Public Libraries of Connecticut
Corinne Smith's New England Carnegies, now being maintained by Jessamyn West, is a great resource for certain cities' library histories. In general, I have used each library's web history when available.
Usually I dismiss such gimcrackery as fountains and statues, but the Anna Sewell Memorial Fountain is germane. She wrote the beloved children's classic Black Beauty, but the fountain was donated in her name.
The Library was dedicated in 1892, but sat there, unoccupied, for four more years until operating expenses were appropriated.
Most likely, this is the 1900-1963 iteration of the almost-public library, from Susan Peck's generosity. In 1963, it received a large addition, courtesy of Marjorie Moore, which it outgrew by 1989. I don't know what became of this structure.
The current iteration is the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library, public since 1986.
Card publisher unknown. It predates 1907.
Branford (Blackstone Memorial Library)
Built between 1893-1896. Its architect was Solon S. Beman, who seemed quite fond of neoclassical trimmings. As he came from Chicago, perhaps the Columbian Exposition was an influence.
Published by W.F. Clancy.
I tried to figure out the signature on this card sent in 1906. It says:
Originally, I thought this was a Carnegie library. The North Branch and East Branch are, however.
This was built in 1925, and renovated in 1967. It is still in use: the branches are not.
Still in use, with additions which have come and gone. In 2009, it received a large addition.
(L) The postcard shows a wonderful throng of people and a car. Bristol Press was its printer.
(R) Looking at the card at left, could you identify the card at right? I've had it for nearly ten years, and identified it on the date of the most recent revision by using the 1907 date plus the street names of High, Main, and Bristol
Still in use. Built in 1958, and had a 1975 addition, and a 1996 rebuild.
Clifford Schofeld chrome postcard, never mailed.
Colchester (Crager Public Library)
Still in use, per Google Street View. The Library does not have a website beyond that of the municipality. It's still an attractive building, resembling the Carnegie Type A plan.
Nomis Mfg. postcard, never mailed.
Danielson (Bugbee Memorial Library)
Card distributed by the Boston Dry Goods Co. of Danielson. Mailed September 12, 1917.
Now known as Killingly Public Library. I don't know what became of the Bugbee building.
(L) 1904 Rotograph card.
(R) Unattributed card mailed in 1911.
Still in use.
East Hartford (Raymond Library)
Still in use, and recently renovated.
Not much of a card, eh?
This bedraggled mess was published by the August Schmelzer Co., and mailed in 1921.
Charming Queen Anne building, in use from ca. 1897-1980. The building is now used as the Bealey Gallery.
Lovely 'Litho-Chrome' brand card, printed in Germany for the Chapin News Company.
Current building, I presume.
Yes, that's a boat landing.
Yes, I want to work here.
Photo by B.L. Gordon for Book & Tackle Shop.
Fairfield (Memorial Library and Historical Society)
Still in use, with a large addition.
Collotype Co. card, mailed in 1947.
There are discrepancies between these two cards.
(L) Nice early U.S. card printed by TB of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published by J. Ruben out of Newburgh, NY. This dates between 1901 and the 1929 addition.
(R) Curt Teich postcard, post 1929.
This building was replaced in 1960. A Saks Fifth Avenue store stands on its former land. Totally dwarfing the previous contributions is the $25,000,000 bequest by Clementine Lockwood Peterson, which was the largest private gift ever to have been donated to a public library. It went to an amazing 1992 wing on the current building.
(L) What a lovely card. (1905, Rotograph Co.) The corner effects are an artifact from mounts.
(R) This Danziger & Berman card was printed in Germany, and stylistically relates to the East Hampton card above. It was mailed in 1913.
This gorgeous 1893 building was designed pro bono by Arthur Rotch. The Library has had its issues through the years, but it's still being used via a 1999 total renovation.
Still in use.
Its photographer was Sedge LeBlang, who used a nifty winged camera as his logo. The card dates before 1962, as does the library.
Capitol Novelty card from 1956.
From the Capitol Novelty card (L):
PRESENTING THE NEW LIBRARY
The completion of the New Hartford Public Library is the culmination of a long history which dates back to 1774 when Hartford's first library, called the Hartford Library Company, was formed. In its 182 years of existence the Library has had a variety of locations. Its longest stay was in the Wadsworth Atheneum where it was located from 1842 until the fall of 1956 when the new public library was completed.
Enduring the process of renovation.
Ivoryton Library Association
Google Maps tries to place this building in Essex. It's still in use, providing library services.
Delightful German postcard printed for the Hunter Photo Comapny, ca. 1907.
Litchfield (Noyes Memorial Library)
A convoluted history.
Library service in Litchfield is now via OWL: Oliver Wolcott Library, in its own building since 1966.
This building now houses the Historical Society.
Karl Brothers card, printed in Germany.
Madison (E.C. Scranton Library)
(L) Rather poignant scene of a boy trying to cross a partially flooded street.
(R) And, on the other side we have a relentlessly cheerful chrome, photographed by Sedge LeBlang.
In service since 1901.
Manchester (Mary Cheney Library)
(L) Lovely Collotype card.
(R) Later view, from the 1960s, shows additions.
Still in use. It has a near-identical branch.
Meriden (Curtis Memorial Library)
Replaced as a library in 2000: now the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center.
'Lusterchrome' postcard with an image taken on a bad lawn day.
(L) The Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' card dates from 1916.
(R) This was printed by Dexter Press for NATCO. Did you notice that the corner stop sign is sadly propped against the street signs' post?
Established in 1875, when Frances Russell bought a 1834 church to remodel into the Library. A 1930 renovation must have helped the area economy. Amusingly, its second renovation, in 1972, incorporated a 1965 bank.
The third renovation came in 1983, and various upgrades have proceeded since.
Godfrey Memorial Library
According to the reverse of the Dexter Press postcard:
Godfrey Memorial Library
A free public library of American biography, including allied materials in American genealogy and local history.
The late Art Deco building opened in 1951, and is still in use as a genealogy library, privately held.
Milford (Taylor Library)
1884 Richardsonian Romanesque library building designed by Joseph W. Northrop. (per Wikipedia) It replaced the Milford Lyceum Library: in turn, it was replaced in 1976. Nearly venerated in the city, it still stands.
Moosup (Aldrich Public Library)
Rather the stereotypical New England early library building. It's still in use, albeit in white with green trim and looks well-kept.
Wm. Bellavance published this as part of the GMCCO series.
Americhrome postcard, printed in Germany for The Rhode Island News Company.
Now The Mystic & Noank Library. Still in the same 1891 building, with a 1992 addition.
Built from William Bigelow plans by Mertz's Sons, supervised by William Higginson. There are some really strange details to be found. Of course, since it's New England, someone thought there had to be a cupola. The front is rather Romanesque, but the window over the entry doesn't match the others. And the little tile roof over the entrance is positively Japanese.
And I don't know what to say about that chimney.