Skip to content
Aug 23 / Christine Illichmann

SIS History: 1881-1967

As we prepare to celebrate 50 years of ALA accreditation, we’re taking a look back at the history of the School of Information Sciences. This week we’re covering 1881 to 1967, plus a photo of the Class of ’68!

Class of 1968, Department of Library Science, College of Education, Wayne State University. Know any of these students? Let us know at

The Detroit Normal Training School, forerunner of the College of Education is established.

Detroit Teachers College begins offering training for elementary school librarians in the Detroit Public Schools.

Miss Martha Pritchard is appointed supervising instructor of school libraries for the Detroit Public Schools. This gives her jurisdiction over students enrolled in Library Science courses in the College.

Detroit Teachers College becomes one of the colleges of Wayne University and a graduate school is formed.

The Graduate Catalog for 1934/35 lists three ”library” courses.

Mrs. Lois Place is named Director of School Libraries and remains in this role for twenty-one years until her retirement in 1955.

The first master’s degree (M.Ed.) in school librarianship is awarded.

Mrs. Florence Damon Cleary succeeds Mrs. Place and becomes Chairman, Department of Library Science, College of Education.

Wayne University becomes Wayne State University by Act 183 of the Michigan Public Acts of 1956.

Wayne State University establishes the graduate professional Library Science degree (M.S.L.S.). Prior to this time, the only degree was the M.Ed. with a specialization in school librarianship.

Mrs. Cleary retires as Chairman and is succeeded by Dr. Robert E. Booth.

The Department now prepares public, academic, and special librarians, in addition to its earlier single-purpose interest in elementary and secondary school librarianship.

The Library Science Department submits Self-Study for American Library Association and on the faculty are:  Robert E. Booth, Professor; Margaret Hayes Grazier, Associate Professor; Patricia B. Knapp, Associate Professor; Carl Orgren, Assistant Professor; Fred Pfister, Assistant Professor; Gloria Dardarian Sniderman, Instructor; Lenore Marchand, Instructor; Donna Taylor, Instructor; and Phyllis VanOrden, Instructor.

The M.S.L.S. degree program is accredited by the American Library Association.