New Jersey Carnegie Libraries

Orange libraries

Part of the Carnegie Libraries: Civic Pride in a Lost America web site.

1935 Curt Teich linen finish, multiview card features the three 'Orange' libraries. What an optimistic, celebratory postcard!

Today, many of New Jersey's libraries are in acute financial trouble. Several are abandoned.

So, let's look back to the glory days!

Atlantic City

Atlantic City Carnegie Library Postmark of 1922 obviously much more recent than lithographed card (L) by Sithens Postcard Company, Atlantic City, N.J.
(R) Unknown publisher; never mailed.
Atlantic City Carnegie Library

Library's original building finished in 1905 and in use until 1985. Today's facility lies at the corner of Tennessee and Atlantic.
The Carnegie building was abandoned, but has regained its purpose as the Carnegie Library Center of the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.


Avon-by-the-Sea Library

1916 Carnegie grant; Still in use.

Harry F. May card, mailed in 1923.


Bayonne City Library

1903 Carnegie grant; 1913 expansion. In 1959, ravaged by fire, but rebuilt. (Can you imagine a newly constructed library being salvagable after a major fire?) Still in use today, and now known as The Free Public Library and Cultural Center of Bayonne.

Postcard mailed in 1912.


Camden Carnegie Library Camden Carnegie Library Camden Carnegie Library

Address: 616 Line Street. (one source states 616 Broadway) Believed to have been moved from this building in 1986. In 2004, restoration was supposed to begin on the abandoned remains.
I have no newer information about this historic building.

1903 saw three Carnegie grants. That's the highlight of this city's library history. Camden's impoverished library (CFPL) was merged with Camden County in 2010.

(L) Illustrated Postal Card Co. card, printed in Germany.
(C) Address clarification from the Standard Post Card and Novelty Co.: 'Free Library, Broadway and Line St.'
(R) From unknown manufacturer.

Cooper Branch

Cooper Branch Library

Address: 2nd and Cooper. Closed 1974.

Said to be part of one of Rutger's satellite campuses.

East Orange

E. Orange Carnegie Library

Two 1910 Carnegie grants, which might have been needed for this huge building. It's a magnificent fan-stack library; exceptionally broad and deep, maximizing its corner lot.

According to Wikipedia (sorry), it's now the East Orange Municiplal Court.


Elizabeth Carnegie Library (L) Mayrose 'Local View' brand card. Rather a nifty nitty gritty winter scene.
(R) Photo and Art Postal Card.
Elizabeth Carnegie Library

Three 1900 Carnegie grants. Still in use.


Freehold Carnegie Library (L) Litho-chrome brand card, never mailed.
(R) Freehold Photo Supply card, ironically artistic in its rendering. Originally printed as a New York card. The N.Y. was struck out, and N.J. added, in a gothic sort of font. Mailed in 1906.
Freehold Carnegie Library

Built in 1903: still in use, despite its remarkably small size.


Montclair Carnegie Library

Its penultimate location was in a tavern, which was torn down to yield the corner lot on which this building was built in 1904. That $40,000 1902 Carnegie grant was put to exceptionally good use here, although the awning looks like somebody's fitted sheet.
The library is still in use!

According to an ad in the 1901 Public Libraries, this used Library Bureau patented steel stacks, along with Orange's Free Public Library. Dare we hope for the fan-stack arrangement?

The only clue to the card's identity is the number P-26154, with a B in a circle. It was never mailed, but has an evenly divided back.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick, NJ Carnegie Library

1902 grant. Built in 1903; expanded in 1990, and still in use!

This is another unattributable card, but its back is essentially identical to that of the Montclair card above.

Perth Amboy

Perth Amboy Carnegie Library

First (01 March 1901) Carnegie grant received by a New Jersey Library.
The library's history is on the city's web site, which states that the library's speedy growth needed a second (1914) grant. At one time, a children's library was built, but after a 1977 fire, it was reincorporated into the Carnegie building.

The postcard was published by the New Jersey Post Card Company.


Summit NJ Carnegie Library

1909 grant. Opened in 1911. Demolished and replaced in 1964.
What a shame.
It bore a resemblance to the Clyde, Ohio Carnegie building.

F.E. Temme card, mailed in the summer of 1909. Unless the illustration is the world's most accurate architectural drawing, it appears that there was a nearly two year gap between its completion and its opening.


Vineland, NJ Carnegie Library (L) PCK Series card, mailed in 1909.
(R) Curt Teich card, never mailed, dating from 1916. The reverse states that at this point, the Library comprised 8,000 volumes. It was built in 1904, and another statistic given is the citizen contribution of land and $2,500.
Vineland, NJ Carnegie Library

1903 Carnegie grant of $12,000. Still standing according to Wikipedia, in use as a senior center, but I have no confirmation.

