Lore of the Library Blazer

Ye old library blazer

For as long as any of the LTS “old timers” can remember, the EWFM Library circulation office has housed several old wool men’s blazers in the shared closet. The blazer fashion and fabric suggests a circa 1960s timeframe, and the jackets are embroidered with the Lehigh seal and the word “Library” (photo adjacent). As plans to move the circulation service and office space are underway, and the blazers are relocated, the significance of the blazers is a subject of discussion — what are these jackets, and what were they for?

The Lore of the blazer

In the oral tradition, the story of the blazer has been conveyed by long-time library staffers. The story passed along is that students that worked in the library in the 1960s were required to wear these suit jackets when they sat at the service desk.  The idea was to present a respectable image of presentable, studious young men. The director at the time, James Mack, likely instituted the policy, and blazers in several different sizes were available. In the early 1970s, amid concerns over theft of books and improper “library decorum,” the library hired security guards, and photos in the Epitome seem to show that security staff wore them. Maybe student workers stopped wearing them in 1971 when the university went co-ed. 

Lovely old jackets, stop by the circ desk before May 20 if you want to see one (they’ll probably go to Special Collections after that date).

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