The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 32 - April 6, 2000
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Donations to benefit the Daniel Book Project
by Jennifer Binning
Twenty years ago, the tradition of the Daniel Library Tea began, when a group led by Daniel's Pat Walker decided to fill the void left when the Pinedale Library did not hold its annual tea they so enjoyed. This single decision grew to a seven-year tradition that gained national attention, and brought a tremendous amount of joy to Joe Hausen, the founder of the Daniel Library.
On Thursday, April 13, the tradition of the Daniel Library Tea is being revived for the first time since 1987.
Ms. Walker and her husband, Hack, owned the GRB from 1976 to 1992, and shortly after they took possession of the bar Pat was approached by Joe Hausen, an avid reader, who wanted a place in the bar to leave a few books for people to borrow as they wished. Pat thought it was a wonderful idea, so Joe brought in the little box of paperbacks that started the Joe Hausen Library.
Over the years, the library grew, as everyone who borrowed a book returned with several more. This kept Hack "run ragged" as he had to keep building more and more shelves, until they lined the entire poolroom.
The Pinedale Library had always hosted a tea which Ms. Walker and her friends loved attending. In 1980, the library did not have a tea, and the ladies of Daniel decided they would throw one in the Hausen Library. The pool table was covered by a board and tablecloth, upon which a proper high tea was served. The only requirements were hats, gloves and one must bring their own teacup and a friend. Any kind of hat or gloves would do, and many ladies arrived in the most outrageous chapeaux they could find: from beautiful lids that would be appropriate at Ascot, to hard hats and upside-down Easter baskets, complete with green "grass" and flowers on top. The tea was a roaring success, and a tradition had begun.
In 1981, the building was undergoing remodeling, and rather than skip a year, the ladies simply hung pictures they had checked out from the Pinedale Library over the exposed silver insulation, provoking Rosemary Samulski to say it "looked like the Guggenheim Museum without the spiral staircase."
Within a few years, word had spread nationwide about the Daniel Library Tea, and interest increased after KSL news in Salt Lake City came to the event in 1982, filming a three-minute feature, which was shown several times in Salt Lake.
In 1983, a book called "Books That Made The Difference," by Gordon and Patricia Sabine, featured the Joe Hausen Library as an unusual place to find books, and the library was presented with a copy of the book by the authors during the Tea that year.
The next year, the Daniel Tea was featured in "Chase's Annual Events Calendar" which includes events all over the United States. USA Today picked up the story from there and ran a feature about the Tea. "Had we planned any of this, it never would have happened," says Ms. Walker with a chuckle. The last Joe Hausen Library Tea was held in 1987 due to a decline in attendance.
Ms. Walker remembers that those years were the time of Joe's life. "I always knew I would be famous," she remembers Joe saying of the attention. "We had rough, really scary guys who would come in and see the books, and suddenly they would launch into a discussion of literature. It was wild."
The library really made an impression on many visitors to the GRB. In 1990, Ms. Walker went to the Post Office and found a box filled with books and a note from a man who had been a seismograph worker in the area years before. He wrote that he had borrowed many books from the Hausen Library, and he had returned most of them, but one did not make it back. He was sending the box of books to replace the one he had taken with him.
Although Joe passed away in 1991, the Library, which has run for all these years on the honor system, continues to exist, although in a more compact form than it did in the '80s. Recently Ms. Walker heard from a niece of Joe's who had run across a reference to the Hausen Library on the Internet.
This year, the Tea is returning to the GRB in downtown Daniel, and the rules remain the same. Hats and gloves requested (any type will do), and attendees must bring their own teacup and a friend, and be ready to have a wonderful time.
There is no charge for the Tea, but a contribution to the Daniel Book Project, which ultimately benefits the Daniel Schoolhouse renovation, will be greatly appreciated.
The Tea begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday April 13, and will continue until 7 p.m. in the evening. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy a historically hysterical time.
Photo credits: Photo courtesy Pat Walker
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