Library of Hawaii, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii

Pre-1954 Library of Hawaii Borrower’s Card No. M 8144 issued to Mrs. Margaret B. Jennings

Pre-1954 Library of Hawaii Borrower’s Card No. M 8144 issued to Mrs. Margaret B. Jennings (front)
Pre-1954 Library of Hawaii Borrower’s Card No. M 8144 issued to Mrs. Margaret B. Jennings (back)

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 Honolulu Library and Reading Room Association at Alakea and Hotel Streets. Pre-1910. Photo by Ray Jerome Baker from the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, R. J. Baker Collection of the Kamehameha Preparatory Department. (Public Domain)

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 Sunday Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 2, 1913, page 10;

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

Pre-1923 photograph by Rice and Perkins.(Public Domain)

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: [1] The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 17, 1909, page 2; [2] The Hawaiian Star, Honolulu, Hawaii, March 26, 1909, page 4; [3] The Hawaiian Star, Honolulu, Hawaii, May 21, 1910, page 5; [4] The Hawaiian Star, Honolulu, Hawaii, October 16, 1911, page 8; [5] The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 1, 1913, page 10; [6] The Sunday Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 2, 1913, page 10.

The Mullin Free Library for Boys, West Chester, Pennsylvania

1906 The Mullin Free Library for Boys Membership Card No. 376 issued to William J. Johnson 

1906 The Mullin Free Library for Boys Membership Card No. 376 issued to William J. Johnson (front)
1906 The Mullin Free Library for Boys Membership Card No. 376 issued to William J. Johnson (back)

The Mullin Free Library for Boys

The Mullen Free Library for Boys was a free library for patrons of Haberdasher, Tailor and Clothier, J. Charles Mullin’s clothing store located at 28-32 West Gay Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania during the early 1900s.  If a suit or overcoat was purchased at the store, the boy would receive a membership card that entitled him to use of the free library.   

From the Merchants Record and Show Window Illustrated Monthly Journal,
October 1908

J. Herbert Mullin

James Herbert Mullin (1872-1941) was a West Chester native.  He was educated at the Rugby Academy and Friends School.  Like his father, James Torbert Mullin, and brother, James Strickland Mullin, he was West Chester clothier.  Joining his brother at Mullin & Loomis (established with Esau Loomis), they operated a successful clothing store at 28-32 W. Gay Street.  In addition, James Herbert Mullin was a patron of the arts, and promoted music concerts in West Chester. 

Los Angeles County Public Library, Burbank Branch, Los Angeles, California

Pre-1935 Los Angeles County Public Library, Burbank Branch, Library Card No. 21-29-90 issued to Dale Jolley

Pre-1935 Los Angeles County Public Library, Burbank Branch, Library Card No. 21-29-90 issued to Dale Jolley (front)
Pre-1935 Los Angeles County Public Library, Burbank Branch, Library Card No. 21-29-90 issued to Dale Jolley (back)

Originally the Los Angeles County Free Library, the Los Angeles County Public Library (LACPL) was established after the “County Free Library Act” was enacted in 1912. Shortly after, the Burbank Branch was opened in May 1913. The original location of the library was at the corner of Olive Avenue and San Fernando Road.

By 1921, with a growing inventory of over 500 volumes, the Burbank branch library relocated to a room in the City Hall. Due to growing demand, in July 1925, the library began to open its doors twice weekly, and Burbank City officials saw the need to build a new Library. In February 1926, a new Library and Chamber of Commerce building opened at 219 North Olive Avenue.

By the 1930s, Burbank experienced rapid growth, which prompted city officials to make plans to detach from the Los Angeles County Public Library and open a municipal-owned library. In April 1934, three lots were purchased on Olive Avenue. Construction funds were raised locally, and books needed to stock the library were donated by Burbank residents. Eventually, all LACPL materials were returned, and in September 1938, the new city-owned library opened at 425 East Olive Avenue stocked with over 5,000 volumes.

By the end of the 1950s, multiple branch libraries opened with 7,000 to 10,000 volumes each, including the Buena Vista (Carolyn See, librarian), West Burbank, and North Glenoaks Branch Libraries.

In July 1963, a new two-story modernized building opened.

Article from the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, June 16, 1963.

The new building had a capacity of 200,000 volumes and four times the space of their former location at 425 East Olive Avenue, which was razed. The Central Library continues to operate from the Olive Avenue location.

Dale M. Jolley

Dale Marion Jolley was born in 1921 in Paul, Idaho. He graduated from Burbank High School in 1940. After high school, Jolley was signed by the Music Corporation of America as a saxophonist. He became a member of the Freddie Nagel Band and recorded with the Jack Teagarden Orchestra on recordings such as Big “T” jump in 1944. During the 1960s, Jolley gave private clarinet and saxophone lessons. Dale Jolley died in 1985 at the age of 63.