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Dewey, Melvil

Dewey, Melvil

Dewey, Melvil, 1851-1931, American library pioneer, originator of the Dewey decimal system, b. Adams Center, N.Y., grad. Amherst (B.A., 1874; M.A., 1877). A man of originality and of enormous energy, Dewey played an important role in the early days of library organization in the United States. He became acting librarian of Amherst in 1874, and there he evolved his system of classification, using numbers from 000 to 999 to cover the general fields of knowledge and designating more specific subjects by the use of decimal points. From 1883 to 1889 he was librarian of Columbia College where he established the first library training school (now defunct). As librarian (1889-1906) at the New York State Library at Albany he founded another important library school. His interests extended from spelling reform to organizing the Lake Placid Club, a resort in the Adirondacks. Dewey is credited with the invention of the vertical office file. He was a founder of the American Library Association, the New York State Library Association, and the Library Journal. The 20th edition of his Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index (1876) was published in 1989.

See G. Stevens and J. Kramer-Greene, ed., Melvil Dewey (1983).

(born Dec. 10, 1851, Adams Center, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 26, 1931, Lake Placid, Fla.) U.S. librarian. He graduated from Amherst College in 1874, whereupon he became acting librarian there. In 1876 he published A Classification and Subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library, in which he outlined the Dewey Decimal Classification system. He was one of the founders of the American Library Association and of Library Journal (both 1876). He set up the School of Library Economy, the first U.S. institution for training librarians. He also reorganized the N.Y. State Library (1889–1906) and established the system of traveling libraries and picture collections. A cofounder of the Spelling Reform Assn., he respelled his own name.

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Dewey may refer to:


Persons with the surname Dewey

Fictional characters

  • Ms. Dewey, a fictional avatar to Live Search.
  • Dewey Denouement, a fictional character from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • Dewey Novak, a fictional character from the anime series Eureka Seven.
  • Dewey, a fictional character in Malcolm in the Middle played by Erik Per Sullivan.


  • Dewey (cat), the highly gregarious long-haired orange tabby cat of the Spencer Public Library (Spencer, Iowa); aka "Dewey Readmore Books" (c. November 18, 1987-November 29, 2006, age 19) [library mascot January 18, 1988-November 29, 2006].
  • Dewey (deer), white-tailed deer cloned from a dead buck by the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Huey, Dewey and Louie, Donald Duck's Nephews
  • The Dewey Decimal Classification by Melvil Dewey
  • Dwayne, which is sometimes the full version of the name Dewey.

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