Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost New York

NYPL and other New York City public libraries have their own page, as do Long Island Libraries.

Non-Carnegie Libraries


Attica, NY library

After remodeling, the 1893 building serves as the Stevens Community Memorial Library.

 Auburn (Case Memorial Library)

Case Memorial Library

Now known as the Seymour Public Library District. Designed by Carrere and Hastings. Opened in 1903 and expanded in 1973 and 1993.

Published by C.S. (not F.W.) Woolworth and Co., with an entire back.
Mailed in 1909.

 Batavia (Richmond Memorial Library)

Richmond Memorial Library

Wow. Simply wow.

This is the first Romanesque library building I've seen that looks as if it had had librarians in on the design. Unfortunately, there appears to no longer be a public library in this town, going by the Libweb list.

This is a Valentine & Sons card, mailed in 1912.

 Boonville (Erwin Library)

Erwin Library Erwin Library

Built in 1890.
Now known as the Erwin Library and Institute, part of the MidYork Library System.

(L) Card mailed in 1907.
(R) 1957 Dexter Press. This is one of those library postcards that could be sent as a Christmas card.

 Buffalo (Cyrus Eidlitz Buffalo Public Library Building)

Buffalo library


Beautiful building. For the most part, beautiful cards.

The city and Erie County system merged in 1953 due to economic reasons. 1953 seems an odd year for an economic meltdown.

The 1963 replacement building housed the collections of Buffalo Public and the Grosvenor Libraries.

Buffalo library Buffalo library Buffalo library Buffalo library
'Buffalo Means Business' seal. Bizarrely tinted. Cars added onto the plate. S.H. Knox card.
Buffalo library Buffalo library
Monochrome, printed in England. 1947 Curt Teich card.

 Canandaigua (Historical Museum and Wood Library)

Historical Museum and Wood Library

The Wood Library today appears to be in an older, smaller building. It is neither about Wood nor in a wood building.

Tichnor Quality View, never mailed.

 Canton (Benton Library)

Benton Library

Founded 1887. Built sometime between 1907 and 1910, and expanded in 1956. Renovated in 2006.

The card has a pencil date range as Sept.--May 1917-18.

 Delmar (Delmar Free Library Association)

Bethlehem Public Library

100 years old as of this writing (late 2013). Now known as the Bethlehem Public Library. Built sometime between 1913 and 1931. Replaced in 1972.
Fate unknown.

Strange building which looks like the cottage-style Sunoco stations of the East.
The photo card is by the Eastern Illustrating Company of Belfast, Maine.


Deposit Free Library

Founded just prior to the stock market crash in 1929. Opened in 1937. Expanded in 1962.

Photo postcard with typed caption.

 Friendship (Pitt Memorial Library)

Pitt Memorial Library

Named for William Pitt, oil geologist.

Although the portico is lettered 'Pitt Memorial Library,' the glass window over the door reads 'Friendship Free Library.'
So act sullen, morose, and unhelpful.

Valentine-Souvenir postcard.

 Gouverneur (Reading Room Association of Gouverneur)

Public Reading Room

Founded in 1886 by the WCTU: current building built in 1900, with 1953, 1970, and 2008 additions.

Romanesque building. Just the angular overhang added above the door spoils the impact of this stone building. Photo postcard with unattributable origins,

 Homer (Phillips Free Library)

Phillips Free Library

No clue who Phillips was.

Still in use.

1952 Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' postcard; another one which looks like the motel account artists got to it.

 Jamestown (Prendergast Free Library)

Prendergast Free Library Prendergast Free Library

Still in use--sorta.
According to the Library's site, it was built in 1891, and renovated in 1960. In 1964, the wing was added for the Library, and the old building housed an art gallery, offices, meeting rooms, and storage space. The next additions came in 1968 and 1978: now the Romanesque building serves as the system headquarters.

(L) Card with entire back, mailed in 1908.
(R) McClenathan Printery card with additional history, such as the early 1880 charter date, an 1889-1891 construction phase, and new (1963) wing with 1968 addition.

 Johnson City (Your Home Library)

Your Home Library

In my collection, certainly the card from the library with the oddest name. It was mailed in 1924 but appears to be about a dozen years older. It was published by A.M. Pierson of Binghamton, N.Y.


Lockport, NY Library Lockport, NY Library

(L) Linen-finish card
(R) 1956 Curt Teich chrome card.

Built in 1935 - 6.
Over the door: Books*Are*Like*An*Open*Door*To*Set*The*Spirit*Free,
attributed to Edith Kathleen Jones, a Massachusetts librarian.

 Malone (Wead Library)

Wead Library of Malone, NY

Still in use. In reality, the brickwork is in variegated brown shades.
Since 1954, it's part of the Clinton Essex Franklin Library System.

This is a linen-finish, Tichnor Quality View. It's not quite as high quality as the Curt Teich cards it emulates.

 Middletown (Thrall Library)

Middletown, NY library

Organized in 1801.
Bleak ca. 1901 building, replaced in 1995. However, the card has some fun details. The lady in blue is reading and walking.

