Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mystery Woman on Postcards



Enlarged detail of postcard above.
I came across three real photo postcards (2 shown above) showing an unknown woman in a library/study/office/museum? I thought she might be someone of note. The framed print abover her head on the first postcard depicts the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln before the cabinet.  Any ideas about her identity?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Library Journal Envelope Circa 1880s


The American Library Journal (later the Library Journal), the first professional library magazine, began publication in 1876. It was one of several major library history events that occurred in that year including the establishment of the American Library Association. Three individuals played prominent roles in the establishment of both the Library Journal and the American Library Association. They were: Fredrick Leypoldt, editor and publisher of the periodical Publisher's Weekly; Richard Rodgers Bowker, Leypoldt's partner and later publisher of the Library Journal; and Melvil Dewey, the first editor of the Library Journal.  The Library Journal served as "The Official Organ of the Library Associations of America and the United Kingdom". It was not until 1907 that the American Library Association began publishing its own journal, the ALA Bulletin (now American Libraries). I recently acquired an early envelope mailed by the Library Journal (shown above). Based on the return address and the stamp on the envelope, it was mailed in the 1880s. The envelope included material classified as a circular which qualified it for the one cent postage rate. Because I use envelopes and other postal artifacts to tell the story of America's libraries in my philatelic exhibits, its nice to have this envelope with connections to the early history of one of the most prominent professional library periodicals and the American Library Association.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wisconsin Library Memorabilia Exhibit


I have a large collection of Wisconsin library memorabilia that I exhibit under the auspices of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. The exhibit is currently on display at the Kimberly branch of the Kimberly - Little Chute Public Library. The exhibit will be at the Kimberly library through the end of December and a smaller exhibit will be at the Little Chute branch in January and February of 2013. Because of the unusually large display area at the Kimberly library, the exhibit is one of the largest that I have put together. I've really been able to clean out my basement for this one. Some images of the exhibit at Kimberly are shown above.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The LHBB Celebrates its 4 Year Anniversary

Just over four years ago I made the decision to start a blog about library history. At the time I didn't know if I would be able to come up with enough content to sustain a library history blog, but a topic for a  blog post always seems to present itself. So far I've managed to come up with 529 posts. I'm especially grateful for the coverage that has been given to the posts by American Libraries Direct. That coverage has helped generate over 186,000 pageviews during the four year life of the blog. I'm amazed that there are 192 people who have actually taken the step of becoming an official "Follower" of the blog. Thank you to those individuals, and thank you to all the others who have taken time to read the blog.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Renovated St. Louis Central Library Set to Reopen


The Central Library of the St. Louis Public Library has been undergoing a $70 million restoration and modernization and is set to reopen in December. Today marks a special occasion in the fundraising campaign for the project. The library will hold a sold-out "Central to Your World" gala at which Vartan Gregorian, current president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, will speak on "Public Libraries in the 21st century". The Central Library was built with funding from Andrew Carnegie and opened on January 6, 1912. The St. Louis Public Library has set up a website that includes information about the history of the Central Library and the current renovation. The postcard shown above which features a drawing of the proposed new library was mailed on September 17, 1909, more than two years before it opened.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rosenberg Day at the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, TX


Andrew Carnegie's generosity to libraries often obscures the fact that there were many other early benefactors of libraries. One of those was Henry Rosenberg (1824-1893) of Galveston, Texas. Rosenberg's estate set aside more than $600,000 for a free public library in Galveston. The Rosenberg Library was the first free public library in Texas.  Rosenberg's estate included funding for several other school and civic projects in Galveston in addition to the public library. To celebrate his legacy the Galveston school board designated May 1 as Rosenberg Day a few years after his death. I recently acquired a wonderful postcard (shown above) which is a photograph of part of the Rosenberg Day celebration in 1913. The postcard shows lots of people, a buggy, a vintage car, and even an early motorcycle in front of the library.  In June of this year the Rosenberg Library carried out a number of activities to celebrate Rosenberg's 188th birthday.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Library of Arts and Sciences of Salem, MA 1804


I've had in my collection of librariana for some time a receipt for the payment of an annual assessment for the Library of Arts and Sciences which is dated March 18, 1804. There is no indication on the receipt of the location of the library, and it has only been recently that I have been able to determine that location. It turns out to be Salem, Massachusetts. The receipt was issued to Joshua Ward, Senior. Ward was a prominent merchant in Salem who built the appropriately named Joshua Ward House which is said to be haunted. The receipt was signed by the librarian whose name I'm not sure of. John Pennel? John Fennel? It was the website of the Salem Athenaeum that helped me identify the location of the Library of Arts and Sciences. According to the website, at the time the Salem Athenaeum was founded in 1810 there were more libraries in Salem than Boston. It mentions the Library of Arts and Sciences among several others. This is the second oldest piece of librariana in my collection. The oldest being a similar receipt for the New York Society Library which was dated March 1, 1793.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Postcard Tribute to Military Libraries on Veterans Day

For Veterans Day 2012 I've put together a collection of my World War II era military library postcards. Also see my 11-11-11 tribute, my 11-11-10 post, and my 11-11-09 post.


Fort McClellan, AL
San Diego Marine Corp Base
San Diego Naval Training Station
Camp Livingston, LA
Library, USO Club, Spartanburg, SC

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vintage Library Cards


I recently added a couple of new cards to my collection of vintage library cards. One is for the Pennsylvania Hospital Library dated Nov. 14, 1846 and the other is an unused 1876 library card for the Rochester (NY) Athenaeum & Mechanics Association. The Pennsylvania Hospital Library is the oldest medical library in the United States and was founded in 1762. The Rochester Athenaeum & Mechanics Association was formed in 1847 by combining the Rochester Athenaeum and the Rochester Mechanics' Literary Association. The new entity eventually morphed into the Rochester Institute of Technology. Both libraries required a fee to use them. For the Pennsylvania Hospital Library, the fee was $10 a year in 1846. The $2 annual fee in 1876 for the Rochester library also entitled one to vote in the annual election of officers. The library card included a voting coupon for this purpose.