People of SU

Remembering Jeanette Hulburt, SU's first librarian emerita

Written by Mary Sepulveda, Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons

December 9, 2019

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Jeanette A. Hulburt, SU’s first librarian emerita, passed away on Nov. 30 in Seattle. 

Jeanette was born July 11, 1929, in Abbeville, La., the youngest of five children to Sylvester and Estelle Abshire. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Seattle University in 1950 and made lifelong friends at SU who called her “Louie,” a nickname that lasted the rest of her life. She and her husband Jim, also SU alum, were married for 51 years until his death in 2002. 

As a student, Jeanette worked in the original campus library in the Administration Building and set herself a goal to become a librarian. She received her Master of Arts in Librarianship from the University of Washington Library School while raising her children Marc and Kristeen (Williams). 

Hired at Seattle University in 1964 she rose from head of the Catalog Unit to head of Technical Services. She participated in internal office planning and design for the new Lemieux Library in 1964-65. Archive photos reveal she was part of the famed “book brigade” carrying boxes along the mall to the library. 

With true Jesuit charism Jeanette read the signs of the times relevant to academic library trends. She brought her administrative vision and energy to projects including reclassification of the entire book collection and making manual card records compatible for online catalogs. She took the lead as we closed the drawers of the oak card catalogs and launched the first online catalog at Lemieux Library in the late 1980s. 

Working with Fr. Gaffney, SJ, president, Jeanette gained faculty status for the librarians in 1974 and was elected many years to the Faculty Senate. She served under five university librarians—Jesuit and lay—and served for a time herself as interim university Librarian. 

Jeanette also served the profession state-wide, in a variety of committees and conferences and a highlight of her career was teaching cataloging in the graduate program at the UW Library School from 1971-1975. Upon retirement in 1995, she was honored as the first Librarian Emerita. 

Jeanette loved Seattle University and gave us her best as librarian extraordinaire, colleague and friend.

Funeral services were held for Jeanette Hulburt on Dec. 7 at Christ the King Catholic Church.

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