Dorothy McCulla was the Head of the Local Studies Dept at Birmingham Central Library, a post she held from 1969 until her untimely death in 1981, two days after her 59th birthday.
She had worked at Birmingham since 1940, joining the Birmingham Collection (later local studies) in 1953. Colleagues described her as having a "cheerful and bustling temperament" and being "a delight to know". Outside work, her main interests were horse riding and travelling.
What was her contribution?
She described herself as "dazzled" by Birmingham's rich history and emphasised the importance of "recording it all before it's gone". She was keen to capture not only the history of buildings but also details of people's everyday lives and stories of old Birmingham before they were lost forever. She was also responsible for establishing a school's liaison officer to encourage children's interest in their city's past. Her encylopaedic knowledge and enthusiasm for all aspects of local studies made her well-known far beyond the city's boundaries and she helped to found the Local Studies Group of the then Library Association.