Season 1: Episode 4

Dr. Sadie Peterson Delaney: Reading for Health and Healing

Dr. Sadie Peterson Delaney, date unknown, “Books break the tedious hospital hours and minimize illness.”

In this episode I discuss Dr. Sadie Peterson Delaney (1899-1958), a librarian who got her start during the Harlem Renaissance at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, now known as the Arturo Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It was at the NYPL that she first began using the therapeutic process of bibliotherapy. Simply defined, bibliotherapy uses reading to promote health, healing and well being. After 3 years, she took a job in Tuskegee, Alabama at the Tuskegee Veteran’s Administration Hospital where she applied and expanded bibliotherapy for more than thirty years. Over her long career, Dr. Delaney worked with veterans, wrote about her methods, and became internationally known.

Mentioned in the Episode



  • Articles by Dr. Delaney
    • “The Library: A Factor in Negro Edu cation.” Messenger (July 1923) 772-773.
    • “U.S.V. Hospital, Library No. 91, Tuskegee, Ala.” Crisis (January 1925) 116-117.
    • “The Library-A Factor in Veterans Bureau Hospitals.” U.S. Veterans Bureau Medical Bulletin (April 1930) 331-334.
    • “The Negro Veteran and His Books.” Wilson Library Bulletin (June 1932) 684 686.
    • “Bibliotherapy as an Aid to Rehabilitation.” Journal of the National Association of College Women (1935) 9-11.
    • “Bibliotherapy in a Hospital.” Opportunity (February 1938) 53-56.
    • “Place of Bibliotherapy in a Hospital.” Library Journal (April 15, 1938) 305-308 (Reprinted from Opportunity above.)
    • “Library Activities at Tuskegee.” U.S. Veterans Administration Medical Bulletin (October 1940) 163-169.
    • “Bibliography on Bibliotherapy.” Bulletin of Bibliography (September-December 1951) 135.
    • “Time’s Telling.” Wilson Library Bulletin (February 1955) 461-463.
    • “Bibliotherapy for Patients in a Drug Antabuse Clinic.” Hospital Books Guide (October 1955) 140-141.

Go do some homework and tell me what you’ve learned!