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Carnegie Libraries of Alabama, Louisiana, & Mississippi


Somewhere, Carnegie library postcards for the southeastern US must exist in quantity. However, it's not where I attend postcard shows. Coupled with a dearth of Carnegie grants, three states comprise a single page.


Statistics come from George S. Bobinski's Carnegie Libraries



Fourteen Alabama Carnegie buildings were built. 4 were demolished before 1969.

Anniston, Alabama's Carnegie library

1916 grant: Demolished ca. 1965.


Curt Teich  postcard, printed promptly for the Southern Post Card Company. It displays architecture more common to the limestone-rich Midwest.


Decatur, Alabama's Carnegie library, still extant.

Built in 1905 after a 1903 grant. ca. 1974, the building became a children's library.


After that, it served as a Baptist church. In 1997, the Decatur Arts Council leased the building from the city, renovated it in 1998, and in 1999, it became the Carnegie Visual Arts Center.


Card printed by Tichnor Quality Views; published by Knoxville Engraving


Gadsden, Alabama's Carnegie library, demolished due to leaking roof.

Both cards are printed by E.C. Kropp, but the right-hand card was made for the dime store chain S.H. Kress.

Carnegie grant: 1903 (the Library web site gives 1905). Wing added, 1942. Replaced in 1964: subsequently demolished.

In what I might call karma, if I weren't aware of how terrible the consequences of water incursion can be, water damage due to a leaky roof closed the new main branch in May, 2009.


1901 Carnegie grant: the building was replaced in 1959. Now used as the City of Montgomery Property Appraisal Office.

Per the E.C. Kropp card reverse:

This building was erected in 1904. It was made possible by a gift of $50,000.00 from Andrew Carnegie. It is a free library and is used daily by hundreds of citizens. It contains thousands of valuable books and maintains a reading room well equipped with current magazines.

Montgomery, Alabama's Carnegie library.

Hardly lyrical, but it gets the facts across.

This particular card bears the number 28 and the notation:
Chamber of Commerce/Montgomery, Ala./Aug. 10, 1940.


1906 grant. Replaced.


E.C. Kropp monochrome postcard. Never mailed.

Talladega, Alabama's Carnegie library

For whatever reason, Louisiana is where Bobinski gets really fuzzy.

Only four--or maybe six--grants funded 9 buildings.

'Our Belles' Tuck postcard of Alexandria, Louisiana's Carnegie library

This is a case where the postcard is much more interesting than the standard 1907 Carnegie-funded building. 
Although it no longer functions as a public library, it serves as the Louisiana History Museum and genealogical library today.


Can we talk about the card now?


Over the years, Great Britain's Raphael Tuck & Sons (one of several names for the firm) produced many collectors' postcards. This is part of the "Our Belles" series. So far, I have seen two for Carnegie libraries, although Tuck library postcards do exist in a significant number.


1907 grant. According to the Library's web site, this is the oldest library established in Louisiana, which I find intensely sad.

The building is immaculately maintained, at least from the exterior. It would seem difficult in the sultry climate.

The 1938 Curt Teich postcard adds that the Ladies Library Association gave the lot and the books, which Carnegie never furnished.

Lake Charles

Demolished, although remembered as a branch of the Calcasieu Parish Library.

The delightful postcard is by Rotograph, which tended to capture front-on views of library buildings. It dates to 1907 or earlier.

New Orleans
One of New Orleans' demolished Carnegie libraries.

The city received multiple Carnegie grants, beginning in late 1902. It appears as if the Napoleon Street Children's Resource Center is one of the Carnegie buildings remaining.

Wikipedia details the damage wrought by Katrina, but does not give the fate of all the Carnegie buildings.

The card is attributed to C.B. Mason of New Orleans, but printed in Germany. Most likely, it was published in 1907.


Public (non-Carnegie) libraries, LA


Still in use as the Carnegie Public Library of Clarksdale and Coahoma County.

This received a late 1911 Carnegie grant.


The postcard was by Curt Teich, and in 1969, was part of a collection.

Clarksdale, Mississippi's Carnegie library.
Meridian, Mississippi's Carnegie library.

Meridian had two branches, due to segregation. This was the white branch. The colored branch was demolished.


1904 Carnegie grant(s). Now contains the Meridian Museum of Art.

E.C. Kropp postcard, never mailed.




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