Non-Carnegie Libraries of Illinois, A - F,
which no longer contains Chicago.
Non-Carnegie Libraries of Illinois, O - Z.
There are 5 pages of Carnegie library postcards, beginning
Occasionally, Illinois communities leapt to the challenge before Andrew Carnegie hit the scene.
In some cases (Mary McCoy Library of McLeansboro, William Reddick of Ottawa), local citizens led the way. The heirs of Gail Borden used their 'milk money' to found Elgin's library, although Borden did not have a personal connection with the city. In the same era as the Carnegie grants, much of James L. Nichols' business and printing profits were bequeathed to help build Naperville's original library building. Otherwise, Illinois industry did little to directly fund the state's public libraries, although the heirs of the condensed 'Pet brand' milk empire funded Latzer Memorial Library.
Some of these cards, however, postdate the grant program, or picture buildings that replaced Carnegie buildings (Highland Park).
|(L) Post Office News Stand postcard, mailed in 1907.
(R) C.R. Childs photo postcard, never mailed.
Slightly reminiscent of the
Carpentersville and the Loda library.
Built in 1898, replaced in 1976.
Used as the Geneseo Historical Museum: now serves as library storage. The current library is a sprawling building.
A 1911 donation by William Moyer funded the original building, which has
been replaced. The ivy must have covered a multitude of sins, because this building
was condemned in 1962.
History in 'A lott (sic) of city in 100 years; centennial history of Gibson City, Illinois.'
|(L) Photo card of the library, and a woman on the sidewalk.
(R) Correspondent DB noted in 1945:
Do you suppose that is Mom coming from the library?
|(L) Photo card, now with cannon. Return your books on time!
Mailed in 1937: might the cannon have been scrapped in WWII?
Not much to be said about this North Shore library. The picture isn't that great, and comparing it to the Google street view allows me to conclude that it may or may not be the same building seen here.
Photo postcard, never mailed.
Caption: First Presbyterian Church and Golconda Public Library
Curt Teich waxes more poetic about the church, but does state that the library was a gift to the city by the late Chas. Rauchfuss in memory of his wife and mother.
Originally misidentified as the Hampshire, Ill. Fire and Ambulance District. Why books would be in the window of the fire and ambulance HQ, I don't know.
We in the know identify it as the Ella Johnson Memorial Library. I believe its current home is in a repurposed implement showroom.
|Building built in 1909:
this card was sent shortly afterwards.
|Righthand card postmarked 1955,
late for a linen- finish card.
Replaced in 2001,
the memorial building is being used by the neighboring St. Joseph's Catholic Church
as a community center.
Publisher Curt Teich notes:
DELOS F. DIGGINS LIBRARY HARVARD, ILLINOIS
One of the finest buildings of a progressive community, filling a public need faithfully for many years.
Libraries are your faithful friend. Even Curt Teich agrees.
|(L) Eagle Post Card View for Voegele's Studio.
(R) Auburn Greeting Card postcard of a tiled interior, card catalogue, reference desk, and an atlas case.
Like Gail Borden Public Library in upstate Elgin, Louis Latzer Memorial Library exists from the generosity of a dairy family; in this case, the founders of Pet Milk Company. Founded in 1929, it was renovated in 1971, when a wing was added by a daughter of the family, Jennie Latzer Kaeser.
|(L) The linen finish card by Curt Teich was mailed in 1949.
(R) Photo card by L.L. Cook.
This is Highland Park's second library, built in 1931 to replace the Carnegie building. Why, I don't know. I think I like the older library better.
|Not much of pair of cards, but better than nothing.
(L) The caption of this reprint reads:
'Hinsdale of Yesteryear'(R) L.L. Cook photo post card.
Sometime afterwards, the library was installed.
Most of Hinsdale's downtown and civic buildings are in this Georgetown architecture.
Founded in 1920.
Replaced sometime this century. Both the new and old are on the Dixie Highway, a major Detroit-to-Florida tourist route which predates the numbered US Federal Highway System.
'Etch-Tone' brand card, with date code 8-58. The Library building was really this bland.
|(L) By Curt Teich.
(R) Per E.C. Kropp, the misleading Milwaukeean:
This is a Carnegie endowed institution. The bronze lions were installed at the entrance in 1928 after being removed from the entrance of the Gelino department store ruins. The lions were previously at the entrance of a large Chicago department store and were brought to Kankakee after the disastrous fire in 1871.
|Another E.C. Kropp card displays the Romanesque features better than the cards above do.|
Chronology. Building dedicated in 1899.
The library's site looks a lot better than it did when I began this project. However, there's no word about the fate of the original building, which was replaced in 2004. The Library does show the original building's plans.
Dedicated in 1931. You know this just had to be a North Shore library,
like Highland Park (above).
It's still in use, with a few additions.
Did people in the '30s call this 'retro' (or its Depression-era equivalent)? It looks to be at least twenty years older than it actually is. To me, it strongly resembles Oshkosh's 1899 building.
The card is photographic, by L.L. Cook of Milwaukee, the successor to E.C. Kropp. It probably was printed after 1958.
