Andrew Carnegie made grants to 1412 communities in the U.S. to help fund the construction of 1679 public library buildings. Much of the paperwork and communication regarding these grants was carried out by Carnegie's Personal Secretary James Bertram. I recently acquired a letter (shown above) mailed by Bertram to Charles M. Miller in Mount Vernon, NY on April 9, 1908 in which Bertram notifies Miller of Carnegie's approval of $20,000 for the extension of the Mount Vernon library building. It is a wonderful addition to my collection of postal librariana and it will be prominently displayed in my philatelic exhibit - "America's Public Libraries and Their Forerunners 1731-1956". The Carnegie Corporation destroyed all of its correspondence relating to library building grants after microfilming it. The only physical correspondence surviving is primarily located in the communities that received or requested grants if it has not been discarded as was this letter. Mount Vernon received its original grant from Carnegie in 1901. In total it received $72,000 from Carnegie which is a very large grant for a single building in a community of this size. The Mount Vernon Public Library has some historic images of its building on its website.
Celebrating 140 Years of the ALA
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