Posted by: bluesyemre | January 24, 2016

Endangered species: American #PublicLibraries


Standing in an isolated corner of the Victorian Gothic-style library in Evansville, Indiana, photographer Robert Dawson caught a glimpse of what looked like an elderly woman dressed in grey. The shadowy vision sent a slight chill through Dawson, who was in the midst of a 21-year project that would eventually lead him to photograph 526 of the nation’s public libraries—a collection that, last year, was purchased in its entirety by the Library of Congress.

The Willard Library where Dawson stood was, after all, said to be the only haunted public library in the United States. Its website not only offered four “ghost cams” but also grainy images of what appeared to be an old woman wandering the building.  Librarians had dubbed her “The Grey Lady.”

“It was confusing and a little creepy all at once,” Dawson said of the encounter.

That Dawson (Merrill ’72, psychology) would stumble across a ghost was not the only discovery in a project that would take him and his son, Walker Dawson, twice across the United States, covering 21,000 miles.

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