Monday, August 31, 2009

1913 Public Library, Prospect Park Branch, Brooklyn, NY


Known as "Prospect Branch" until 1975, Park Slope Branch began at the turn of the century with a small collection of natural history books housed in Prospect Park's Litchfield Mansion. It soon moved to a storefront on Ninth Street, and in 1906 a Carnegie library was built across the street. Interior features include a stained-glass archways supported by freestanding columns, two tiled fireplaces and a vaulted, stained-glass ceiling- original details that remains today. [Thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library]

Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana


"This four-story $4.2 million building houses over one million volumes in one of the largest book collections in the country. Located at 900 Webster Street it was dedicated August 21, 1968." [From the back of the card]

Now named the Allen County Public Library.

Public Library, Danielson, CT


Also known as Bugbee Memorial Library.

Classic Revival Style; Walter J. Paine, Architect; 1-story, hip-roofed buff brick building; elaborate pavilion with recessed arched opening’s classic details include freestanding columns within arched entry, crossetted entry surround, cornice with egg and dart molding and dentils, quoins, dentillated window caps, inspirational tablets along frieze; Palladian windows on side elevations; metal cresting along roof; interior largely original with oak mantels, columns and cornice. [Thanks to the Town of Killingly, CT]

1912 Public Library, Delphos, Ohio


The original Carnegie Library was opened to Delphos residents in 1912. The library was built and furnished for $11,785, in the center of a city park, surrounded by 45 maple trees. [Thanks to]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bennett Martin Library, Lincoln, NE


Bennett S. "Abe" Martin was a leading business, civic, and political figure in Lincoln for many years. He served as Lincoln's mayor from 1956 to 1959 after a term on the city council. Martin and his wife, Dorothy Bridgmon Martin, were noted for their many philanthropies, including the endowment that allowed construction of the library that bears the family name. [Thanks to]

Library, St. Clair, Michigan


Like many libraries in the area, the St. Clair Library, founded in 1869, began through the members of the Ladies Library Association. Initially the members met in their homes until 1874 when the library acquired space in some of the rooms at City Hall. The library moved again around 1944 to the Schwab Building on Riverside.

The Library is the building on the left.

Library, Bennington, VT


Over time the Bennington Community outgrew its small library and in 1936 a new library was constructed adjacent to the original. Given in memory of Trenor W. Park by his son, Trenor L. Park, the new library was built on the Park family homestead. The architect for the new library was Herbert Turner, a descendant of the original donor, Trenor Park. [Thanks to the Free Public Library of Bennington!]

Billings Library, College Row, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT


1928 Door, Public Library, Santa Barbara, CA


Coat of Arms of the City, surrounded by shields of four famous libraries: University of Bologna, Italy; University of Salamanca, Spain; Biblioteque Nationale, Paris; and, Bodleian Library, Oxford University. Designed by Carleton M. Winslow, architect; executed by Marshall Laird. [From the back of the card]

1931 Public Library, Adrian, Michigan


1957 Public Library, Los Angeles, CA


The splendid Los Angeles Library costing $2,300,000, with seventeen reading rooms, a music room, art room, and lecture hall, gives specialized service to the appreciative public of Los Angeles. [From the back of the card]

Architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue designed the original Los Angeles Central Library to mimic the architecture of ancient Egypt. The central tower is topped with a tiled mosaic pyramid with suns on either side with a hand holding a torch representing the "Light of Learning" at the apex. Other elements include sphinxes, snakes, and celestial mosaics. [Thanks to Wikipedia! The entire Wikipedia entry for the LOS ANGELES LIBRARY, can be found here]

Public Library, Clinton, Iowa


After the voters approved the establishment of a free public library on March 31, 1902, the library organization ordinance was passed by the City Council at its regular meeting on May 13, 1902. On May 23, 1902, Mayor E. A. Hughes' nominees to the first Library Board of Trustees were approved by City Council. The land where the library is currently located was donated to the city by Emma Lamb Young. Ground was broken on June 24, 1903 and construction was completed one year later in June 1904. The day Theodore Roosevelt was elected to his second term, the library opened its doors to the public for the grand showing. On November 9, the library allowed the public to check out books. [Thanks to the Clinton Public Library /!]

