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

Alden (Ewell Free Library)

Ewell Free Library of Alden, NY (L) Card bears only a plate number: may be of the Black and White brand.
(R) Modern chrome card.
Ewell Free Library of Alden, NY

Now part of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

The building is in memoriam of the Ewell daughter, and was finished in 1913. The Library's history page calls its styl Beaux Arts Classical Revival.


Angelica, NY Public Library

Part of the Southern Tier Library System. The building shown is still in use.

Octochrome postcard. It was printed in Germany, at the behest of J.A. Howlett, dealer in dry goods, boots, shoes, and notions.


Angola, NY library

Now incorporated into the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

Merrimac Picture Post Card, mailed in 1971.


Attica, NY library

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

Geo. Bey card.

Auburn (Case Memorial Library)

Case Memorial Library

Now known as the Seymour Public Library District. Designed by Carrere & 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. Actually, John Lennon & Sons built it in 1887-9. It was expanded in 1937 and 1979, and it looks like little of this building remains visible.

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

Bath (Davenport Free Library)

Davenport Free Library of Bath, NY

Built in the 1830s as a residence: now houses a historical society.

Published for the Charles E. Buck Music House.

Belfast (Bartlett Memorial Library)

Bartlett Memorial Library of Belfast, NY

Built in the 1830s as a residence: now houses a historical society.

Published for the Charles E. Buck Music House.

Belmont Literary Society & Free Library

Ward Hall-Free Library of Belmont, NY

Founded in 1885.
Built in 1904: Ward Hall has nothing to do with town government, but is Mrs. Hamilton Ward's eponymous building.
The Library's history page, linked above, claims that she obtained $1,000 in Carnegie monies, but I cannot verify this. The Library also doesn't seem to be assertive about this claim.

Published by B.B. & H.W. Slade: printed in Germany.
Mailed in 1911.

Caption: Ward Hall - Free Library and Club Room
Belmont, N.Y.

Boonville (Erwin Library)

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

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

Brockport (Seymour Library)

Seymour Library of Brockport, NY

Another converted house: replaced.

Lusterchrome postcard.

Buffalo (Cyrus Eidlitz Buffalo Public Library Building)


Beautiful building. For the most part, beautiful cards.
The city and Erie County system merged in 1953 due to economic reasons, although 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 library
'Buffalo Means Business' seal. Bizarrely tinted. Cars added onto the plate. S.H. Knox card.
Buffalo library Buffalo library Buffalo library
Monochrome, printed in England. Glossy card, possibly an early Curt Teich. 1947 Curt Teich card.


Cambridge, NY public Library

The building shown is still in use. Large end windows differentiate this from the standard Carnegie plan.

A.M. Simon 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 (L) The card has a pencil date range as Sept.--May 1917-18.
(R) Photo postcard with nearly illegible caption.
Benton Library

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

Castile (Cordelia A. Greene Library)

C.A. Greene library, Castile, NY (L) Excelsior brand card, possibly the bottom of the barrel for ANC Co.
(R) Bucolic setting, isn't it?
C.A. Green library, Castile, NY

Apparently still in use.


Cooperstown Public Library (L) 1959 Curt Teich chrome postcard.
(R) Tecraft matte finish card.
Cooperstown Public Library

Village Library of Cooperstown is still in use.


Cortland, NY public Library

1927 building: has undergone multiple renovations over the years, and is still in use.

Surprisingly, the Library's home page features this same postcard. It's a 'C.T. American Art Colored' Curt Teich card, printed in 1929 for the Wm. Jubb Co.

Coxsackie (Heermance Memorial Library)

Coxasackie, NY public Library

The building was a bequest by Miss Eleanor Christina Heermance. It opened in 1908 and appears to still be in use as the Heermance Memorial Library.

Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art Card' reprint.

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.

Essex (Grey Stone Library)

Essex NY Grey Stone Library

Fascinating history before its iteration as The Belden Memorial Library, officially in 1974.

Robson A. Adel postcard, printed in Germany.

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.

Geneva (Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Library Building)

Cambridge, NY Public Library

Still in use, with a 1962 addition.

Dexter Press Dextone card with curved corners.


Goshen, NY Public Library (L) Monochrome card, not a cyanotype.
(R) Dexter Press chrome card.
Goshen, NY Public Library

Still in use. Incorporates the historical society.

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.

