Celebration at Old Gray Cemetery Will Honor Library Icon

Friends of the Knox County Public Library has set aside Wednesday, September 19, to celebrate the life and legacy of Mary Utopia Rothrock (1909–1976), whose indelible influence on the public library system continues to enrich Knox County, the state of Tennessee, and the nation. With a short program at Old Gray Cemetery beginning at 4 p.m., the Friends hope to acquaint the community with the vision and dynamic leadership of “Topie” Rothrock that continue to inspire 21st century library advocates to use, support, and tell others about the valuable services of their library system.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs will attend the celebration and make Mary Utopia Rothrock Day official with a proclamation.

Jack Neely will reflect on the achievements of Topie Rothrock, who was not only a librarian but also a writer, historian, activist, architect of regional libraries, and, long before the word was common, feminist. A reenactment of Topie at the peak of her career will be followed by refreshments at the cemetery’s new fountain.

Parking for the event will be available across the street from Old Gray in the parking lot of St. John’s Lutheran Church.