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. 

Gale Memorial Library, Laconia, New Hampshire

The Gale Memorial Library, Laconia, New Hampshire

The Gale Memorial Library, Laconia, New Hampshire (front)
(Public Domain – Pre-1923 postcard)
The Gale Memorial Library, Laconia, New Hampshire (back)
(Public Domain – Pre-1923 postcard)

The Gale Memorial Library is located at 695 Main Street in Laconia, New Hampshire.  The Richardsonian Romanesque-style building was funded by a local banker, Napoleon Bonaparte Gale, who, knowing the importance of public libraries, bequeathed $100,000 for “a substantial and proper building of brick and stone for the Public Library,” as well as a hospital and park. Designed by Boston architect, Charles Brigham, and constructed between 1901 and 1903, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Napoleon Bonaparte Gale

Napoleon Bonaparte Gale (1815-1984), was a successful Laconia banker. 

Egyptian National Library and Archives (دار الكتب والوثائق القومية)

Pre-1923 postcard of The Egyptian National Library and Archives (public domain)
Pre-1923 postcard of The Egyptian National Library and Archives (back) (public domain)

The Egyptian National Library and Archives  (دار الكتب والوثائق القومية) “Dar el-Kotob”,  formerly known as The Kehdivial Kutub Khana, is a non-profit government organization, and is located in Cairo.  It is the largest library in Egypt and one of the largest libraries in the world.    

Established in 1870. It was originally located in Prince Mustafa Fadel’s palace in Darb Al Gamamiz.  However, due to its rapid increase in inventory, a new building was built in 1904 in Bab Al Khalq, which also included the Museum of Islamic Art. 

In January 2014, a car bomb explosion targeting the Police Headquarters across the street caused extensive damage to the Library building and collections, and forced the Library to close for renovations until early 2019. 

The National Library currently houses several million volumes, including some of the oldest Arabic-language and Eastern manuscripts in the world.

Missouri Penitentiary Library, Jefferson City, Missouri

Early 1900’s Missouri Penitentiary Library Card

Early 1900’s Missouri Penitentiary Library Card (front)
Early 1900’s Missouri Penitentiary Library Card (back)

Missouri Penitentiary Library

Missouri Penitentiary, Jefferson City, Missouri (Public Domain, Pre-1923 postcard)

Called the “Bloodiest 47 acres in America,” the Missouri Penitentiary in Jefferson City opened in 1836.  It was Missouri’s primary maximum security prison and the oldest operating penal facility west of the Mississippi River when it closed in 2004.  

Inmate mugshot, Thomas J. Barker (Inmate Photograph Collection, Missouri State Archives, no known copyright restrictions)

Library Rules

  1. Write on Library Card at least twenty numbers precisely as they appear in catalogue.  For example:  4-25, 29-30, 37-9, 54-5 denotes that there are several copies of the same book in library.
  2. In moving, each man must take all books charged to him to new cell. 
  3. Each cell will be furnished with a catalogue.
  4. Each man will be charged and held responsible for all books received.  Changing books from cell to cell is forbidden.
  5. Each man is entitled to one book each week
  6. The librarians will note any injury done to books and report the same at once to the chaplain.  The man to whom the book is charged will be held responsible.
  7. Books will be changed once each week, as follows:

MONDAY — E HALL

TUESDAY — A HALL

WEDNESDAY — B AND C HALLS

THURSDAY — D HALL

  1. Mechanical and special books from No. 5816 to No. 5950 are issued to those only whose positions in the institution make it necessary.
  2. Reference books from No. 5951 to No. 6083 do not go out of library except by special permission.
  3. Each man will be furnished with a Bible and such school supplies as may be necessary on application.
  4. The library is under the control of the Chaplain.

W. R. Painter

From the 1917 Mexico Weekly Ledger, Mexico, MO

William Rock Painter (1874-1947) served as Prison Chaplain and Librarian from 1901 to 1908.  He served as Missouri State Lieutenant-Governor from 1913 to 1917, and Interim Warden of the penitentiary in 1917.  As Warden, he advocated education to combat illiteracy and abolished “silent meals” in the cafeteria, believing that silent meals should only be used as punishment and not a rule of behavior for inmates.  Painter went on to become a leader in the Democratic Party in the Missouri State Senate serving from 1917 to 1929.

Hugh Stephens

Hugh Stephens (1877-1960) was an American businessman, heir to the Tribune Printing Company and publisher of the Daily Tribune. His wife, Bessie Miller Stephens, along with members of the Tuesday Club, a literary club founded in 1895, helped establish a subscription library in Jefferson City, and later, with the help of a grant from the Andrew Carnegie fund, a free library.

The Public Library, Fairbanks, Alaska

The Public Library, Fairbanks, Alaska (Public Domain pre-1923 post card)

The Public Library of Fairbanks located at 901 1st Avenue in Fairbanks, Alaska, was built in 1909, with funds provided by Philadelphia philanthropist and cartographer, George Coupland Thomas (1884-1955), who made his fortune publishing atlases, maps and tourist guides.  Prior to that, the city of Fairbanks had limited library services provided by the Episcopal Church.  The log building served as the public library until 1977, at which point the Noel Wien Public Library opened.  In 1978, the building was designated a National Historic Landmark due to the historic conference that took place on July 5 and 6, 1915, when the building was the site of a meeting between Alaska Native leaders and the U.S. federal government, during which native land claims were discussed.  It was not until the 1971, when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was enacted, that those matters were resolved.