Strangely, both these cards also feature bicycles.

Non-Carnegie New Jersey Libraries

Asbury Park

Asbury Park library

Still in use, but denuded of its tower.

Card for Heath's 5 & 10¢ Store.

Beach Haven

Beach Haven, NJ library

Located on Long Beach Island.

Extensive history on the city's web site.
Opened in 1924, the library was built to mimic that of the typical Pennsylvania farmhouse. Its bricks arrived in the US via ship ballast, construction of St. John's church in Philadelphia, and demolition of said church for a bridge.

The Tichnors really went all out on this linen finish card, making it look like a shorefront restaurant.

Bloomfield (Jarvis Memorial Public Library)

Jarvis Memorial Public Library

Replaced in 1967. Said to have been engulfed in a college campus, probably Bloomfield College.
With its Romanesque architecture, it has a certain academic cast.

Card published in Great Britain, by Valentine & Sons.

Bound Brook

Bound Brook, NJ library

The Taylor family home, bought for use as a public library, was demolished in 1924.

Americhrome card, never mailed, has a divided back.


Cooper Branch (above) is considered to be a Carnegie building, although I am dubious.

Pyne Point Park (Cooper Mansion)

Pyne Point Park Library Burned, and my source now has a worm. Pyne Point Park Library

Chatham (now Library of the Chathams)

Chatham, NJ library

Built in 1924, with additions in 1940, 1960, 1963, 1982 and 2004, which has to be some sort of record.

Photo-Tone card (Eagle Post Card View Co.) mailed in 1938.


Clifton, NJ public libraryNamed Clifton Memorial Library to commemorate the WWII dead. Built in 1952, replaced 1991. Fate unclear, as the new library was built adjacent to the old.

Moderne building featured on chrome giveaway postcard.

Glen Ridge

Glen Ridge Public Library

It was built in 1918, but didn't get electricity until 1926. The building was modified with a three storey wing in 1993, and renovated in 2008.

Albertype postcard.

Hackensack (Johnson Public Library)

Hackensack's Johnson Library

Named for the state senator, William M., who donated land for the 1901 building, which is still in use.
There are several other pictures and card of this unusual library building on Hackensack Now, but I still can't figure out its architectural style.

This card is unattributed, but was mailed in 1907, shortly after the evenly divided back became legal to use.


Haddonfield, NJ library

Major addition in 1958 to the 1919 building.

This card most likely predates the addition, but I would not guarantee the fact.

Jersey City

Jersey City Library (L) Souvenir brand postcard, mailed in late 1908. Oddly, it has a 'Received and Answered' stamp, despite being mailed to a single person.
(R) Unknown publisher with an opposite view. Did you notice the ice wagon in front? Mailed in 1905.
Jersey City Library

Still in use.

Keyport (Raritan Guard Public Library)

Raritan Guard Public Library

Well-regulated militia (Raritan Guard Library and Military Association) indeed! According to a New Jersey Library Bulletin (v.3, issue 3, 1914) article, the Guard turned its building over to the Keyport Free Library Association in March, 1914.

The Library seems to lack a web site, but photo sites show it as still in use.
I like the color scheme from the Americhrome postcard much better.

Long Branch

Long Branch, NJ

Independent public library, with a long and well-reasoned argument for its separation, including losing its Elberon Branch.

Plus, becoming the Long Branch Branch, is purely awkward!

1945 Curt Teich linen finish postcard.
Although you do see vertical format library postcards, being part of a multiview card is fairly uncommon. I have seen similar card for Anderson, IN and Antigo, WI.

Madison (James Library)

James Library, Madison, NJ

Beautiful granite and limestone building replaced in 1969. However, the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts occupies it today.

Early Rotograph card with entire back.


Library and Lyceum, Morristown, NJ (L) Valentine & Sons 'Souvenir Post Card' was printed in Great Britain.
(R) Dated via inscription to 1907. Possibly a Rotograph card, with entire back.
(Below, L) Photo & Art Postal Card Co., of New York City, product.
Library and Lyceum, Morristown, NJ
Morristown and Morris Township Library

Information from the library's web site and various Morristown Green articles on

One very unlucky library. The Lyceum building, built in 1875, burned in 1914. The little which remained of the collection and some books purchased with insurance monies were housed in the YMCA until the building (L) was built.

