Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost New York

Split from the non-Carnegie libraries; the Long Island libraries; and the NYPL and other New York City public libraries.

Carnegie Libraries

Unlike many states, there is no large website that lists all the New York libraries. New York appears to differ from many states in that its library districts correlate with its school districts.


Amsterdam, NY Carnegie Library

1902 Carnegie grant. Still in use.

Valentine & Sons card, mailed in 1911. Compared with the photo on the city's website, the colors are quite accurate.


Binghamton Carnegie Library Binghamton Carnegie Library

1902 Carnegie grant. Now known as the Broome County Public Library, and is still in use.

(L) Monochromatic, mailed in 1905.
(R) Unusually, this card was printed in Great Britain. Mailed 1910.


Catskill Carnegie Library

1901 Carnegie grant.
On this card, the Neoclassical building covered with ivy is the library. The light colored building is the Masonic Temple.

The library does not seem to be in as bucolic a setting today.


Canastota Carnegie Library

Founded 1896 and moved into this Carnegie building in 1903, according to the library's exuberant web site. Not listed as a Carnegie building in Bobinski.

The full history page adds such wonderful tidbits as the original price of the lot ($900) and the 1951 replacement of 'antiquated' library furnishings during the first major renovation.


Dunkirk, NY Carnegie Library Dunkirk, NY Carnegie Library Dunkirk, NY Carnegie Library
Printed in Germany for S.H. Knox & Co.,
and mailed in 1909.
Never-mailed Albertype card,
made in Brooklyn.
Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art Colored.

I believe that this is the Chautauqua County Dunkirk, both from on-line clues and from the message on the card (L). This library was well-established before the 1904 Carnegie grant.
I do not know the building's current function.

 Elmira (Steele Memorial Library)

Elmira, NY Carnegie Library Elmira, NY Carnegie Library

Early 1916 grant. Replaced a previous iteration in 1923.
I can't explain the gap between the grant and the fait accompli, except for a pesky war.
Replaced in 1979.

(L) Rubin Bros. card.
(R) Colourpicture linen-finish card.


Fulton, NY Carnegie Library Fulton, NY Carnegie Library

Information from Waymarking.
One notable fact is that its foundation stones came from the prior building on the site.

1902 grant. Still in use, and on the National Registers of Historic Places.

(L) Mailed to postcard collector Anna May Kennedy, of Rib Lake, Wisconsin, in 1907.
(R) Wm. Jubb card.


Gloversville, NY Carnegie Library Gloversville, NY Carnegie Library

Two views of a fascinating Beaux Arts building. The arch reads Gloversville Free Library; immediately above the door reads 'Carnegie.'
(L) Valentine & Sons' Publishing post card, mailed 1913.
(R) Unattributed German card with unevenly divded back, mailed in 1908.

1904 Carnegie facility, designed by Albert Randolph Ross. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The library was in grave financial trouble in the mid-2000s, was chartered by the New York Board of Regents, and changed to being the Gloversville Public library.


Hornell, NY Carnegie Library Hornell, NY Carnegie Library

Early 1903 grant. On the National Register of Historic Places, but it's uncertain if it's still in use as a library.

(L) Mogel Publishing card, mailed in 1911.
(R) Mailed in 1922.


Johnstown, NY Carnegie library

1902 Carnegie facility, renovated in 1995.

Arty monochrome view by the Rochester News Company.


Kingston, NY Carnegie library

Bobinski's Carnegie Libraries lists Kingston as recipient of a 1902 grant. However, the library appears to be in a 19th century building today.

 Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon, NY Carnegie library

Bobinski's Carnegie Libraries lists Mt. Vernon as recipient of a 1901 grant.

 New Rochelle

New Rochelle Public Library

1901 grant according to Bobinski, but the Library's web history places it sometime between 1910 and 1914. 1928 addition dated from 1928. Replaced in 1979: fate unknown.

Atypical Curt Teich linen card dates from 1934.

 Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls Public Library

1901 grant. Replaced in 1974, and is still standing.
Curiously, Niagara Falls, Canada also received a Carnegie grant.

The card is unattributed and lacks even a plate number.

 North Tonawanda

N. Tonawanda Public Library

1904 grant. Replaced in 1975.
Now, an art gallery.

Leighton & Valentine card.

 Nyack on Hudson

Nyack Public Library

1901 grant, still in use.

Beautiful building of river rock and dressed stone. Under the awning, shown on the library's site, is a clearly Romanesque entryway.

This is an Excelsior card, printed in Germany.


Olean Public Library Olean Public Library

Late 1906 grant: opened as the fifth building in the Library's history in 1910.
Replaced in 1973; possibly still standing.

(L) Unknown publisher.
(R) Artsy rendition, for the Up to Date Variety Store of Olean, printed in Germany.

 Penn Yan

Penn Yan Carnegie library

Founded in 1895. Built from a 1903 grant, in 1905. The original library is still in use.

Lovely Rotograph card printed in Germany.


Perry Carnegie library

1912 grant. Built in 1914, and still in use. An addition houses an art gallery.

1935 Curt Teich linen finish card.

 Port Jervis

Pt. Jervis, NY Carnegie building

Card also features the Port Jervis Elks Club.

1901 grant. The Free Public Library is still in use, serving the residents of the Port Jervis School District. It is part of the Ramapo Catskill Library System.


Schenectady Carnegie Library
Schenectady Carnegie Library

(L) This card is in quite poor condition, but there's just something about being able to work 'Schenectady' into a paragraph.
(R) Tichnor Quality View linen finish card, mailed 1940.

1903 Carnegie facility, also aided by a grant from General Electric. Replaced ca. 1969: the library now heads the Mohawk Valley Library Association.

The building is now a dormitory for Union College. I find that a rather amusing reuse.


Syracuse Carnegie Library Syracuse Carnegie Library Syracuse Carnegie Library
Early chrome card,
imported by C.E. Wheelock of Peoria.
German card, from H.C. Leighton. From the 'Syracuse series.'
Syracuse Carnegie Library Syracuse Carnegie Library

This Beaux Arts building served as the Syracuse Public Library, 1905-1976. Today it has been superceded by the Onondaga County Public Library.
The Carnegie building's fate is unknown to me, despite one of the best library history timelines ever.
Did you know Onondaga County PL began to use plastic cards in 1978? If you guessed right about that, do you remember its bookmobile recall by Chrysler?

1979, by the way.

Syracuse University also has a Carnegie library, serving as the Science and Technology Library.


Warsaw, NY Carnegie building

1904 grant. Per the Library's site, its architect was Albert Randolph Ross. Opened in 1906. Still in use, after a 1991 renovation.

The Earle H. Parker photo doesn't display the curved nature of the front very clearly on the Albertype card.
The script at top reads:
George Yoron built it your mother
It was addressed to R.P. Stack of Rockford.

Warsaw, NY Carnegie building Warsaw, NY Carnegie building

(L) This Valentine-Souvenir card was rather old by the time it was mailed in 1946.
(R) This Albert M. Wilson card was mailed in 1911.


Yonkers Carnegie library
Yonkers Carnegie library

1901 grant. Built in 1904. Demolished in 1981. After its eviction, for a street expansion, it moved first to an old department store, and then to the Otis Elevator Works building.
Definitely a history with its ups and downs.

(L) Souvenir Post Card with added glitter, mailed in 1906.
(R) Hugh C. Leighton card, mailed in 1908.

 Author's comments

To the best of my knowledge, the majority of these cards has reached the public domain by virtue of the postcards' age. I claim full copyright on the text, which may be used in citation only. Also, I claim copyright on the scans.

If you have evidence that any of the non-Carnegie cards are really of Carnegie libraries, please e-mail me at (first name)(at)roadmaps (dot) org.

© 2007 - 2014 Judy Aulik

Divided 15 August 2014.
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