Jacqueline Noel Papers

Recently, the Northwest Room published the Jacqueline Noel Papers. These papers Include correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, and other documentation related to Jacqueline Noel's work at the Tacoma Public Library as the Head of the Reference Department and later as a City of Tacoma Librarian. Also included is information related to Noel's genealogical research and involvement in organizations.

Jacqueline Noel was City of Tacoma Librarian from 1924 until her retirement in 1943. She was born in Washington, D.C., on June 28, 1880, to Jacob Edmund Noel and Eleanor Fresneau Leadbeater Noel. Jacqueline Noel graduated in 1913 from the Library School of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. She would continue to donate to the Pratt Institute throughout her life. Before joining the Tacoma Public Library staff in July 1924 as an assistant in the reference department, she was an assistant librarian in La Grande and Portland, Oregon.

While serving with the Tacoma Public Library, Jacqueline Noel became the Head of the Reference Department and was elected as the librarian to succeed John Kaiser. Jacqueline Noel is credited with expanding the branches of the Tacoma Public Library. She obtained the funds to build the McCormick and Mottet branches by raising donations from citizens. From 1938 to 1941, Jacqueline and the Tacoma Public Library worked with the Works Project Administration. She played an active role in the Washington Library Association. Tacoma confectioner Harry Brown (1893-1960) created a butter-crunch toffee covered in milk chocolate and chopped almonds in 1923. Henry Brown then passed out samples of the candy to Tacoma residents. At the Tacoma candy company Brown & Haley, company lore credits Jacqueline Noel with the name Almond Roca. The name came about because of the hard crunch when eating the candy. Furthermore, most almonds were imported from Spain, and "Roca" is a Spanish word for rock.

Jacqueline Noel was an active member of numerous organizations. She was a member of the American Library Association and had previously served as vice president of the Pacific Northwest Library Association. During the American Library Association's 1933 conference in Chicago, Jacqueline presented a paper describing the business and technical books held in the reference library, which Tacoma citizens used widely. She had also participated in the North End Shakespeare Club. She was a past regent of the Elizabeth Forey Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a member of the Huguenot Society of America. Jacqueline Noel passed away in Tacoma, on May 19, 1964.

Click Here to explore the photographs, letters, clippings, and other material in the Jacqueline Noel Papers.

We hope you enjoy this newly available collection! If you have any questions, please reach out to us at nwr@tacomalibrary.org or by phone (253) 280-2814.


  • “Miss Jacqueline Noel,” Tacoma News Tribune, 22 May 1964.
  • “Longtime City Librarian Dies,” Tacoma News Tribune, 20 May 1964.
  • Becker, Paula. “Tacoma confectioner Harry Brown creates Almond Roca in the spring of 1923,” History Link.org. 29 February 2016. https://www.historylink.org/File/11195
  • Jacqueline Noel Papers, Collection 1.4.7, Northwest Room at Tacoma Public Library