Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cookbook Librariana

According to The Cookbook Library, a new book on the history of printed cookbooks by Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky (Univ. of California Press), cookbooks date back to medieval times. It is not that uncommon for Friends of Libraries groups or other library supporters to compile cookbooks to raise funds for a library. I recently acquired a hansom example that was published this year by the Friends of Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, WI. I have a much older example of a library cookbook that was compiled in 1929 by the Members of the Ripon (WI) Library Association.  My 1929 copy is the fourth edition of the publication. The first edition was published way back in 1892. It got me to wondering when the first library cookbook was published. It might even be the 1892 Ripon cookbook. I found a citation for a Grinnell Iowa Free Library Cookbook in WorldCat that was published in 1896 and a citation for cookbook published by the Aldrich Free Public Library Friends in Moosup, CT in 1897. I currently only have three cookbooks in my librariana collection, but a quick search of eBay leads me to believe that one could put together a nice collection of these books. According to a brief history of the Ripon Public Library, the Ripon Library Association (a subscription library) was created in 1884 and turned its book collection over to the city for a free public library in 1898. The Library Association evidently continued as a library support organization.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vintage Autos and Libraries on Postcards

I noted in a previous post that horse and buggies add interest to postcards of library buildings. Vintage automobiles do the same thing. Shown below are five of my favorite library postcards with vintage automobiles.

Public Library, St. Joseph, MI
Public Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI (formerly Grand Rapids)
Public Library, Binghamton, NY
Public Library, Benton Harbor, MI
Public Library, Superior, WI

Friday, July 27, 2012

Postal Recognition of IFLA Conferences

The World Library and Information Conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) will take place in Helsinki, Finland on August 11-17. This will be the 78th IFLA General Conference and Assembly. The first such conference took place in Rome, Italy in 1928. In the past, several host countries have  recognized the IFLA conference with postage stamps and other postal artifacts. These include:  Belgium in 1977 on the 50th anniversary of IFLA; the Philippines in 1980; Kenya in 1984; Japan in 1986; and more recently Vatican City in 2009 when IFLA met in Milan, Italy. Han Krol has more about the stamps on his Dutch Librariana website (translate with Google translator). Some items from my postal librariana collection are shown below.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Toot My Own Horn Opportunity

Me and my exhibit at the MN Stamp Expo
Previously I posted information about my "America's Public Libraries and Their Forerunners 1731-1956" philatelic exhibit and the awards it received at the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show in Denver in May. This past weekend the exhibit was on display at the Minnesota Stamp Expo in Minneapolis. At that show, in addition to receiving a gold medal, it received the Reserve Grand Award. That award is given to the second best multi-frame exhibit at the show. It is the highest honor that any of my philatelic exhibits has ever received. It is notable in that my exhibit is classified as a "Display" exhibit meaning that it includes non-postal as well as postal items. The highest awards for exhibits almost always go to more traditional philatelic exhibits. For instance, the Grand Award (for the best multi-frame exhibit) at the stamp show went to an exhibit titled "Sweden - The Medallion Series 1910-1919" (well deserved I might add). Although it is great to be rewarded with awards, it was also extremely satisfying to receive positive feedback from attendees at the stamp show. Philatelic exhibiting about the history of libraries is one way that I promote library history to a broader audience.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Early Aurora (IL) Library Workers Identified

L to R: Alice Belleau, Gladys V. Hull, Minnie J. Pooley, Matie K. Quinn, Lillian C. Miles, Kate E. Marshall, and H. Belva Hull
My post for July 8 showed two photographs that included a large number of unidentified early women library workers. One of the photographs was on a postcard which was mailed from Aurora, Illinois. The current staff of the Aurora Public Library have now identified the photograph as one that shows an earlier group of staff members at the Aurora Public Library.  The image above is an enlarged detail of the women on the postcard with their names. One of the women pictured is Lillian C. Miles, the Assistant Librarian. James Shaw, the Librarian, is not shown. The Aurora Public Library was founded in 1881. James Shaw became the Librarian in 1884. In 1904 the library moved into a new building (shown on the postcard below) funded with a $50,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. The photograph of the women library workers was taken sometime between the date the Carnegie library opened and the date the postcard was mailed (July 10, 1907). The building was drastically remodeled and expanded in 1969. The remodeling included a new facade for the building.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Libraries and horse and buggies on postcards

I'm always on the lookout for library postcards with interesting added features. There's nothing like a horse and buggy to add a little interest to the exterior of a library building. Five library postcards in my collection with horse and buggies are shown below.
Carnegie Library, Waterville, ME
Public Library, Kalamazoo, MI
Carnegie Library, Houston, TX
Public Library (Carnegie), Sheboygan, WI

Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

Monday, July 16, 2012

Destruction of Stanford's Library in 1906

"It was soon after sunrise April 18, 1906, that the ground now solid underfoot began to heave, to tremble. As one journalist described the sensation of the earthquake, 'It pounced on the earth as some sidereal bulldog, with a rattle of hungry eagerness. The earth was a rat, shaken in the grinding teeth, shaken, shaken, shaken, with periods of slight weariness followed by new bursts of violent rage.' Everyone had supposed the massive construction and modest dimensions of this building would ensure its safety. As a matter of fact, the splendid masonry was stripped off that steel frame under the dome like flimsy paper from a bill-board. The walls that looked as if they might outlive Europe's cathedrals crumbled like lumps of sugar at afternoon tea."  The previous quotation is from the back of a stereoview (see above) showing the destruction of the newly completed library building at Stanford University in Palo Alta, California by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Fortunately, the new library was not yet occupied. More about the impact of the earthquake on Stanford University including the library can be found on the University's website. The stereoview was created by Underwood & Underwood a major publisher of stereoviews. Stereoviews are double images of a scene on a card that when viewed with a stereoscope appear to be three dimensional. Several decades before libraries appeared on picture postcards they could be viewed on stereoviews. I only have a handful of stereoviews in my collection of librariana.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Szabo to ALA in 1915 - Where's my Booklist?

