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American Women: Resources from the Geography and Map Collections

Women and Map Librarianship

Clara Egli LeGear (1896-1994) carried on the bibliographic work begun by the first chief of the Geography and Map Division, Phillip Lee Phillips. Originally hired as a typist, Clara LeGear joined the staff of the Library of Congress in 1914, an affiliation that she maintained until her death in 1994. She mastered all aspects of map librarianship, including cataloging, reference, acquisition, bibliography, and administration. During her first thirty-five years in the Geography and Map Division, she held positions in cataloging and reference and for four years was assistant division chief. During that time, she completed her education, studying library science, geology, cartography, and editing.

After World War II, LeGear devoted her full attention to writing and publishing bibliographic works in her field. She continued this work into retirement, completing the massive List of Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress shortly before her death (link below).