Biography of Nellie Griswold Beatty

Nellie Griswold Beatty. Every man, woman and child in the City of Lawrence knows Mrs. Nellie G. Beatty. Being a native daughter of Kansas and of Lawrence, and having been during the last fifteen years in charge of the popular public library, her name is familiar in every home in the city.

Her parents were Dr. Jerome F. Griswold and Helen Mary (Hewitt) Griswold. They were among the early settlers of the free state town, and Doctor Griswold was one of the victims in the inhuman massacre of the Quantrell raid.

Nellie Griswold grew to womanhood in Lawrence and attended the public school, the high school and the State University. In college she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Down town she was connected with such organizations as the Friends in Council, the Congregational Church and the Order of the Eastern Star.

She was married June 18, 1885, to W. H. Beatty. Their son, Jerome Griswold Beatty, had made an unusual success as a newspaper correspondent and short story writer. He is at present publicity director of the McClure Film Corporation. His wife was Dorothea Jane McKnight.

Ever since the Carnegie endowment and the organization of the Lawrence Free Public Library, Mrs. Beatty had been the librarian in charge, and she is largely responsible for its development into a modern and highly efficient educational institutions. She took charge of the city library when it was managed on the subscription plan with about 350 patrons; facilities for service have been increased many times in the new library, and there are now more than 5,000 ticket holders. Even this does not express the extent of development that had taken place during her administration, for the library in its relationship to the public schools, the university, the various study clubs and the public in general, exerts an influence that is not to be measured by statistics.

This, Mrs. Beatty regards as her life work, and she herself takes more pride in the high status that the library had attained than in any other achievement of her life, except in being the mother of Jerome Beatty. Her wisdom in library matters is recognized among librarians, and she had always stood high in the councils of the State Library Association, and had served as its secretary for several years, and as its president.


Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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