Ervin Szabo (1877-1918) was Hungary's most famous librarian. Hungary has issued two postage stamps in his honor and has named one of its largest libraries for him. He was the first director of the Municipal Library in Budapest which is now the Metropolitan Ervin Szabo Library. I recently acquired a government issued postcard from Hungary that was mailed on July 12, 1915 to the Publishing Board of the American Library Association. The postcard was mailed by the Budapest Municipal Library and it indicates that the A.L.A. Booklist for 1915 issue 1 "has not come to hand". There is a printed signature on the card for Ervin Szabo as Director of the Library. ALA began publishing Booklist, a book reviewing journal, in 1905. More about Szabo who has been described as a "socialist theoretician" can be found in the online YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. More librarians on postage stamps can be found HERE.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Early Portland (OR) Bookmobile Postcard

The predecessor of the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon was the Portland Library Association which was established in 1864. Originally, the Portland Library Association was a subscription library, but in 1902 it became a free public library serving all of Multnomah County. Bookmobile service was one of the strategies used to extend library service to the county. I recently acquired the postcard above showing one of the Library Association's early bookmobiles. The caption on the back reads: "The Graham Brothers Truck has been in service at Portland, Oregon, for over eighteen months and has exceeded the fondest expectations of the Library Association in increasing the number of rural readers. The inside of the body carries approximately 600 books." This bookmobile dates from the early 1920s. There is another view of the Graham Brothers bookmobile on the Multnomah County Library's Flickr site. There are also many other views of bookmobile service on the Library's Flickr site. The Multnomah County Library no longer provides bookmobile service.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Adrian, Michigan's Carnegie Library

Adrian, MI received a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a public library building on Dec. 20, 1904. The initial grant was for $20,000 but was later increased to $27,500. The grand opening for the new building which was an elaborate castle-like structure took place in February 1909. The postcard of the Carnegie building and the large crowd in front of it which is shown above is interesting in that it was mailed on July 25, 1908 several months before the building officially opened. The crowd shown on the postcard may have gathered for a parade. Note the two people on the top of the building on the left side of the postcard. The message on the back of the postcard reads in part: "What do you think of the library? Quite a crowd downtown wasn't there?" The Adrian Public Library vacated the building in 1978 and moved into a former J.C. Penny store because of space needs. Quite a change in architecture. The Carnegie building is now on the National Register of Historical Places and is occupied by the Lenawee Historical Society Museum.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Unidentified Early Women Library Workers

I have two early artifacts (see above) showing images of unidentified women library workers. The first is a photograph of ten women and one man. There is no clue as to which library they work in. The second artifact is a Real Photograph Postcard which shows seven women. The postcard was mailed on July 10, 1907 from Aurora, Illinois to Newkirk, Oklahoma. There's a good bet that the library in the postcard is located in Illinois. Perhaps the University of Illinois Library. Both images are evidence of the feminization of the library profession in the United States. There were hardly any library workers in U.S. libraries in the mid-19th century. Barbara A. Mitchell in a chapter titled "Boston Library Catalogues, 1850-1875" in the book Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 2007) relates the hiring of women to create catalogues by Boston area libraries. The Boston Public Library was the first to hire women for this purpose in 1853. The initial salary for these women was $4 per week. In the first national library conference in 1853 there were eighty-two men present and no women. When the 1876 conference of librarians that resulted in the formation of the American Library Association took place in Philadelphia thirteen women were among the 103 attendees. In the next four decades major advances in the role that women played in library services took place. One significant aspect of these advances was the involvement of women in library education starting with the library school created at Columbia University by Melvil Dewey in 1887. Dewey later moved the school to Albany, NY when he became New York State Librarian. One of the first graduates of that school, Katharine Sharp, established a similar school at the Armour Institute in Chicago in 1893. That school moved to the University of Illinois in 1897 where Sharp became director of both the library and the library school. Because of health reasons she left Illinois in 1907, the same year as the postcard above was mailed. I don't think Sharp is one of the women in the postcard, but I can't be sure. Any help with identifying the libraries in which the photographs were taken will be appreciated.

Update: The women in the photograph on the postcard mailed from Aurora, IL have now been identified. See my post for July 25.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Carnegie Approves Funding for Mount Vernon, NY

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.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

People in Libraries on Postcards

Virginia State Library, Richmond

School children in Manchester, NH Public Library
Reading Room, Boston Public Library
Piney Woods School Library, MS

Milwaukee State Normal School Library
In the universe of library postcards a relatively small percentage show the interior of a library and an even smaller percentage show people inside of a library. Based on a recent examination of library postcards for sale on eBay, less than one percent depict people in a library. That makes this category of library postcards an excellent choice for a selective library postcard collector which I happen to be. The bad news is that postcards that depict people in conjunction with a particular topic such as libraries are much pricier.  Some of the postcards in this category in my postcard collection are shown above. I have found that military library postcards are more likely to show library users than other types of library postcards. The library users of a special library such as a state library are likely to be much different that the library users of a public library or school library.