Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Ruth Mortimer, Curator 1975-1994

Ruth Mortimer, Smith College class of 1953

Ruth Mortimer made a notable appearance in the Rare Book Room Report 1951-1952:

The new assistant was a tremendous success …, we might as well deal with her here as a factor of substantial importance. Ruth Mortimer ’53, returning next year, fortunately, was particularly bright, willing, industrious, understanding, competent, and durable. She worked only five hours a week [starting @70¢ and later @75¢ per hour] … totaling 158 hours at a cost to us of $117.60, and we are confident that it was one of the best $117.60s that will ever be spent on this department. … It is very possible that she can assist with cataloguing next year.

In her 1952-53 Report, curator Dorothy King again praised her student worker:

Probably the only reason that the gears didn’t just simply fly apart was the fact that Ruth Mortimer continued as student assistant and was invaluable in helping with reader service, to say nothing of lightening the work load right down the line. Her graduation leaves a big hole in the Rare Book Room program, and I couldn’t possible say enough to praise her adequately. … She left a mark on the Department such as is not usually made by nor expected of a student assistant.

Dorothy King and Ruth MortimerDorothy King (left) and Ruth Mortimer are shown here in 1952/53 in the rare book reading room in Neilson (Room 32 on the first floor mezzanine of the north wing). Mortimer is holding the Cranach Press edition of Virgil’s Eclogues, one of many 20th-century fine press books presented to the library by Henry L. Seaver, husband of Susan R. Seaver, class of 1901. The caption on the photograph’s back states that “Miss Mortimer … plans to go into library work as a vocation.”

Photo by Burditt for the Smith College News Office,
from the Smith College Archives [Click on image to enlarge]


The Eclogues of VergilThe Eclogues of Vergil. In the original Latin with an English prose translation by J.H. Mason & with illustrations drawn and cut on the wood by Aristide Maillol. London: Published in England for the Cranach Press by Emery Walker Limited, 1927. PRESENTED BY HENRY L. SEAVER [Click on image to enlarge]