Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

William H. Carlson Papers, 1924-1981

Biographical Note:

William H. Carlson served as the University Librarian of OSU from 1945 to 1965. Born in 1898 in Waverly, Nebraska, William Carlson graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1924 with a degree in Journalism. As a student, Carlson's employment in the Nebraska Legislative Reference Bureau Library sparked an interest in a career in library work. Pursuing this interest, Carlson earned a certificate from the New York State Library School in 1926 and later graduated with a Master's degree in Librarianship from the University of California at Berkeley in 1937. Before his appointment as Director of the Libraries for the Oregon State System of Higher Education and OSU Librarian in 1945, Carlson worked in several college and university libraries, including: the University of Iowa, University of North Dakota, Vanderbilt University, the University of Arizona, and the University of Washington. Active in research on library topics, Carlson published a number of articles and reviews on contemporary topics in library science such as post-war library planning and resources in Western libraries. Carlson also pursued an interest in Scandinavian studies, owing partly to his own Swedish ancestry. The Kerr Library was constructed in 1963 during Carlson's tenure as OSU Librarian. Retiring from the OSU Library in 1965, Carlson continued to be involved in library research, serving as a consultant on a survey of Oregon Institutional Libraries from 1966 to 1967. Carlson also completed a history of the OSU Library during his retirement, which was later submitted to The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science in 1977. Carlson died in Corvallis in 1990.


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