James V. Brown Library, Williamsport, PA


From the PA Grit newspaper, June 16, 1907:

"The throwing wide of the doors of the James V. Brown Memorial Library to the public, on Tuesday morning June 18th, at 9 o'clock, will be one of the most significant annals of Williamsport. For the first time in the history of the city the public will be offered opportunities for educational development, through the medium of the best books obtainable. The thousands of volumes in the James V. Brown Library furnish information on every subject worth knowing about, and all are at the disposal of those who would read and learn." [Thanks to the James V. Brown Library, you can read more history here]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1911 Public Library, Bristol, CT


1904 Library, Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA


No. 2121 published by National Art Views Co., N.Y. City.

Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA


Dinand Library, Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA

[LIB3652] - Dinand Library was dedicated in 1927 and named in honor of Bishop Joseph N. Dinand, S.J., President of Holy Cross from 1911-1918 and from 1924-1927. The library wings were added in 1979 and dedicated to the memory of Joshua and Leah Hiatt and all the victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The Latin inscription on the front of the library may be translated as

"That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17.3)

Dinand Library's collection consists of books, periodicals, indexes and abstracts, newspapers, microfilm, microfiche, audio-visual and digital media in the humanities and social sciences.

Monday, August 24, 2009

1987 Public Library, Black Mountain, NC


Fant Memorial Library, Mississippi State College for Women, Columbus, MS


Public Library, New Bedford, MA


Clement C. Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State College, MA


Named in honor of Clement C. Maxwell, President of the College 1951 to 1962. [From the back of the card]

Carnegie Library, Sullivan County, Indiana

Much thanks to, the Historical Marker Database. HMdb is an illustrated searchable online catalog of historical information viewed through the filter of roadside and other permanent outdoor markers, monuments, and plaques. It contains photographs, inscription transcriptions, marker locations, maps, additional information and commentary, and links to more information. Anyone can add new markers to the database and update existing marker pages with new photographs, links, information and commentary.

About the Sullivan County Library: Built of Bedford limestone by architect Paul O. Maratz, its domed tower is an unusual Carnegie feature. Interior restored to original look in 1986, with 2,400 square foot addition in 1995. One of 1,679 libraries built in U.S. with funds from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Indiana built more Carnegie libraries than any other state. [Read more here] Maratz also designed the Carnegie library in Russell, Kansas.

Tribute to the National Library, Georgetown, Guyana

Celebrating its centenary on September 19, 2009.

With the laying of the cornerstone of the Public Free Library (now the National Library) on April 28, 1908, following funding from US philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, this two-storey building constructed in the form of an inverted cross was the foundation for Guyanese building their reading skills for the next hundred years.

The National Library has been and is still today our Mecca of learning, our Golden Gate, our ‘Open Sesame’ to Ali Baba’s treasure trove of knowledge, and the catalyst that ignited our maturation to icon status today! [Thanks to Stabroek News for this article, read the entire article here]

Friday, August 21, 2009

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston, MA


The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of our nation's thirty-fifth president and to all those who through the art of politics seek a new and better world. [Thanks to]

Interior, New York Public Library, New York, NY


The New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, designed in modern Renaissance style and built at a cost of $9,000,000 was opened in 1911, though the Library had its origin in 1848. [From the back of the card]

Arthur Hopkins Library, Austin College, Sherman, TX


Opened in the fall of 1960.

Architect: Peyton G. Cooper

Donor: The Hopkins family of Sherman, Texas, Miss Bessie Heard (for the Rare Book Room)

Hopkins Center now serves as a classroom building containing the offices of the Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Business, and Economic Departments.

1905 Fletcher Memorial Library, Ludlow, Vermont


A vintage post card sent to Aunt Effie (Washburn), Felchville, VT.

Public Library, Sioux City, Iowa


Cossitt Library, Front Street, Memphis, TN


"Cossitt Library is a city-financed public library that is open every day and is available to all residents of Memphis." [From the back of the card]

Cossitt Branch Library began its existence in 1888 as the Cossitt-Goodwyn Institute, the first public library in the fledgling city of Memphis. Located on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, the Cossitt Branch serves a growing population in the midst of a downtown renaissance. The original sandstone structure was constructed in 1893, and the current building was added in 1959. [Thanks to]

Village Library, Bronxville, NY


"Cultural center of a suburban community noted for gracious living. American art is especially emphasized in this period building, which provides home-like reading rooms and a pine-paneled meeting room with kitchen facilities." [From the back of the card]

