DelMarVa Libraries: Civic Pride in a Lost America

Carnegie Libraries are very rare in the Atlantic states.

Delaware Public Libraries

Zero Carnegie buildings, and darn few library postcards.


Lovely slide show with historical photographs.
This building was built in 1923, and is under renovation in 2012.

Del Mar News Agency linen finish card, mailed in 1947.

Maryland Public Libraries

The only Carnegie buildings in the state are branch libraries in Baltimore.

 Baltimore (Enoch Pratt)

Opened in 1886, it's one of the country's premier libraries. Today, it not only serves the City, it includes the Maryland State Library Resource Center.

The Library has a great history page. One of its highlights came in October, 1886, when the first borrower's card was issued to an African-American, Harry S. Cummings. Another was its four Carnegie grants between 1905 and 1908. However, this building was not built until 1931.

This Tichnor Bros. card was mailed in 1946.

 Frederick (Fredrick County Public Libraries)

Built in 1938, with some rather stiff stipulations.
Replaced along the way. Fate of the original building unknown.
The building in the background is a Prebyterian church.

Marken & Bielfeld postcard, probably printed by Curt Teich in 1951.

 Hagerstown (Washington County Free Library)


I hate taking information from a Wikipedia page, but for this library, I have little choice.
Built at the turn of the last century from a Bruce Price Neo-Georgian design, this building was replaced in 1965.
Still standing.

(L) R.M. Hays card, in exquisite condition.
(R) Beautiful Tuck's card.

According to this post-1965 Kelley Studios card, this is:

The inset shows the bookmobile. Sorry, I don't think a horse-drawn wagon = bookmobile.

 Salisbury (Wicomico Public Library)

1963 building of no great distinction, remodeled in 1978-80.

Plastichrome card captures some details of daily life.

 Westminster (Davis Library)

Converted Methodist church, opened in 1951 as the Davis Library.
Taken over by Carroll County in 1958. Replaced in 1980: fate unknown.

1952 Curt Teich linen-finish card, reprinted along the way.


Weirdly, there are more academic Carnegie buildings in Virginia than public Carnegie Libraries (Norfolk and Waynesboro).

 Newport News

Apparently still in use in a 2008 architects' survey.

1934 Curt Teich card in Georgian architecture. That medical arts building in the background looks like it may have been a hotel at one point in time.


The powers that be turned down two Carnegie grants. As a result, there was no public library service in the city until 1924. This building, the Dooley Library, opened in 1930.
Interestingly, service, albeit segregated, was offered to the African-American community in 1925.

This Colourpicture linen-finish card was nearly mailed to the 'Good Morning' program of WREX-TV, channel 13, in Rockford, Illinois. I suspect somebody's postcard collection was raided.

 Suffolk (Morgan Memorial Library)

Built in 1959, replaced in 1986.
One of Suffolk's branches is named Chuckatuck. We are amused.

Lusterchrome card dates between 1959 and 1962.

 Winchester (Handley Library)

Built in 1913, gained an addition in 1979, and was totally renovated in 2001. This is an example of Beaux-Arts done right.

(L) Asheville Post Card Co. publication. Its reverse adds the information that it was built of Indiana limestone, and that its construction began in 1908. Plus, it circulated 70,000 items in 1930.
(R) Earlier card scanned badly, but shows some intresting details.

© 2012 Judy Aulik
Uploaded: 19 August 2012.
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