Bill Library, Ledyard, Connecticut

Pre-1884 Library Card issued to Miss Sadie Main

Pre-1884 Library Card issued to Miss Sadie Main

Bill Library, Ledyard, Connecticut

Pre-1923 Postcard of the Bill Library, Ledyard, CT (Public Domain)
Pre-1923 Postcard of the Bill Library, Ledyard, CT (Public Domain)

In January, 1867, Henry Bill, a successful business-owner in nearby Norwich, contacted prominent members of the Ledyard community and gave notice that it was his desire to establish a free library for his “native town.”

Letter to Rev. N.B. Cook, January 12, 1867. From History of the Town of Ledyard, 1650-1900, by Rev. John Avery, published Noyes & Davis, Press of the Bulletin Co., Norwich, Connecticut, 1901 (no known copyright restrictions)

Through the generous donations of books and funds from Henry Bill and his brothers, Ledyard and Gurden, the Bill Library opened Monday, October 7, 1867, with approximately 1,000 books housed in custom-made bookcases installed in the Congregational Church.

The Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, October 8, 1867, page 8.

A New Library Building

Eventually, the small library in the Congregational Church became inadequate, and plans to build a new library building, separate from the church, was planned. With $3,000 donated by Henry Bill and his brothers, and land donated by Henry Bill, the new building was built on the “Common” across from the Congregational Church. The new Bill Library was dedicated on September 13, 1893, during the annual meeting.and dinner of the trustees of the Bill Library Association.

The Hartford Daily Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, September 20, 1893, page 8

The original building was expanded in 1971 and again in 1982, and is still located at 718 Colonel Ledyard Highway. The library collection contains over 67,000 volumes, and circulates nearly 165,000 items a year to a population of 15,000 residents.

Henry Bill

Born in Groton, Connecticut on May 18, 1824, it was Henry Bill’s desire to “leave a permanent testimonial of [his] great regard for [his] native town,” and so established the Ledyard Library Association with an initial donation of $1,000.  

Henry Billl (public domain)
The Bill Block at the corner of Water & Shetucket Streets., Norwich, CT. Plate from a book published by the Henry Bill Publishing Company.

Henry Bill died August 14, 1891, and is buried in the Yantic Cemetery in Norwich, Connecticut.

Henry Bill Obituary. The Journal, Meriden, Connecticut, August 15, 1891, Page 1

Edmund Spicer

Edmund Spicer, born January 11, 1812, was the first Librarian of the Bill Library Association (1867 to 1890). He died May 1, 1890, and is buried in the Spicer Cemetery in Ledyard, Connecticut.

Sadie Elizabeth Main

Sadie Elizabeth Main born March 13, 1870, daughter to John L Main and Phoebe Frink Main. She married Herbert Richardson (1856-1930) in 1891. Sadie Elizabeth Main died December 18, 1940 and is buried in the Pachaug Cemetery in Griswold, New London County, Connecticut.

Istituto Fascista di Cultura Biblioteca, Rome, Italy

Pre-1937 Istituto Fascista di Cultura Biblioteca Library Card N.641, Issued to Alberto Sorani

Pre-1937 Istituto Fascista di Cultura Biblioteca Library Card N.641, Issued to Alberto Sorani (front)
Pre-1937 Istituto Fascista di Cultura Biblioteca Library Card N.641, Issued to Alberto Sorani (back)

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.

English Translation of Istituto Fascista di Cultura Biblioteca Card N. 641, issued to Alberto Sorani

Giovanni Gentile

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, 1930. No copyright restrictions, Public domain photograph..

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. 

Giovanni Gentile presents to Benito Mussolini the first volume of La Treccani. Palazzo Venezia, Rome, Italy,, 1937. No copyright restrictions. Public Domain photograph.

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..  

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. 

Martin Memorial Library, York, Pennsylvania

Martin Memorial Library Card No. 20913 Issued to Mary Anne Sunday

Martin Memorial Library Card No. 20913 Issued to Mary Anne Sunday (front)
Martin Memorial Library Card No. 20913 Issued to Mary Anne Sunday (back)

Martin Memorial Library, York, Pennsylvania

Located at the corner of Market and Queen Streets since 1935, the library had its beginning in 1912 when Milton D. Martin, a local businessman, bequeathed $125,000 for the construction of a public library and another $20,000 to be held in trust for the maintenance of that library. Appointed Board members felt the sum too little to adequately provide for the library. Over the next two decades, legal issues hampered the establishment of the library, including whether to levy a tax on citizens, the library location, and whether the city could legally maintain the library. Public patience wore thin. The citizens presented petitions in favor of the library at public hearings, and letters to the editor questioned whether the “supposed” public library would ever exist. Eventually, the Board resolved all legal issues, and in September 1934, L. Reinholder & Son won the contract for constructions and interior shelving. On November 1, 1935, the long-awaiting Martin Memorial Library opened and hosted over 2,600 visitors on its first day, 480 of which became registered users. Architect Frederick G. Dempwolf designed the brick and limestone Pennsylvania Colonial-style building. The library has been in continuous use since 1935.

Martin Memorial Library (postcard with no known copyright restrictions)

Milton D. Martin

Milton D. Martin (November 23, 1859-December 31, 1912) was a prominent York business owner and local benefactor. Along with his father, Hiram, he manufactured buggies, carriages, and sleighs through the late 1800s. Although Hiram Martin & Son went bankrupt in 1888, Milton D. Martin later opened Martin Carriage Works of York, which eventually had upwards of 500 employees. In 1909, at the dawn of the electric car, Martin transformed his factory into an automobile and truck manufacturer.

Martin Carriage Works Ad, The Gazette, York Pennsylvania, February 3, 1912

In addition to his manufacturing businesses, he was President of the Guardian Trust Company of York, and a benefactor and Director of the York Hospital, to which he contributed funds to build an improved operating room.  

Milton D. Martin (author unknown) (no known copyright restrictions)

Upon his death, Milton D. Martin bequeathed $125,000 for the construction of a public library and another $20,000 to be held in trust for the maintenance of that library. His kindness was extended to his housekeeper of many years, leaving her $8,000, which today equals approximately $200,000. 

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. 

Guille-Allès Library, Guernsey, Channel Islands

1945 Guille-Allès Library Reserved Book Reminder Postcard addressed to Mrs. P. De la Mare

1945 Guille-Allès Library Reserved Book Reminder Postcard addressed to Mrs. P. De la Mare (front)
1945 Guille-Allès Library Reserved Book Reminder Postcard addressed to Mrs. P. De la Mare (back)

The Guille-Allès Library

“Never shall I forget, the emotion of wonder and delight which seized me when, for the first time, I entered the library. ”

– Thomas Guille said of his first time in the Apprentice’s Library of The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen in New York City

In 1832, 14-year-old, Thomas Guille, set off from Guernsey for America to become an apprentice at a painting company owned by a family friend, Daniel Mauger. While in New York City, Guille had access to the Apprentice’s Library of The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen. Amazed by the library’s extensive collection, Guille resolved to open a similar library in Guernsey and, thus, began purchasing books with his earnings. In 1834, Frederick Mansell Allès, a school friend of Guille’s, joined him in New York and found employment at the same painting company. Several years later, when Daniel Mauger opened another business in neighboring Brooklyn, Guille and Allès took over the New York City company, beginning what would be a lifelong partnership. 

In 1851, while on a routine visit to Guernsey, Guille unveiled his proposed library plan through a series of articles in the local newspaper, La Gazette Official de Guernsey, but it took another five years for his plans to begin to unfold. In 1856, Guille established a circulating library that rotated a supply of books amongst several stations throughout the island. Then in 1867, all of the books were centralized at one location in St. Peter Port.

