Carnegie Libraries of the South Central States


As of 2014, I have found cards for all the Carnegie buildings in the state.

Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs Carnegie Library

1906 Carnegie grant. Still in use, but looking a little the worse for wear.

Curt Teich card, mailed in 1917. It's retouched in such a way that you think the whole building is stone, but according to the web site's picture, the main floor is brick.

Fort Smith

Ft. Smith, AR Carnegie Library

1906 Carnegie grant. Replaced in 1970.

Greatest reuse ever:
KFSM - TV. It has been painted white, however. I think it's forgiveable.

S.H. Kress card, probably produced by Curt Teich. Never mailed.

Little Rock

Little Rock, AR Carnegie Library

1906 Carnegie grant.

Card by Tichnor Quality Views; published by A. Karcher Candy Co. of Little Rock.
Notice the two pickup trucks on the right side of the building. Today one doesn't really think of Little Rock as rural.


Morrillton Carnegie Library

1915 Carnegie grant. Built in 1916, and still well-loved as the Conway County Library. The Library believes this to be the smallest Southern town to have had a Carnegie Library.

This is a Walraven Bros, Inc. postcard, published in Dallas. Stylistically it resembles Curt Teich's Blue Sky series.


Missouri seems to be the hardest state so far for me to find references on Carnegie libraries. Information is either absent (Maryville) or contradictory (St. Louis branch libraries). According to the Shelbina Carnegie Public Library's well-written history, Missouri received funds for 33 public libraries. It also notes that Hannibal, Kirksville, and Macon declined--or failed in the details involved in--Carnegie grants.


Albany, MO Carnegie building

1904 grant, and proudly serving its designated purpose. Unaltered, it's on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Post Office Newstand postcard shows a red brick building of unusual design, by the architects Eckel and Mann.


Aurora, MO Carnegie building

Currently known as the Aurora Branch of the Barry-Lawrence Library.

Carnegie grant dates from 1909. According to the information about Aurora from the LASR Net page, it was built in 1917-18 and has been remodeled since.
Both sites show the current configuration, but only the latter has a very strange picture that looks as if a large, baby-blue van is flying through the air, aiming at the entrance.

Aurora has the distinction as the only small city I am aware of, that published road maps (Mid-West Map Company) and postcards (MWM Dexter, its successor).
Chicago, of course, had Rand McNally and Curt Teich, but it's not really a fair comparision, is it?


Bolivar, MO Carnegie building 1913 grant: built in 1914.
Now the Polk County Genealogy Society Library. Now a historic site, the first in the county, per Waymarking.
Bolivar, MO Carnegie building

(L) No comment about the card caption.
(R) Out of register 'blue sky' style card.

Cape Girardeau

Cape Girardeau, MO Carnegie building

1916 grant, but Rush Limbaugh's hometown library didn't open until 1922.
Replaced, 1980. Per Wikipedia, the old building serves as Cape Girardeau County offices.

Albertype card, mailed in 1927.


Carthage, MO Carnegie building Carthage, MO Carnegie building Carthage, MO Carnegie building Carthage, MO Carnegie building Carthage, MO Carnegie building
J.R. Holbrook & Son
in lower left corner.
Distributed by S.H. Kress.
Mailed in 1910.
International Post Card view.
International Post Card view.
C.E. Wheelock card.

Built in 1905, this is known as one of three Carnegie buildings in Jasper County, MO.
Still in use, with the aid of Sam Butcher, the Precious Moments figurine guru, who donated the funds for an annex.

The righthand cards contrast a snowless winter scene of Central Park, three houses, and a church along with the Carnegie Library; and a summer scene of canna lilies, vines, and possibly a coleus or two.

Jefferson City

Jefferson, MO Carnegie building (L) Litho-Chrome brand card, published locally by Samuel H. Smith & Co. and printed in Germany.
(R) Curt Teich card dates from the early 1920s.
Jefferson, MO Carnegie building

1900 Carnegie grant. Replaced in 1975. Still in use as the Cole County Assessor's Office and the Public Defender's Office.


Joplin, MO Carnegie building Joplin, MO Carnegie building Joplin, MO Carnegie building
By the Van Nuy Railroad News Co. More subdued tints on another card. By the Richards Co.

Two Carnegie grants, 1901 and 1915. The 1915 era addition is visible on the third postcard.

Per Historic, its architect was August Michaelis, whose drawing is shown therein. The library received a rare second grant in 1915, for an addition. Unfortunately, per the library's historic views collection, the zinc roof leaked and the second floor was unable to bear the weight of its books. These were some of the reasons the building was replaced in 1980. However, this supposedly unstable building survived two (1971 and 2011) tornadoes. It served as a private residence until at least 2003, and in 2010 was set to undergo renovation.

According to various contemporaneous sources, after the tornado, six of Joplin's staff members reported for work the very next day, one sporting a broken arm.

Joplin Public Library's web site hosts a host of digitized postcards.


Louisiana, MO Carnegie building Louisiana, MO Carnegie building

Every picture tells a story.
(And this one is interesting.)

The card on the left was in a category of miscellaneous RPPC at a show. Looking at it, I felt certain it was of a library, but I didn't think it was of a Carnegie building. Months later, I picked up the card below, L, along with several other library cards. As I was scanning and sorting the purchases, I thought the C.T. American Art postcard looked familiar. Then the lightbulb came on.
It was the same library I'd seen months earlier.

Louisiana, MO Carnegie building (L) Mailed 1908. Mainly illegible postmark, from ?na, MO in 1908.
(R) CCCC card, mailed 1918. It's fairly similar a view to the RPPC.
(L, below) Never mailed but distributed by Todd & Reid's Pharmacy, of Louisiana.

The Carnegie grant came in 1902. The library was built in 1905, and according to the Waymarking website, is still in use.


Marceline, MO Carnegie building

Marceline is best known as one of Walt Disney's many home towns. He predated this snazzy little Carnegie building by ten years, however.
Like others among the last Carnegie buildings, the Great War interfered in the construction process. The Library was founded in 1914, and the request was sent in 1917. Two months later, per the Library's history page, the grant was made.
It wasn't until 1919 that the architect, Edgar P. Madorie, was selected, and in late 1920, the library building was complete.

This unattributed photo postcard doesn't do the library justice. However, the street is brick, unlike so many one sees in front of early Carnegie buildings.


Marshfield, MO Carnegie building

The smallest town west of the Mississippi to receive a (1910) Carnegie grant.

The building now serves as the Webster County History Museum. The Library itself is part of the Webster County Library.

The initials DOPS occur in the postage box of this attractive photo card.


Maryville, MO Carnegie building

1903 Carnegie grant. Demolished some time after 1962.

The question "How are you and Dewey?" can have a new scope of meaning on a library postcard. This one was sent in 1912, but appears to date from several years earlier.

I suspect that the replacement building was once a post office.


Moberly, MO Moberly, MO Carnegie building Moberly, MO Carnegie building
Mailed in 1905. From Robinson's Bookstore. Mailed in 1907.

1902 Carnegie grant.
An especially fine touch is the stained glass window over the entry. On the center card there seems to be a second leaded window in a fishscale or diamond pattern. Nice to know this building is still in use and looking quite dapper. It's now a branch of the Little Dixie Regional Library System.


Nevada, MO Carnegie building (L) The ca. 1917 Curt Teich 'Photo-finish' card doesn't show that the Library is built of ochre-colored brick.
(R) The other, Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' card, same year, does.

Nevada, MO Carnegie building

According to a 1992 DNR document, this building was funded from a 1915 Carnegie grant. Today it houses the Nevada Missouri Tourism Center.


Shelbina, MO Carnegie building

Shelbina gives us some of the best details in its Carnegie history. After a late 1916 grant, construction began the next year, despite the war, and the new building opened in 1918. I was amused to learn that W.O.L. Jewett donated '135 scintillating volumes of mining history.'
The Library's addition came in 1988, and its lower level finished in 1992.
Civic pride isn't what it used to be, I fear.

