Wisconsin Library Heritage Center

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation promoting understanding and appreciation of the history of libraries and librarianship in Wisconsin.

Neenah's Carnegie

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 in Carnegie libraries

pc-wi-neenah-72.jpg


Volume I of the History of Winnegago County Wisconsin by Publius V. Lawson (C. F. Cooper & Co., Chicago, 1908, page 474) recounts the story of how Neenah, Wisconsin got its Carnegie Library.


"Robert Shiells [former president of Neenah's subscription library] still kept up his interest in the work [of the library] and one day in 1904 wrote a letter to Andrew Carnegie suggesting that he furnish the funds for a library building in Neenah.  The reply was that a town with so much wealth could well build their own building.  Mr. Shiells replied, they were building public improvements, schools and churches, and therefore could with good grace call on Mr. Carnegie to furnish the library. But he still refused. There lives in Washington Mr. William R. Smith, the landscape gardener at the White House for the last fifty-five years.  He is a great student of Robert Burns, and of course a Scotchman.  He had gathered together a duplicate of the library used by Burns, many of them the very books used by Burns, and as near as possible the same editions.  Mr. Andrew Carnegie is a great friend of Mr. Smith, and spends many days each year at his home in Washington.  During this correspondence he was at the home of Mr. Smith, and asked him if he knew of a Scotchman out at Neenah, Wisconsin, named Robert Shiells.  He said he did not know him personally, but was well acquainted with him by his writing, and thought a great deal of him, and if  he ever went west he promised himself to call on Mr. Shiells.  Then Mr. Carnegie told of the correspondence.  Mr. Smith said, 'Why, Andy, you made a mistake; give Mr. Shiells his library.'  Then Mr. Carnegie replied, 'All right, Smith, I will do it.'  One day soon after, a little to his surprise, the letter came to Mr. Shiells offering the city $10,000, provided they would support it with $1,000 per annum.  The offer was accepted.  The citizens raised $15,000 in addition, of which Theda Clark gave $5,000 and the site where it is at present located.  It cost nearly $30,000."


The Carnegie building was razed to make way for the current Neenah Public Library building. The Friends of the Neenah Library are a Founding Contributor of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center for which we are grateful.  


Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Categories

Popular Tags

Library People Library Trustees campaign American Library Association Library War Service membership libraries Klaus Linderfelt Hall of Fame 2016 Public libraries Hall of Fame 2011 Delia Ovitz Library Buildings WLA 125 Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services presentations library exhibit Eager Free Public Library Orrilla Blackshear Events & Meetings Brown Deer Public Library UW-Milwaukee Libraries J. D. Witter Katharine MacDonald Jones Increase A. Lapham campaign caly film Postcards Oshkosh Public Library Soughton Public Library Pewaukee Public Library Special libraries Hall of Fame 2012 DeForest Area Public Library Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Gilbert H. Doane Campaign library legislation Gertrude Thurow Digital Collections Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Campaign Hall of Fame 2015 CCBC Hall of Fame 2008 Hall of Fame 2012 Superior Carnegie Libraries Milwaukee Public Library Wisconsin Library Heritage Center books-by-mail Dorothea M. Krause Peter G. Hamon I Love Libraries Middleton Public Library bed and breakfast 28 14 Ripon Public Library State Law Library National Bookmobile Day Black River Falls Public Library Beaver Dam Public Library Madison Public Library Wisconsin Library Bulletin Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Brown Deer Public Library anniversaries Hall of Fame 2014 Beloit Public Library Wisconsin State Law Library Hall of Fame 2015 Parcel post Library Buidlings Library e bookworm Woman's Congress Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Events Lutie Eugenia Stearns Wisconsin Historical Society Suring Area Public Library Irene W. Newman library memorabilia ca Council on Library and Network Development Library Artifacts Manitowoc Public Library World War I Edward Asahel Birge 11 People National Library Week Ruth Ann Montgomery School of Library and Information Studies James Duane Doty Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries School libraries cam Gerald A. Somers Elroy Public Library hall of Ice Storm Meter mail slogans Tower Hill Wisconsin Uncategorized Hall fo Fame 2012 Larry T. Nix campa Hall of Fame 2010 Hall of Fame 2015 23 27 Clarence Brown Lester Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Postcards Historical Register Pinback buttons WAAL Public library systems 20 William J. Wilson James Huff Stout T. B. Scott Free Public Library Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Rusk County Community Library Academic Libraries Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Matthew S. Dudgeon 10 Library celebrations Hall archives Cornelia Marving Pierce Milwaukee Art Museum library education caly film Dianne McAfee Hopkins Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Zona Gale UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Library people Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Richard E. Krug Carl Spitzweg Hall of Fame 2015 caly film campaign Inform Wisconsin Library Systems Frank Avery Hutchins Hall of Fame 2009 Evansville Wisconsin Portage Public Library trav Wisconsin Library Association McMillan Memorial Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Bernard Schwab Events & Meetings Wayne A. Wiegand Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Capitol Fire 1904 Hartford Public Library American Library Association John Miller Chancellor Anniversaries Postcards Anniversaries Hall of Fame 2013 Jerome P. Daniels WLA 125 Wisconsin Free Library Commission Nolan I. Neds White House Conference on Library and Information Services buil Sarah Janice Kee Charles Bunge Public libraries Hall of Fame 2012 Exhibits Publications Library people Postcards Cooperative Children's Book Center Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Cam Black River Falls Campaign Marketing-Publicity WLA 125 Appleton Public Library Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide Jane K. Billings COLAND state historical society Brown County Library 22 21 Milwaukee Public Library Carnegie libraries Academic Librarians Bookmobiles S. Janice Kee Library History WWI Library War Service WHCLIS Eratus Swift Wilcox 24 background Hall of Fame 2015 Lutie Stearns Clinton Public Library Wisconsin Free Library Commission WLA 125 traveling libraries Amer Buttons Centennial UW-Madison school of library and information studies Wisconsin Rapids

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo