|The library room in the Administration Building, circa 1895|
Petty grew up in a Quaker family in the Bush Hill community, which is now part of Archdale, NC. Both she and her sister Mary received an early education at the New Garden Boarding School (although Annie graduated in 1894 after the school had already changed its name to Guilford College). Mary, who also completed a degree at Wellesley College, was the first of the Petty sisters to start work at State Normal, teaching chemistry at the school from 1893 through 1934. After a brief period teaching school in Red Springs in Robeson County, NC, her sister Annie arrived at State Normal in 1896 to manage the school’s burgeoning library.
|Petty (second row, seated in front of tennis racket)|
with other members of the Faculty Tennis Club, 1900
After two years, Petty took a year’s leave of absence to attend the Drexel Library School in Philadelphia, where she gained additional professional training and developed a particular interest in reference services. Advanced professional training for librarians was not commonplace at the time. When Petty returned to her position at State Normal in 1899, she was the first professionally-trained librarian employed in the state of North Carolina.
|State Normal's Carnegie Library building, 1905|
In addition to her work on campus, Petty was active professionally in the North Carolina Library Association (NCLA). She was a founding member of NCLA’s executive committee in 1904, and in 1908 she was elected as only the second president in the organization’s history. She served an additional presidential term from 1913-1915. She was also the first secretary of the North Carolina Friends Historical Society.
|Mary and Annie (standing) Petty, 1952|
After a long and successful career spent building libraries and library collections at State Normal and across the State of North Carolina, Annie Petty died in 1962 following surgery for a broken hip. She was 91 years old.