Jewett, Charles Coffin

Jewett, Charles Coffin

(jo͞o`ĭt), 1816–68, American librarian, b. Lebanon, Maine. Jewett prepared his first catalog of books as librarian of Andover Theological Seminary. He was appointed librarian of Brown Univ. in 1841, where he rearranged and cataloged that library by subjects. In 1848 he became librarian of the Smithsonian Institution. There he published a survey of U.S. libraries and started mechanical duplication of individual catalog entries. As superintendent of the Boston Public Library from 1858 to 1865, Jewett worked out catalog rules which were adopted internationally.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

Jewett, Charles Coffin

(1816–68) librarian, bibliographer; born in Lebanon, Maine. He graduated from Brown University in 1835 and became the school's first academic librarian. In 1843 he published a Catalogue of the Library of Brown University and this led to his appointment as first librarian of the Smithsonian Institution. At the Smithsonian much of his work was devoted to developing methods of cataloguing the holdings of various libraries, with an ultimate goal (never realized) of producing a national union catalogue of all the libraries in the country. His hopes to make the Smithsonian primarily into a reference library brought him into conflict with the Secretary, Joseph Henry, and Jewett left Washington in 1854 to become librarian and then superintendent of the Boston Public Library (1855–68). Perhaps his most familiar and lasting innovation was the use of separate slips rather than a bound ledger to keep track of individual library loans.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.