Featuring Villanova University's librarians from the past
The first librarian served Villanova College for 58 years! Rev. Thomas C. Middleton, O.S.A., was born into a Quaker family in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, on March 30, 1842. He was baptized into the Roman Catholic faith at the age of 12 with his family, including his mother and five sisters. Ordained in 1864, he came to Villanova College in 1865 where he lived and served until 1923.
Father Middleton’s love of books and his general interest in collection and preservation qualified him at that time for college librarianship, a position he held from 1865 to 1923. The Rudolph mansion, which stood in the present location of St. Rita’s Hall, was the site of Villanova College's first library.
He was a teacher, prefect of studies, Province archivist and secretary. He also served as president of the College from 1876 to 1878. In 1884, Father Middleton helped found the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia; he was elected its first president that same year.
He was 81 when he died at Villanova on November 19, 1923. He is buried in the Augustinian cemetery on campus. Middleton Hall on campus is named in his honor.
Contributed by Rev. Dennis Gallagher, O.S.A., and Laura Hutelmyer