D. Hiden Ramsey, in a statement honoring Dickey’s life, said “Miss Dickey accomplished the task in such a way as to win the unstinted admiration of trained librarians.”
Philena Dickey began cataloguing what would be known as the Sondley Reference Library in 1931. She continued to organize, care for, and make accessible the collection until her death in 1949. Ramsey said, “Dr. Forster A. Sondley could not have loved his collection more than she did.”
Newspaper articles and library correspondence illustrate how intensely loved and respected Dickey was to the Asheville community.
D. Hiden Ramsey sums the sentiment up quite beautifully: “The Sondley Reference Library took on much of the humanness of Miss Dickey’s own warm personality. With her gracious bearing she welcomed visitors. She put the most timid researchers at their ease. She made the library an instrument of scholarly service, not merely an object of gaping curiosity.”
Cheers to Miss Philena A. Dickey, first director of the Sondley Reference Library!