Granville (Pember Library)

Granville, NY Pember Library

Chartered in 1909: the dressed stone building is still in use.

ANC Co. Special Colored brand card. This is unique in my collection.

Homer (Phillips Free Library)

Phillips Free Library (L) Monochrome card with uneven back. No attribution.
(R) 1952 Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' postcard; another one which looks like the motel account artists got to it.
Phillips Free Library

No clue who Phillips was.

Still in use.

Jamestown (Prendergast Free Library)

Prendergast Free Library (L) Card with entire back, mailed in 1908.
(R) Thomas Studio chrome postcard with remarkably subdued colors.
Prendergast Free Library
Prendergast Free Library (L, below) 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.

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.

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.


Keeseville, NY public Library

The building shown is still in use (2014).

That's R. Prescott & Son Radio Fur[niture] in the background of this Fairbanks card.

Le Roy (Woodward Library)

Le Roy, NY Library

Le Roy was the original home of Jell-O. Be glad that this wasn't the Windward Library.

According to the Library's history page, this building was constructed on the former Ingham University site, using its stone. Well, it was 1930.

Unattributed postcard. It even lacks a postage box.


Lockport, NY Library (L) Linen-finish card.
(R) 1956 Curt Teich chrome card.
Lockport, NY Library

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.

Madrid (Hepburn Library)

Madrid, NY public Library

The library underwent renovations in 2014. Whether it was the building on this card, I know not.

However, this card needs a lot of renovation. It's a $5-PHOTO-CO. postcard, from Photo Park, New York.

Malone (Wead Library)

Malone has had two library buildings.

Malone Library

Railroad Station and Library, Malone, N.Y.

Apparently the immense railroad station served the Ogdensburg & Champlain railroad.
The library building appears to have been built in the 1880s.

Valentine & Sons' Publishing Co. card, printed in Great Britain.

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.

Mohawk (Weller Public Library)

Mohawk, NY Weller Library

So many New York public libraries have been housed in former residences. Many were stuck therein: Weller Library has had two wings attached, one quite jarring. The paint has been stripped to reveal red paint.

Curt Teich card, which actually has an unusual mistake on the caption, calling this the Wellers Public 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.

New Paltz (Elting Memorial Library)

New Paltz, NY Public Library

Chartered in 1909, through a lot of work by local women, heroes, in my opinion.
The building shown, taken over in 1919, is still in use. There seem to be at least two additions.

Albertype card.


Newark, NY library

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

Rochester News 'Americhrome' postcard.

New York City

See dedicated page, which also shows some Carnegie branches.

Norwich (Guernsey Memorial Public 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 possibly remained. Mailed in 1969.
Norwich, NY Library


Ogdensburg Library

Now, with green shutters!
It also looks to have undergone internal renovations. Amusingly (and nostalgically), its history page shows honkin' huge card catalog cabinets, possibly for its large Civil War collection.

1937 Curt Teich linen-finish card.

Owego (Coburn Free Library)

Coburn Free Library, Owego, NY

Still in use.

Americhrome card for Albany News.

Pawling (Akin Library)

Pawling, NY Public Library

This is not the Pawling Free Library. Located on Quaker Hill, this is now known as Akin Free Library. It contains a museum and the library.

Albertype postcard.

Pine Hill (Morton Memorial Library)

Morton Memorial Library (L) Older card published by Albert Hahn.
(R) 'Artino' brand card, slightly newer.
Morton Memorial Library

Both cards are also captioned 'Catskill Mountains.'

1903 Greek Revival building. Still in use.


Pleasantville Library

Now part of the Mount Pleasant Public Library.

Flemish architecture, rare in the library world.

The card, by the Tecraft Company, looks more like a book cover illustration than a library postcard.

Poughkeepsie (Adriance Memorial Library)

Adriance Memorial Library Adriance Memorial Library Adriance Memorial Library Adriance Memorial Library
Forboding card by
Leighton & Valentine.
Card by J. Ruben of Newburgh.
The retoucher enhanced the dome's
resemblance to a muskmelon.
1938 Curt Teich linen card. German postcard.

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.

Remsen (Didymus Thomas Memorial Library)

Cambridge, NY public Library

Still in this handsome building, but open for very limited hours (2014).

Its publisher was S.S. Company Quality Cards, an unfamiliar marque.


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 Richfield Springs Library
Simply lovely Albertype card. 1915 Curt Teich card, with information,
'Given by Mr. T.R. Proctor.'
Tichnor Quality View card.

