Friday, August 31, 2012

The Chelsea (MA) Public Library and the Fire of 1908

Fitz Library

Fitz library on right after fire
Carnegie building

The Chelsea Public Library in Massachusetts was founded in 1870. A new building donated by Eustace C. Fitz opened in 1885.  Disaster struck in 1908 when the Great Chelsea Fire destroyed the building. The Chelsea fire of 1908 destroyed 1,000 buildings in all and left more than 10,000 people homeless. The library's entire collection of 80,000 volumes was consumed by the fire. Andrew Carnegie gave $57,500 for a new library in 1908 which was added to $20,000 in insurance money. The Carnegie building was dedicated in 1910. I have three postcards that document these events. The first shows the Fitz library, the second shows the results of the fire, and the third shows the Carnegie building. The Chelsea Public Library still occupies the Carnegie building. More information can be found here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

People in Libraries on Postage Stamps

I'm a collector of libraries and librarians on postage stamps which is sometimes called bibliophilately. Of the hundreds of thousands of postage stamps that have been issued by the countries of the world, less than a thousand fall into this category. Of that group only 30 to 40 depict people inside of a library (this does not include images of celebrities in a library). I'm an advocate for a United States postage stamp or group of postage stamps honoring public libraries. Stamps showing people using public libraries would be a great way to do this. Below are some of the stamps in my collection showing people in libraries.

Bophuthatswana, Issued 1990
Greenland, Issued 1980
Iceland, Issued 1968
Kenya, Issued 1984
Norway, Issued 1985
Poland, Issued 1954

Barbados, Issued 1972