Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join OLA
Edith Allen Phelps
Share |

Edith Allen Phelps was born in Springfield, Missouri on February 10, 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 of the Oklahoma City Carnegie Library 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 what is now the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Phelps served as OLA President from 1911-1913.  She was also a charter member of the Special Libraries Association.

She resigned her position with the Oklahoma City Library in protest in 1916.  She then worked in the Tyler (Texas) Public Library and the Kansas City Public Library before taking the position as Librarian in the Paso Robles Public Library in California in 1920.

Edith Allen Phelps was 79 years old when she died in San Luis Obispo, California on July 2, 1945.

Source: Binheim, Max, compiler and editor. Women of the West. 1928 ed. Los Angeles, California: Publishers Press, 1928, p. 74.

Return to the Oklahoma Library Legends


Site Search
Sign In



Oklahoma Library Association
1190 Meramec Station Road, Suite 207, Ballwin, MO 63021-6902
Phone: 1-800-969-6562 Ext 5 | Fax: 636-529-1396 | Email:

Follow us: OLA on Facebook