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Bryan-Bennet Library of Salem, IL 1929 image by Curt Teich.

Public Libraries of Illinois
Cities Q - U


Private Mailing Card, authorized May 15, 1898.


Formerly located at 4th and Main Sts.
Currently located at 526 Jersey St. In addition, Quincy has a single branch library.

The library's web site is nice, but lacks any history whatsoever about any of the buildings.
I did discover that the original building, built in 1889, now houses the Gardner Museum of Architecture; and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (and I dearly want to visit it).

The card has no publisher information, has an entire back, and was mailed in 1905. At least the flaw from the misstruck postmark serves a purpose.

Published for the S.H. Knox & Co., mailed in 1909.

White brand photo card, likely dating from the 1940s.


From the same architectural style family as Woodstock and the current Ripon, WI library.

From the Curt Teich postcard:

This municipally owned Rantoul Public Library was constructed in 1951 and an addition built in 1960. The library has approximately 25,000 books and maintains a collection of up-to-date reading and reference materials. A children's library is also included.

Surprisingly, it was replaced in 2000.


Still in use, as was, as is, but with minor tweaks.
Built in 1931. Named as an Illinois Historic Structure in 1972, according to the library's history timeline.

Very sharp card from Cunningham Photo of Danville. In case you were wondering what the plaque reads, it says:

There is no past so long as books
Shall like Bulwer Lytton

I'm not so sure of that last part.

Rock Island

The card was printed by the Rock Island Post Card Co. Evidently, many such cards were purchased by the Johnson Service Company, commonly thought of as Johnson Controls, and sent as advertisements. Postmarked in 1910, its 1 cent stamp has a 'J S Co' perfin monogram, which was intended to keep the employees' mitts off the postage supply.


Most postcards of this Library are nearly identical, hence no longer shown.

This information comes from the Geac Computer Corporation site, as cached by Google. Construction of this building began in 1902. The library's roots date from before the Civil War.


A recent book, Heart of The Community: The Libraries We Love, published by Berkshire Publishing Group, features this main library--and the post card.
It also furnishes this quote from Andrew Carnegie:

Any town that has Frederick Weyerhauser need not ask a library from me.

Notable, but not exactly quotable.


In 1898, Mrs. Flora Aylesworth gifted this library building.

Not much astonished me while researching this website, but discovering that this library was still in active use did. In 2012, a new facility was built, and the Library is part of the Suburban Library Cooperative.

The Rock Island Post Card Co. card was mailed in 1911.It's pretty certain that the same image was used for both this and the photo postcard in my collection.

Salem (Bryant-Bennett Library)

This is a really strange pair of cards. I don't know if the remnant (R) still stands.


Built 1909. Altered due to storm damage in 1938. Replaced in 1985.


Still in use, but someone stuck a clock tower above the entrance. It looked even more like a school. In 2015, there's an addition, and the tower seems to be removed.


Between the tinted sky and the distinctive font used to label the card, I believe it was produced by C.U. Williams. It was mailed in 1910.

Springfield (Lincoln Library)

This replaced the controversial Carnegie building in 1977. It's unusual to see such a Mid Century Modern public library building in Illinois. It is still in use, although the library branches have all closed.

The Beatty Photographic postcard seems to be contemporaneous with the Library's opening.

Urbana (Samuel T. Busey Memorial Library)

Urbana, according to its defunct newspaper, the Courier, came very close to obtaining a Carnegie library, but the effort disintegrated upon the support referendum.

Now known as the Urbana Free Library. It was designed by Architect Joseph William Royer, a local graduate.

According to the library's history page (no longer extant), it doesn't seem as if UFL was ever officially known by the name found on this postcard. When I patronized this library, it had undergone its first major renovation and was still quite crowded. However, the Busey reading room was very comfortable, and efficiently air conditioned, and that's all I really looked for during a ferocious central Illinois summer.

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