Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America
Non-Carnegie Michigan Libraries

View of Battle Creek, with library on the left

Detroit libraries have their own page,
updated in May 2015.

Carnegie libraries have their own pages.

Partial view of a Battle Creek postcard, with the Library on the left.
It also features the Ward Building and the Michigan Central Depot.

Battle Creek (Willard Library)

Willard Library of Battle Creek, MI (L) Unattributed card mailed in 1907.
(R) The tinted card, with a divided back, is from E.C. Kropp.
Willard Library of Battle Creek, MI

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

Big Rapids (Phelps Free Public Library)

Phelps Free Public Library, Big Rapids, MI (L) Tinted postcard.
(R) F.G. Osbourne card, mailed in 1909.
Phelps Free Public Library, Big Rapids, MI

Victorian - Italianate house converted into a library.


Bloomingdale, MI Library and Town Hall

Now part of the Van Buren Library District.

Sadly, it appears that this has merely been remodeled, and both functions still occupy this building.

L.L. Cook card.

Coldwater (The Edwin R. Clarke Library)

The Edwin R. Clarke Library, Coldwater, MI (L) Rotograph card with entire back, but mailed in 1910.
(R) Card printed in Germany and mailed in 1908.
The Edwin R. Clarke Library, Coldwater, MI

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.

Fenton (A.J. Phillips Public Library)

A.J. Phillips Public Library, Fenton, MI

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.

Flint (also Flint College and Cultural Center)

Replaced the Carnegie building.

Flint College and Cultural Center; Flint Public Library (L) 'Plastichrome' card.
(R) Dexter Press card.
Flint College and Cultural Center; Flint Public Library

The building is still in use, but does not seem to still house the college.

Grand Ledge

Grand Ledge, MI library

Built in 1931: superseded the Ladies Library Association.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.
The Michigan Post Card Co. is responsible for this card.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids (Ladies' Literary Club)

Grand Rapids, MI ladies' literary club

Not the Ryerson Library precursor.
It was built in 1887, the first of its type in the state. It is still standing, and is owned and operated by Calvin College.

Murray Jordan postcard, mailed in 1906.

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.

Ryerson Public Library (L) German Rotograph card, undated, but mailed in 1908.
(R) Tuck postcard, another quality brand.
Ryerson Public Library
Ryerson Public Library (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.
Interior views of the building below: there has been heavy internal renovation since.
Ryerson Public Library
Lobby and circulation desk of Ryerson Public Library Reference section of Ryerson Public Library Browsing area of Ryerson Public Library Children's Section of Ryerson Public Library
H.S. Crocker 'Water Wonderland' brand postcard (Above) All of this card set was printed by Mich-Litho-Grand Rapids, and branded 'Intensograph.'
(L) H.S. Crocker 'Water Wonderland view from the late 1950s.
(Below) The images in the next row were photographed by the author in 2009.
Martin Antoine Ryerson Bas Relief Figured marble, book-matched Ryerson Public Library
Donor Martin Antoine Ryerson bas-relief Matched, figured marble panel Street view

Highland Park (McGregor Public Library)

McGregor Public Library, Highland Park, MI

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 2015, and the poor building is still in limbo. Outrage abounds, but no progress has been made.

Hillsdale (Mitchell Library)

Replaced in 2003 by the Hillsdale Community Library.

Mitchell Public Library, Hillsdale, MI What a festive place!
(L) Weixelbaum card, showing very early automobiles and somewhat modern bicycles.
(R) C.U. Williams 'Photoette' card.
Mitchell Public Library, Hillsdale, MI

Ithaca (Thompson Memorial Library)

Thompson Memorial Library, Ithaca, MI

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.

Kalamazoo Post Office and Public Library (L) E.E. Labadie postcard.
(R) Tinted early postcard.
Kalamazoo Public Library
1959 Replacement Kalamazoo Library

Replacement building opened in 1959. In turn, this was replaced in 1998.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Lansing (Capital Area Public Library)

Capital Area Public Library, Lansing, MI

It looks like the front of this building had 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.

Marcellus (Wood Memorial Library)

Marcellus, MI public library

Like many Michigan libraries, Marcellus's history began with a Ladies' Library. However, a rather well-heeled WWI soldier left the funds to build this building, after dying in the 1918 influenza outbreak.
Since 1924, there have been two additions built.

