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Robert T. Motter, Sr.
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Photo of Robert Motter, Sr.Mr. Motter was born in Koelliken, Switzerland in 1887. He moved to the United States when he was five years old.

Robert learned the bookbinding trade from his father, but the lure of gold sent him to Alaska in 1907. He spent ten years there panning for gold in the Yukon Territory and working on a wharf in Skagway.

In 1911, he joined his father and brother in a trade bindery. He soon saw the need for a library bindery in the southwest, and bought the company in 1925, as his father was retiring. He opened his new business in Muskogee, OK, and served libraries in the southwest for many years. Along with friends who were owners of large binderies on the coasts of America, he was instrumental in founding the Library Binding Institute in 1935.

Mr. Motter was active in the Oklahoma and Southwest Library Associations, where he exhibited his product in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. He spent many years helping the host librarians in setting up exhibits at their annual library conferences. He was awarded the seventh Distinguished Service Award at the 1953 Oklahoma Library Association conference, the first awarded to a non-librarian. He died in April of 1967.

In a profile published in the Winter 1952 issue of the Oklahoma Librarian, Frances Kennedy wrote of Motter:

In his quiet, unobtrusive way he has won the respect, confidence, and friendship of librarians in schools, colleges, and public libraries throughout the State. . . . He has become one of us through his long years of willing service in many capacities.  He speaks our language and shares our problems.  Robert T. Motter is one of the true friends of libraries whose praises too often go unsung!1

1Frances Kennedy, “Robert F. Motter: Friend of Libraries,” Oklahoma Librarian 2, no. 1 (Winter 1952): 24.

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