In 1869, after experiencing near-fatal sunstroke, Guille and his new wife, Eliza, returned permanently to Guernsey, bringing with him the books he had collected while in New York City. Guille’s recuperation was slow, but this allowed him to set about developing the library, but on August 11, 1871, Eliza fell from a cliff to her death while walking with friends. A bereaved Guille subsequently devoted himself entirely to the development of the library, along with the assistance of John Linwood Pitts. In 1881, Guille’s 30-year business partner, Frederick Allès, returned permanently to Guernsey and re-associated himself with the library venture.  The growing library was moved to the Assembly Rooms on Market Street and opened to the public on January 2, 1882.

The Star (Saint Peter Port, Guernsey, England), December 13, 1881.

While the library was public, it was not yet free. Because the English Libraries Act did not extend to the Channel Islands, there was a small annual membership fee of 10 francs. 

One year later, Guille and Allès purchased the Market Street building, which had room for 50,000 volumes, as well as newspaper and magazine rooms, reference and lending libraries, meeting rooms and classrooms, a cloakroom, and even a ladies’ lavatory. 

Frederick Mansell Allès died on February 20, 1985, and Thomas Guille on December 4, 1896.  

Late 1800’s Guille-Allès Library Book Plate (usually found on the outside cover of the book)
Late 1800’s Guille-Allès Library Book Plate
Late 1800’s Guille-Allès Library Book Stamp

World War II

On June 30, 1940, during the peak of World War II, German troops invaded the Channel Islands resulting in a five-year occupation.  Although Guernsey was occupied, the Guille-Allès Library continued operating, although hours were cut short and books were censored and many replaced with German language reading materials. German soldiers were issued permits to borrow books, but were rarely used.   

As the occupation continued and life became more difficult for the people of Guernsey, in acts of passive resistance, the librarians began to hide forbidden items such as food and wireless radio sets behind books and on dummy shelves.  In 1942, Guille-Allès librarian, Arthur Henry Davey, was arrested by German troops and sent to Biberach, an internment camp in Germany for inhabitants of the Channel Islands.  During his imprisonment, the library maintained his position and saved his pay until he returned after the war.  The Channel Islands and Guernsey remained occupied until May 9, 1945, when German forces surrendered upon the announcement of the end of the war.  

The Old Government House Hotel

The card is addressed to Mrs. P. De la Mare at Fairholme, Ann’s Place, St. Peter Port, which is the address of The Old Government House Hotel.  Built in the early eighteenth century as a home for a local merchant, the house was purchased by the Channel Islands’ government in 1797 to serve as the home of the Lieutenant Governor.  In 1857, the home was sold and began operation as the Old Government House Hotel.  During the German occupation, the hotel was used a base for German officers, and in 1941, became a soldiers’ home for the remainder of the war.  The hotel continues to operate today as a 5-star hotel.

The Old Government House Hotel, circa 1960s (no known copyright restrictions)

Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland Public Library, Pre-1932 Library Card No. 4006 and Card Sleeve issued to Walter R. Miller

Cleveland Public Library Pre-1932 Library Card (front)
Cleveland Public Library, Pre-1932 Library Card (back)
Cleveland Public Library Pre-1932 Card Sleeve (front)
Cleveland Public Library, Pre-1932 Card Sleeve (back)

Cleveland Public Library

In March 1867, a legislative statute was passed authorizing the Board of Education to tax the citizens of Cleveland for the purpose of funding a public library.  Housed on the third floor of the Northrup & Harrington Block on Superior Street, the library opened to the public on February 17, 1869, with approximately 2,000 books obtained from the public school library.  By August 1869, there were nearly 4,000 registered members.

Northrup & Harrington Building, Superior Street, Pre-1923 Public Domain Postcard

Between 1873 and 1879, the Library moved multiple times.  The Clark Building on Superior Street, the new City Hall, and the second and third floors of the old Central High School building on Euclid Avenue. 

In 1884, the Cleveland Public Library appointed William H. Brett as Head Library.  Brett, who was considered to be  one of the most influential librarians of the twenty century, introduced the then-novel idea of an “open shelf” system, whereby library members would have direct access to the books.  Brett served as Head Librarian until his untimely death in 1918.

William Howard Brett, Head Librarian of the Cleveland Public Library (1885-1911) (Public Domain)

In 1915, the Cleveland architectural firm, Walker and Weeks, won a competition to design a new library building, but due to the demands of World War I, construction was delayed until 1923.  Finally, in September 1925, the $4,000,000  classical Renaissance-style building opened its doors to the public.  

Cleveland Public Library, Superior Street, Pre-1923 Public Domain Postcard
Photo Erik Drost – photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en (no changes)

In 1997, the 10-story Louis Stokes Wing was dedicated and the main building underwent a $24 million renovation, including careful restoration of the original ceiling finishes,  original leather doors, exterior marble and historical light fixtures.  


The Louis Stokes Wing of the Cleveland Public Library.  The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) June 12,1997, Page 75.

The Cleveland Public Library celebrated its 150-year anniversary in 2019.  Today, the Cleveland Public Library system has twenty-seven branch libraries.  

William H. Brett

William Howard Brett (1846-1918) was head librarian for the Cleveland Public Library from 1884 to 1918.  He is considered one of the “100 most important librarians of the 20th century”. Under Brett’s guidance, book circulation at the Cleveland Public Library went from 50,000 volumes in 1889 to over 3 million volumes in 1918, placing the library in the top three of the greatest libraries in the United States at that time.

Brett was known for introducing several new library management concepts that are still used today. While at the Cleveland Public Library, he instituted an “open shelf” concept whereby allowing library members to have direct access to library materials and the ability to browse and research independently. Another major contribution was “divisional arrangements.” Brett and his vice-librarian, Linda A. Eastman, divided the reference and circulating books into major categories and had dedicated staff handle each subject matter. Brett also championed separate children’s reading rooms believing that children deserved their own space.

Brett’s life and library career were cut short by a drunk driver in 1918.

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The Harvard College Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts

1895 Harvard University Bursar’s Office Freshman Security Receipt issued to R. E. Andrews

Harvard University Bursar’s Office Freshman Security Receipt for library privileges dated September 23, 1895 issued to R. E. Andrews (front)
Harvard University Bursar’s Office Freshman Security Receipt for library privileges dated September 23, 1895 issued to R. E. Andrews (back)

Founded in 1636, Harvard College (now Harvard University) and Harvard College Library is the oldest University and private and academic library in the United States.

Established through personal donations from the University’s namesake, John Harvard, a Puritan minister who bequeathed over 400 religious texts to the College on his death, the Library was initially located at the Old College building.

The Old College. From the Harvard University Archives,
Records of Early Harvard Buildings. No known copyright restrictions.

In 1676, The Library moved to Harvard Hall, where it remained for nearly 100 years until the building and library collection was destroyed by fire in 1764.

The original Harvard Hall destroyed by fire on January 24, 1764. Location of the Harvard College Library from 1676 to 1764. Artist unknown. No known copyright restrictions.
News article detailing the fire of 1764. The Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), February 23, 1764. No known copyright restrictions.

Rebuilt in 1766, the Library reopened with a new inventory of over 15,000 volumes, an inventory primarily donated by Thomas Hollis of England and books that were re-collected from students after the fire. Harvard Library’s online catalog system, HOLLIS (Harvard On-Line Library Information System), is thus named in his honor. Through a generous endowment provided by Hollis upon his death in 1774, the Library was able to continue purchasing books for the library, thus maintaining its position as the most extensive library in the United States. 

Harvard Hall, rebuilt in 1766. Location of the Harvard College Library from 1766 to 1841.
Pre-1925 public domain postcard.

Due to this continued growth, the Library moved once again in 1841 to Gore Hall. By 1912, Gore Hall was no longer suitable to hold the ever-growing collection, so the Library was disbursed into smaller specialty libraries.  

Gore Hall. Location of the Harvard College Library from 1841 to 1912.
Pre-1925 public domain postcard.

Libraries of the Harvard Library System

 • Andover-Harvard Theological Library (1911)

 • Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library (1903)

 • George F. Baker Library (1927)

 • Biblioteca Berenson (Florence, Italy) (1961)

 • Botany Libraries

 • Godfrey Lowell Cabot Science Library (1973)

 • Francis A. Countway Library (1958)

 • Dumbarton Oaks Research Library (Washington, DC) (1940)

 • Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (1861)

 • Fine Arts Library (1895)

 • H.C. Fung Library (2005)

 • Monroe C. Gutman Library (1972)

 • Harvard Film Archive (1979)

 • Harvard Kennedy School Library and Knowledge Services (formerly the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration) (1936)

 • Harvard Law School Library (1817)

 • Harvard University Archives (1851)

 • Harvard-Yenching Library (1928)

 • Arthur A. Houghton Library (1942)

 • Thomas W. Lamont Library (1949)

 • Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library (1976)

 • Frances Loeb Design Library (1969)

 • Robbins Library of Philosophy (1905)

 • Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Radcliffe (1943)

 • Alfred Marston Tozzer Library (1866)

 • Harry Elkins Widener Library (1915)

 • John G. Wolbach Library (1934)

At 15 million volumes, The Harvard College Library continues to hold one of the largest collections in the United States, surpassed only by the Library of Congress. 

Robert Eaton Andrews

Robert Eaton Andrews was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 4, 1878.  He earned his B.A. from Harvard University in 1899, and his M.D. from Harvard University Medical School in 1903. He was a resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, until his death in 1963.  

Charles F. Mason

Charles F. Mason (1860-1947), graduated from Harvard in 1882 and subsequently served as the Bursar of the University for 34 years from 1887-1921. 

The James V. Brown Library, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Pre-1934 Reader’s Card No. 51582 issued to Lawrence Mulliner

Pre-1934 Reader’s Card No. 51582 issued to Lawrence Mulliner (front)
Pre-1934 Reader’s Card No. 51582 issued to Lawrence Mulliner (back)

The James V. Brown Library

The James V. Brown Library, Williamsport, Pennsylvania (Pre-1923 public domain postcard)

The James V. Brown Library, at 19 East Fourth Street in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, opened its doors to the public in 1907.  James V. Brown, a wealthy business owner, had long desired to build a public library for the citizens of Williamsport, but plans in earnest didn’t begin until 1899 when Brown purchased a plot of land on which to build the new library.  Brown then hired Philadelphia architect, Edgar V. Seeler, to design the new library.  By May 1900, Seeler had proposed a grand, French Renaissance building, complete with monolithic, twenty-two foot, dual columns flanking the entrance.  Seeler designed the building to include an art gallery space, marble statues imported from Italy, an elevator, steam heat and electric lights throughout.  

Edgar V. Seeler’s Rendering of the proposed James V. Brown Library (from the Altoona Tribune, December 1, 1901)

The cornerstone was laid on March 10, 1906, and the library opened to the public on June 17, 1907. 

The James v. Brown Library Reading Room and Delivery Desk (pre-1923 public domain postcard)

The James V. Brown Library Reader’s Card Application

1918-1928 Reader’s Card Application (front)
1918-1928 Reader’s Card Application (back)
1918-1928 Reader’s Card Application Return Envelope (front)
1918-1928 Reader’s Card Application Return Envelope (back)

James V. Brown

James V. Brown (from the Altoona Tribune, December 1, 1910)

James Van Duzee Brown, born on March 4, 1826, was a business owner and philanthropist in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  He amassed a large fortune through a number of early business ventures, including lumber, coal and flour milling.  He was an early founder of the First National Bank in Pennsylvania, President of the Williamsport Water Company and the Citizens’ Gas and Water Company.  Prior to his death, he pledged $400,000 to build a public library.  James V. Brown died on December 8, 1904, three years before completion of the new library.