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.

1 comment:

Banshee said...

fyi -

You might wish to consult also with
the James Bertram Archives collection at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries in Pittsburgh PA

James Bertram Collection
James Bertram Collection , 1897-1949 ; Bulk Dates 1926-1935

Carnegie Mellon University Archives, Special Collecting Interests
Eight boxes (Boxes 1-8); 7.5 linear feet, one partial oversize box, artwork, and artifacts. , 1897-1949
Biography or History
James Bertram (1872-1934) served as confidential secretary to Andrew Carnegie from 1897-1914 and as Secretary for the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1911-1934.