Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America
California's Non-Carnegie Libraries

Los Angeles will have its own page.


Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' card, mailed in 1927.

 Bakersfield (Beale Memorial Library)

Beale Memorial Library Beale Memorial Library

Built in 1900 in memory of General Edward Fitzgerald Beale. The library building (not the clock tower) was destroyed in a 1952 earthquake, and not replaced until 1957.

(L) The card was mailed in 1906, with the comment to Cora, 'Just to let you know I am still with the living.'
(R) Edward H. Mitchell card, mailed in 1911.

Kern Co. Free Library

Kern County Free Library.

This is the 1957 library, replaced in 1988. At the time the card was printed--sometime between 1957 and 1961--its circulation lay between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000 books per year, according to the publisher.

In the background is a bookdrop, and a lot of school busses.


2nd Berkeley library

Replaced the Carnegie building in 1929. Deco as all get out.

Pacific Novelty postcard. The blue sky was turned up to 11.

 Carmel by the Sea (Harrison Memorial Library)

Harrison Memorial Library

Built in 1928. Privately funded since 1992. Gee, it's only open 42 hours per week. Why might that be?

Seriously underexposed photo post card.


Marysville, CA library Marysville, CA library

Replaced by the Yuba County Library in 1977. Because the original donor, John Q. Packard, had wanted the property and library to be used in perpetuity, per Waymarking, it escaped demolition.

(L) This Cardinell-Vincent card is captioned 'On the Road of a Thousand Wonders.' Apparently this refers to the Southern Pacific Railroad.
(R) An early Edward H. Mitchell card, mailed in 1909.

Marysville, CA library

Even though the card is sepia toned, this Edward H. Mitchell card is newer than the card above.

 Modesto (McHenry Public Library)

McHenry Public Library

100 years old in 2012.

H.S. Crocker Co. card, mailed in 1964. Isn't it great? The style is similar to many motel postcards of the late 1950s.

 Palm Springs (Welwood Murray Memorial Library)

Welwood Murray Memorial Library

Still in use but as a private library, run by volunteers.

1945 linen finish card by Curt Teich.


Old Pasadena library Old Pasadena library

Information on the older building from Waymarking.

1890 - 1927, served as a library; 1927 - 1933 as Patriotic Hall; demolished in 1954. Like so many other California libraries, an earthquake--in this case, the 1933 Long Beach earthquake--sealed its fate.

(L) Acmegraph card mailed in 1913.
(R) Closer view of the Romanesque library building.

Pasadena, CA library Pasadena, CA library Pasadena, CA library

The 1927 building, designed by Myron Hunt, remains in use today. It has undergone a renovation, year unknown, and is on the National Register of Historic Places, per the library's web site.

(L) Mashower post card, mailed in 1928.
(C) Tichnor Art Card, mailed in 1938, shows the Sierra Madre Mountains in the background.
(R) MacFarlane-White Photo card, date unknown.

 Red Bluff (Kraft Memorial Public Library)

Land was donated in 1908 by Herbert Kraft's widow for the library. Notably, she stipulated that there 'shall be no restrictions of any kind, based on racial lines, color lines, or religion.'
Pretty darn progressive.

Merged with the Tehama County Library in 1959. In 1962, the combined library moved to a new building. It was supposed to get a new building in 1986. Unfortunately, it landed in a Safeway grocery store.

Today the historic building holds an interior design house.

 Redlands (A.K. Smiley Public Library)

A.K. Smiley libraryA.K. Smiley library

Another California library in desperate financial straits.

Built in 1894; opened in 1898. Per the library site, the children's library opened in 1920. It reached the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, but California took until 1990 to designate it as a State Historic Landmark.
I can't even begin to guess its architectural style: there are Gothic elements, including a rose window, on one end. I see Italianate, Moorish, and Romanesque traces also. Before the 1990 addition, it was 33,000 square feet, which seems low; the expansion brought it to 43,000 square feet.

 San Diego

Replaced the Carnegie building in 1954. According to the back of the

It's interesting how old many of the cars are in this photograph. Two, near the right side, must date from the 1930s.

 San Jose

Built, 1965-1970.
Rededicated as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Main Library in 1990. Replaced after a 1997 joint venture between San Jose Public Library and SJSU.

The card bears a pen date of 1973. Its photo was taken by Tom Tracy, and it's a Mike Roberts card.

 Sawtelle National Soldier's Home (Markham Hall)

Welwood Murray Memorial Library

Sawtelle is part of West Los Angeles today.

Built in 1906, Markham Hall housed a library that might have been open for public use, if the postcard caption is correct.
The tinted German card was mailed in 1909.


Ventura City Hall and Public LibraryVentura Public Library

(L) History's a tad murky here, but the library was founded in 1873. Earlier California architecture can be hard to date, but this just might be the first location.
The Albertype card dates from 1901-1907.

(R) No longer in use: fate unknown. This is not the E.P. Foster location which was closed in 2009.

© 2011-2013 Judy Aulik

Uploaded 20 June 2011.
Updated 03 November 2013.
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