oval with black and white photograph of bust of a woman with hair up and high collar ruffled top. below is text with her name and positions "Mrs. Pearl Carden McCracken, Librarian"

Mrs. Pearl McCracken, The Yucca Yearbook, 1913.

Mrs. Pearl McCracken was the first college librarian at UNT and was responsible for building the foundations of a growing and vibrant library system at the University of North Texas.

The library started as a room in the Normal Building, next to President Kendall’s office, which housed a small collection of books. In 1903, Pearl McCracken was hired to teach English and work as the librarian. At that time the library had 1,019 books. By 1904, the library had been moved to the Main Building. Mrs. McCracken became a full-time librarian in 1908, and quickly began reorganizing the library and acquiring materials that would be beneficial to the students and faculty.

Black and white photo of brick building with small staircase leading to arched front door on the right. building has many windows and a small tower above main doorway with pyramid shaped roof. many leafless trees stand in front of building partially obscuring it.

Normal Building, c. 1896.

In 1912, the campus would be graced with its first library building, now known as Curry Hall. The library occupied the first floor and continued to grow, with Mrs. McCracken hiring her first paid assistant by 1914.

black and white photograph of building obscured by large leafless trees. The building has a rectangular facade with many windows, and the entrance at center has a large arched doorway with two large columns on either side, and a staircase in front.

Historical Building (now Curry Hall), c. 1940.

While already a member of the faculty teaching North Texas’ first Library Science classes, Mrs. McCracken also studied at North Texas, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1925 at the age of 62.      

By 1932-1933, the library housed 263,081 volumes and needed room to expand, so a second library building was built, which opened in 1937. This second library building is now Sycamore Hall.

Extremely active in the Denton community, Mrs. McCracken was a member of the Shakespeare Club, the Garden Club, and served as president of the Ariel Club in 1919.

Mrs. McCracken was also a founding member of the Iota Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma honor society, an organization for female educators. The chapter was organised in February, 1930, and she served that first year as the vice-president.

black and white photograph of older woman sitting in a chair. she wears a black dress with white lapels and two buttons on the front. she looks at the camera with his hands clasped in her lap.

Mrs. Pearl McCracken, no date.

Pearl McCracken retired in 1939 after more than 30 years of service in the North Texas libraries, and was honored with the title Librarian Emeritus. She died at the age of 85, in 1948. At the time of her death, there was a library service organization on campus called the McCracken Club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *