San Diego Public Library, San Diego, California

Pre-1937 San Diego Public Library Borrower’s Card No. 75273 issued to Lee R. Moore

Pre-1937 San Diego Public Library Borrower’s Card No. 75273 issued to Lee R. Moore (front)
Pre-1937 San Diego Public Library Borrower’s Card No. 75273 issued to Lee R. Moore (back)

San Diego Public Library

San Diego Public Library (pre-1923 public domain postcard)

Opened to the public on July 15, 1882, the San Diego Public Library’s first location was the Commercial Bank building (aka the Consolidated National Bank) at 5th and G Streets.  The use of rooms on the 2nd floor2 was provided to the library non gratis for the first six month,1 after which rent was paid from the $650 city appropriation.

Commercial Bank Building (pre-1923 public domain photo; photographer unknown)

In 1893, the library was moved once again to the fashionable St. James Building at 7th and F Streets and would remain there for at least five years.3

Drawing from a 1890’s St James Hotel breakfast menu (No known copyright restrictions)

By 1898, the library began to outgrow its accommodations, so arrangements were made for space on the 4th floor of the new Keating Building at Fifth and F Streets.  Rent increased from $50 to $85, but the rooms were more spacious and well-lit, and a modern elevator made access to the library much easier.4 The Keating Building was designed by George J. Keating, founder of a farm equipment company, and built in 1890 by his wife, Fannie, after his death on June 25, 1888.


Keating Building.  Photo by John Margolies.  No known copyright restrictions.   From the John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

While the Keating Building provided adequate square footage to accommodate the growing library, library space had been a concern several years prior to the move into the Keating Building.   Efforts to raise funds for the building of a permanent home large enough to house the growing library was undertaken by the Ladies’ Wednesday Club as early as 1896.5. But it wasn’t until mid-1899, that a new library building became a realistic goal.  In response to a letter sent to the Andrew Carnegie Corporation by library trustee, Mrs. Lydia K. Horton, in which she asked for photographs of previously built Carnegie libraries in hopes that the photographs would spark interest by her fellow trustees, the Carnegie Corporation promised a $50,000 grant to build the first Carnegie library west of the Mississippi River.6  On April 23, 1902, the new library building opened at Eighth and E Streets.  The building designed by architects, Ackerman & Ross of New York, had room for 75,000 volumes and boasted a museum, art gallery, and lecture room. The Carnegie Library building would serve as the main library until 1952 when the building was razed to allow the construction of a new, modernized building. The new library opened at the same location on June 27, 1954. The current location of the San Diego Central Library is 330 Park Blvd. in San Diego.

San Diego Public Library and Comic-Con

Since 2013, the San Diego Public Library has partnered with Comic-Con and designed limited-edition comic-themed library cards, which are only available at the San Diego Public Library booth at the yearly Comic-Con convention in San Diego.  The 2019 card, of which only 3,000 were made available, features Waldo over an image of  the San Diego Central Library, which is located at 330 Park Boulevard in San Diego.  

2019 San Diego Public Library Special Edition Comic-Con Library Card and Keychain Card (front)
2019 San Diego Public Library Special Edition Comic-Con Library Card and Keychain Card (back)

Lee R. Moore

Lee Reed Moore was born August 7, 1921, in Kansas City; He was the son of Lee R. Moore, Sr  of Texas and Orpha Moore.  Lee R. Moore was a salesman for Ryan Aeronautical Co.  He died on April 29, 1980.

1 Catalog of the San Diego Free Public Library: Compiled by the Order of the Board of Trustees, by Lulu Younkin, April 1889

2 The Record (National City, California), June 11, 1885, p. 2

3 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) April 5, 1893, p. 7

4 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) April 7, 1898, p. 13

5 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California), December 7, 1896, p. 5

6 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California), July 18, 1899, p. 15

Winnipeg Public Library, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

1924 Winnipeg Public Lending Department and Non-Fiction Library Cards No. 22501 Issued to Robert Walls

1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Lending Department Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (front)
1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Lending Department Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (back)
1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Non-Fiction Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (front)
1924 Winnipeg Public Library, Non-Fiction Library Card No. 22501,
issued to Robert Walls (back

Winnipeg Public Library, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Winnepeg Public Library (Public Domain, Pre-1923 Postcard)

The Winnipeg Public Library had its beginning as a circulating library at the Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba. In 1888, due to the disabling costs of maintaining their library, the Society transferred their 3,000 volume circulating library to the city and was renamed The City Library.  It was the intent of the Society for the transfer to become “the nucleus” for a new public library [from The Historical and Scientific Society of Manitoba Annual Report published 1888, p. 8].

Contrary to local gossip, it was not a free library. A news article in the Manitoba Free Press on February 25, 1888, sought to dispel the rumor, stating that the new library would continue to charge a $2 yearly membership fee to use the library. 

In July 1901, Andrew Carnegie Corporation began negotiations with the city of Winnipeg to fund a new library building. Conditions for funding a new library building were that the city would purchase a suitable site for the library and guarantee annual upkeep at a sum equal to 10% of the amount donated by the Corporation.  By August 1902, the city purchased a site at William and Dagmar Streets for $12,200.  In early November 1902, the Corporation released the funds for building the library, and on November 22, 1902, through an announcement in local newspapers, local architects were invited to submit designs for the new library.  In July 1903, Architect Samuel Hooper, and builders Smith & Sharpe were chosen for the tasks.  

On November 3, 1903, Sir Daniel McMillan (1846-1933), Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, laid the library cornerstone, and on October 13, 1905, the library opened to the public.

In 1977, the Centennial Library (now known as the Millennium Library) was built at 251 Donald Street and the Carnegie building became a branch library, and subsequently, the City of Winnipeg Archives in 1995.  In 2013, the city began renovations to the Carnegie building, but due to serious damage sustained during a heavy rainstorm, the renovations were halted and the archive collections relocated.  The building currently stands empty and its future is unknown. 

Freeport Public Library, Freeport, Illinois

Pre-1937 Freeport Public Library Borrower’s Card No. 4873 issued to Marian E. Holmes

Freeport Public Library, Freeport, Illinois

The Freeport Public Library had modest beginnings in 1874 as a small collection of 250 volumes housed in a spare room at the YMCA, which was located over Emmert & Burrell’s drug store at 111 Stephenson Street in Freeport.  A subscription fee of 75 cents quarterly permitted the subscriber to borrow books every Saturday afternoon and Wednesday evening.   In 1889, the YMCA opened a new building at a site formerly occupied by the First Presbyterian Church at Walnut and Stephenson and made room for the small library. 

The Y.M.C.A. building at Walnut and Stephenson Streets, Freeport, IL, second home of the Freeport Library (Public Domain Pre-1923 postcard)

On February 21, 1901, the Carnegie Corporation provided  a $30,000 grant to build a new public library building.  In 1902, the new public library opened at 314 West Stephenson Street with 19,000 volumes.  Designed by Patton and Miller of Chicago, the new library was the first Carnegie library in Illinois.  By 1924, the library had issued over 1,200 library cards and inventory had increased to over 43,000 volumes.  As the years passed, the city outgrew the West Stephenson Street building, so in 1991 plans were put into motion to construct a new, modernized building.  After years of planning, a new 40,000 sf building was opened on Douglas Street in 2002.  In 2017, the old Carnegie building underwent a $2.3M renovation and now serves as Freeport’s City Hall.

Freeport Public Library (Public Domain Pre-1923 postcard)

Marian E. Holmes

Marian Elaine Holmes was born in Illinois on May 5, 1889.  She married Lloyd Eugene Holmes (1886-1930) and had one son, Stanley Campbell Holmes (1929-2005).  After being widowed in 1930, she and Stanley moved to Florida where she was a bookkeeper and secretary.  She died in Panama City, Florida in 1966.  

Free Public Library, St. Joseph, Missouri

Free Public Library, St. Joseph Missouri, Pre-1915 Library Card No. 2643 issued to Orta Gabbert

Free Public Library, St. Joseph Missouri,
Pre-1915 Free Library Card No. 2643 (front)
Free Public Library, St. Joseph Missouri,
Pre-1915 Free Library Card No. 2643 (back)

Free Public Library, St. Joseph, Missouri

The Free Public Library of St. Joseph had its beginning as a membership library on the 2nd Floor of the Samuels Building at Sixth and Charles Streets.  The space was offered free of charge by Mr. Warren Samuels if money  could be raised for the books.  After a campaign led by Mrs. John S. Lemon, which raised $3000 through the sale of lifetime memberships at $50 each, the library opened on November 8, 1887.  The library inventory held over 3,200 books in its first year of operation.  In 1890, public interest in a free library grew and by 1900, construction on a new building began.  In the meantime, having outgrown the Samuels Building space, the library relocated to Tenth and Sylvanie Streets.  On February 9, 1891, with an inventory of over 5,500 volumes, the Public Reading room opened, followed by the opening of the Circulation Department on March 16, 1891. The library remained at the Tenth and Sylvanie Streets location until March 13, 1902, when the new Carnegie library building opened at Tenth and Felix Streets.  Designed by Edmund Jacques Eckle, the French Baroque style building features terrazzo flooring in the foyer, a glass-floored balcony, and a stained glass dome.  The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 1982.

Free Public Library at Tenth & Felix Streets  built in 1902
(Photo: Edmund Jacques Eckle, Courtesy of United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division (no know copyright restrictions) 

Edmund Jacques Eckle

Edmond Jacques Eckel (1845-1934), was a French architect trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He settled in St. Joseph, Missouri around 1870 and established the architectural firm of Eckel & Meier.  Other significant projects include. the German-American Bank Building (now Mosaic), the Corby Building (the tallest building in St. Joseph), the Paxton Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Courthouse and “Squirrel Cage” Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Orta Gabbert

Orta Allen Gabbert Conner (1901-1966), was a Missouri native.

Cedar Rapids Public Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids Public Library, Children’s Services, 1950s Borrower’s Card, issued to Stacy Chehak

Cedar Rapids Public Library, Children’s Services, Borrower’s Card
Early Maurice Sendak illustration

Cedar Rapids Public Library

Advertisement of the Free Library and Reading Room at First Avenue, The Cedar Rapids Gazette, Friday, January 12, 1883

On June 23, 1905, after having outgrown smaller spaces in the Granby Building and Dow Auditorium, which the Cedar Rapids Public Library occupied during the late 1800s, a new 29,000 sq. ft. building funded by Andrew Carnegie opened at Third Avenue and Fifth Street.  By the late 1960s, overcrowding would again become a problem.  New book donations were turned away and overstock was stored in the basement.  In the 1970s, through the donations of the Hall Foundation of Cedar Rapids and other private donors, a new 83,000 sq. ft. building was constructed at 500 First Street SE, which opened on February 17, 1985.  However, on June 13, 2008, the city of Cedar Rapids experienced catastrophic flooding which destroyed many private and city buildings, including the main public library.  Much of the adult and reference collections were destroyed and the library was forced to relocate to leased space while a new permanent location was constructed.  The new Ladd Library opened in August 2013 at 450 Fifth Avenue SE. The former Carnegie building is now the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and houses the world’s largest collection of the “American Gothic” artist, Grant Wood among other noted Iowan artists.  

Cedar Rapids Public Library at 3rd Avenue and 5th Street (public domain postcard)

Anastasia “Stacy” Marie Chehak

Anastasia Marie Chehak (1953-2017) was a nationally-known diabetes expert, author and medical community leader. She was the founder of Anastasia Marie Laboratories, Inc. and The Voice of Diabetes Network, a live radio program. Serving on the US Senate Health Advisory Board under President Ronald Reagan was among her many achievements.  A 1978 graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center, she dedicated her life’s work to finding a cure for diabetes. 

New York Public Library, Fordham Branch, Bronx, New York

1957 Borrower’s Card No. 6N-8530 Issued to Elliot I. Walsey

The New York Public Library (Bainbridge Avenue/Fordham Branch), Bronx, New York (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Julian A. Henderson) (Usage: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)(cropped)

The Fordham Branch Library building, designed by the prominent New York architectural firm McKim, Mead and White, who was known for designing the main New York Public Library in Manhattan, opened for circulation on September 24, 1923.  

“Realty Notes,” New York Times Newspaper, May 25, 1923

The New York Public Library, Fordham Branch, was one of many public libraries and public buildings endowed by steel magnate,  Andrew Carnegie.  In the latter years of his life, he believed the rich had a responsibility to “improve society,” and hence, donated $350M (equal to over $5B today) to the construction of over 3,000 libraries and public spaces in his birthplace, Scotland, the United States, and around the world.

Andrew Carnegie by Theodore C. Marceau (1913) (Source: Library of Congress)
(Usage: Public Domain)

The “Fordham Branch Library” having become too small to accommodate neighborhood needs, closed in November 2005 and reopened as the Bronx Library Center at 301 East Kingsbridge Road on January 17, 2006.  The new 78,000 square-foot facility is a state-of-the-art, green library that houses the New York Public Library’s premiere Latino and Puerto Rican Heritage Collection.

The Bronx Library Center (Kingsbridge Road), Bronx, New York
(Source: Wikimedia Commons/Julian A. Henderson)
(Usage: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)(cropped)

Elliot I. Walsey (1938-2012)

Elliot Ira Walsey, born September 26, 1938 in New York, New York, was an American business owner.  He was the founder and former President of Benchmark Graphics, Ltd.  

The Public Library, Washington, DC (Also Known as the Carnegie Library)

1908 Card No. 84399 and 1909 Special Card No. 84399 Issued to Lewis Radcliffe

Library Card for the Public Library, Washington, DC (back)
Special Card (teacher) for the Public Library, Washington, DC (front)
Special Card (teacher) for the Public Library, Washington, DC (back)
Special Card (teacher) for the Public Library, Washington, DC (inside)

The Public Library, Washington, DC

The Public Library of Washington, DC, also known as The Carnegie Library or Central Public Library, is located in Mount Vernon Square at 8th and K Streets, NW. The Beaux-Arts building, designed by New York-based Ackerman & Ross, was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt and benefactor, Andrew Carnegie, on January 7, 1903.  The Carnegie Library was the first public library in Washington, DC, as well as the first desegregated public building in the Nation’s Capitol.

The Public Library, Washington, DC (also known as The Carnegie Library
(Source: Library of Congress – Usage: Public Domain)

The Public Library of Washington, DC was one of many public libraries and public buildings endowed by steel magnate,  Andrew Carnegie.  In the latter years of his life, he believed the rich had a responsibility to “improve society,” and hence, donated $350M (equal to over $5B today) to the construction of over 3,000 libraries and public spaces in his birthplace, Scotland, the United States, and around the world.

Andrew Carnegie – Photo by Theodore C. Marceau (1913)
(Source: Library of Congress Usage: Public Domain)

The “Central Public Library” was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.  In use for over 70 years as the main public library in Washington, DC, the Carnegie Library, after undergoing a $30M historic renovation, is currently the cite of the Apple Carnegie Library,  a multi-discipline learning center, which houses the DC History Center, Kiplinger Research Library,  three galleries, a museum store and an Apple products showroom. 

Lewis Radcliffe (1880-1950)

Lewis Radcliffe (Source: Binghamton Press, October 28, 1927

Lewis Radcliffe, born January 2, 1880 in Savannah, New York was an American naturalist, malacologist, and ichthyologist.  Educated at Cornell University (B.A. 1905) and George Washington University (M.S. 1915),  Radcliffe served as Deputy Commissioner of the United States Bureau of Fisheries until 1932. He was also the director of the Oyster Institute of North America until his death in 1950.