Charles Harris Hastings was born in 1867 at Hastings homestead farm in North Bethel to St. John and Elizabeth Atherton Hastings. He was a younger brother of Henry H. Hastings Sr. His education covered graduation from Gould Academy in 1887; Bowdoin College in 1891, post graduate courses at Johns Hopkins, two years at the University of Chicago and a six weeks course in library science at the New York State Library School in Albany.


In 1895 he began library service as assistant at the University of Chicago History Group Library. He held this position for five years before being accepted into the Library of Congress Catalog Division.


While in Chicago he had become the first President of the Bibliographical Society of Chicago later expanded into the Bibliographical Society of America.


Less than three years after the new Library of Congress Jefferson building (with a 23 karat gold dome) had opened to the public November 1, 1897 the Hastings family, Charles his wife Alice and son George, moved to Washington D.C., where Charles would begin work in the Library’s Catalog Division. Charles Hastings continued at the Library of Congress until his mandatory retirement in 1938.



Charles Hastings of Bethel

  His Library of Congress Career


Mr. Hastings' early experiences in the Library of Congress were noted by Mr. J. C. M. Hanson, then Chief of the Catalog Division:

“Mr. Hastings was first assigned to the somewhat elementary task of cutting up two copies of the early Library of Congress printed catalogs, in book form, mounting the entries on standard size cards, adding shelf numbers and filing the cards in the new catalog for the public.”


Mr. Hanson went on to say “Mr. Hastings took his task so seriously and made such headway that when in 1901 the Card Section was to be organized (as a separate division), there was little hesitation in recommending Mr. Hastings for the new position of Chief of the Card Section, originally a section of the Catalog Division, and becoming the Card Division several years later.” 


A 1919 photo of a section of the Library of Congress Card Division.  This view is about 18 years after Charles Hastings had taken over as head of the Card Division.

(In 1938) “the service at large of our printed catalog cards, has developed into the supply of  card sets to over seventy institutions at points local to learning, and of the sale each year of some 15,000,000 copies of the cards to libraries desiring them for books in their own collections. The stock of cards now exceeds a hundred million; requiring a staff of 120; the receipts from sales last year (1937) reached nearly $300,000— all going to the Treasury.”

From The Library Journal of May 15, 1951: “Charles Harris Hastings, organizer and director for 19 years of the Library of Congress' printed card service, died April 14, 1951, at the age of 84. Beginning as an assistant in the catalog division in 1900, his work was so outstanding that he was promoted the next year to the new position of chief of the card section of the division. Thus began a service which today sends some 22 million cards annually to libraries.

After his retirement at age 71, Mr. Hastings continued as a consultant for the Library of Congress; he also operated the Buyer Book Co. in Washington, D.C.

Rebecca and Steve Hastings told me that Charles’ sister, Carrie, also came to work as a deputy director in the Card Division. After her retirement, Carrie lived in what we call today the Annie Hastings house on the corner of Main and Broad Streets.

Example of a Library of Congress card referenced to Charles Harris Hastings

Charles Hastings was a descendant of Amos Hastings, a Revolutionary War veteran who had fought at Bunker Hill and was an early settler at Bethel.  Amos Hastings’s home in Middle Interval hosted the first town meetings after Bethel’s 1796 incorporation. In 1800 Amos Hastings moved across the Androscoggin River to establish a large farm near the mouth of Sunday River.  Amos and Elizabeth Wiley Hastings were the great-grandparents of Charles Hastings. 

In 1895 Charles married to Miss Alice D. Otis, of Brunswick, Maine, Charles and Alice Hastings had four children:  George Sands Hastings (1899-1990), Atherton Hastings (1901-1992), Helen Hastings (1904-) and Elizabeth Hastings Lawton (1906-1985). Alice Hastings died July 27, 1948 and Charles Hastings died April 14, 1951 in Washington D. C.

My classmate Norman Ferguson who lived at the Hastings homestead in the late 1930s - middle 1940s well remembered Charles Hastings and his family spending summer vacations at the farm; local news also reported Mr. Hastings and family vacationing in Bethel.

Charles and Alice Hastings are buried at the Mt. Will Cemetery.

APPENDIX I - Hastings Family—Extracted from The History of Bethel Maine by William B. Lapham with corrections supplied by Mrs. Barbara Hastings Honkala

Amos Hastings (1757-1829) married Elizabeth Wiley of Fryeburg in 1778.


Jonas (1779-1863) married Apphia Baker (1784-1853) in 1802 in No. Grantham, NH, where he went to live, near some of Amos’ relatives.