The monochrome E.C. Kropp card has a 1921 inscription.

St. Joseph

St. Joseph, MO Carnegie building St. Joseph, MO Carnegie building Interior of Library, St. Joseph, Mo.
Possibly by Curt Teich. (C) Of the 'Greetings from Picturesque America' series.
As I was looking at the card to update my site,
I noticed two exciting things:
1) The last name of the sender is 'Egermann,'
the last name of noted Naperville (IL) librarian Matie Egermann.
2) The postmark of the receiving post office is Naperville.
Might this have been mailed to one of Matie's family members?
(R) Interior of the library.
The collections seem to be in a glassed-off room,
but there are closed stacks behind the service desk.
Note the rotunda.

1901 Carnegie grant. Built in 1902, as was the Massachusetts St. Branch.

This is a case where the library has a first-rate web site, plus photos of its other Carnegie building.

South Street

St. Joseph, MO Carnegie branch

Although the card calls this the South Street Branch, I believe that it's actually located at 316 Massachusetts Street.

This branch (and there's a third Carnegie location: Washington Bluff) was also built in 1902. It has been kept up very well. In reality, it is red brick with dark brown trim, not the wan ochre color that Curt Teich's artists gave it.

St. Louis

St. Louis, MO Carnegie building

The sight of rows upon rows of card catalogues is rapidly disappearing from America's libraries. (Chicago's Newberry Library still has them, however.) How many people remember the odd rules that had to be followed to type a catalog card?
Before the 2010-2012, this room had been converted to a reference/genealogy room. I don't know its current use.

Lovely Phostint card by Detroit Publishing. Most of the library Phostints are of Boston or St. Louis.

Central Library

St. Louis, MO Carnegie building St. Louis, MO Carnegie building sunken garden St. Louis, MO Carnegie building St. Louis, MO Carnegie building
By Buxton & Skinner From Beacon Series M From the St. Louis News By Alfred Holtzmann
St. Louis, MO Carnegie building

1907 Carnegie building, designed by Cass Gilbert.
Modeled on The New York City Public library, and in turn served as the model for Detroit's main library, according to Van Slyck.

The library is most emphatically in use. A 2004 visit (photo at left © Judy Aulik) saw the library swarming with people, and most were using books. Nice atmosphere.

Cabanne Branch

St. Louis, MO Carnegie building

The Cabanne branch, near Visitation Park, is located in a 1908 Carnegie building. It has been beautifully kept up (October, 2011 Google Street View).

The branch still exists.


Sedalia, MO Carnegie building Sedalia, MO Carnegie building

Sedalia received a 1899 Carnegie grant, the first awarded in Missouri. $50,000 could buy a lot of library, and this building was dedicated over 110 years ago. It's still in use, and never required renovation.
Can we say 'foresight?'

You don't see many souvenir packets whose main feature is a Carnegie library building. Plus, not many are dated. This was patented December 5, 1905, and mailed in late 1906 as a Christmas card.

Sedalia, MO Carnegie library (L) Sedalia's card comes from that peculiar wackyland of the Elite Postcard Co. of Kansas City, where all libraries face east to display a lurid sunset behind.
It is postmarked 1912. With a divided back, it could have been published as much as five years earlier.
(R) Rather prosaic E.C. Kropp card.
Sedalia, MO Carnegie library


Springfield, MO Carnegie building Springfield, MO Carnegie building Springfield, MO Carnegie building

The construction is similar to Sedalia's Carnegie building, especially apparent in the left hand card.
Adding to the potential confusion is that fact that Springfield, Missouri does not appear in Bobinski's 1969 list of Carnegie grants. However, one of the Library's web pages confirms that construction on the Carnegie building began in late 1903.

The center card is from E.C. Kropp. The right hand card is by Curt Teich.

Webb City

1910 grant, built in 1915, and still in use. The Library's old web page described the building material as limestone boulders trimmed with Carthage stone. It was designed by Grant Miller of Miller Fullenwider, and Dowling.
Also described on the site as Richardsonian Romanesque style.

