Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library” as Want to Read:
The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  76 ratings  ·  15 reviews
In 1950 Ruth W. Brown, librarian at the Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Public Library, was summarily dismissed from her job after thirty years of exemplary service, ostensibly because she had circulated subversive materials. In truth, however, Brown was fired because she had become active in promoting racial equality and had helped form a group affiliated with the Congress of Rac ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 15th 2001 by University of Oklahoma Press (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 163)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Tonya Severson
Although the book describes events that occurred in the 1950s, similar dangers face intellectual freedom today, as demonstrated by the hastily pushed and adopted "PATRIOT" Act.

Miss Brown, a librarian in Bartlesville OK, was investigated for circulating communist propaganda (periodicals like The Nation, or New Republic were the most "un-American" they found) during the McCarthy era, and ultimately fired. In reality, she was being punished for her social activism--inviting a black woman to join he
...more
Kristin
As always, Robbins weaves a captivating tale from her thorough research.
Carrie
I was disappointed in this book about a librarian whose civil rights activism resulted in the loss of her job and a town run amok with accusations of communism. The book presents the facts, but that's about all it does. A listing of dates and times and facts and figures, it's hard to get through the "facts" to the human elements. For me, ultimately, this book failed because of that. As a book, this would have made an excellent scholarly article.
Stevie
Dec 16, 2010 Stevie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I had to read this for school (and it's my professor's book). All the same, I really enjoyed it -- the writing was livelier than your typical academic press biography-with-a-larger-theme, and it thoroughly painted a picture of the political climate at the start of the civil rights movement. I also appreciated the personal difficulties that Robbins encountered in putting the book together.
Karl
A great book! And written by one of the professors in my LIS program. What appears, on the surface, to be a standard-fare McCarthy-era case of panicked censorship is revealed to be a far more nuanced mix of early civil rights activism, gender politics, and social power struggle. Reads like a work of fiction, and provided the basis for the 1956 movie "Storm Center."
Jim
I was interested in how the power brokers of Barlesville, Oklahoma, using the guise of McCarthyist anti-communism, were able to fire librarian Ruth Brown in 1950, and scatter or silence her supporters, for promoting racial equality.

A fascinating, although somewhat academic, account of an important struggle within the history of librarianship in the United States.
Kate
*phew* This book was dry. So dry. Very much "just the facts, ma'am." Can you jazz it up a little? This is coming from a person who adores to read about histories and libraries.

Ms. Brown is quite admirable, if very imperfect, in her attempt to serve everyone in her community, including the marginalized African Americans.
Ann
Jun 19, 2008 Ann rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Librarians/Political Interests
Although I appreciate the story and the struggle, I was a bit disappointed in the 2 dimensional characters. I also would have liked to have read more about Ruth Brown and her story. However, at the end of the book, the author makes a point to inform the reader about her difficulties in obtaining information. Scary story, nonetheless.
Cara
Robbins does a smooth job of connecting a librarian's dismissal in a small town in Oklahoma in the 1950s to the greater social and racial conflicts of that time period. The whole book has a personal feel to it, from the descriptions of Ruth by her adopted daughters to Robbins' own story about the experience of researching it.
Gina
Was Ruth Brown fired from her position as public librarian in 1950 (after 30 years of service) for circulating Communist materials, or for promoting racial equality? Either way, Brown got screwed but helped shape the Library Bill of Rights, our views on censorship, women, equality, and intellectual freedom.
Erica - Bonner Springs Library
Oct 11, 2010 Erica - Bonner Springs Library rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Public Librarians, Library students, anyone interested in intellectual freedom
Recommended to Erica - by: Loretta Gaffney
A must-read for anyone who wants to go into public library work. I read it for my Intellectual Freedom class and was fascinated and horrified by it. I learned a lot about the social climate of the 1950s and a lot about how a corporation can influence the town.
Erica
Dec 01, 2008 Erica rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Public Librarians, Library students, anyone interested in intellectual freedom
Recommended to Erica by: Loretta Gaffney
A must-read for anyone who wants to go into public library work. I read it for my Intellectual Freedom class and was fascinated and horrified by it. I learned a lot about the social climate of the 1950s and a lot about how a corporation can influence the town.
Erin
segregation, communism, youth services, intellectual freedom, censorship, middle america, corporate america, fear mongering
Jane
For a book that I had to read for college class, I was entranced by it. A very well written look at librarians!
Laura
Laura added it
Nov 23, 2014
Halley
Halley marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2014
Olivia
Olivia marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
Colleen
Colleen marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
Katie
Katie marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
Heidi
Heidi marked it as to-read
Aug 27, 2014
Lori Suffield
Lori Suffield marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2014
Pravin Poojari
Pravin Poojari marked it as to-read
May 21, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Censorship and the American Library: The American Library Association's Response to Threats to Intellectual Freedom, 1939-1969 (Contributions in Librarianship and Information Science) Librarian Spies: Philip and Mary Jane Keeney and Cold War Espionage Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America

Share This Book