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Library Receives Generous Endowment from Former Librarian

Through the generosity and foresight of Professor Emerita Ruth Hartman, generations of CWU students and faculty will benefit from an annual enrichment to library collections. 

Ruth (Dahlgren) Hartman (1916-2014) was a member of the faculty at Central Washington University from 1965 until her retirement in 1985. She was a pioneer at CWU and served as the inaugural head of the Documents, Maps, and Microforms Department. Professor Hartman initiated the organization and development of the Government Publications collection.

Professor Hartman grew up in a farming community in North Dakota in a Swedish immigrant family. She received a BS from Minot State College in North Dakota and an AMLS degree from the University of Michigan. Before her arrival at what was then Central Washington State College, she taught in in the North Dakota public school system, served as a librarian in the Glendale (California) Public Library, the University of Nevada in Reno, and Fresno State College. Her passion for her specialized field of Government publications developed during her tenure in Fresno as the Government Depository program began.  In 1967, she married local rancher Donald Austin Hartman and made Ellensburg home for the rest of her life.

During Professor Hartman’s career, librarianship transformed with technology and Central’s Library grew and evolved.  The library collection and its services moved from Bouillon Hall to our current James E. Brooks Library building.  Research discovery went online with the digitization of the card catalog.

Active in her discipline, Professor Hartman served as a member of ALA’s Government Documents Round Table, the Washington State Library Association, Kappa Delta Pi, and the Western Association of Map Liberians. She published articles, bibliographies, papers, and periodical reviews. Holding the position of Liaison to the American Library Association, she promoted access to information, stating, “We’ve worked to convince the Government Printing Office that is has to do something to get their information to the people.” Professor Hartman was named a lifetime member of the North Dakota State Historical Society by the North Dakota Legislature.

Professor Hartman willed Central Washington University with an endowment for the library. We will strive to be excellent stewards of her legacy.

September 2019

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