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 Amsterdam, NY Carnegie Library Amsterdam, NY Carnegie Library
Valentine & Sons card,
never mailed.
Valentine & Sons card,
mailed in 1911.
Compared with the city website photo,
the colors are quite accurate.
Lusterchrome card, ca. 1950.

1902 Carnegie grant. Still in use.


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

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


Bolivar, NY Carnegie Library

1909 grant: dated 1910. Still in use.

This was the acme of artistic color printing. So braggeth the Williamsport Paper Company.


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.


Catskill Carnegie Library (L) Older, monochrome card.
(R) On this card, the Neoclassical building covered with ivy is the library. The light colored building is the Masonic Temple.
Catskill Carnegie Library
(L) Photo postcard, mailed in 1910. Catskill Carnegie Library

1901 Carnegie grant.

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


Chatham, NY Carnegie Library

1901 grant: opened in 1905 and still in use.
The Library even has a Tiffany window.

Litho-Chrome card, never mailed.


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.
The building is still in use.

Elmira (Steele Memorial Library)

Elmira, NY Carnegie Library (L) Rubin Bros. card.
(R) Colourpicture linen-finish card.
Elmira, NY Carnegie Library
(R) Tichnor Brothers card, mailed in 1942, between pen pals. 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.


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


Gloversville, NY Carnegie Library (L) Valentine & Sons' Publishing post card, mailed 1913.
(R) Unattributed German card with unevenly divded back, mailed in 1908.
Gloversville, NY Carnegie Library

Two views of a fascinating Beaux Arts building. The arch reads Gloversville Free Library; immediately above the door reads 'Carnegie.'

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


Johnstown, NY Carnegie library (L) Arty monochrome view by the Rochester News Company.
(R) Winter view by Valentine & Sons' Publishing Company. The card was printed in Great Britain.
Johnstown, NY Carnegie library

1902 Carnegie facility, renovated in 1995.


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.

Valentine & Sons postcard.

Mt. Vernon

Mt. Vernon, NY Carnegie library (L) German postcard for an unknown publisher.
(R) Hugh C. Leighton card, mailed in 1908.
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 (L) The card is unattributed and lacks even a plate number.
(R) Ditto for this card: however, the caption font looks like that used by the west coast printer, Edward H. Mitchell.
Niagara Falls Public Library

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

North Tonawanda

N. Tonawanda Public Library (L) Leighton & Valentine card.
(R) Rotograph card, mailed in 1907.
N. Tonawanda Public Library

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

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

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


Ossining, NY Public Library

Late 1911 grant: dedicated in 1914. Replaced in 1968, then demolished.

Tichnor Brothers card appears to date from the 1920s.

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.


Saugerties, NY Library (L) Tichnor Quality View was made for Kingston News Service.
(R) Card printed by Curt Teich for Kingston Souvenir Co. It shows a charming interior view, although I'm a touch creeped out by the muskets and taxidermied fox tableau.
Interior of Saugerties, NY Library
Saugerties, NY Library (L) Manhattan post card, mailed 1936.


Schenectady Carnegie Library Schenectady Carnegie Library Schenectady Carnegie Library Schenectady Carnegie Library
Poor condition;
card replaced.
Tichnor Brothers card. Tichnor Quality View
linen finish card, mailed 1940.
Unknown publisher:
mailed in 1913.

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 (L) Robbins Bros. card.
(R) Wm. Jubb card.
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 is still standing.
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 (L) 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.
(R) Monochrome card with an entire back. Unattributable.
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.
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.


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

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.