Pre-1937 Istituto Fascista di Cultura Biblioteca Library Card N.641, Issued to Alberto Sorani
Established as a result of the March 29, 1925, Conference of Fascist Culture (“Convegno degli istituti fascisti di cultura”) at Bologna, Italy, The Fascist Institute of Culture (“Istituto Fascista di Cultura”) was responsible for the “protection, dissemination and development of the ideals and doctrine of fascism within and abroad, and of Italian culture in general.”
In 1941, the Institute claimed over 210,000 members.
Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944), the architect of the Manifesto of the Fascist Intellectuals (“Manifesto degli Intellettuali del Fascismo”), and ardent supporter of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, was the founder and first President of the Institute (later known as the National Institute of Fascist Culture (“Istituto nazionale di cultura fascista”). Gentile served as President of the Institute until 1937, during which time he was Scientific Director and an editor of La Treccani, the Italian Encyclopedia of Sciences, Letters and Arts (“L’Enciclopedia Italiana di scienze, lettere ed arti”), a 37 volume encyclopedia set, produced from 1925 to 1937. Appendices to the set are still available, the last being published in 2018.
Giovanni Gentile was assassinated in Florence, Italy, on April 15, 1944 by Gappista commandos (Italian Communist Party) for his fascist theories and commitment to Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship.
Benito Mussolini, his mistress, Claretta Petacci, Goffredo Coppola, Giovanni Gentile’s successor, and 16 other fascist leaders, were executed on April 28, 1945, by the National Liberation Committee (CLN) (“Il Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale”), an organization comprised of members of the main political parties and movements of Italy. The execution of Mussolini effectively ended the fascist dictatorship of Italy..
1930s H. C. Farrow Drug Stores Lending Library Ticket No. 6
The H. C. Farrow Drug Stores
The H.C. Farrow Drug Store, operated by Harold Claude Farrow (1900-1971), was located at 139 High Street, Isle of Sheppey, Sheerness-on-Sea, Kent, England, during the 1930s,.
Prior to the Public Libraries Act of 1850, libraries in England were mostly privately-funded institutions that allowed access through membership or subscription fees. Costly membership fees often precluded those with insufficient means from using early libraries.
A solution to this problem came by way of lending libraries. Often a small room or a shelf in a local business, church or school, lending libraries offered the general public a means for borrowing books in localities that were without public libraries.
Pre-1954 Library of Hawaii Borrower’s Card No. M 8144 issued to Mrs. Margaret B. Jennings
Library of Hawaii
The Library of Hawaii, had its official beginning in 1909, when on April 17th of that year, the Territorial Governor of Hawaii, Walter Francis Frear (1863-1948), signed House Bill No. 143, Act 83, entitled “An Act to provide for the establishment and maintenance of the Library of Hawaii.” 1
Prior to the passing of the Bill, Governor Frear met with Andrew “Andy” Carnegie to discuss Carnegie’s offer of $100,000 to build a new public library building. By selling the property at the corner of Alakea and Hotel Streets, which was occupied by the The Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association (a membership library established in 1879), the proceeds of the sale would aid in the establishment of the proposed public circulating library. In addition, the Association’s 20,000 volume inventory would be transferred to the proposed public library.2
The Carnegie Library
In May 1910, it was announced that New York architect, Henry Davis Whitfield, Andrew Carnegie’s brother-in-law, was chosen to design the new library, and Honolulu architect, Henry Livingstone Kerr, would supervise the construction of the building.3 Whitfield, who also designed Eaton Hall at Tufts University (1908) and the Federal Building in Hilo, Hawaii (1915), was considered at the time to be the world’s foremost expert on library design, having already designed many of the larger Carnegie libraries. Kerr designed over 900 buildings in Hawaii, including Honolulu’s historic McCandless Building (1906) and the Yokohama Specie Bank Building (1910).
Construction of the new Library building began on Saturday, October 21, 1911, when a two by three foot by twenty inch ironstone cornerstore, inscribed “Library of Hawaii, 1911,”4 was laid by members of the Hawaiian Lodge during an elaborate ceremony officiated by the Masons.
The Library Opens
On February 1, 1913, the Library of Hawaii opened to the public with much enthusiasm. Governor Frear, the recipient of Card No. 1, was issued the first book, “The Government of Our Cities,” by W. B. Munro, by the Librarian,Miss Allyn. A free concert by the Hawaiian Band, and speeches by Chairman A. Lewis, Jr., of the Library Board, and Prof. M. M. Scott of the Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association proceeded the official opening of the doors to the public.5
The two-story Mediterranean Revival style building located at 478 South King Street in Honolulu, was fronted by the signature Carnegie columns. Inside, patrons were greeted by an airy and spacious front delivery area, separate children’s area, catalogue, reading and reference rooms. A lanai reading room, and separate lecture, study, and children’s story rooms were located on the second floor In addition to the new library building, a traveling library was instituted to ensure citizens on islands other than O’ahu would have access to the new public service.6
In 1927, much needed renovations to expand the building were approved by the territory legislature. Two wings were added to the original building, as well as an open-air courtyard in the middle.
In 1978, the building was designated a historic site and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Library of Hawaii is now part of the Hawaii State Public Library System, which is comprised of fifty-one libraries on all of the major islands. The library system contains over 3 million books and reference materials.
Margaret B. Jennings
Margaret Bronson Jennings (1924-2018) born February 15, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was an LSU fan and a member and officer of the Krewe of Attakapas.
Sources:  The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 17, 1909, page 2;  The Hawaiian Star, Honolulu, Hawaii, March 26, 1909, page 4;  The Hawaiian Star, Honolulu, Hawaii, May 21, 1910, page 5;  The Hawaiian Star, Honolulu, Hawaii, October 16, 1911, page 8;  The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 1, 1913, page 10;  The Sunday Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 2, 1913, page 10.