 [The Sally mentioned in Lapham, was Amos’ niece, Sarah Hastings (1779 – 1863) the daughter of his brother Richard and Sarah “Sally” Wiley of Haverhill. She probably spent time with her Uncle and Aunt in Bethel and met Samuel Kilgore whom she married in 1803.]

Amos Jr. (1781-1857) married Deborah Howard (1786-1865) in 1805. They settled in Fryeburg Addition, once a part of Stow, NH.

Betsy (1782–1861) married Josiah Russell (1776-aft 1835) in Bethel 1798. They went west and settled in Lake Orion, Mich.

Lucinda (1785–1790) died age 5.

Susanna (1788–after 1850) married Joses Gay (1783–before 1840) from Raymond and the migrated to Salina Tp, Onondaga Co., NY.

Timothy (1790–1844) married Hannah Bean (1794–1884) and they lived on the big farm he and his father built at the mouth of Sunday River.

Lucinda (1794–1884) married Thomas Fletcher (1789–1866) in Bethel 1810. They were among several young couples from Bethel who settled in the Sandy River area of New Sharon.  Thomas operated a mill in the village.

John (1796–1859) married Abagail “Nabby” Straw(1799-1874) in 1820 in Newfield, Maine. He was the first blacksmith in Bethel village.

Huldah (1798-1884) married Nathaniel Barker (1794-1884) in 1819. They lived in Newry.


Sources for this profile:   Individual Report for Charles Harris Hastings, a paper provided courtesy of Mrs. Barbara Hastings Honkala, Bethel; History of Bethel Maine by William B Lapham; photographs of Mr. Hastings courtesy of Stephen T. Seams; Mr. Hastings obituary was printed in the April 19, 1951 Oxford County Bethel Citizen; Library of Congress online sources and Google Books 


St. John Hastings Farm

St. John Hastings was a grandson of General Amos Hastings one of Bethel’s earliest settlers.  Early town meetings were held in the Amos Hastings home at Middle Interval.

About 1800 Amos Hastings  crossed to the opposite side of the Androscoggin River where he established a new farm in North Bethel. 

Charles Harris Hastings—photo taken about the time he retired from the Library of Congress

Molly Ockett and Nathaniel Swan Family

According to Mr. Swan’s account Molly Ockett lived with the family several years in the 1790’s


View of Library of Congress Jefferson Building at the beginning of 20th Century

Henry Harmon Hastings Sr. and his son Henry H. Hastings Jr. devoted their lives to public service—respectively brother and nephew of Charles Hastings.

Sunday River valley from Riley through Newry and meeting the Androscoggin  in Bethel

Goodwin Wiley

For whom Main Street’s 

Wiley Block is named



Goodwin R. Wiley—a most important  mover in Bethel’s development during the last quarter of the 19th Century.

Timothy Hastings (1790-1844) married Hannah Bean, daughter of Josiah and Mary (Crocker) Bean and they lived in North Bethel on the family farm.


Mary (1810-1894) married Leander Jewett (1804-1882) in 1832.

Timothy Jr. (1814-1880) married Sarah Ann Stowe (1812-1885) in 1838.

Cyrene S. (1818-1860) married Orange Clark Frost (1812-1885) in 1836.

O’Neil Watson Robinson (1822-1914) married Mary Ann Small (1829-1895) in Newry 1845.

Sarah Jane Straw (1828-    ) married (1) Albert H. Small in 1848; (2) Hon. Charles W. Walton and they lived in Portland.

St. John (1832-1904) married Elizabeth Wyman Atherton (1832-1917) in 1853.


St. John Hastings was a farmer and lived at the Hastings homestead near the mouth of Sunday River; he married Elizabeth Wyman Atherton, daughter of Josiah and Betsey Carter Atherton of Waterford.  (1850 census shows the Josiah and Elizabeth Atherton living on Jesse Barker property in Newry and in the same household as Jesse Barker; 1858’s map of Oxford Country shows the Josiah Atherton family residence at “Swan’s Corner” in the house noted on the 1920 census as the residence of Lewis Spinney).  Children:


1. Fannie Carter Hastings (1855-1937)

2. Maria Atherton Hastings (1857-1920)

3. Sarah Sewall (1859-     )

4. Major William Hastings (1861-1939); lived on the homestead farm

5. Henry Harmon Hastings (1865-1934)

6. Charles Harris Hastings (1867-1951); married Alice Duncan Otis of Brunswick in 1895

7. Cora Walton Hastings (1872-1899)

8. Carrie Jewett Hastings (1875-1968)





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Middle 1940s at the Hastings farm. Almost an auto show in the driveway—Cadillac, 42 Chevy and 39 Lincoln Zephyr