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 Thursday, September 20, 2018

Categories

Popular Tags

Clinton Public Library Manitowoc Public Library Hall of Fame 2017 Milwaukee Art Museum Peter G. Hamon 24 Library people Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Milwaukee Public Library J. D. Witter Portage Public Library Brown Deer Public Library Middleton Public Library Eager Free Public Library Beaver Dam Public Library campaign Bookmobiles Pewaukee Public Library Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library 11 Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Hall Klaus Linderfelt library memorabilia John J. Jax Rusk County Community Library People Louise S. Robbins Gilbert H. Doane Hall fo Fame 2012 Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Capitol Fire 1904 Cooperative Children's Book Center Meter mail slogans Postcards Woman's Congress Sarah Janice Kee Hall of Fame 2011 Oshkosh Public Library Uncategorized Buttons trav Wisconsin Library Association Hall of Fame 2008 cam Public libraries Wisconsin Free Library Commission WLA 125 Charles Bunge Library e Marketing-Publicity White House Conference on Library and Information Services COLAND Soughton Public Library Cam Madison Public Library Wilbur Lyle Eberhart James Duane Doty Postcards Delia Ovitz 14 CCBC Library History Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries background Academic Librarians McMillan Memorial Library Dianne McAfee Hopkins Bernard Schwab Amer WAAL American Library Association Public libraries ca Pinback buttons Campaign UW-Milwaukee Libraries library exhibit Frank Avery Hutchins campa Library Buidlings Orrilla Blackshear State Law Library Irene W. Newman presentations 27 Wisconsin Rapids Digital Collections Beloit Public Library traveling libraries Publications Gertrude Thurow caly film Eratus Swift Wilcox Hall of Fame 2012 Evansville Wisconsin Elroy Public Library S. Janice Kee Nolan I. Neds American Library Association Library War Service I Love Libraries WLA 125 28 caly film Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Library Buildings Postcards Events Historical Register World War I 22 Inform Wisconsin Library celebrations Hall of Fame 2015 anniversaries 20 bookworm Library Trustees Public library systems Special libraries Matthew S. Dudgeon campaign 10 Brown Deer Public Library Sandra Friedman Dolnick Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide hall of Appleton Public Library Superior Carnegie Libraries Wayne A. Wiegand Wisconsin Library Heritage Center 23 Suring Area Public Library Ripon Public Library Hall of Fame 2013 Katharine MacDonald Jones Exhibits Black River Falls Public Library T. B. Scott Free Public Library Richard E. Krug Lowell W. Wilson Hall of Fame 2012 Carl Spitzweg 21 Hartford Public Library Anniversaries Zona Gale James Huff Stout Hall of Fame 2009 Lutie Eugenia Stearns WWI Library War Service Clarence Brown Lester Anniversaries School libraries Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services WLA 125 UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Events & Meetings Library People Wisconsin Library Bulletin Hall of Fame 2015 state historical society caly film Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Library people Postcards UW-Madison school of library and information studies Jerome P. Daniels Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Library Artifacts campaign School of Library and Information Studies Hall of Fame 2015 Wisconsin Historical Society Milwaukee Public Library Centennial Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries archives Cornelia Marving Pierce Council on Library and Network Development William J. Wilson National Library Week Hall of Fame 2012 books-by-mail Hall of Fame 2010 Larry T. Nix Ruby Roeder Carnegie libraries library legislation Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Tower Hill Wisconsin membership libraries bed and breakfast Gerald A. Somers Ruth Ann Montgomery John Miller Chancellor Jane K. Billings Lutie Stearns Hall of Fame 2016 buil Wisconsin State Law Library Academic Libraries DeForest Area Public Library Increase A. Lapham National Bookmobile Day library education WLA 125 Edward Asahel Birge Parcel post Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Ice Storm Events & Meetings Hall of Fame 2014 Hall of Fame 2015 Campaign Wisconsin Free Library Commission Dorothea M. Krause Brown County Library Campaign Black River Falls WHCLIS Library Systems Hall of Fame 2015

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo