May Morris (1886-1967)

May Morris, c.1960

May Morris was born to William Wilkinson and Mary Lutner Collison Morris on June 29, 1886 in Greenwood, Delaware. The Morris family had been occupying an estate there, known as "Morris’ Pleasure," since before the American Revolution. Morris enrolled at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, earning a bachelor of philosophy degree in 1909. She was awarded a degree from the Pratt Institute of Library Science in Brooklyn, New York in 1917. She then began to work in the library at Bryn Mawr College, remaining there for ten years.

Morris then returned to her alma mater to begin her tenure as librarian in 1927. Under her management, the library grew significantly through the years. An intelligent, quiet, and tactful professional, she brought the College Library from rather inadequate resources, both in materials and in space, to a respectable library which well supported the college curriculum of the day. Her concern for preserving the College's past led her to begin to develop a collection of "Dickinsoniana," and these efforts directly influenced the appointment of a curator of the collection, Charles Colman Sellers and the establishment of the Archives and Special Collections department years later. A mark of Morris' success is the fact that the college library doubled its holdings during her tenure, and the annual budget increased more than eight times.

After twenty-nine years of service to the College, May Morris retired in 1956 as a full professor, only the second woman in the College’s history to have achieved that status. She never married. In 1966 she turned over the first spade of soil at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Boyd Lee Spahr Library. She died on January 27, 1967, the new library not yet completed. After her death, the reading room of the Archives and Special Collections was designated the May Morris Room in her honor.

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Dickinson College Archives
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