Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Charles Winter Wood, Tuskegee Institute Librarian


The un-mailed undivided back postcard above has several different stories to tell. It includes a picture of Charles Winter Wood (1869-1953) who is identified as the Librarian for the Carnegie Library of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. There is little information, however, about Wood's role as a librarian on the Internet. There is an article about Wood's connection with Beloit College in Wisconsin, something that caught me by surprise. Booker T. Washington hired Wood as head of Tuskegee Institute's English and Drama Departments in 1897, a capacity in which he served for over 30 years. In 1900 the Tuskegee Institute received the first of 15 grants made by Andrew Carnegie for  library buildings for  Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). The Carnegie Library building is shown on the postcard above. Wood assumed the additional role of Librarian for the Tuskegee Institute in 1904. It is not clear how long he maintained this dual responsibility but the postcard was copyrighted in 1907. Outside of his academic responsibilities at the Tuskegee Institute, Wood is most noted for his acting career which was significant. The Charles Winter Wood Theater at Florida A&M University is named for him. Shaundra Walker has written an interesting article about Andrew Carnegie's library grants to HBCUs. There is also an interesting project at the University of Southern Mississippi about Carnegies grants for public library buildings that served African Americans. 

First day cover for the 1948 Booker T. Washington stamp. Includes a picture of the Tuskegee Institute faculty in front of the Carnegie Library. 

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