I wish the S.H. Kress card, probably printed by E.C. Kropp, was in as good shape as the Library appears to be.
It was mailed in 1917.


A good source for Oklahoma/Indian Territory Carnegie library history is Oklahoma's Carnegie Libraries by Booker and Finchum.


(L) E.C. Kropp card, never postally used. I believe those are canna lilies out front.
(R) Unattributed card, salvaged from a scrapbook.

1908 grant. (The Library's new history page gives the grant date as 1912.) Demolished in 1990.

Check out their history page. The Library had a surprisingly contentious past.


(L) This is apparently similar to the card seen on the Oklahoma State site. It's one of the nicer E.C. Kropp postcards, showing an attractive Neoclassical building with overscale windows.
(R) This card was produced for S.H. Kress, and might have been printed by Curt Teich.

Founded during Indian Territory years via a 1903 Carnegie grant. Demolished in 1963. No history on the library site.

El Reno

(L) Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' card dates from the 1910s.
(R) Card by W.M. Stolz contains the typo 'El Peno.'

Founded in 1897 as a Library during Oklahoma Territory years. Upgraded via a 1903 Carnegie grant. Architect: S. Wemyss Smith. Built by A.C. Kraipke, who, by the pictures on the Oklahoma's Carnegie Library site, selected some really poor quality bricks.
A 1964 addition helped it stay in use.


(L) E.C. Kropp post card postdates 1907.
(R) Slightly later 'C.T. American Art' Curt Teich card.

Built 1904: razed.


September, 1914 grant.
This is one of the few Oklahoma Carnegie buildings still in use as a library.

Auburn Post Card, mailed in 1930.


(L) This is a charming card from the Raphael Tuck and Sons' 'Our Belles' series. F.B. Little and Co. were the publishers in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The style of this card emphasizes that Guthrie's Carnegie Library was built before statehood.
(R) Armantrout Bros. card, mailed in 1908.
(L) E.C. Kropp card, never mailed.
(R) Captioned as: Carnegie Library and Inauguration of Gov. Frantz.
Per the Museum's history page, this event occurred in 1906, the year before statehood. It made a fantastic postcard, however.

Second public library in the Indian Territory (1901): oldest Carnegie building remaining in Oklahoma. In use until 1972.
Saved by philanthropist Fred Pfeiffer, who built the Oklahoma Territorial Museum next door so that the Carnegie building was saved.


Hobart, OK Carnegie library

1911 grant.
This is another of the few Oklahoma Carnegie buildings still in use as a library.
William McCanse was the original architect, according to the Septenber, 2004 issue of Trustee Talk. It was expanded in 1987, primarily for accessibility.

Post Office Book Store postcard, never mailed.


(L) One of the prettier E.C. Kropp cards.
(R) Linen finish card printed for the Sooner News Agency.

Built in 1916, and on the National Register of Historic Places, this building no longer functions as a library. It has unusual architecture that somehow looks distinctly Western.


McAlester, OK Carnegie library

1906 grant. Dedicated in 1914.
Replaced in 1970, and demolished in 1974, ostensibly due to issues with flooding.

The card was made for S.H. Kress. Note the silly open car added in front of the building, barely on the street.


1910 grant. Per the postcard, built in 1913. Since 1972, this building no longer functions as a library. It is used as office space today.

1943 linen finish Curt Teich card, mailed in 1946.

Oklahoma City

Embossed card,
publisher unknown.
E.C. Kropp card with interesting details. H.H. Clarke card. Glossy postcard.


Card mailed in 1911. Curt Teich card
likely dates to 1909 or 1910.
Card mailed in 1915,
but has an entire back.

1909 grant: still in use.


1919 Curt Teich card. Curt Teich card
likely dates to 1909 or 1910.
E.C. Kropp card with unevenly divided back, mailed in 1907.


1915 grant.
Built in 1917: replaced in 1988. Still standing. Its Google Street View shows a neighboring playground and an illegible logo on the Carnegie building's front door.

Photo postcard, never mailed.