Wednesday, July 13, 2022

40th Anniversary of the Stamp Honoring America's Libraries

Forty years ago on July 13, 1982 the United States Postal Service (USPS) issued a postage stamp honoring  America's libraries. It was the result of years of lobbying by the library profession for such a stamp. A first day of issue ceremony for the stamp was held in Philadelphia at the annual conference of the American Library Association (ALA). Originally the stamp was supposed to also honor the Library of Congress, but Librarian of Congress Daniel Borstin persuaded the USPS to issue a separate stamp for the Library of Congress. That stamp was issued on April 21, 1982. I previously wrote a post about that stamp. Both stamps were designed by Bradbury Thompson, one of the world's great graphic designers and typographers. ALA, led by its President Betty Stone, went all out to promote the America's Libraries stamp. This included producing a first day cover (FDC) for the stamp (shown above) which was sold in various configurations. The one above is signed by Stone and ALA Executive Director Robert Wedgeworth. The cover included an insert with information about ALA. ALA contracted with ArtCraft, the major publisher of FDCs, to design and print its FDC. Over a hundred other FDC producers (called cachet makers) also designed an FDC for the America's Libraries stamp. I collect the different FDCs for the America's Libraries stamp and I have developed an exhibit of those covers which I have shown at national level stamp shows. Among the most sought after FDCs by collectors are those that are hand drawn and painted. The one below was created by arguably the most famous cachet maker Dorothy Knapp.  I wrote an article titled "Bradbury Thompson's 1982 Library Stamps" for the July issue of PHILATELI-GRAPHICS, the publication of the Graphics Philately Association of the American Topical Association

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Braddock Carnegie Library 25th Anniversary Postcard

The Braddock Carnegie Library in Braddock, PA was the first Carnegie library built in America. The library was dedicated by Andrew Carnegie on March 30, 1889. On April 29, 1914 there was a 25th anniversary celebration of the opening of the library. Andrew Carnegie was also on hand for this event. I have many postcards in my library postcard collection related to Carnegie libraries but the one above is exceptional because of its image and its content. The real photo postcard (RPPC) depicts the grandstand and its dignitaries (including Carnegie) at the 25th anniversary celebration in Braddock.  The content on the picture side of the postcard reads: "The above picture represents Doc. Whitfield introducing Andy to the crowd. Library street was packed from the Maple alley to above Parker. You can see Dinkey Schwab, Bope, Hunt all those big guys." The content on the message side reads: "Just to show you that I'm still busy. This is one of 24 pictures I got on the day of the 25th celebration. I got two catalogs from Penn State." The message is signed by Laddie P-?. The postcard was mailed from Braddock, PA to State College, PA on May 18, 1914. It is mailed to Mr. A. Northington. 

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazett for October 3, 2012 describes the 25th anniversary event as follows: "Braddock’s streets were packed when Andrew Carnegie arrived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the library he’d built for the town.  Flags flew from almost every building, according to newspaper reports, and hundreds of pictures of the steel king were on display. Carnegie led the crowd in the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” and remained on his feet during the entire two-hour ceremony."

Wikipedia had a nice entry about the Braddock Carnegie Library which recounts the history of the building. The library is now operated by the Braddock Carnegie Library Association

I wrote a previous blog post titled "America's First Carnegie Libraries" in 2012 which noted that both the Braddock Carnegie Library and the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny have a claim to being the first Carnegie library in America.

Enlarged detail of postcard photo showing Carnegie