Well aware of the first catastrophe, Grinnell Willis, retired textile merchant, wished to donate a fireproof building to house the library (1917), and kindly donated money for a children's wing in 1929. Things went swimmingly for quite a while: the residents of the city and Morris Township turned the association into a Free Public Library; another addition was built in 1987; and its last addition was built in 2006.

But a series of unfortunate events occurred. In 1994, an electrical issue closed the library for over a month. In February, 2010, manhole covers started blowing up. Then, in May, 2010, smoke was noticed drifting from manhole covers in the area. The library never opened that day, evacuating instead. The anticipated explosion buckled the original building. The assistant library director was quoted:

They can't blow us up any more. They need to stop blowing up the public library.

All of us can agree with that sentiment.
Hurricanes don't listen. But, by gum, the library is still open!


Newark Library Newark Library Newark Library
Sol-Art Print brand card
by the Rotograph Company,
with entire back. Mailed in 1905.
German 'Souvenir' card mailed
in 1910.
Very vibrant Tichnor linen card,
all abustle with pedestrians and 1930s cars.

Building still in use: library currently in need and appears to be prioritizing its services toward students.

Newton (Dennis Library)

Dennis Library of Newton, NJ

Built 1939, in Georgian Revival style. Merged ca. 1957 with the Sussex County Library System, which site pictures some spectacular bookmobiles. It now serves as the Dennis Branch.

1941 Curt Teich card, mailed in September of that year.

Orange (Stickler Memorial Library)

Stickler Memorial Library

According to a May 14, 1900 New York Times headline, ground was broken for this $100,000 structure, presumably the day before. Joseph W. Stickler died almost three years later.
McKim, Mead and White designed a timeless structure, which is still in use, but looking as if it could use a little TLC.

Produced for the New Jersey Post Card Co., one of their 'Views of Quality.' If Curt Teich printed this, as I suspect, it dates to 1916.

Passaic (Reid Memorial Library)

Passaic Library (L) Pioneer Private Mailing Card courtesy of Ira J. Bogert, Real Estate and Insurance.
(R) New Jersey Post Card Co. product, also never mailed. This may have been printed by Curt Teich: if so, it dates to 1916.
Passaic Library

Now known as the Reid Memorial Branch, and currently under renovation. It looks as if it went along nicely, although an enormous wrought iron fence detracts from appearances, in my opinion. The main location is the Julius Forstmann Library.

Paterson (Danforth Memorial Library)

Danforth Memorial Library

Its 1885 founding makes this Library the oldest public library in the state. The current facility was built in 1905 after the Great Fire of 1902: on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. Its architect, Henry Bacon, also designed the Lincoln Memorial.

The publisher of the card is unknown; it was mailed in 1911. Over the entrance it reads:

Erected Anno Domini MCMIII and Presented to the Free Public Library of the City of Paterson.

Pompton Lakes (Emanuel Einstein Memorial Library)

Pompton Lake, NJ library

Still in use. Emanuel Einstein was the president of Raritan Woolen Mills: Pompton Lakes was his summer home.
A city web page contains the historical information about this 1912 Tudor Revival building. It was rehabilitaed in 1952, and named as a historical site in 1994.

Dexter Press postcard.


Rahway, NJ library

The library was clobbered by Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and its building demolished in 2001. Whether the pictured building was the unfortunate victim, I'm uncertain.

F.J. Temme card, mailed in 1909.

Ridgewood (George L. Pease Memorial Library)

Ridgewood, NJ library

Apparently replaced: the current building's entry resembles that on this card, but the brick color is very different on the Google street view of the address.

Chrome postcard, mailed in 1962.

Salem (John Tyler Library Building)

John Tyler Library Building

Established in 1803: built in 1885. I don't know if this is still in use.

I wish that this was a better postcard. I see so many architectural styles in the Library's features: Romanesque, Aesthetic Movement, and Eclectic. Let's go with Eclectic.


Somerville, NJ library

Part of the Somerville County Library System, along with Bound Brook (above).

The current building looks like a former church building.

A.C. Bosselman card, mailed in 1907.

South Orange

South Orange Library

Also pictured atop the page.

May not be the same as the South Orange Township Library.

According to the person who sent this card in 1918, those are chestnut trees. I wonder how much longer they survived?


Trenton Free Library (L) With message (1906):
Isn't this a beautiful library? It has only been built a few years and we are very proud of it. On the slabs under the windows are the names of famous writers.
Shakespeare, Franklin, and Motley are the ones I can read.
(R) Dexter Press card from the 1950s. Add Henry and Scott to the writer roll.
Trenton Free Library

Despite everything, still in use.

Woodbury (Deptford Library)

Deptford Library and Friendship Fire House, Woodbury, New Jersey

Still here!