LEDBETTER, ELEANOR EDWARDS (6 May 1870-19 July 1954), librarian known for her pioneering work with immigrant groups and ethnic literature, was born in Holley, N.Y., daughter of Ira Edwards. She was educated at Brockport State Normal College, Syracuse University, and New York State Library School in Albany. Ledbetter began her career as a cataloguer at Worcester, Mass. in 1896, then working in Buffalo, South Bend, Ind., the University of Texas, and in Newark, N.Y. before coming to Cleveland in 1909 as assistant organizer for the Ohio State Library Commission. She was appointed a professional librarian at the Broadway Branch of the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY in 1909, and the following year assumed the position of branch librarian until her retirement in July 1938.
Reflecting the surrounding communities of CZECHS and POLES, the Broadway Branch housed Bohemian and Polish collections. Ledbetter developed both an extensive knowledge of the literature and an understanding of these immigrant groups. During the AMERICANIZATION campaign during WORLD WAR I, Ledbetter ran citizenship classes and authored 3 books, The Jugoslavs of Cleveland (1918), The Slovaks of Cleveland (1918), and The Czechs of Cleveland (1919), under the auspices of the Americanization Committee of the MAYOR'S ADVISORY WAR COMMITTEE which remain primary sources for the history of these communities in Cleveland. Following the war, Ledbetter prepared three volumes, Polish Literature in English Translation (1932), The Polish Immigrant and His Reading (1924), and a translation of the Czech work The Sheperd and the Dragon (1930), as well as articles for professional and ethnic journals. She was elected chairman of the American Library Assoc.'s Committee on Work with Foreign Born. Ledbetter was honored for her work by both the Polish and Czechoslovak governments. She married Dancy Ledbetter in 1903 and had 1 son, Dancy E. Ledbetter was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Twinsburg, Ohio.Last Modified: 10 Jul 1997 05:11:26 PM