Vivian Davidson Hewitt was the first Black librarian in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the first Black president of the Special Libraries Association (SLA). Despite these accomplishments and the recognition she received during her lifetime, her story, like those of many special librarians, has not been considered in the context of the broader movement for greater rights and representation for Black librarians. This article explores Hewitt’s path to library leadership, providing context for her autobiography and adding details gleaned from oral histories, unpublished papers, newspaper articles, and her own contributions to the library literature. The resulting narrative shows how she leveraged the successes of her career to open doors for other Black librarians. Hewitt’s biography demonstrates that, far from existing in a separate sphere from pioneers in public and academic libraries, special librarians contribute to the larger profession and their stories are part of library history.

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