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Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard, The Scholar Librarian

Posted by Jane Metters LaBarbara.
September 16th, 2015

Facade of Stewart Hall
Blog post by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian.

Although Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard was a librarian at West Virginia University for a short time, 1902 – 1907, she made an impact in the world of academic scholarship.

Portrait of Librarian Pauline Wiggin Leonard

Long before WVU received the Arthur S. Dayton Shakespeare Collection in 1951, Leonard was writing and publishing her scholarship on Shakespeare and other contemporary playwrights of the era.  Her writings on Shakespeare included editorship of two Shakespearean plays, The Merchant of Venice, 1902, and Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1929, both published in D.C. Heath’s Golden Key Series.

Prior to her arrival at WVU, while she was a student at Radcliffe, Leonard authored An Inquiry into the Authorship of the Middleton-Rowley Plays, 1897, with George Pierce Baker. It may be that Baker was Leonard’s English professor, as Radcliffe College served as the “female” component of Harvard at the time Leonard was a student.  Baker graduated from Harvard in 1887 and went on to be the Editor-in-Chief of The Harvard Monthly.  Baker also taught in the English Department at Harvard from 1888 until 1924, so it seems likely Leonard, as an 1895 graduate of Radcliffe, was his student.

Portrait of George Pierce Baker

After Leonard graduated from Radcliffe she attended the New York State Library School earning a Masters in Library Science in 1902.   During this time, Leonard also taught English at Vassar from 1895 – 1897, and Wellesley from 1897 – 1899, two Women’s Colleges, much like her own Radcliffe.  After her teaching experience, Leonard served as the library assistant in charge of the History Division of the New York State Library from 1901 – 1902. Her next position would be that of librarian at West Virginia University.

Interior View of Stewart Hall Library, West Virginia University

That same year, 1902, Leonard began her position as librarian in Stewart Hall, the new library building on the WVU Campus.  Stewart Hall was constructed between 1900 and 1902 and Leonard would have been one of the first librarians to work in the beautiful newly constructed library.  The Stewart Hall Library interior photo above is ca. 1905.  The highly staged and posed photo below is ca. 1910.

Interior View of Stewart Hall Library, West Virginia University

While at WVU, Leonard was mindful of the scholarship of her colleagues when she compiled and published the Bibliography of West Virginia University, its Faculty and Graduates. 1867-1907. Today, Leonard’s bibliography serves as a useful and important record of the foundational scholarship published by WVU’s earliest faculty members.

But Leonard’s focus wasn’t all on scholarship; her other love was gardening and she wrote magazine articles on gardening during the heyday of American Gardening in the early twentieth century. Later, at the close of the twentieth century, in 1999, an article of Leonard’s was gathered into a collection of garden writing in the book, The Once and Future Gardener: Garden Writing from the Golden Age of Magazines, 1900-1940, by Virginia Tuttle Clayton.  You can read the article, “The Contributor’s Club: Democracy and Gardening,” by Pauline G. Wiggin Leonard, in its entirety at Google Books (page 261):

Book cover of The Once & Future Gardener

Just before she left WVU, Pauline Gertrude Wiggin married William Jackson Leonard, an English and Fine Arts Instructor at WVU, in Truro, Massachusetts in 1906.  Both Pauline and William were originally from New Hampshire.  It was a late in life marriage for both of them, as they were in their late thirties when they married.   At the age of 39, Pauline gave birth to a son, William W. Jackson.  Her WVU staff photo is shown here.

Portrait of Pauline G. Wiggin from Monticola

Unfortunately the WVU yearbook, the Monticola, does not have a photo of William Jackson Leonard, but his position is described in the photo below. By 1907, Professor Leonard was to become the Head of the Fine Arts Department at WVU.

Description of William Jackson Leonard from Monticola Yearbook

Records from Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard’s days at Radcliffe have been retained by Harvard University in the Radcliffe College Archives, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library in the History of Women in America Collection.  The Finding Aid for the Radcliffe College Student Files, 1890-1985 can be accessed here:  Leonard’s file can be located in Series 1, Box 129. Wiggin, Pauline Gertrude (Mrs. William J. Leonard), BL Smith ’90, AM ’05, 1894.

Many of her books are available in WVU Libraries and the Monticolas for 1906 and 1907 are available in the West Virginia and Regional History Center.



Images of Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard and Stewart Hall:  West Virginia and Regional History Center

1906 Image of Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard from the 1906 Monticola at the Internet Archive:

Biographical information on Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard from Virginia Clayton Tuttle’s The Once & Future Gardener:  Garden Writing from the Golden Age of Magazines, 1900-1940:

Announcement for Leonard’s editorship of the Merchant of Venice:  Library School News Letter, Vol. 1, Issues 1-23.  P. 123.  New York State Library School Association.

Information on Leonard’s editorship of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream from WorldCat:

Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard work history at under U.S. School Catalogs 1765 – 1935 in the Smith College Bulletin Alumnae Catalog 1875 – 1915.

Marriage Record at, Index to Marriages in Massachusetts, 1906 – 1910.

Leonard Family tree on  information from the 1910 U.S. Census.  Citation:  “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 September 2015), William J Leonard, Morgantown Ward 4, Monongalia, West Virginia, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 79, sheet 7A, family 132, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,375,704.

William J. Leonard job history information from the 1910 U.S, Census at

William Jackson Leonard in the 1906 Monticola:  and the 1907 Monticola:  at the Internet Archive

Radcliffe College:

Image and information on George Pierce Baker: ; photo attribution: By Pach Brothers (Harvard Art Museum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

An Inquiry into the Authorship of the Middleton-Rowley Plays, January 1, 1897 by Pauline Gertrude Wiggin Leonard:

“The Contributor’s Club: Democracy and Gardening” by Pauline G. Wiggin Leonard.  Reprinted in The Once and Future Gardener: Garden Writing from the Golden Age of Magazines, 1900-1940 by Virginia Tuttle Clayton. David R Godine, 1999.

Radcliffe College student files, 1890-1985: A Finding Aid in the Radcliffe College Archives, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Harvard University:

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