Photo, Print, Drawing Free Library of Philadelphia, Passyunk Branch, 1935 Shunk Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA

[ Photos from Survey HABS PA-6762  ]

More Resources

[ Data Pages from Survey HABS PA-6762  ]
[ Photo Captions from Survey HABS PA-6762  ]

About this Item

Title

  • Free Library of Philadelphia, Passyunk Branch, 1935 Shunk Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA

Contributor Names

  • Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
  • Carnegie, Andrew
  • Windrim, John Torrey, architect
  • Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, sponsor

Created / Published

  • Documentation compiled after 1933

Subject Headings

  • -  libraries
  • -  Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia County -- Philadelphia

Notes

  • -  Significance: When the cornerstone of the Passyunk Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia was laid in 1913, it was one of seven branches concurrently under construction through an endowment from industrialist-turned-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The impact of Carnegie's grant program on the development of public libraries cannot be overstated. He came of age in an era when libraries were rare, privately funded institutions and access was through subscription. Believing in the power of libraries to create an egalitarian society that favored hard work over social privilege by allowing for equal access to knowledge, between 1886 and 1917 he provided forty million dollars for the construction of 1,679 libraries throughout the nation. The vast resources that he allotted to library research and construction contributed significantly to the development of the American Library as a building type. In addition, by insisting that municipalities supply a building site, books, and annual maintenance funds before bestowing grants Carnegie elevated libraries from the arena of private philanthropy to that of civic responsibility. Philadelphia was the recipient of one of the largest Carnegie grants for library construction. Although the city was among the first to establish a free library system, it had no purpose-built structures prior to the Carnegie endowment. Under the direction of the city's appointed Carnegie Fund Committee, the branch libraries were built between 1905 and 1930 and designed by a "who's-who" of Philadelphia's architects. The twenty extant branch libraries remain as a remarkable intact and cohesive grouping, rivaled only by that of New York City, with fifty-seven. Passyunk Branch was designed by well-known architect John T. Windrim, who went on to design two more branch library buildings and to serve on the Library Board. It is among the smaller and less elaborate of the libraries, yet it is a classic example of the somewhat staid Beaux Arts form that came to define Carnegie branch libraries. It follows the usual plan to consist of a rectangular main block with a rear ell to create a T-shaped configuration. The lot on which the Passyunk Branch sits was provided to the city of Philadelphia by the estate of national renowned Philadelphia merchant, banker, and philanthropist, Stephan Girard. Girard established a working farm here on what was then the countryside. His former residence stills occupies a plot of land a short distance from the library that serves as a city park.
  • -  Survey number: HABS PA-6762
  • -  Building/structure dates: 1914 Initial Construction

Medium

  • Photo(s): 7
  • Data Page(s): 15
  • Photo Caption Page(s): 1

Call Number/Physical Location

  • HABS PA-6762

Source Collection

  • Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

Repository

Control Number

  • pa4080

Rights Advisory

Online Format

  • image
  • pdf

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not license or charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute the material.

Ultimately, it is the researcher's obligation to assess copyright or other use restrictions and obtain permission from third parties when necessary before publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library's collections.

For information about reproducing, publishing, and citing material from this collection, as well as access to the original items, see: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscape Survey (HABS/HAER/HALS) Collection - Rights and Restrictions Information

  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted. https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html
  • Reproduction Number: ---
  • Call Number: HABS PA-6762
  • Access Advisory: ---

Obtaining Copies

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    • Yes, the item is digitized. Please use the digital image in preference to requesting the original. All images can be viewed at a large size when you are in any reading room at the Library of Congress. In some cases, only thumbnail (small) images are available when you are outside the Library of Congress because the item is rights restricted or has not been evaluated for rights restrictions.
      As a preservation measure, we generally do not serve an original item when a digital image is available. If you have a compelling reason to see the original, consult with a reference librarian. (Sometimes, the original is simply too fragile to serve. For example, glass and film photographic negatives are particularly subject to damage. They are also easier to see online where they are presented as positive images.)
    • No, the item is not digitized. Please go to #2.
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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, Andrew Carnegie, John Torrey Windrim, and Sponsor Preservation Alliance Of Greater Philadelphia. Free Library of Philadelphia, Passyunk Branch,Shunk Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA. Pennsylvania Philadelphia County Philadelphia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/pa4080/.

APA citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, C., Carnegie, A., Windrim, J. T. & Preservation Alliance Of Greater Philadelphia, S. (1933) Free Library of Philadelphia, Passyunk Branch,Shunk Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA. Pennsylvania Philadelphia County Philadelphia, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/pa4080/.

MLA citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, et al. Free Library of Philadelphia, Passyunk Branch,Shunk Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/pa4080/>.