Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America
Kansas Carnegie Libraries

Emporia Public Library

In 1985, Allen Gardiner had his excellent resource The Carnegie Legacy in Kansas published by the Kansas State Library. Obviously, you can't walk into Barnes & Noble and get a copy, so Mr. Gardiner's work is available online at

This page contains Kansas City - Yates Center.

 Kansas City

Kansas City, KS Carnegie building Kansas City, KS Carnegie building Kansas City, KS Carnegie building Kansas City, KS Carnegie building
Kansas City, KS Carnegie building Built ca. 1902.
This was a Carnegie library, according to a Kansas City (KS) Public Schools site, page no longer available. It was torn down in 1958. Another KCKS branch, the Argentine Carnegie Library, is pictured on a commercial (watch for pop-ups) site. As of 2010, it appears as if this branch may move.

The park seen is Huron Park. With the Beaux-Arts library, this must have been a fantastic sight in its day, reminiscent of the 1904 St. Louis Fair.


Kingman, KS Carnegie library

Dedicated in 1914, and remodeled at least twice since.

Black and White brand card with a beige background. Never mailed.


Lawrence, KS Carnegie library

Opened 1904. Replaced 1972.

Today the Carnegie building serves as the Lawrence Arts Center, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sepia-toned German card sent in 1908.
September 24 postmark combined with a Happy New Year message leads me to believe that this was used to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

Lawrence, KS Carnegie library Lawrence, KS Carnegie library

Update: the above card has found a new--and more appropriate--home.

(L) Carl W. Mettner postcard, printed in Germany.
(R) Black and White brand card.


Leavenworth, KS Carnegie library Leavenworth, KS Carnegie library

1900 grant. Replaced 1987. Current use unknown.

Isn't this an especially dignified building? The placement of the white border leaves an ambiguity whether the library was built on a hill, or the photographer had found a really unusual angle.

(L) German 'Litho-Chrome' card in really poor condition.
(R) An E.C. Kropp card, probably 30 years newer, uses a similar angle of sight.


Manhattan, KS Carnegie building Manhattan, KS Carnegie building

Grant received 1903. Building built in 1904, and it now houses the County Attorney's office.
It's a lumpy building, but in an unnatural fashion. Probably it's built of concrete blocks, but possibly of sandstone or limestone.

(L) Credit for the card is given to Guy Varney of Manhattan. This is a weird card that is tinted distinctly green in addition to the stylish cropping. That didn't improve it enough to use a color scan.
(R) This is an ugly card, too. Evidently the German retouchers had never seen an American flag. 10 stars? The pole apparently is real: ropes lead from the front wall to it.


Newton, KS Carnegie building Newton, KS Carnegie building

Library's history detailed on a Kansas site. From 1903 to 1973 it was the city's library: in 1973, its deed was given to the Harvey County Historical Society. Today it houses that entity.

(L) Card mailed in 1910.
(R) Card manufactured for Fred Harvey, and mailed in 1909.


Ottawa KS Carnegie Library Ottawa KS Carnegie Library Ottawa KS Carnegie Library
LITHO-CHROME brand card,
pre Great War.
Linen finish card, 1938. Chrome, 1958.

Built 1903; still in use.

(L) Another beautiful German 'LITHO-CHROME' card made for the South-West News Company, Kansas City, Mo.
(C) A Curt Teich American Art card, with the liberty of an orange and yellow striped awning. How jaunty!
(R) A Curt Teich chrome card, wih realistic colors.


Parsons, KS Carnegie library Parsons, KS Carnegie library

Completed in 1909.
Please visit Gardiner's site for an architectural description.

No longer in use, there had been plans to renovate the building into an arts center. Actually, there's a lot of info on this beautiful building online.

Parsons has the first library blog I've run across in the course of this research.


Peabody, KS Carnegie library Peabody, KS Carnegie library

Established 1874.

The Carnegie building, rumored to have the same plan as the Galena, IL library, opened in 1914. From the outside, it looks more like that of Savanna, IL. I see more differences than just the omission of the tile roof.

(L) 1929 Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art Black and White' brand postcard.
(R) Unevenly divided back, from the Auburn Post Card Co. of Auburn, Indiana.


Pittsburg, KS Carnegie library

Controversial Carnegie grant given in 1909. Construction began the next year. The building was deliberately designed to not resemble other Carnegie-funded libraries, and was not dedicated until 1912. Patton & Miller carried off the design feat, building a Library which looks about 15 years older than it is.
Remodeled during 1996-98 and in 2010.

W.C. Pine card, with an especially terrible picture.


Salina, KS Carnegie library


Remarkably small, and per Gardiner, outgrown by 1917!

Either this German postcard or Gardiner's photo has the negative reversed. The horse is the giveaway feature.


Sterling, KS Carnegie library

Built in 1917, wing added 1982. Still in use.

Black & White brand card, printed near the end of the plate's life. Usually this card series has higher production values.


Stockton, KS Carnegie Library Stockton, KS Carnegie Library

December, 24, 1909 grant. (Nice Christmas present!) Built in 1911, and still in use as of 2008.

(L) Jepson photo, mailed 1913.
(R) Later photo postcard with some sort of trash wood to the left.


Wichita Carnegie library Wichita New City Carnegie library

Information from Gardiner, and from a correspondent (thank you, G.C.!).

This Carnegie building was finished in 1915, and shortly thereafter, the librarian, Miss Katherine Cossitt, resigned in protest over furniture and interior decoration issues. She also found faults in the building's construction.

Fidelity Bank and Clark and Clay Bastian saved and renovated the building (thank you, guys!).


Winfield, KS Carnegie library Winfield, KS Carnegie library

Information from Gardiner.

Carnegie grant, 1902. City dawdled until 1912. Building opened, 1913. The building was replaced, 1990.

The postcard was mailed in October, 1913. The building has rather a grand entryway, probably more suited to a theater.

 Yates Center

Yates Center, KS Carnegie library

Information from Gardiner.

Speedy grant process (application, January 10, 1910; approval, January 31, 1910).

This card features the twin towers that render it Romanesque Lite in my opinion. Someone got a little tetchy with them after 1915, the date of the card, because the whole entry area was stripped off the building. Their bad.

The reverse of this card features the mysterious 'Sky-Tint' brand and the logo for the Commercial Colortype Company of Chicago.

© 2013 Judy Aulik
Divided 10 November 2013.
Carnegie Libraries of Kansas, A-K.
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