Alice I. Bryan papers, 1921-1992 bulk 1935-1975
|Bryan, Alice I (Alice Isabel), 1902-1992,.
|8.65 linear feet (8.65 linear feet 20 document boxes and 1 card file box)
|Columbia University Archives
|View CLIO record and Request Material >>
Alice I Bryan was born Alice Isabel Bever on September 11, 1902. She was the second child and only daughter of Ewald Bever,
a banker, and Caroline Bever née Lawrence. Bryan grew up in the Arlington section of Kearny, New Jersey. After finishing
high school in 1918, Bryan completed a two-year course of academic and secretarial studies at the extension division of Columbia
University and then worked in the publishing industry. She also developed a lifelong interest in theosophy, mysticism, and
parapsychology during this period. In 1921, she became an instructor for advertising courses offered by the Extension Division
of the YMCA. She remained in this position when the program transferred to the Home Study Division of Columbia University.
Bryan continued to teach advertising courses until 1929. She also earned three degrees in psychology at Columbia University;
a bachelor's (1929), a master's (1930) and a PhD. (1934). During the Great Depression, Bryan taught psychology at both Sarah
Lawrence College and the Pratt Institute, and also taught a research methods course at the School for Library Service (SLS)
at Columbia University. She was later invited to teach a course in psychology for practicing librarians at SLS, and was offered
an assistant professorship in 1939. Bryan was also considered a leading theoretician in the field of bibliotherapy (which
she defined as"the prescription of reading materials that will help to develop emotional maturity and sustain mental health")
during the 1930s. During the next two decades, Bryan pursued her interests in psychology and librarianship. She helped to
bring women into the mainstream of the profession of psychology, and was a founder of the National Council of Women Psychologists
(which became the International Council of Women Psychologists) in 1940. She represented this organization on the National
Research Council's Emergency Committee in Psychology during World War II. She also served as executive secretary of the American
Association for Applied Psychology, and worked on the revision of by-laws of the American Psychological Association. She published
articles on both psychology and on its intersection with librarianship. Bryan pursued additional training to further her career
at SLS and took a sabbatical to pursue a master's degree in library science at the University of Chicago, which she completed
in 1951. At the same time, Bryan was recruited to conduct a study of library personnel being undertaken by the Public Library
Inquiry (PLI) and the Social Science Research Council with funding from the Carnegie Corporation. Bryan's resulting report"The
Public Librarian" (1952), was a groundbreaking work for which she had interviewed more than 3,000 librarians in 60 libraries
nationwide. The American Library Association (ALA) honored her on the 40th anniversary of its publication in 1992, and she
delivered an address on the study and its significance at the ALA convention that year. Bryan became an Associate Professor
at SLS in 1953, and was the first woman to achieve a full professorship at SLS in 1959. She was also instrumental in the creation
of its doctoral program, and was the chair of the doctoral committee for many years. She was designated as professor emerita
upon her retirement in 1971. Bryan was married three times. Bryan's first marriage to Chester Ward Bryan in 1924 ended in
divorce in 1934, but she continued to use his name professionally as it was the name in which she had established herself
as a scholar and received her doctorate. Her second marriage to Frank Martin Blasingame, a sculptor and painter, ended in
divorce after eight years in 1944. She married George Virgil Fuller, a retired colonel, in 1956. The marriage ended with Fuller's
death in 1960. The George Virgil Fuller Award was established at Columbia University in his memory. Bryan had no children.
She died on October 30, 1992, of leukemia.
Scope and Contents
Alice I. Bryan was a professor in the School of Library Service (SLS). She also held a Ph.D. in Psychology, and had professional
interests in both disciplines. The papers document her professional career; both at Columbia University and with other associations,
research, and special projects. Dr. Alice I. Bryan was a professor in the School of Library Service (SLS), but she also held
a PhD. in Psychology and had professional interests in both disciplines. Bryan's papers document her professional career,
and include material on her work at Columbia University and in professional associations, research, and special projects.
Much of the material documents Bryan's career at Columbia University. Bryan kept files on her work both at SLS and within
the larger University community. Her SLS records include correspondence, communications with the Dean's office, and material
on committee work, curricula, examinations, and for her own courses. Her records related to work in the larger University
community include correspondence, committee material, and meeting material for the Women's Faculty Club, School of General
Studies, and the University Seminar on Public Communication. The papers also document Bryan's professional career outside
of Columbia University. The records' coverage is strongest from the late 1930s through the 1950s. They document Bryan's research
interests, special projects, public speeches, and work in professional associations related to both psychology and librarianship.
These associations include the Association of American Library Schools, American Library Association, American Psychological
Association, International Council of Women Psychologists, and the National Research Council's Emergency Committee in Psychology.
Bryan's files on research interests and projects are divided into three areas within Series II, III, and IV. Bryan kept material
related to special projects with her Professional Activities files in Series III, with two exceptions: files related to the
library film forum project and the legibility of the Library of Congress Catalog are in the Research--Special subseries of
Series II. She also kept a set of Special Subject Files; these make up Series IV. Bryan also kept bibliographies, correspondence,
and reprints related to her publications (1930-1952). There is some additional professional material filed in Series V. There
is some documentation of Bryan's academic work in her papers. There are a few research papers from her work on her bachelor's
degree (1927-1928). She also kept notebooks and other material from her studies at the Graduate Library School at the University
of Chicago (1949-1951). There is a limited amount of personal material included in the papers. These materials include a few
folders of personal correspondence, diaries (1976-1991), photographs, and a file on her personal travel immediately following
her retirement (1972-1976). Bryan had an elaborate personal classification and filing system. Copies of the outline are filed
in Box 2. Series I-IV follow the order of this outline, however, many folders in the system did not contain records and have
been removed from the collection.