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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 382

Papers of Jane Maud Campbell, 1860-1994 (inclusive), 1886-1947 (bulk)


Correspondence, speeches, photographs, etc., of Jane Maud Campbell, librarian and reformer.


  • Creation: 1860-1994
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1886-1947

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Originals closed; use digital images.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jane Maud Campbell is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.63 linear feet ((1+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder)

This collection consists of correspondence, speeches, and photographs of Jane Maud Campbell, as well as clippings about her work. A strong advocate of using library resources in new and creative ways to meet the needs of immigrants, Campbell cast libraries and librarians in an intermediary and interpretive role. Most of her speeches address these issues. The correspondence documents some of Campbell's career changes, particularly her move from Massachusetts to Virginia, and contains letters of recommendation, among them one from Anne Morgan, daughter of J. Pierpont Morgan, with whom she had worked while in New York. Photographs are of Campbell and of several libraries with which she was affiliated. Clippings document details of her work and her interest in libraries and immigrants; some report on the appointment to the Newark Free Public Library of John Cotton Dana, with whom Campbell worked for a time.


Jane Maud Campbell was born on March 13, 1869, in Liverpool, England, the first daughter and one of seven children of George and Jane (Cameron) Campbell. Following the death of her mother several years later, Campbell was raised by a nurse and governess. When she was twelve, the family sailed to the United States, where she attended a private school in Richmond, Virginia. Returning to Great Britain the following year, Campbell lived with her grandmother in Edinburgh while attending school; she later graduated from the Ladies' College of Edinburgh University and from the Edinburgh School of Cookery and Domestic Economy.

Returning to the United States, Campbell worked in Charles Town, West Virginia, as secretary in a family business, before taking a job as an assistant in the reference room at the Free Public Library in Newark, New Jersey. In 1902 she accepted the position of head of public libraries in Passaic, New Jersey, where she became increasingly concerned with the plight of newly arrived immigrants. In addition to furnishing the libraries with foreign language books about American life, Campbell was the sole woman on a 1906 commission (and the first woman on any New Jersey commission) appointed "to inquire into and report upon the general condition of the immigrants coming into or residents within this State." This panel was instrumental in persuading the legislature to provide free evening classes for immigrants, among the first such classes in the country.

In 1910 she left New Jersey to join the North American Civic League in New York City, where she worked with immigrants, teaching them about the naturalization process and about their prospects for employment as American citizens. In 1913 she was appointed Educational Director for Work with Aliens of the Massachusetts Library Commission, the first such post in the United States. In this capacity she traveled throughout the state, selecting and delivering foreign language books requested by town libraries, and lecturing on the important role libraries could play in the education and assimilation of immigrants. She was not only an advocate of the "library as social force," but also spoke on public policies relating to immigrants. During World War I she worked at Camp Devens, organizing a hospital library for convalescing soldiers.

In 1922 Campbell left Massachusetts to assume the position of head librarian of the Jones Memorial Library in Lynchburg, Virginia. During her tenure there, several branch libraries were established, including the Dunbar branch for black readers, and the collection grew from 6,500 to more than 70,000 volumes. Campbell retired in February 1947; she died that April at the age of 78.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 86-M241, 88-M194, 93-M23, 94-M96

The papers of Jane Maud Campbell were given to the Schlesinger Library by Fay Campbell Kaynor, Jane Maud Campbell's grandniece, between December 1986 and July 1994. They were reprocessed with a grant from Clara Goldberg Schiffer.


Collection number: MC 382

Collection name: Jane Maud Campbell

Donor: Fay Campbell Kaynor

Accession numbers: 86-M241

Processed by: Anne Engelhart

Date: October 1987

The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. Charities, vol. 13, no. 10; returned to donor, October 1987
  2. Clippings re: libraries, immigrants; returned to donor, October 1987


  1. Box 1: 3-13
  2. Box 2: 14-20

Processing Information

Reprocessed: June 1995

By: Anne Engelhart

Campbell, Jane Maud, 1869-1947. Papers of Jane Maud Campbell, 1860-1994 (inclusive), 1886-1947 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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