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Rogan, Octavia Fry (1886–1973)

Robin Dutton Biography Entry

Octavia Fry Rogan, librarian, was born in Brownwood, Texas, on October 18, 1886, daughter of Charles and Frances (Stewart) Rogan. The family later moved to Austin, where Octavia began her education. After graduating from Austin High School, she earned a B.A. degree from the University of Texas in 1908. She earned a Bachelor of Library Science degree from the University of Illinois in 1924. (She completed the first year of study during the 1909–10 school year and returned thirteen years later to finish her degree.) In 1911 she began work at the Texas State Library in Austin. During her sixteen-year employment she worked as a cataloguer and a legislative-reference librarian. She was promoted to state librarian, essentially the head librarian, in 1925. In 1927 Rogan left the State Library to work for the Rosenberg Library in Galveston. In 1931 she moved on to the Waco Masons' Grand Lodge Library, where she remained until 1938, when she took a job with the Work Projects Administration as a district library supervisor. She left the WPA in 1942 to work for a private library in Temple. In 1945 she joined the staff of the Texas A&M University Library as head of the catalog department. Due to university rules, which at the time prohibited full-time employment after the age of 65, she was forced to retire in 1954. She returned to Austin and found a job as a reference librarian at the Extension Loan Library of the University of Texas. This last job enabled her to apply for newly instated state retirement benefits upon her retirement in 1957.

During her years at the State Library, Rogan had various duties, including the editing of Texas Libraries from 1915 to 1917. Her biggest project during these years, however, was the coordination of the library's extension program. This program funded small traveling libraries to tour rural areas of Texas that lacked access to a public library. During her WPA years, she traveled a sixteen-county area to oversee the management of WPA libraries. At these libraries she taught untrained WPA recruits the rudiments of library science. Although her various jobs kept her on the move, she found time to be highly involved in professional organizations. She served as president of the Texas Library Association and as vice president for Texas of the Southwestern Library Association. She was also a life member of the American Library Association and the American Association of University Women. Later in life she joined the Retired Teachers Association. She was the editor of the Handbook of Texas Libraries, a publication of the Texas Library Association, and contributed a monthly column to the Grand Lodge Magazine. Rogan was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She died in March 1973 in Austin and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Kalani Banks, Octavia F. Rogan, Texas Librarian (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1963). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Women
  • Museums, Libraries, and Archives
  • Archivists
  • Librarians

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Robin Dutton, “Rogan, Octavia Fry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 04, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: