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. 

Havana Military Academy, Biblioteca Rafael Maria Mendive, Havana, Cuba

Pre-1960 Book Pocket and Book Card, Havana Military Academy, Biblioteca Rafael Maria Mendive

Pre-1960 Book Pocket with Book Card for Victor Hugo’s biography of William Shakespeare, Havana Military Academy, Biblioteca Rafael Maria Mendive
Pre-1960 Book Pocket, Havana Military Academy, Biblioteca Rafael Maria Mendive
Pre-1960 Book Card for Victor Hugo’s biography of William Shakespeare, Havana Military Academy, Biblioteca Rafael Maria Mendive

The Havana Military Academy, Havana, Cuba

The Havana Military Academy, founded by Raúl Chibás in 1947, before the Cuban Revolution, was an elite military-style boarding school on the outskirts of Havana, Cuba.

Advertisement for the 1953-1954 School Season of the Havana Military Academy,
Havana, Cuba

The 1947 Montreal Royals

Before opening to students in late 1947, the Academy famously hosted the Brooklyn Dodgers and their AAA farm team, the Montreal Royals for their 1947 spring training season. After having experienced racial harassment from white crowds in Daytona Beach during the 1946 spring training season due to the Royals integrated roster that included the first black minor league player, Jackie Robinson, management decided to change the location training location to Cuba after learning that baseball teams in Cuba had been integrated since the early 1900s. However, Jim Crow laws followed Robinson and the Royals to Havana. While the Dodgers stayed at the swank Hotel Nacional and the Royals at the brand new Havana Military Academy, Jackie Robinson and other African American teammates were given accommodations at a third-rate boarding house in downtown Havana. This unfair treatment didn’t deter Jackie Robinson from making baseball history. In the 1947 regular season, Jackie Robinson was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers and become the first African American major league baseball player in the history of American baseball, became the Rookie of the year, and helped the Dodgers go all the way to the 1947 World Series.

The Cuban Revolution of 1953

Before the Cuban Revolution, Cuban politics were rife with corruption, dictatorships, and episodic American intervention and interference. The Cuban economy, at times robust due to the growing exports of sugar to the United States, continually fluctuated and ultimately stagnated because of restrictive trade policies introduced by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930.
In 1933, the Sergeants’ Revolt, a coup led by Fulgencio Batista, led to the deposition of President Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and the introduction of a United States-backed military dictatorship. While the economy prospered under Batista, so did social ills and inequalities. Cuba became known for its decadence, a destination for prostitution and gambling at mafia-infested casinos. Moreover, while the economy under Batista was burgeoning for many, the underclass was experiencing extreme poverty and unemployment. In 1952, a young attorney named Fidel Castro petitioned the courts to overthrow the presidency of Batista due to his corruption, but Castro’s arguments were not persuasive to the Cuban courts. It was then that Castro concluded that more forceful steps were needed to rid Cuba of an administration he saw as tyrannical. With the help of his brother Raul, Castro organized a paramilitary organization called “The Movement,” and by the end of 1952 had recruited over 1,200 followers. In 1953, a failed attempt at stealing weapons from a military garrison landed Castro in prison for a term of 15 years but was released early due to international pressures. Upon his release, Castro traveled to Mexico to receive paramilitary training, and there met a young militant revolutionary named Che Guevara. Guevara joined forces with Castro, and both returned to Cuba to begin the revolution in earnest. On November 25, 1956, Castro, Guevara, and other supporters crash-landed a small yacht onto the shores of Playa Las Coloradas. After a brief but lethal attack by Batista’s army, they fled into the mountains, where they continued plans for a coup. In response to the growing revolutionary movement, Batista solicited the help of the United States to combat the rebels, but the United States played both hands and supplied support to the rebels, as well, sensing the need to establish a relationship should Castro’s revolution be successful. From 1957 through 1958, there was a dramatic shift in public support for the revolution. Batista’s public approval was dwindling, and an arms embargo by the United States further weakened Batista’s military powers. On January 1, 1959, Batista fled Cuba and Fidel Castro’s first appointed President, Manuel Urrutia Lleo, took office on January 3, 1959. In a speech by Fidel Castro on November 28, 1960, Castro spoke of the Havana Military Academy that had been abandoned by Raúl Chibás upon his defection to the United States. “A gentlemen left, leaving a school behind called the Havana Military Academy. Now we are adding to it, and it will be the first rebel army polytechnic school for the revolution … and it has the manpower to do all the tasks and achieve all the goals it proposes.”

Havana Military Academy Educators and Students

Raúl Chibás

Raúl Chibás (1917-1998) founder of the Havana Military Academy, and a long-time critic of the Batista administration, joined Fidel Castro’s revolutionary movement in 1957. Politics was no stranger to the Chibás family. His brother, Eddy Chibás, was the founder of the Partido Ortodoxo in Cuba, a former Senator and a controversial radio talk show host who committed suicide on air in an act of political contrition. Raul, believing that Castro was the answer to the overthrow of President Batista and the advent of democracy in Cuba, joined Castro in the Sierra Maestra Mountains, where he co-authored the Sierra Maestra Manifesto laying out the democratic intentions of the revolution. But Castro, needing the support of those with less radical leanings like Chibás, concealed his communist intentions. After the revolution, Chibás became disillusioned with Castro’s authoritarianism and defected to America in August 1960.

Félix Rodríguez

Félix Rodríguez (b. 1941), also known as Félix “El Gato” Ramos Medina, was a Havana Military Academy graduate recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency shortly after his defection to the United States in 1960. In 1961, Rodríguez slipped back into Cuba to prepare for the covert Bay of Pigs operation, but due to the failure of the mission, sought refuge at the Venezuelan embassy before he was allowed to leave Cuba. Rodríguez was involved in many CIA-backed operations, but he is most well-known for his participation in the assassination of Che Guevera on October 9, 1967, and arms trafficking for the CIA and the Nicaraguan Contras.

Manuel Artime

Manuel Artime (1932 –1977), a professor at the Havana Military Academy, was a former member of Castro’s rebel army.  In 1959, after becoming disillusioned by Castro’s increasingly communist leanings, he formed a counter-revolutionary group called the Movimiento de Recuperación Revolucionaria (MRR).  However, fearing assassination by Castro’s army, Artime defected to the United States with the help of the American embassy and the CIA.  After defecting, Artime was recruited by the CIA and become the leader of the Bay of Pigs resistance fighters and other anti-Castro campaigns, including a failed assassination attempt against Fidel Castro in 1965.  In the 1970s, Artime organized the Miami Watergate Defense Relief Fund, collecting money for the convicted Watergate burglars, a number of whom were American or Cuban veterans of the Bay of Pigs operation.  Artime died suddenly on November 18, 1977, prior to his scheduled appearance before the House Select Committee on Assassinations to give testimony on the John F. Kennedy assassination.

Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

1882 Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati Member’s Ticket (Circulation No. B. 69) Issued to J. H. Barker

1882 Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati Member’s Ticket (Circulation No. B. 69) Issued to J. H. Barker (front)
1882 Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati Member’s Ticket (Circulation No. B. 69) Issued to J. H. Barker (back)

Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati was established in April 1835 by Moses Ranney and 44 young men seeking to improve their skills within their mercantile trades.  Lacking useful resources to improve their skills, they banded together to open a library that would cater to the needs of the undereducated and those seeking self-improvement.  With seed money of $1800 and 700 volumes, the Library began operations in the Daniel Ames’ Building on Main Street, below Pearl, for $12.50 per month. Being a modest operation on a shoestring budget, there was no librarian, so all library duties were performed by the Directors. However, due to a steady increase in membership, the Library was able to elect their first librarian by the end of the first year.  By 1836, the Library had approximately 1200 volumes.

The Library held art exhibits, literary readings and lectures by noted clergy, businessmen, and literary figures such as William Makepeace Thackeray, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Horace Greeley.  The Library also encouraged the advancement of women by extending invitations to Harriet Beecher Stowe and Eliza Logan.  Periodicals and worldwide newspapers, such as the London Times were available, as well as foreign language books. The Library also offered classes in languages, mathematics, book-keeping and penmanship.

Early etching by unknown artist of the First Cincinnati College Building.  (No known copyright restrictions.  Used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 and the Doctrine of Fair Use)

In Spring of 1840, the Library began its association with Cincinnati College and moved into rented rooms in the Cincinnati College building located on Walnut Street.

The Fire of 1845

On January 19, 1845, the Cincinnati College was destroyed by fire.  Due to the heroic efforts of nearby members, many volumes were saved and transferred to rooms at the corner of Fourth and Sycamore Streets for temporary housing.  This calamity offered the Library a unique opportunity.  In consideration of the sum of $10,000 donated by the Library to go toward rebuilding, the Cincinnati College granted the Library ownership in perpetuity to a suite of rooms in the new building. Plans for a new 3-story building “exclusive of the attic” having “a modern edifice of Grecian Doric order” were announced in the Cincinnati Enquirer on March 3, 1846. The front area on the second floor would be designed for the accommodation of the Library. 

Moving Forward 

The Library remained active during this period of displacement.  In 1853, a block of native marble taken from the Ohio River bedrock was donated to the construction of the Washington Monument.

Engraving on native marble block donated to the building of the Washington Monument in 1853 (public domain)

In addition to continued civic activities and cultural events, membership grew to 2,500 (by 1855) and the number of volumes available to members increased through purchase and donation to over 15,000.  In 1859, women were permitted to join the Library.

The Fire of 1869

On October 20, 1869, a second fire destroyed the Cincinnati College building. Plans to build a new 4-story building were put into place by late 1869, and the Library temporarily moved to the A. E. Chamberlain & Co. building at 137-139 Race Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets).  By 1871, the new 4-story building was opened and the Library was back on Walnut Street.  

1890s photo by unknown photographer of Cincinnati College Bulidng on Walnut Street.  (No known copyright restrictions.  Used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 and the Doctrine of Fair Use)

In the early 1900s, the Cincinnati College Building was sold to local business interests and a new 12-story building was built on the Walnut Street site.  A 1905 city directory lists the Library address as 11th Floor Mercantile Library Building.  The Library continues to operate from the Mercantile Library Building.  It is one of the last subscription libraries in the United States.

