Daily Archives: August 27, 2013

** Irrepressible Reformer by Wayne Wiegand

If, like me, you think of Mevil Dewey as the inventor of the Dewey Decimal Classification  system, used in libraries around the world, you may be surprised to find out, in Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey, that Dewey was an avid reformer not just of library systems (with the Decimal system but also the very size of catalog cards, remember those?) but also spelling (he was born a Melville but shortened his first name to Mevil and tried to go by Mevil Dui….) and measurement systems (he was a fan of the metric system, but alas was not successful in having it replace the imperial system in the US). He was also a sexual harasser, a land developer who would not let Jews purchase his properties, a great believer that librarians should not just index books but dictate what the populace should be reading (and lock up the rest), and a consummate politician with few hangups when it came to imposing his will and his private business interests. Not a very appealing character.

This biography delves into minute historical details, so if you are interested in what happened on August 15, 1894,  you will find out. The minutiae were too much for me…

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