Jobs for the girls

A recent enquiry threw light on the richness of information contained in the minutes of Library Committee. The enquiry itself related to Marjory Foljambe Hall, daughter of Hubert Hall, Assistant Keeper of the Public Record Office in London, who was meant to have been employed circa 1917/1918 as a Librarian at the University of Edinburgh.

As she was not listed in the University Calendar, the post must have been below that of Assistant Librarian. There was a chance that the appointment would have been noted at Library Committee, but it was not expected that there would be much detail.

On locating the relevant minute however it was found that the section dealing with Miss Hall’s appointment occupied almost a full page, giving information both on her and the method by which she was appointed.

A vacancy had occurred due the departure of a member of cataloguing staff to get married. At the suggestion of Prof. Peter Hume Brown, the Librarian, Frank Carr Nicholson, wrote to Hubert Hall on the basis that he was aware Hall’s daughter was looking for a post. The responses received from both Hubert and Marjory were read before the committee. The minutes note:

“It appeared from these documents that Miss Hall had done a considerable amount of work at the Record Office and for the Royal Historical Society, and that she had gone through a course of Library training, palaeography etc. The Committee were of the opinion that her qualifications were exceptionally good.”

She was at a salary of seven pounds per month plus War bonus of ten pounds per annum. Unfortunately her contract was terminated at the end of May 1918, following a decision to suspend indefinitely the printing of the Library Catalogue.

The enquirer informed us that Marjory went on to work at the National Library of Wales before becoming a nun.

[University of Edinburgh Library Committee, Ref: EUA IN1/COM/L1]

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