I believe that this is now known as the J.T. and E.J. Crumbaugh
Memorial Public Library. I have no proof,
since its web site bit the dust with the Yahoo/Geocities shutdown.
The Crumbaughs appear to have also founded a Spiritualist Church in the central Illinois town.
This is a 'Groganized' photograph, out of Danville, IL. It was never mailed, and without cars or other clues, I can't date it.
|(L) Photo card mailed in 1945.
(R) Paul H. Vogel photo card, never mailed.
|(L) 1952 Curt Teich linen finish card.
(R) 1964 Curt Teich chrome finish card. By this point, you could see that Teich standards were beginning to slip.
Not in Cook County. Not in the Deep South, either, despite its
The 1952 Curt Teich card gives us some building history.
The stately old mansion was the home of Ansel Brainard Cook, one of Libertyville's early settlers. Built in the late 1860's the home and the grounds were bequeathed to the Village by his wife, and today the Cook Memorial Library is the outstanding landmark of Libertyville.
In use from 1921 - 1968: the 1964 Teich card gives the first date as 1924.
Since 1973, when the township board was dissolved, known as the Cook Memorial Public Library District. Its website has a clever history page.
Quite the handful of a name for such a tiny library.
Built in 1896. Quite impressive fact.
Published by A.C. Hutchinson, mailed in 1910. According to the writer, 'It is a lovely place.' She mailed it to Atlanta.
|(L) From the Curt Teich linen finish card:
The Helen M. Plum Memorial Library is situated in lovely Lilacia Park. Its charming reading rooms offer a restful retreat for visitors to lilac time in Lombard. The library as well as Lilacia Park are gifts of the late Col. William Plum.
|The current library lies partially underneath Lilacia Park, which causes all sorts of logistical restraints.
This 1968 Curt Teich 'chrome' captures its rear wing while featuring the park.
in 1927 as a replacement for the 1905 Josiah Reade House.
In turn, it was replaced in 1963.
Lombard is known as the 'Lilac City,' hence 'Lilacia Park.'
Wow, this is a sad photo postcard.
Rest assured: Loves Park has a much nicer library today, and they are currently renovating the 1968 building.
Using the library history, and the postmark on this unassuming photo postcard, we can date it between 1950 and 1952.
|(L) The L.L. Cook photo card might date from the late 1950s.
(R) A newer L.L. Cook card: the station wagon is from the 1960s. The parking meter might also be a good clue.
Now known as the Marengo - Union Public Library.
This building was outgrown in 1993, and the library returned to its first building. Very strange.
Finally, a new building opened in 2014.
This interesting building, built in 1884
as a private dwelling, is still in use as a library. I have no
idea if it is, or could be, made ADA-compliant.
Its second floor is a genealogy library.
The post card is another one of those 'C.T. Photo-Finish' jobs.
The 1923 building really looks like a late Carnegie, but is not. It appears to have been replaced.
W.R. Clough postcard.
Built in 1915 on land donated by David Filger. Its architecture resembles that of the
non-Prairie Carnegie buildings of the late era, and that of the small town schools of the day.
Still in use.
Curiously, the library's web page uses blogging software.
The postcard is branded 'Black & White,' possibly a Curt Teich budget production. It was mailed in 1937.
|(L) Card, probably produced by C.R. Childs, was mailed in 1914.
(R) Strange product by Curt Teich, although its issues aren't obvious. Published under the 'C.T. Photo-Platin' marque, it bears a date code more associated with Teich's other ventures. Furthermore, it appears to have been struck on thin cardstock.
Probably printed in 1936: never mailed.
Remarkably little information available online: the Library's web site is under construction; but shows this building, intact.
Opera House and Public Library, Monticello, Ill.
This bleak card was produced by H.M. Shuck & Co.
Surprisingly, the library remains in this facility, although the opera house function is no more. I know which I'd choose.
|(L) Unusual Real Photo card featuring an unusual library housed in an
former Congregational church. John Danforth Odell purchased and donated the building to the community.
(R) Another photo card.
Over the door reads: Giladi Building Library Atheneum.
Over the window: Morrison Literary & Scientific Association.
|(L) One of the later L.L. Cook postcards has a wide border. The photo manages to catch the side of a gasoline station to the left.|
This building housed the Odell Public Library from 1879 to 1995.
I also long for the days when Science, with a respectful capital S, was held in such high esteem that a civic group met to study it.
|Two photo cards show the library from different angles. The left was taken in 1952, or very early 1953; the right, sometime after 1954.|
The quintessential Chicago suburb.
This is the 4th (1950) building to house the Mount Prospect Public Library. Surprisingly for Illinois, it is an independent library, not part of any regional system.
This was Naperville's public library through a 1961 renovation, into 1981. Over the last several years, the building has had several tenants and serves as office space.
The current Nichols Library is also in downtown Naperville. Naperville Public Library's most recently built facility is the 95th Street Library, opened September, 2003. It lies within Will County, attesting to the rapid growth of this city in Chicago's collar counties.
All text is under copyright by the author. Cards are presented for scholarly study: most are significantly older than 1928. You may link, and even deep-link to its pages, but you may not claim any part as your own nor link to individual images.