Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America

Divided from the Carnegie buildings of Michigan in June, 2009.

Non-Carnegie Michigan Libraries

I don't have as many of these as I have cards of Michigan's Carnegie Libraries.

 Battle Creek (Willard Library)

Circa 1907 building still in use, but the library as an institution dates from 1840.

(L) Unattributed card mailed in 1907. (R) The tinted card is from E.C. Kropp with a divided back.

 Big Rapids (Phelps Free Public Library)

Victorian - Italianate house converted into a library.

 Coldwater (The Edwin R. Clarke Library)

Now part of the Branch District Library. As opposed to a branch library. Well, it's that now, too.

Gothic/Romanesque building dating from the turn of the last century. This must have been a pain to make ADA compliant.

Card printed in Germany and mailed in 1908.


This card features the A.J. Phillips Public Library, which was established in 1906, according to the Segers' work, Fenton. An addition was needed by 1964, and that no longer sufficed by 1987. Fenton is now served by the Jack R. Winegarden Library, which resides in the old post office building.

The vertical format of this photo card displays a very impressive building with unusual architecture. It's now in use as a museum.
The postcard was mailed in 1957.

 Grand Ledge

Built in 1931: superseded the Ladies Library Association. Now its own district.

Delightful building, deemed Classical by the Library's history page due to its symmetry. However, the tile roof and horizontal feel are more Prairie-style influenced.
The Michigan Post Card Co. is responsible for this card.

 Grand Rapids (Ryerson Public Library)

Home of Helen Barstow, noted librarian and postcard collector. From cards in her collection, I have learned that she was actively pursuing Carnegie grant money for GRPL.

Built in 1904, heavily renovated in 1967 and 1997. Today it's essentially an inner city library, but a proud one.

German Rotograph card, undated, but mailed in 1908.

More Ryerson postcards.

(L) Veterans Memorial Park chrome postcard shows one side of the library in the background.
(R) Unattributed post card showing two bicycles near the entrance, and a church steeple in the background.

Martin Antoine Ryerson Bas Relief Figured marble Ryerson Public Library
Donor Martin Antoine Ryerson bas-relief Matched, figured marble panel Street view

Pictures taken by the author on a 2009 trip.

 Highland Park (McGregor Public Library)

When I wrote the original comments on Highland Park, I was looking at a shuttered building on a Flickr page. What I didn't know at the time was that a renaissance was planned, to culminate in McGregor Public Library's reopening in 2009.

It's 2013, and the poor building is still in limbo.

 Ithaca (Thompson Memorial Library)

History from the Thompson Home Public Library.

Private home, built ca. 1890, willed by the family in 1930 for conversion into a library.
Demolished in 1974, per the Library's web page, despite some hefty arguments for preservation.

The photo card probably dates to shortly after the house conversion, as it is tagged, 'Thompson Memorial Library.'


Quite definitively Romanesque. Patton & Fisher were the architects of the 1893 building. Replaced in 1959, and apparently demolished.

 Lansing (Capital Area Public Library)

It looks like the front of this building has been tatted.

Merged with other Ingham County libraries in 1998 to form the Capital Area District Library.

See the Carnegie page for the original Lansing Carnegie building.


RPPC card featuring a Prairie/Federal hybrid building.


Absolutely spectacular interior view of Marquette's library on a Hugh C. Leighton card printed in Germany, and mailed in 1910. Among the magazines in the rack are Collier's, Leslie's, and the Saturday Evening Post.

The room's border is stencilled, the furniture is oak (You can see the quarter-sawn graining on the table legs!), and there are light fixtures galore. A rather odd mantel surrounds a fireplace, all set for a cheery fire.

 Menominee (Spies Public Library)

C.T. American Art Card published by V.J. Lundgren, Menominee, Mich.

 Nashville (Putnam Public Library)

Per the International Graphics card:

1973 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the library for the community in the old Putnam home. The home was bequeathed and endowed for this purpose. In 1965 it became a public library through reorganization.

What the purpose for the shutters below the first floor windows is, I don't know. Perhaps a covering for air conditioners?


(L) Old building on a Souvenir Brand Post Card.
(R) Plastichrome brand card with tape damage.

It has been difficult to research the history of this Oakland County library. There appears to be a newer building than those shown currently housing the library collection, but the Library's web site doesn't seem to show any of the buildings.


Photograph copyright by Judy Aulik, 2009

Surprisingly controversial for such a sweet unassuming library of 1910.

On our 2009 Michigan vacation, a detour led us past this building. I yelled, 'That's a Carnegie Library! I know it!' We stopped. I whipped out the camera and photographed the building and the marker.
As I read the marker, it stated that Andrew Carnegie wanted the library to be named for him , and that its actual benefactor, Chas. W. Bennett, wished to not be memorialized.

Andrew Carnegie never demanded that his grant recipients name their library for him: many libraries did out of gratitude.

Terwilliger does not include Quincy on its list of Carnegie buildings: neither does Bobinski.
It's still a cute library, now a branch of the Branch District Library.

 Saginaw (Hoyt Library)

(L) German card, mailed in 1909.
(R) Curt Teich product.

Believe it or not, this nifty building is still in use!

The architects were Boston's Van Brunt and Howe, who began construction in 1887. Although the library opened in 1890, first librarian Harriet Ames was hired in 1888, presumably to stock the library.

Remodeling commenced in 1921, from recycled limestone, and again in 1960, when no matching stone could be found. The most recent renovation came in 1994.


Evolved from the Ladies' Library into the Ladies' Library Auxiliary, after the Library became public in 1942. From the photo on the District Library's web site, it looks like Fanny Bair's donation has been expanded into a modern library.

Although the card was never postmarked, it bears a 1908 date.
Barely visible on the plaque near the entry is 'Fanny M. Bair Library Building 1902.'

 Wayland (Henika Library)

Charming mini-Romanesque library. Not visible in this scan is the leaded window detail, 'Wayland Public Library.' The card was published by Will P. Canaan Co. of Grand Rapids.

 West Bay City (Sage Library)

During its albino phase.
This building was built of red brick, and has lovely trim, now that it's been uncovered. In 1905, when this Rotograph card was copyrighted, Romanesque must have been totally unhep.
What is cool, is that it's still in use despite a new library within two miles.

© 2007 - 2013 Judy Aulik
Uploaded 10 June 2009.
Updated 16 November 2013.

Carnegie libraries.