Architect Harry Leslie Walker designed a beautiful little building that was an adaptation of residential Georgian architecture with pine paneling, oriental rugs, comfortable chairs and attractive draperies that added to the home-like atmosphere. At the opening ceremonies on May 17, 1942, Library Board President Ernest Quantrell proclaimed: "Today is Thanksgiving Day for the Library Board. Since 1907 we have been working and hoping for a home of our own. Our dream has come true." [Thanks to]

Library, University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS


"This modern air-conditioned building houses the largest library in Mississippi. Especially constructed for student use. Contains 'The Mississippi Room' with a large collection of Mississippiana. [From the back of the card]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Uses for old Carnegie Library Buildings

This just in from the Beaufort (SC) District Collection Collections and the South Carolina Digital Library:

"Andrew Carnegie was a great builder of libraries between 1886 and 1916, including the former Beaufort Township Library, on the corner of Craven and Carteret Streets. Like many of the former Carnegie Library buildings, the Beaufort Township Library has been adapted for use. When the Beaufort County Library moved across Craven Street in 1964, the the City of Beaufort took over the building. Given that the City has new quarters at the head of Ribaut Road, what should be done with the Carnegie Library now? A number of ideas have been floated. A recent AL Direct electronic newsletter carried a short article about bed and breakfasts. I wonder if anyone has given thought to having another bed and breakfast in town?"

Great question, not only for the Carnegie Libraries, but also many other architecturally beautiful early 20th century libraries that have outlived their practical usefulness as libraries. If your community has adapted their out-of-date libraries to some innovative purpose, why not contact BDCC and let them know! OR

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

1913 Carnegie Free Library, Bellefontaine, Ohio


1905: Library moved into the new Carnegie building which was constructed for a bid of $11,720 after receiving a grant of $14,000 from Mr. Carnegie. Balance of $35.73 remained in the treasury after construction. Due to lack of funds for maintenance the Library was closed for two periods of several weeks. [Thanks to the Logan County District Libraries,]

c1905 Public Library, Attleboro, MA


Gore Hall, Harvard University Library


Gore Hall, the college library from 1838-1913, was for years the symbol of Harvard University, and remains on the seal of the city of Cambridge. It was modeled on the fifteenth century King College Chapel in Cambridge, England and was the first building at Harvard to be used solely as a library.

Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Ohio


Pictured here is the new Main Library, a structure designed to house a modern service, complete, convenient, and comfortable. The total cost of this beautiful new building was $4,670,000. It has a floor space of 200,000 square feet, and a book capacity of about 1,650,000 volumes. [From the back of the card]

The original library occupied this site until 1955, when the Library opened the first post-war main library building in the U.S. Located at the corner of Eighth and Vine Streets, the building was designed by noted Cincinnati architect Woodie Garber and was widely recognized for its contemporary design and use of open space. The 1955 building, dedicated to Hamilton County residents who were killed in World War I, World War II and the Korean War, today serves as the cornerstone of the present Main Library complex.

In 1982, an addition was constructed encompassing the entire block formed by Eighth, Ninth, Vine and Walnut Streets, forming one of the largest public library buildings in the U.S. While the 1955 building was remodeled to create one integrated facility, several original touches such as the serpentine brick wall surrounding the garden, the Venetian glass tiles on the columns and central service core, and the memorial plaque honoring Hamilton County veterans, remain and can be seen today. The 1982 addition wraps around the 1955 building and forms an impressive atrium, providing Main Library users with a view of all five floors of the building, including closed stack areas. [Thanks to the Cincinnati Public Library, /]

Monday, August 17, 2009

Historical marker for Carnegie Library, Three Rivers, MI

Found this on Three Rivers (MI) Daily Photo:

Old Three Rivers Library

Built in 1904, this structure served as a public library for seventy-five years. Financed by an Andrew Carnegie grant, it was designed by A.W. Rush & Co. and built by H.V. Snyder & Son. Warren J. Willits donated the site. The exterior pink granite and the interior wood came from the local area. A mosaic skylight and four Grecian columns adorn the entrance room. The building is part of the Downtown Three Rivers Commercial Historic District.

The Royal Library, Berlin, Germany


Undated post card, c1910.

