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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CATHCART, WALLACE HUGH

CATHCART, WALLACE HUGH

CATHCART, WALLACE HUGH (2 Apr. 1865-6 Sept. 1942), prominent bibliophile, is best known for his association with the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY of Cleveland, first as its president and then as its director. Born and raised in Elyria, Ohio, Cathcart first became fascinated with books as a bookstore clerk. Upon his graduation from Denison University in 1890, he came to Cleveland to aid a bookdealing company, Taylor & Austin, during the holiday rush. After 7 years there, he joined the Burrows Bros. Co., where he quickly ascended from secretary to vice-president and general manager. As a prominent member of the book trade, Cathcart was one of the founders and later vice-president of the American Booksellers & Publishers Assoc. Cathcart also served as an officer in several of Cleveland's civic and mercantile organizations and as president of the Baptist City Mission Society for 7 years. Civic-mindedness and love of books attracted Cathcart to the WRHS where he acted as the organization's secretary (1894-97), president (1907-13), and finally became the society's first full-time director (1913-42). As a book collector, Cathcart concentrated his energies in developing one of the best historical libraries in the nation. Many major, comprehensive collections were acquired, such as the Cathcart Shaker collection, considered the largest of its kind in existence. In addition to expanding the society's library, Cathcart broadened its educational and cultural programs and participated in the movement of both the museum and the library to new locations on East Blvd. in the late 1930s. Cathcart and his wife, Elsie, raised 2 daughters, Genevieve and Evelyn.


In Memory of Wallace Hugh Cathcart, WRHS (1942).


Finding aid for the Wallace Hugh Cathcart Papers. WRHS.