Friday, February 28, 2014

Francis Marion Pottenger: Founder of the Pottenger Sanatorium



The climate of Southern California was said to be ideal for those who suffered from tuberculosis, so when Francis Marion Pottenger’s young wife was stricken with the disease, Dr. Pottenger, a recent graduate of medical school, moved with her to California. Despite his tireless care, constant observation, and continued study of all published medical articles about tuberculosis, her condition worsened. Eventually, the couple returned to their native Ohio where Carrie (Burtner) Pottenger died in 1898.

The loss of his wife to what was considered at that time to be an essentially hopeless disease had a tremendous impact on Dr. Pottenger. He soon became a leader in the study of tuberculosis, and challenged previously accepted methods of treatment, such as exercise, in favor of rest. In 1902, he was on the committee that founded the Southern California Anti-Tuberculosis League, later the California Tuberculosis Association, and in 1903, he refuted a bill that would have excluded tuberculosis patients from the state, arguing that those seeking health in California should be welcomed. That same year, he founded the Pottenger Sanatorium in Monrovia, California.

If you would like to learn more about Francis Marion Pottenger and the Pottenger Sanatorium, the Monrovia Public Library has a collection of local history books that are available for library use.

Source: “Pottenger, Francis Marion, M.D.,” Encyclopedia of Biography; folder: “Pottenger Family,” vertical files; Heritage Room, Monrovia Public Library, Monrovia, California.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Katherine Ainsworth: A Monrovia Librarian



“I decided to become a librarian when I was a child,” said Katherine Ainsworth, a former librarian at the Monrovia Public Library. “My mother was pleased. She said it was such nice, clean work for a lady.”

Katherine Ainsworth began her work in libraries in 1931, following her education at UCLA and USC, and became a member of the staff at the Monrovia Public Library in 1954. Throughout her years as a librarian, she was a strong opponent of censorship, and she is credited with making countless positive changes to modernize the library system. At the time of her retirement in 1967, she recalled, “When we first moved here, Monrovia was a rural community. Quite a few of the books dealt with habits of chickens and rabbits and growing citrus. Now it’s against the law to raise chickens and rabbits in the city. As they disappeared, so did the books.”

To learn more about the changes in the library and Monrovia itself, the Monrovia Public Library has a collection of local history books that are available for library use.

Source: “Veteran Valley Librarian Ends Monrovia Career,” San Gabriel Valley (California) Daily Tribune, 22 July 1967; folder: “Ainsworth, Katherine,” vertical files; Heritage Room, Monrovia Public Library, Monrovia, California.
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Eugene Fickes: Library Architect



Do you remember the former, mid-twentieth century library? Eugene Fickes, a local architect, designed the library building that replaced Monrovia’s first free-standing library in Library Park. A growing population and heavy use of the small Carnegie library, built in 1908, necessitated the design of a larger structure, and Fickes was up for the challenge.

A World War II Army veteran who served as an Army Engineer, and a graduate of Penn State, Eugene Fickes was no stranger to architectural design. During his years in Southern California, he designed multiple hospitals and libraries including the main libraries in Burbank, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, and Alhambra, in addition to Monrovia. The then new Monrovia Public Library, featuring a mid-century modern architectural design, was dedicated in January 1957, and it was enjoyed by residents of Monrovia into the twenty-first century, until it was torn down and replaced by our current edifice.

Source: “Architect Eugene Fickes of Ventura dies at 72,” Ventura County Star Free Press (Ventura, California), 4 June 1991; folder: “Fickes, Eugene,” vertical files; Heritage Room, Monrovia Public Library, Monrovia, California.