Margaret Herrick was the Academy librarian from 1936 to 1943, and served as the Academy’s executive director from 1945 to 1971. It was Herrick who laid the foundation for what is now considered to be one of the world’s finest film-related libraries. And it was Herrick who expanded the Academy’s activities into several key non-Awards areas, negotiated the Academy’s first television broadcast and oversaw the transformation of the annual Oscar ceremony into a major televised event.
Margaret Herrick was born Margaret Buck in Spokane, Washington. She earned a library degree from the University of Washington, and in 1929 became head librarian of the Yakima Public Library. Miss Buck married Donald Gledhill, an assistant to the executive secretary of the Academy, and in 1931 she moved to Hollywood to join her husband. Mrs. Gledhill soon offered her services to the Academy as its volunteer librarian, and was well on the way to building the Academy’s library when Donald Gledhill was named executive secretary in 1933. Throughout the 1930s, Mrs. Gledhill continued to develop and improve the library and its holdings. Her position as the Academy’s librarian was formalized in 1936.
In 1943, Margaret Gledhill successfully assumed her husband’s duties when he left for military service in World War II. The couple divorced in 1945, and soon after, the Academy Board of Governors offered Mrs. Gledhill the executive position on a permanent basis. In 1946, Mrs. Gledhill married Philip A. Herrick. They divorced in 1951, but she continued to use his name professionally.
Following her retirement in 1971, the Academy library was renamed in her honor. Margaret Herrick died on June 20, 1976.