Mary Sollace SAXE
1868 - 1942

From: "National Reference Book on Canadian Men and Women, Fifth Edition, 1936"
Edited by John M. Elson, 1936


SAXE, Mary Sollace, author and playwright, 1673 St. Luke St., Montreal, Que. 
Born St. Albans, Vt., Feb. 23, 1868, daughter of  James Saxe (deceased1884), son of  Peter Saxe, and Sarah Sollace (deceased 1920), daughter of  Judge Calvin Sollace of Vermont.  She is a niece of the late John Godfrey Saxe, 1816-1887, New England poet. 

Education: Private Tutors, Montreal; McGill (partial student course in journalism) under B. K. Sandwell; courses in journalism at Columbia University, New York City. 'The Library Journal' of April 1, 1933, said: "In 1901, Mary S. Saxe became librarian of the Public Library of Westmount, Quebec, Canada, remaining in this position until May 1931, when she retired after thirty years continuous service. 

She prepared for librarianship work by spending ten months in 1899 under the late C. H. Gould in the Redpath Library, McGill University, and eight months in 1900 to 1901, studying in the United States under Charles A. Cutter at Forbes Library, Massachusetts. In 1920 took a six weeks' course for librarians in The New York Public Library School. 

Her great grandfather was a United Empire Loyalist. When the American Revolution came he moved his family from Rhineback on the Hudson, in an open boat, up through Lake Champlain to Missisquoi Bay where he settled at Phillipsburg, P.Q., Canada, and built a grist mill on Rock Mill, cleared the land and settled down as a Canadian. However, when the government resurveyed the boundary line, he found that his mill was in Highgate, Vermont. He is buried at Phillipsburgh, P.Q., though for the most part his sons and grandsons became Vermonters. Mary Saxe became a naturalized Canadian. 

During the thirty years that Miss Saxe was chief librarian at Westmount her Library grew from
its first 2,000 volumes to one of 36,000 volumes. At first she worked alone, without any assistant and with only a part-time janitor. There was a bell in a tall elm outside the Library door which she could ring if the park policeman was needed. It took her ten years to persuade her committee to build the Children's Room "not in the Basement, nor in the attic, but a wing with separate entrance, separate hours, and their own librarian." This room was opened in 1911. Eleven years later another wing was added which contains a Reference Room. In 1926, the library building was connected with the Palm Room, a part of Westmount's beautiful conservatory. She says: "To take charge of a young two year old Library in 1901 was not easy. However, I was allowed to introduce open shelves, a Children's Room, a Reference Room, and finally a beautiful conservatory." 

When Miss Saxe retired from active duty in the Library in 1931 she left it with a staff of six
assistants and a yearly circulation of over 100,000 books. Her literary work consists of essays, sketches, book reviews for the Montreal Gazette under pen name "Sollace," and six one act plays. In 1919 a children's book, entitled "Our Little Quebec Cousin," (L. C. Page Co.). 

She has been an institutional member of the American Library Association since 1902 and is also a member of the Quebec Library Association, recently formed. After thirty years as librarian at Westmount (the only free public library in the entire province) she retired on a pension and is now living with a brother, Mr. Charles J. Saxe, R. C. A., in Montreal, Canada," where she has lived in
the same house, since 1888. 

Miss Saxe is the author of several one act plays including: "All is Discovered" produced in 1931; "Just a Tip" produced in 1933, and "Rainbows" produced in 1934. She has lectured at various library schools, including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Syracuse, New York, and St. Louis, Missouri. She is a member and second vice-president of the Women's Art Society of Montreal; member, Canadian Authors Association, Quebec branch (past member of the executive); member, Library Association; charter member, Dickens Fellowship (vice-president, 1914, and past member of the executive); member, Montreal Art Association; member Business and Professional Womens Club (past member of the executive); member, Canadian Women's Club (member of committee 1933 to 1934), Anglican (St. James The Apostle); and a member of the Women's Auxiliary of this Church.


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