Early 1900s photo by unknown photographer of Mercantile Library Building at 414 Walnut Street.  (No known copyright restrictions.  Used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 and the Doctrine of Fair Use)

Moses Ranney

Moses Ranney (1810-1853) was a local business man and a leading figure in the organization of the Young Men’s Mercantile Library Association of Cincinnati. He served as the Library’s first President from 1835-1840. Born in Middletown, Connecticut to Moses Ranney, Sr. and Elizabeth Gilchrist, his father, Moses, died shortly after his birth.  As a young man, he travelled to Cincinnati with his mother and established a business. In 1837, he married Catherine Maria Luckey (1818-1906), and together had six daughters, five of which pre-deceased Ranney.  

A melodramatic article on the vices of drinking published in the February 1, 1855  Lancaster Gazette indicated Ranney’s life took a downward spiral and that he lost everything due to alcoholism.  Perhaps a kernel of truth due to the trauma of loss of multiple children took its toll.

From the Lancaster Gazette, February 1, 1855

Moses Ranney died on August 20, 1852, in New Orleans, Louisiana of Yellow Fever.  He was buried in the Cypress Grove Cemetery.

From the Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), August 22, 1852
From the Richmond Weekly Palladium (Richmond, Indiana), September 23, 1853

H. B. Morehead

Harry “Henry” Blackburn Morehead (1847-1899), son of  Kentucky Governor James T. Morehead, was a stockbroker and principal owner of H. B. Morehead & Co., a stocks and bonds brokerage.  In 1891, being a majority stock holder, he  assumed control and management of the Commercial Gazette Company.    He succumbed to tuberculosis in 1899. He is buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

From The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), March 28, 1899

J. H. Barker

Joseph H. Barker (1854-1902), son of Capt. Jonathan H. Barker (1814-1900), steamboat captain for the Cincinnati to Louisville Daily Packet Line, was a supervisor for the New Water Company.  He succumbed to liver disease and is buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati,

Rosenberg Library, Colored Branch, Galveston, Texas

Pre-1949 Rosenberg Library, Colored Branch, Library Card No. 1273 issued to Walter Lacey

Rosenberg Library, Colored Branch, Library Card (front)
Rosenberg Library, Colored Branch, Library Card (back)
Rosenberg Library, Colored Branch, Library Card (sleeve)

Rosenberg Library, Colored Branch, Galveston, Texas

Engraving above side entry to the Old Central Cultural Center (author unknown) (no know copyright restrictions)

The “Colored Branch” of the Rosenberg Library in Galveston, Texas, was the first public library in Texas for African Americans.  It is believed that it was also the first public library for African Americans in the entire southern region of the United States. The main branch of the Rosenberg Library, established in 1904 from a trust bequeathed by Henry Rosenberg, was located at 2310 Sealy Street, but due to Jim Crow laws and forced segregation, African American residents were prohibited from using the new library.  Shortly before the opening of the new Rosenberg Library, the Board of Directors resolved to open a “colored” branch “so that the white and colored citizens of Galveston may separately derive advantages from the bequest of Henry Rosenberg for the establishment and maintenance of a Free Public Library for the use of the people of Galveston.”  Subsequently, a new “colored branch” opened in 1905.  It was located in an annex building of Central High School, the first public school for African Americans, located at 1304 27th Street.  The segregated branch opened with over 4,000 volumes and 210 library members.  In 1965, the Galveston School District integrated and the students at Central High School slowly merged with Ball High School.  Central High School closed it’s doors in 1968 and in 1976 became the Old Central Cultural Center.  The words “Colored Branch of Rosenberg Library” are still above the stone doorway leading into the annex.

Henry Rosenberg

Portrait of Henry Rosenberg courtesy of the Rosenberg Library.  No known copyright restrictions.  Used in accordance with the 17 USC 107, Fair Use Doctrine.

Henry Rosenberg born in Switzerland in 1824, arrived in Galveston, Texas in February 1843 and worked as a clerk in a dry-goods store.  He eventually purchased the business and turned it into the leading dry-goods store in Texas by 1859.  Subsequently, he branched into financing and investing in the banking, real estate and transportation industries.  He died in Galveston in 1889 and bequeathed part of his fortune to the city of Galveston.

Walter Lacey 

Lt. Walter Jay Lacy (1915-1998) was a 1932 graduate of Central High School in Galveston, and joined the Galveston Police Department in 1939. After enlisting in the US Marine Corps and serving a tour during WWII, he resumed his duties for the Galveston Police Department and served the community of Galveston as a detective for 40 years and a civil employee for another 15 years. Lt. Lacy, a highly decorated officer, was recognized by the Texas House of Representatives for his services to the Galveston Police Department, received The Outstanding Officer and Detective Division Award from the 50’s Club of Galveston, and an award from the Texas Peace Officers Association for outstanding services in 1997. 

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.