An MLS thesis was written in 1996, by Barbara C. Chumard, about this library.

 Montour Falls

Montour Falls Library

Not listed in Bobinski's Carnegie Libraries (1969).

The building is still in use, and the library is part of the Southern Tier Library System.


Built in 1900; added on in 1937, 1954, and 1989.

 New York City

See dedicated page.

 Norwich (Guernsey Memorial Public Library)

Norwich, NY Library Norwich, NY Library

(L) Demolished in 1967.
(R) Chrome card, showing the replacement building. However, in the right hand background, the house-cum-library might remain. Mailed in 1969.


Ogdensburg Library

Now, with green shutters!
(But, no history on its web page.)

1937 Curt Teich linen-finish card.

 Owego (Coburn Free Library)

Coburn Free Library, Owego, NY

Still in use.


Pleasantville Library

Flemish architecture, rare in the library world.

Looks more like a book cover illustration than a library. The card is by the Tecraft Company.

Now part of the Mount Pleasant Public Library.

 Poughkeepsie (Adriance Memorial Library)

Adriance Memorial Library Adriance Memorial Library

(L) Forbidding card by Leighton & Valentine.
(R) Card by J. Ruben of Newburgh. The retoucher enhanced the dome's resemblance to a muskmelon.

The library is quite clearly still in use.

 Red Hook

Red Hook Library

Building designed by Orson Squire Fowler.

The library took over the house in 1935. New York and New England seem to have a lot of libraries utilizing former mansions.


Morton Memorial Library

No longer used as a library, but serves as a community house today.

Wow, this is a confusing card. Rhinebock is crossed off, and Rhinecliff is stamped above the error. Most Internet sources call the location Rhinebeck.
Valentine and Sons couldn't get it right. The mailing post office is Rhine Cliff.

Let's just call it Morton Memorial Hall and Library.

 Richfield Springs

Richfield Springs Library Richfield Springs Library

(L) Simply lovely Albertype card.
(R) 1915 Curt Teich card, with information, 'Given by Mr. T.R. Proctor.'

Part of the Four County Library System.
There's not a lot of information out there about this library's history.

 Rochester (Rundel Memorial Building)

Rochester Library Rochester Library

Slightly Deco.

(L) 1936 Curt Teich linen-finish card.
(R) Metropolitan card, mailed 1953.

Now joined by the Bausch & Lomb Public Library Building to comprise the headquarters of the Monroe County Library System.

 Rome (Jervis Public Library)

Jervis Public Library, Rome, NY

I believe this to be the original building, John B. Jervis' home, which was converted to a public library in 1895, and upsized in 1925.
Yes, I'm aware that no-one upsized anything in 1925.
It was enlarged yet again in 1961, 1972, and 1988.


Sherburne Public Library

Originated as part of Sherburne Free Academy. Current building designed by Edward Tilton in 1909. Its current roof is green tile, and it was built using red brick.
South wing added, 1939; renovations, 2002.

Part of that south wing is visible on the card, which was mailed in 1968.

 St. Johnsville (Margaret Reaney Memorial Library)

Margaret Reaney Memorial Library

Built in 1909, and still in use after a 1936 addition.


Utica, NY Library Utica, NY Library Utica, NY Library

Library still in use.
Very detailed library history. My favorite line:

1895 -- A handwritten card catalog is started. It takes three years to complete and totals 58,000 cards.

I thought typing catalog cards was laborious!

 Walton (William B. Ogden Free Library)

Wm. B. Ogden Free Library

Here is another aluminum postcard. (The other--of Hallowell, ME's library--is in the New England pages, and is in much better condition.)

However, I found a wonderful virtual tour of this 1899 structure. What really impresses me is this is the same gentleman who served as the first mayor of Chicago (1837-8), and for whom Ogden Avenue (US 34) is named. From postmaster of a Catskills village to the top position in the Second City: simply amazing. And on his 1877 death, he left funds for his hometown to have a new library building.

 Warwick, Orange Co. (Albert Wisner Memorial Library)

Albert Wisner Memorial Library

Unfortunately, someone tried to include the post office on the 1968 card.
In early 2011, this building was sold to the Warwick Historical Society.


Waterloo, NY library

Still in use. The building also includes the Historical Society.

 Watertown (Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library)

Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library

Library's file of the dedication booklet.

Grecian-style library finished in 1901 and evidently still in use.

(L) Curt Teich American Art Colored Card mailed in 1926.
(R) Valentine and Sons' card printed in Great Britain. Never mailed, but probably older than that on the left.

 Westfield (Patterson Library)

Patterson Library, Westfield, NY

Without slope to its roof, just how many books were lost due to leaks?

Contains the notes: From Curteich--'Gift of Miss Hannah W. Patterson, containing 44,000 Volumes in memory of her parents.'
From the purchaser--'Arrow under window at far right points to basement entrance to Girl Scout Little House.'

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.

© 2007 - 2013 Judy Aulik

Updated November 2013.
Carnegie buiildings at New York Carnegie libraries.
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