the paid secretary of the State Library Board, if and when such a person existed.48 Unfortunately, South Carolina made no provisions for library funding until 1943.

In 1939, Mary Frayser became the Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Council for the Common Good. She soon learned the State Library Board and friends of libraries would be granted a hearing before the Ways and Means, Finance, and Education Committees of the legislature. Frayser sent letters to every council member, urging them to contact their representatives. She wrote:

It is important that everyone of them know how deeply interested the women of the state are in an appropriation for the work of the State Library Board. (emphasis Frayser's)49

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She continued, a state appropriation for library work was a requirement before the state was eligible for federal aid to education and libraries.

Frayser received a report that Louisiana libraries had gained a large state appropriation. She wrote Essae Martha Culver, Executive Secretary to the Louisiana Library Commission, seeking ideas. Culver reported that the demonstration method was responsible for most of the parish (county) libraries. The commission sent a trained librarian and books to a parish to show what real library service covered. They seldom failed to receive the support needed to carry on the larger unit libraries. Demonstration in three small parishes resulted in the legislature passing a $200,000 budget, $100,000 was to be used in new demonstrations.50 From past experience, Frayser was cognizant that what had worked for one state did not necessarily work for another. State funding in South Carolina had only reached $75,000 by 1950.51

Frayser received word from Washington, that the WPA would go out of existence in March 1943. The WPA had rendered excellent library service to the state in personnel and

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materials from 1935 through 1943. In the hope that library development would not suffer following WPA extinction, a massive effort was made during the winter of 1942-1943 to secure a state appropriation. Many organizations throughout the state participated and the State Budget Commission responded with a grant of $11,000 and the General Assembly of 1943 added $2,000 from the State Emergency Fund. The ensuing fiscal year, beginning 1 July 1943, $15,000 was appropriated for library service. Consequently, library work was uninterrupted following the demise of the WPA.52

After years of campaigning and work by many people, state funding became a reality. In November 1942, Governor R. M. Jeffries, named a new State Library Board. It met in January 1943 and elected Mary Frayser Chairman. At that time, she was the only woman chairman of a state appointed board.53 Frayser held the position of chairman until 1950.

The April 1945 South Carolina Bulletin reported that one of the most important projects of the year was the campaign for the Library Development Fund. The fund's purpose was to maintain a library representative in Washington and to carry

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on a national public relations program supporting the development of good library service for all citizens. The program's objective in 1945 was to secure surplus Army books for use in rural areas and extra equipment for the use of all types of libraries. The government proposal was for surplus books to be allotted to the states on the basis of rural population. The government estimated sixty thousand books would be available per one hundred thousand rural population. South Carolina could expect to receive approximately eight hundred sixty thousand books.54 Even if the Army could not provide that many, any amount would benefit the county and rural libraries.

To bring South Carolina's libraries up to national standards would still require enormous effort. In his Inaugural Address, Governor J. Strom Thurmond stated that progress had been made in library development, but much remained to done before county and regional libraries over the state would make books equally accessible to every person in South Carolina. The minimum national standard for library service was one dollar per capita, South Carolina spent seventeen cents per capita. The state circulation of books

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per capita averaged one-tenth the national norm. Forty-three percent of South Carolina's citizens had no library service whatsoever. These conditions must be corrected.55 Dr. Patterson Wardlaw, Dean of the School of Education, University of South Carolina, stated in an address on libraries:

Whatever is legitimate expenditure for education is legitimate expenditure for libraries, for the library is the integral part of the educational machinery.56

In 1950, no library in the state met even minimum standards. Over 591,000 residents had no public library service at all. These were largely rural blacks and the residents of nine counties still without county wide services.57

Virtually all of Mary Frayser's adult life had been spent in some form of education. She spent over forty years pursuing expansion of a library system for South Carolina's residents so that they would have the tools with which to dream and grow into better citizens. Although Frayser had accomplished much, with the help of many club women and

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organizations around the state, she knew plenty of work remained to be done.

However, Mary Frayser's accomplishments should not be measured by what was achieved, but by the effort she put into her work. She had no husband or children, and very little family, so she devoted her entire being to the welfare of the people of South Carolina. In recognition for her untiring effort the American Library Association awarded Frayser the Annual Trustee Citation for her outstanding contribution to library development in South Carolina. It was the first time a South Carolina resident had ever been honored by receiving this national award.58

The public library serves all purposes of civic life--industrial, social, religious, and recreational. It assists with the education of the young and continues that of the adult. It is truly American, presenting to the native American and foreign born alike the ideal of our government. It is the world's largest educational system.59

Franklin D. Roosevelt

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1American Library Association Pamphlet in Frayser Papers.

