Julia D. Cameron, 100, librarian who helped expand Harford system

September 19, 1998|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Julia Duryea Cameron, who expanded the Harford County Library from a one-room library to a modern, multibranch system, died Sept. 12 of a heart attack at Fallston General Hospital.

She was 100 and lived in Bel Air.

When she became president of the Harford County Library Association in 1940, the library was in a frame house on Main Street in Bel Air with an annual book-buying budget of $125.

After the General Assembly passed the Library Aid Act to help local governments establish library systems, she persuaded the Harford County commissioners to be the first county in the state to take advantage of the act.

With C. Milton Wright, a Harford County educator and historian, Mrs. Cameron established six branches and purchased a used bookmobile to take library services to rural locations.

By 1960, the year she retired from the library board, there were new library buildings in Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace.

A book lover, Mrs. Cameron was a cousin of author John Dos Passos and was proud of her signed first editions of his works.

The former Julia Sprigg was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Essex Fell, N.J., and New York City. She was a graduate of the Spence School in Charlottesville, Va. In 1921, she married Brodnax Cameron Sr., a lawyer who died in 1980.

She was interested in theater and, during the 1920s, was a

member of the Children's Theater Bureau of the Baltimore Junior League and acted in several productions with the Vagabond Players.

During World War II, she volunteered with the Red Cross and was an aircraft spotter.

She was a longtime member of the Garden Club of Harford County and was on the consulting committee of historic Ladew Gardens for many years. She also was a member of the Mount Vernon Club.

She was a communicant of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Emmorton, where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 26.

She is survived by three sons, retired Harford Circuit Judge Brodnax Cameron Jr. of Bel Air, Duryea Cameron of Camp Hill, Pa., and George Cameron of Minneapolis; five grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 9/19/98

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