Profiles of Washington Territorial Librarians – Sylvester Hill Mann, 1870

Profiles of Washington Territorial Librarians – Sylvester Hill Mann, 1870

Sylvester Hill Mann

From the Desks of the Central Library Staff

He was born May 6, 1817 in upstate New York. Raised in Pennsylvania, Mann was a soldier in a volunteer unit during the Civil War in 1862-1863. His occupation as a Methodist minister took him all over the Pacific Northwest. The Mann family arrived in Oregon’s Willamette River Valley via the Isthmus route in 1864. By 1870 Rev. Mann was sent to Olympia, where he found himself appointed to fill out the Territorial Librarian term of the late Mr. Mabie. He took the oath of office June 21, 1870. As the June 20 issue of the Daily Pacific Tribune reported: “The decease of J.D. Mabie having left this office vacant, Acting Gov. Scott has appointed Rev. S.H. Mann to fill it until the next Legislature convenes. We heartily approve of this appointment, though it is questionable whether the new incumbent will be able to fill it for the unexpired term, as the next Methodist Conference will probably assign him to another field.” There was no “probably” about it. They did. To Seattle. By Aug. 1, his son, C.B. Mann, was taking the oath of office as his replacement. The roughly five weeks of Rev. Mann’s term might be a record for brevity in the office. He was sent to Seattle in 1870-1872, Steilacoom 1872-1874, and finally to Brownsville, Oregon in 1874. He died there Mar. 15, 1876. Considered “somewhat retiring,” his poor health was attributed to his involvement in the Civil War.

[The Territorial Librarian profiles were compiled by Sean Lanksbury, Mary Schaff, Kim Smeenk, and Steve Willis]

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