After nearly eleven months of work, Reference Desk Coordinator Tom Schmidt has completed cataloging Sharlot Hall’s personal library. This collection, located in the Research Center’s Rare Book Room, consists of over 700 books and periodicals that Sharlot herself and her family collected. Previously only a small portion of this library book collection was available to the public. Today, all of her books are available as we celebrate this major milestone for the Sharlot Hall Museum.
For Tom, cataloging Sharlot’s library was an opportunity to catch a glimpse into her various interests and philosophy on life. Although she did not attend a university (she received an honorary Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona in 1921), Sharlot was very well-read for a woman of her time, as evidenced by the subject depth of her library. The library features books on philosophy, religion (including a copy of the Qur’an and Book of Mormon), politics, women’s issues, history, and especially poetry.
Sharlot, who corresponded with British writer Rudyard Kipling, also had an entire collection of Kipling’s works in her library. There is a copy of her family Bible, which the Halls acquired in 1882, and even a copy of Sharlot’s first childhood book: “Child’s Own Book of Fairy Tales” (1877). We know this was her first book thanks to a note added by Sharlot, stating her mother bought it for her as a Christmas gift while still living in Lincoln County, Kansas.
Tom worked with Yavapai Library Network (YLN) cataloger Karie Straube to complete this lengthy cataloging project. Although the Sharlot Hall Museum Research Center is a non-circulating special library, it is a member of the YLN system and all of the Research Center’s books are located in this system.
Our wonderful volunteers also provided key support—Tom would to thank volunteer reference desk assistants Janet Kevlin, Cynthia Vaughn, Nita Freer, Lorene Treadwell, and Lisa Zugner for all of their help to finish this project.