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

Main information source: Nebraska Public Library Founding Dates.
More library photos at Nebraska Memories.


Albion, NE Carnegie building

April, 1907 grant, per Bobinski; 1908, per 'Nebraska Public Library Founding Dates.' Still in use.

New library web site, and the city's site shows the Carnegie building.

'Litho-chrome' American card, probably a Curt Teich product. Mailed in 1915.
It shows Albion Public Library, and 1908 in a disc, above the entrance.


Albion, NE Carnegie building

Late 1909 Carnegie grant: replaced, and serves as an Art Center.

Card tinted with blue and green only. Mailed in 1912.


One of two Carnegie buildings in the city: Seavey is the other. No longer in use as a library.

Aurora, NE Carnegie building (L) Don't know who produced this, but whoever did, this is the 52nd of the series.
(R) L.L. Cook photo postcard, without the tell-tale print caption. Mailed in 1949.
Aurora, NE Carnegie building
Aurora, NE Carnegie building (L, below) It almost seems as if there is a little bit of Deco influence on this post-1909 building.
It's an early 'C.T. Photochrom, mailed in 1915. I wonder who the two children were?


Beatrice, NE Carnegie building (L) Real Photo Postcard mailed in 1911. No attribution.
(R) Public Library and Central School, Beatrice, Nebr.
Card postmarked 1915.
Beatrice, NE Carnegie building

Confirmed as a 1904 Carnegie library, but don't discount the ladies of the WCTU.
In 1881, they began to fund the library founded by Clara Colby in 1873.

The Carnegie building was replaced in 1991, and used by the school system from 1991-1999 and 2002-2004, per Carnegie Center, Inc.

Vacant. Renovation funding sought, beginning 2005. A 2012 Google Street View shows new windows amidst a renovation.
Where its destiny lies is a good question.


Blair, NE Carnegie building

1916 grant. Demolished, according to Wikipedia. The Library page has no further information.

Lovely, unattributed photo post card, mailed in 1938.


Crete, NE Carnegie building

1913 Carnegie grant: remodeled and renovated at least once.

L.L. Cook photo postcard, mailed in 1954, with comment, 'Sure stays hot up here.'

David City

David City, NE Carnegie Building

One of the last Carnegie building grants: November 22, 1916.

Among some of the challenges facing the David City Library: insufficient electrical power (in the pre-Carnegie days) resulting in a four hour week; a flu epidemic delaying the 1918 opening of this building until 1919; and an inability to meet the ADA requirements of 1991.

Replaced by the Roman L. and Victoria E. Hruska Memorial Public Library, dedicated in 1996.

The Carnegie library now serves as a house.


Fremont, NE Carnegie Building

1903 - 1971

Curiously decorated entry, resembling that of Sigourney, Iowa's Carnegie building.

This is likely a C.U. Williams 'Photoette' postcard and was mailed in 1910.


Fairbury, NE Carnegie building Fairbury, NE Carnegie building Fairbury, NE Carnegie building

(R) 1939 (dated by book jackets for Danger Signal and Frost Flower) photo post card. Pencil date on reverse: May 22, 1948.

Christmas Eve grant, 1907. Expanded, 1988.
Still in use, but only for the children's section.

The library's web site is attractive, and it looks like the facility is well-maintained.


Geneva, NE postcard

The library (lower right corner) received a 1911 grant.

The card is by Harritt Photos.


Gothenburg, NE Carnegie building

1915 grant; built 1916. Unusual configuration.

Still in use.

Grand Island

Grand Island, NE Carnegie Building

1902 grant. Still standing, but replaced.

Lovely card, probably produced by Curt Teich.


Hastings, NE Carnegie building

Replaced by Keene Memorial Library in 1963. Subsequently demolished.

E.N. Hamen card.


Holdrege, NE Carnegie building Holdrege, NE Carnegie building Holdrege, NE Carnegie building
H.G. Zim postcard. Mailed in 1908. L.L. Cook photo postcard.

Late 1904 grant. Still in use.


Kearney, NE Carnegie building (L) I'm always taken aback by postcards that feature a quite state-of-the-art library building, and ...
a dirt street. I also notice screens on the windows. The attractive card bears an unevenly divided back, but no publisher's information.
(R) The Walraven Brothers publishers ran a bit amok with the 'Blue Sky' concept.

