Edith Allen Phelps was born in Missouri in 1866 into a prominent family descended from Ethan Allen. She was educated at Drexel University and trained in Library Science at Columbia University. Hired as Head Librarian in 1905, she was the first true professional in the Oklahoma City system and was responsible for converting the collection to Dewey classification and creating the catalog among many other innovations. Phelps also taught extension library science courses for OU at the Carnegie Library. She was very active in ALA and OLA and was instrumental in the creation of ODL. She was also a charter member of the Special Libraries Association. She resigned her position in protest in 1916 and eventually served the public library in San Luis Obispo, Calif. until her death in 1945.
Return to the Oklahoma Library Legends