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Milwaukee Public Library

A bookmobile provided county-wide service.

The State of Wisconsin once had a different, Progressive philosophy towards funding its libraries. In short, every resident is entitled to a card. If you don't live within a district, you might wind up with two or more cards!

However, your local library may be open fewer than 40 hours per week, and may not even be open every weekday.

MPL steps in for southeastern Wisconsin, offering extensive library services plus a successful combination cafe and surplus bookstore in its flagship building.


Similar to New York City, there are scores of postcards available for this beloved city landmark. Mandatory Milwaukee has a great tour of the beautiful building.


According to a Milwaukee School of Engineering personal page, this library was built in 1897, designed by the architects Ferry and Clas. It moved into the building in 1898.

Many expansions have kept this facility in use. Featuring services including a liberal area-wide borrowing policy and a coffeeshop/surplus book store, Milwaukee Public Library is surprisingly vital.

Embossed postcard, prettier than many in this style. It was produced by the IPC&N Co., which I cannot seem to identify further. Too bad about the predilection for glitter.


Its postmark dates between 1900 and 1909. 

"Gruss aus ..." postcards were marketed to the city's huge population of German immigrants. 

(C.N. Caspar produced these: the older, at right, is a Private Mailing Card. It is wider and shorter than cards of later years.

(L) Slightly newer postcard, also in German.

(R) Also a Pioneer Private Mailing card, this was meant for the rest of the Milwaukee purchasers.

C.B. Henschel Mfg. Co. Card, ca. 1907.

Acmegraph postcard.

V.O. Hammon card appropriated by the Goodrich Line Steamers;

sent 1909.

Made in Germany for S.L. & Co. Message in German mailed to Chicago in 1908.

Mailed in 1911.

Mailed in 1908.

S.H. Knox card, mailed in 1907.

E.C. Kropp card, produced locally.

Produced ca. 1914, in a slight attempt for non-conformity.

Clear View brand card shows a streetcar stopping at the library.

This real photo card appears to date from the 1940s, judging from the autos.

Dexter Press linen 'Colorcraft' card.

The Kropp postcard is a gussied-up version of the library.

Lovely E.C. Kropp card, never mailed. One gets the impression that the artists really tried hard for their local library to look its very best.

(L) Facing east. Labeled as

'Wisconsin Ave. from Court of Honor.' I think it rather sums up Milwaukee during the nifty '50s.

(R) Grand Ave. West from 8th Street, Milwaukee, Wis.
(Showing Public Library to the right.)

(L) Rear (1956) addition to the building.
1959 card shows trolley lines and a yellow stop sign.


North Side Library

Plus, if you act now, a Natatorium.


Too late.


Its architect was Charles Lesser, and according to On Milwaukee, it opened in 1902. The public library is a function original to the Natatorium. Built at North Avenue and 16th Street, replaced by a parking lot. However, the brick building at far right is now 'Mr. Park's Place.'

The early E.C. Kropp card was mailed in 1909.

North Milwaukee Library and Natatorium.
South Side Branch (Carnegie-funded building)

Although several Milwaukee's suburbs (Waukesha, Wauwatosa, West Allis, and depending on how you define suburb, Racine) had Carnegie libraries, Milwaukee had a single branch library.

This opened in 1910, and was demolished in the 1960s. Fortunately, it was replaced.


The locally-produced E.C. Kropp postcard was mailed in 1917.

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