Built between 1903-14 to plans by Ernst von Ihnen in the Neo-baroque style, this library was originally known as the Royal Library, but renamed Prussian State Library after the end of the First World War, a name it kept until 1945 when the East Germans changed it to German State Library. In 1939 the library boasted some 3,820,000 volumes. During the Second World War they were evacuated to more than 30 places throughout Germany. Today the collection has grown to more than six million books and 600,000 manuscripts, maps and incunabula. [Thanks to]

1910 City Library, Oswego, New York


In 1853
Gerrit Smith, abolitionist, prohibitionist, temperance advocate, and businessman, donated funds to establish the Oswego City Library. On April 15, 1854 by act of the New York State Legislature, the library was incorporated. In 1855, the library was constructed.

The library building, erected by the architectural firm of Hewes and Rose of Syracuse, is built in the "Norman" style, with towers, corbels, and crenellated battlements reflecting those of a medieval castle. Now on the National Register of Historical Places, the building is one of the oldest libraries built in New York State to serve continuously as a library.

[Thanks to Oswego Public Library,]

1910 New Carnegie Library, Syracuse University, NY


A wonderful view of the Carnegie library, this post card was published by Hugh C. Leighton, Portland, Maine.

Mural, Public Library, Boston, MA


"Muses welcoming the genius of Enlightenment" from a painting by Puvis De Chavannes.

1929 Public Library, Toledo, Ohio


Located at the corner of Madison Ave. and Ontario.

Carnegie Library, Sandusky, Ohio

Thanks to my friends at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, Sandusky, Ohio, United States and the staff of the Sandusky Library and Follett House Museum, who have created a blog using materials from their local history collections. They thoughtfully provided the following info:

The Sandusky Daily Star, in its February 20, 1901 issue, reported that when Andrew Carnegie gave his “handsome gift” to Sandusky to be used for the purpose of building a public library, one of his stipulations was that the library should have a music hall and an organ, and efforts were to be made to have free musical recitals for the community on a regular basis. The Carnegie Library had its grand opening on July 3, 1901. The musical hall held 338 people, and was known as “Carnegie Hall.”

There is a lot more detail to the article and also some nice photographs. If you are interested in library history, this is a cool site to visit! Click here to go there!

Friday, August 14, 2009

1926 Pencil Drawing of the New York Public Library, NY


Pencil drawing by Louis H. Ruyl.

Ruyl, Louis H., b. 1870 -- Illustrator

1917 Library, Woodsville, NH


The Woodsville Free Public Library is centrally located in downtown Woodsville in its original 1894 brick building.

1970 Mary Cheney Library, Manchester, Connecticut


Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Bright

Part of the National Park Service's Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans, the website Carnegie Libraries: The Future Made Bright is replete with fascinating information about one of the 20th Century’s most intriguing figures, Andrew Carnegie.

It is probably safe to say that most anyone reading this will have visited a library at some time in their life. According to the American Library Association (ALA) there are an estimated 123,129 libraries of all kinds in the United States today. Between 1886 and 1919, Carnegie’s donations of more than $40 million paid for 1,679 new library buildings in communities large and small across America. About thirty-six Carnegie libraries exist in New Jersey, where I live.

It is probably safe to say that there are millions of visits to currently operating Carnegie libraries in the United States every year. In 2004, over one million people visited the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh alone. The impact of Carnegie is immeasurable.

The National Park Service (NPS) has developed a wonderful site for use as a lesson plan for educators that detail the history and contributions of Carnegie and his libraries. For those unfamiliar with the history of the libraries, the NPS website serves as a simple introduction.

Before Carnegie, the public library system suffered from a lack of money and resources, insufficient book collections, and limited memberships. Buying books and building libraries were, for most citizens, a low priority. The generosity of Andrew Carnegie accelerated the development of American libraries. His donations provided communities across the country with millions of dollars to build new libraries.

The site gives a sample of the form used for applying for applying for a Carnegie grant, examples of Carnegie libraries and background history, samples of library building plans, and detailed information on the Carnegie libraries in Medford (WI), Connellsville (PA), Richfield (UT), Spokane (WA), and Girard (KS).

Why the National Park Service you may ask? They are the focus of the NPS because many of the Carnegie libraries are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Visit the site and gain a deeper appreciation for these wonderful places!


Free Library, Gowanda, New York