Part of the Four County Library System.
There's not a lot of information out there about this library's history. As Proctor was a prominent citizen, it looks as if his role may have been in deeding the land to the village.

Rochester (Rundel Memorial Building)

Rochester Library (L) 1936 Curt Teich linen-finish card.
(R) Metropolitan card, mailed 1953.
Rochester Library
Rochester Library (L, below) Plastichrome postcard, with description on reverse.

A touch of Deco.

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.

Wm. Jubb card.

Jervis Public Library, Rome, NY

This arty Plastichrome card shows at least two of the additions mentioned above. It might be an architect's rendering.

It does tell us who John Jervis was: the engineer who planned the water systems for both Boston and New York City.


Rye, NY Public Library

Now called the Rye Free Reading Room.
The building had additions in 1951, 1960, and 2003.

Photo & Art Postal Card. The art part is a little dubious, as its image is askew.

Saratoga Springs

Sarasota Springs, NY Public Library (L) Tichnor Quality View.
(R) From Dean Color Services.
Kodachrome by Byrhl F. Wheeler.
Sarasota Springs, NY Public Library

From the reverse of the chrome card:

Built and chartered in 1950 as a School District Public Library. Now supported by the City. Building cost $125,000 from private donations. Over 30,000 modern titles. ...


Sherburne Public Library (L) Published for the Greeting Card Mfg. Co. Never mailed.
(R) B.G. Lowry Aerial Photo Service card.
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.

St. Johnsville (Margaret Reaney Memorial Library)

Margaret Reaney Memorial Library

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

J.A. Smith card.


Library at Onteora Park.

Tannersville, NY Public Library Two linen-finish cards.
(L) By Metropolitan of Everett, Massachusetts.
(R) Colourpicture card.
Tannersville, NY Public Library

Confusing library circumstances. Both cards call this as a library on Oneonta Park. However, the current building is called Mountain Top Library, was called the Haines Falls Free Library, and the illustration is not of the building shown on the postcards.

Troy (Hart Memorial Library)

Troy, NY Public Library

The Library has multiple history pages. Considered to be one of the earlier examples of the emerging American Renaissance style, the building began to disintegrate in the 1970s and was heavily renovated in order to preserve it.

Valentine-Souvenir postcard, mailed in 1921 as a New Year's card.

Tuxedo Park


The Library occupies only a portion of the space in the building shown. Amazingly, some of its trustees have included celebrities such as Augustus Juillard, Fred Gwynne, and Robert Duvall.

Silvercraft card, by Dexter Press. Mailed in 1947.


Utica, NY Library Utica, NY Library Utica, NY Library Utica, NY Library
Unattributed German card. Fifer Quality View. Card produced for Woolworth. Margo Studio chrome postcard.

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.

And I thought typing catalog cards was laborious!

Walton (William B. Ogden Free Library)

Wm. B. Ogden Free Library (L) Here is another aluminum postcard. (The other--of Hallowell, ME's library--is on the Maine page, and is in much better condition.)
(R) Artigo brand postcard, never mailed.
Wm. B. Ogden Free Library

What really impresses me about the founding is that 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.

Wappingers Falls

Wappingers Falls, NY Public Library

Now the Grinnell Public Library.

It bills itself as the '6th Oldest Library in New York,' an oddly specific claim.
You can't argue with an 1867 founding date, however. The unspecified architect modeled this 1887 building after one in St. Battenberg, Switzerland and another in England.
Its most recent remodeling was in 2008.

S.D. Wixson card, mailed with a Parcel Post 1¢ stamp in 1914.

Warrensburg (Richards Library)

Warrensburg, NY Public Library

Founding assisted by the Richards sisters.
The building was built of local dolomitic limestone by contractor Jonah Hess, who finished in 1900. It is still in use.

Tichnor Quality View. I'm not vouching for its quality after its 1931 mailing.

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.

Postcard printed in Germany for Rochester News.

Watertown (Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library)

Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library (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 the card on the left.
Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library

Library's file of the dedication booklet.

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

Wellsville (David A Howe Library)

Wellsville, NY Public Library

The building is Georgian Colonial, and is still in use, apparently without additions or renovations.

1937 card by Curt Teich, mailed in 1948.

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.

© 2007 - 2014 Judy Aulik
Updates and division: 09 November 2014.
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