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Biography, author unknown unknown 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky LFP_rblue_1_06_01 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Biography, author unknown unknown Louisville Free Public Library Louisville, Ky unknown Is Part of the Reverend Thomas F. Blue Papers, ca. 1905-1935 housed at the Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, KY. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. THOMAS FOUNTAIN BLUE March 6, 1866 - November 10, 1935 The Rev. Thomas F. Blue, the nation's first Black person to head a public library, was a respected leader in the civic, religious, and educational life of the "Colored People." Born in Farmville, Virginia, Rev. Blue prepared for the ministry, graduating in 1888 from Hampton Institute, Virginia, with the dgeree of Bachelor of Divinity. After further study at the Richmond Theological Seminary, he came to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1899, and assumed the Secretaryship of the Colored Branch of the local YMCA„ filling the position with distinction until 1905. From 1905 unitl his death 30 years later, Rev. Thomas F. Blue served the Louisville Free Public Library, acheiving national recognition as a pioneer in the field of public service among "Colored People." On September 23, 1905, Rev. Blue opened "the first free public library for colored readers with colored attendants," three rented rooms in a house in Western Louisville, the "Colored Branch" of the Louisville Free Public Library. In 1908, just three years later, the branch moved to its new Carnegie building, "the first Carnagie free library for colored readers." In 1914, Rev. Blue opened Louisville's second Carnegie branch library for "colored people," this time in Eastern Louisville. In 1919, with the addition of the two new "Colored Branches," a "Colored Department" was created, the first example of such organization in any public library system in the United States. Rev. Thomas Blue was, of course, appointed head of that department, a position in which he continued until his death. Although Rev. Blue spoke of himself as "untrained, like Dewey was untrained," his most far-reaching work was the creation of an apprentice class for blacks wanting to enter library service. Begun in 1905 in the three rented rooms in Western Louisville, Blue's class drew students from as far away as Houston, and led to the establishment of the Hampton Library School in Virginia.