Photo postcard, source unknown.


Marshall, MI Library

Surprisingly, designed by architect Frederick Spier, in 1913. Replaced in 1998: I suspect this may have been demolished.

RPPC card featuring a Prairie/Federal hybrid building.

Marquette (Peter White Public Library)

Interior of Peter White Library, Marquette, MI (L) 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.
Peter White Library, Marquette, MI Both are E.C. Kropp postcards. Peter White Library, Marquette, MI

Menominee (Spies Public Library)

Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI

Still in use.

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

Muskegon (Hackley Library)

Muskegon, MI Hackley Park

Wonderful building.
I have to quote Michiganography, 7 May 2015, in several places:

Regarding Charles Henry Hackley's motives:

Mr. Hackley was not a drinker. He was not a church man. He wanted there to be some place for working people to go in Muskegon that wasn't either a church, a brothel, or a saloon.
--Martha Ferriby, Library Director

Regarding the Library's construction, directly quoted from the Michiganography page:

...the town also frequently caught fire, as did most of the rest of Michigan due to reckless logging practices. So not only did Hackley want the library to be a place where working people could be safe from sin (and salvation), he wanted it to be a place that was safe from fire. The library's stone walls, metal staircases, slate roof, and double steel I-beams created a fortress that kept its books safe. But, according to Ferriby, just as important to Hackley was that the building be a place where "people could take refuge" in case their town caught fire.
Since 1924, there have been two additions built, hopefully to Hackley's exacting standards.

Valentine-Souvenir postcard.

Nashville (Putnam Public Library)

Putnam Public Library, Nashville, MI

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?


Early Pontiac, MI library (L) Old building on a Souvenir Brand Post Card.
(R) Plastichrome brand card with tape damage.
Modern Pontiac, MI library

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.


Early photo postcard of the Quincy, MI library (L) Judging from the debris field, this looks like a construction photograph. The card was mailed in 1911.
(R) Photo postcard, also unattributed.
Quincy, MI library
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 did not include Quincy on its list of Carnegie buildings: neither did Bobinski.
It's still a cute library, now a branch of the Branch District Library.

Romeo (Kezar Library)

Kezar Library, Romeo, MI

Formed in 1908: Dedicated in 1911. Amazingly, its architect, Henry D. Whitfield, the son-in-law of Andrew Carnegie, designed this library. It received an addition in 1971, and was replaced in 2001.
I don't know if this building is still standing, but the fact the Graubner replacement was built on donated land makes me feel optimistic.

Photo postcard, in poor condition. Mailed in 1911.

Saginaw (Hoyt Library)

Hoyt Library, Saginaw, MI (L) German card, mailed in 1909.
(R) Curt Teich product.
Hoyt Library, Saginaw, MI
Hoyt Library and Post Office, Saginaw, MI (L) H.H. Hamm card, possibly printed by Curt Teich.
(R) Hollyhock hedge.
Hollyhock Hedge near Hoyt Library, Saginaw, MI
Hoyt Library with addition, Saginaw, MI (L) This Dexter Press/Hiawatha postcard shows the 1960 addition.

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, using recycled limestone, and again in 1960, when no matching stone could be found. Hence the jarring card above.
The most recent renovation came in 1994.

Butman-Fish Memorial Library

Butman-Fish Memorial Library, Saginaw, MI

This was Saginaw's west side branch library.

H.H. Hamm card.


Fanny M. Bair Library Building, 1902, Vicksburg, MI (L) 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.'
(R) Tinted printed Card was mailed in 1910.
Fanny M. Bair Library Building, Vicksburg, MI

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.

Wayland (Henika Library)

Henika Library, Wayland, MI

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.

Still in use.

West Bay City (Sage Library)

Sage Public Library, (W.) Bay City, MI (L) In 1905, when this Rotograph card was copyrighted, Romanesque must have been totally unhep.
(R) S.H. Knox card, captioned as 'Bay City.'
Sage Public Library, (W.) Bay City, MI
During its albino phase. This building was built of red brick, and has lovely trim, now that it's been uncovered.
What is cool, is that it's still in use despite a new library within two miles.
During its lutino phase.