Thursday, August 17, 2006

Was Melvil annoying?

Is Melvil Dewey annoying or not? You decide by voting here.

Why he might be annoying

* He invented a system for nerds.
* He was obsessed with simplified spelling and even shortened his first name by removing the last two letters.
* He sometimes spelled his last name 'Dui,' which happens to be the acronym for 'Driving Under the Influence.'
* He organized librarian conferences (starting in 1876), the biggest geek meetings to take place before Star Trek Conventions (which began in 1972).
* He cut his employees' salaries in half, claiming that he needed money to hire more workers.
* He was accused of and investigated for illegal business practices on several occasions. He ran a restricted Lake Placid recreation resort, barring Jews from admittance.
* He was forced to step down from some esteemed positions because of his reputation as a womanizer and a bigot.
* He developed retirement communities in New York and Florida, which is ironically the two states where most retired Jews live in America.
* He looked like James Lipton from 'Inside the Actor's Studio.'

Why he might not be annoying

* He's a librarian's wet dream.
* He grew up in a poor family.
* He had a stellar work ethic and spent a lifetime influencing education reform.
* He worked as a librarian at Amherst College and Columbia College (later became Columbia University).
* He opened the first library school while working at Columbia College (1887).
* The United States Government sent him to London's International Library Conference as a delegate (1897).
* He created jobs for crabby old ladies.

Want to learn more about Melvil? Try checking out some of these or read this short essay over at

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