Kearney, NE Carnegie building

1903 grant.
Library replaced: demolished in 1973.


Lincoln, NE Carnegie building (L) Double-sized postcard, possibly by the Massure Co. It was mailed in 1910.
(R, above) Card, with an entire back, was published by the Lincoln Book Store.
Lincoln, NE Carnegie building
(R, below) Postmarked 1914. City (Carnegie) Library. Divided back, 'Superior Quality, Famous Throughout the World.'
However, the foliage in the summer photograph seriously obscures the entrance.
Lincoln, NE Carnegie building

'Old Main,' 1902-1960.

Other Lincoln Carnegie libraries included those of Havelock, University Place, and College View; all towns annexed to Lincoln in the 1930s.

Northeast Branch

Lincoln, NE Branch Carnegie library

Built 1909, in use until 1982, then moved.
Card mailed in 1911.

Possibly demolished: there is a new building.


Norfolk, NE Carnegie building (L) Card has scanning artifacts. Occasionally one will 'strobe' on me.
(R) Black and White brand card shows a building which looks much like the Carnegie building of Neillsville, Wisconsin.
Norfolk, NE Carnegie building

Library founded in 1906, and then received a late 1907 grant. Built in 1911. Replaced, and serves as offices.

North Platte

North Platte, NE Carnegie library

1910 Carnegie grant. Still standing.

C.T. Photocrom card (A.28770).


South Omaha is no longer a distinct municipality.

South Omaha Branch

Unusual architecture: slightly Romanesque, but the roofline is Prairie school.

1901 grant. Construction date uncertain: probably 1904. Demolished in 1953.
A bookmobile provides library service to this section of the city.

Postcard published by the Omaha News Company, with excellent print quality similar to Rotograph cards.

Pawnee City

Pawnee City, NE Carnegie library (L) In 1924, Carolyn S. wrote:
Having a wonderful time out here. Every day is perfect, only a little too warm a 103 in the shade.
(R) Architect's rendering displaying the corporate signature in tiny script at the lower left. The card was mailed in 1909.
Pawnee City, NE Carnegie library

Ethereal, yet firmly rooted, this Carnegie Library was designed by John P. Eisentraut of Eisentraut, Colby and Pottenger Architects, and built in 1907. Replaced in 2012.


Schuyler, NE Carnegie library

From a 1911 Carnegie grant.

Plate number 26806. Whose is unknown.


Superior, NE Carnegie library (L) Lithochrome card.
(R) Mailed in 1961 to the Sociology and Business Department of Denver Public Library.
Superior, NE Carnegie library

Another Christmas Eve grant, 1907. Now in use as the Chamber of Commerce and as law offices.

This may be the farthest-flung of the Patton & Miller library buildings.


Sutton, NE Carnegie library

Card mailed in 1914.
Plaque reads, 'Gift of A. Carnegie 1910.'
This building was one of those that rather grew on you. I don't know how they combined Deco, Prairie, and Craftsman styles (especially when Deco hadn't been coined as a style), but the resulting library must have given Carnegie a warm feeling in his frugal heart.

After 50 years, the warm feeling started to give Sutton residents heartburn. Because of structural issues, it was condemned in 1967, and in 1969, the library moved on an emergency basis into a former jewelry store. It took until 1986 for a dedicated replacement to be built.

The city web site, showing the Library beside a waterway, shows one of the problems with which it had to contend.


Real Photo (L) Spectacular photo card. Notice the subtle differences in the roof line.
(R) These cards feature the architect's drawing. Perhaps Williamson-Haffner Publishers added the sky, with puffy clouds.

Artist's rendering

Nebraska Memories also displays a similar card (R).

Built in 1907: designed by the architectural firm Eisentraut-Colby-Pottenger. Replaced in 2000: fate unknown.


Wayne, NE Carnegie library (L) Black & White brand card.
(R) Beautiful photo card: its view is identical to the other card's.
Wayne, NE Carnegie library

Asymmetric, Prairie-style building, built courtesy of a 1911 grant. The card has 1915 written on the back.

Replaced. Now serves as a Luther Youth Center.