Mar 23, 2023 - News

Monuments to Cleveland women: Linda Anne Eastman

Black and white image of Linda Eastman / Selfie of reporter Sam Allard at urban reading garden

Linda Eastman, and Sam Allard at the eponymous reading garden. Photos: Cleveland Memory Project (L); Sam Allard/Axios (R)

All week, we're highlighting monuments to the women of Cleveland for Women's History Month.

Today's monument: Linda Anne Eastman (1867-1963)

Who she was: Director of the Cleveland Public Library (CPL) from 1918 to 1938 and the first woman to lead a metropolitan library system in the United States.

  • Eastman helped implement an "open shelf" system, in which patrons could browse and select titles for themselves, launched services for the blind and disabled, and oversaw the construction of CPL's main library on Superior Avenue.

The details: Today's "monument" is not a statue or mural, but a garden — the Eastman Reading Garden, between the main library and the Louis Stokes Wing.

  • Originally opened in 1937, the garden was renovated and rededicated in 1998.

Between the lines: Only 32% of monuments to women are figurative, Sue Mobley, the director of research at Monument Lab, told Axios this month.

  • "The rest are super abstract, so … it looks like a fountain or a bird bath," she said.

Of note: The CPL branch at Lorain and West 117th is also named for Eastman, though it's closed for renovations.


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