2Columbia (SC) The State, 16 August 1959.

3Stackhouse, Frayser, 42.

4Mary E. Frayser, The Libraries of South Carolina, "n.p." 1933), 16.

5Ibid., 17.

6Edgar W. Knight, "Recent Progress and Problems of Education" in Culture in the South, ed., W. T. Couch (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1934), 214-15.

7Robert Lee, "The Peoples University, The Educational Objectives of the Public Library", in Reader in American Library History, ed. Michael H. Harris (Washington, D. C.: Microcard Editions, 1971), 122.

8Newspaper Article (unnamed), 22 May 1924. Frayser Papers.

9Frayser, Libraries of South Carolina, 17.

10Dennis Thomison, A History of the American Library Association 1876-1972 (Chicago: American Library Association, 1978), 117.

11Mrs. Henry Buck, University Weekly News, University of South Carolina, 2 March 1927, 1.

12Marion A. Wright, "Literacy and the Free Mind," New South, March 1954, 1.

13Ibid., 4.

14Elizabeth Perry Upshaw to Fred Hembree, 11 February 1981. Frayser Papers.

15Buck, University Weekly News, 1.

16Frayser, The Libraries of South Carolina, 19.

17Ibid., 21.

18W. Anderson Clarkson to Mary E. Frayser, 1 February 1929. Frayser Papers.

19Frayser, Libraries of South Carolina, 21.

20Mary E. Frayser, 1939 Library Report. Frayser Papers.

21Marion A. Wright, News release, 1 February 1937. Frayser Papers.

22Library Rules, Charles Towne Commissioners, 1698 in Frayser, The Libraries of South Carolina. 16.

23Arthur E. Bostwick, The Public Library in the United States (Chicago: American Library Association, 1929), 7.

24Frayser, The Libraries of South Carolina, 22.

25Ibid., 27-8.

26Parmelee Cheves to Mary E. Frayser, 14 February, 11 March 1931. Frayser Papers.

27Julia Wright Merrill, "The County Library Gains Recognition," reprint from Rural America. March 1929.

28Tommie Dora Barker, "Books for the Bookless," American Farming 26 (March 1931): 7.

29Anna Steese Richardson, "Reading has Wings," Woman's Home Companion, (November 1929), 26. Reprint in Frayser Papers.

30Mary E. Frayser, State Library Report 1938, 2. Frayser Papers.

31Christian Science Monitor, 13 February 1931. Clipping in Frayser Papers.

32Richardson, Woman's Home Companion, 26.

33Mary E. Frayser, "More and Better Free Libraries," newsletter, 1935. Frayser Papers.


35Clarence Poe, "A Nickel a Day for Mind Food," The Progressive Farmer, 23 November 1929, 5. Clipping in Frayser Papers.

36Mary E. Frayser to Club Presidents, 5 October 1931. Frayser Papers.

37Frayser, The Libraries of South Carolina, 34-35.

38Clemson Agricultural College Extension Newsletter, 2300. (November 1933).

39Winthrop Alumnae News, March 1934. Rough draft, 3. Frayser Papers.

40Frayser, Libraries of South Carolina, 21-22.

41Marion A. Wright, "The Citizens' Library Movement," 1 February 1937. Frayser Papers.

42Frayser, Library Report, 1938, 2.


44Frank P. Graham, "The Library as a Social and Democratic Force," Bulletin of the American Library Association, December 1936. Reprint in Frayser Papers.

45Julia Wright Merrill to Mary E. Frayser, 3 October 1938. Frayser Papers.

46Library Report, 1938, 4.

47Helen Stewart to Mary E. Frayser, 21 February 1939. Frayser Papers.

48Grace W. Estes to Mary E. Frayser, 20 September 1938. Frayser Papers.

49Mary E. Frayser to Council for the Common Good Members, 11 March 1939. Frayser Papers.

50Essae Martha Culver to Mary E. Frayser, 13 September 1938. Frayser Papers.

51South Carolina Library Bulletin, November 1950. Frayser Papers.

52First Annual Report of South Carolina State Library Board, 1 July 1943-30 June 1944, 1-2. Frayser Papers.

53Stackhouse, Frayser, 47.

54South Carolina Library Bulletin, April 1945, 1. Frayser Papers.

55J. Strom Thurmond Inaugural Address, 21 January 1947, in "The South Carolina State Board Serves Citizens, County, and Public Libraries of the State" pamphlet.

56Patterson Wardlaw, Address on Libraries, 13 October 1939. Frayser Papers.

57South Carolina Library Bulletin, November 1950. Frayser Papers.

58Untitled Newspaper clipping, 4 July 1947. Frayser Papers.

59Quoted in a Library Pamphlet. Frayser Papers.