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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Wyche, Benjamin

by William S. Powell, 1996

12 Sept. 1869–6 May 1936

"Smith Hall, Library," from the University of North Carolina Yearbook <i>The Hellenian</i>, 1897.  Benjamin Wyche is considered the first professional librarian of the University of North Carolina and Smith Hall was used as the university library during his tenure as librarian.  Presented on DigitalNC.

Benjamin Wyche, first fulltime trained librarian at The University of North Carolina, was born in Williamsboro, the son of Benjamin and Sarah Hunter Wyche. He received his early education at Roxboro Academy and Mount Tirzah Academy. From 1889 to 1894 he attended The University of North Carolina, where he earned a B.Litt. degree, and then entered Amherst College for library training.

Wyche was librarian at The University of North Carolina (1894–97), the University of Texas (1897–1903), and Carnegie Library, San Antonio, Tex. (1903–11). He was secretary and then president of the Texas Library Association. Poor health led him to give up his profession, and in 1912 he became a special agent for the New York Life Insurance Company, in Charlotte, where he was an outstanding salesman.

His first wife was Knowlton Woodward, whom he married on 14 Oct. 1897. She died in 1910, and he married Ethel Cheshire Deaver on 14 Sept. 1914. Wyche had a son Benjamin and a daughter Barbara. A member of the Methodist church, he was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Asheville.


Charlotte Observer, 7 May 1936.

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina (1924).

Additional Resources:

"History of the University of Texas at Austin Libraries." Library Administration, About the Libraries, University of Texas at Austin. (accessed February 20, 2014).

York, Maurice C. "The North Carolina State Library as a Cultural Resource, 1812-1914." The North Carolina Historical Review Vol. 89:1, January 2012. (accessed February 20, 2014).

Battle, Kemp P. (Kemp Plummer). History of the University of North Carolina. Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company. 1907. February 20, 2014).

Image Credits:

The Hellenian [1897]. [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1897]. 20. Februarry 20, 2014).