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From Eames & Young to Pruitt-Igoe

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From Eames & Young
to Pruitt-Igoe
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CRUNDEN BRANCH
LIBRARY
Chris Freeland
Associate University Librar...

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Overview
F.M. Crunden “Old” Crunden
Branch Library,
ca. 1909
“New” Crunden
Branch Library,
ca. 1960

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Pruitt-Igoe
Site
“New”
Crunden
“Old”
Crunden

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From Eames & Young to Pruitt-Igoe

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A brief history of the Crunden Branch Library, part of the St. Louis Public Library system

A brief history of the Crunden Branch Library, part of the St. Louis Public Library system

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From Eames & Young to Pruitt-Igoe

  1. 1. From Eames & Young to Pruitt-Igoe A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CRUNDEN BRANCH LIBRARY Chris Freeland Associate University Librarian Washington University Libraries Missouri Conference on History Springfield, Missouri March 24, 2017
  2. 2. Overview F.M. Crunden “Old” Crunden Branch Library, ca. 1909 “New” Crunden Branch Library, ca. 1960
  3. 3. Pruitt-Igoe Site “New” Crunden “Old” Crunden
  4. 4. About FM Crunden
  5. 5. New York Public Library. https://dp.la/item/0c7ce1cd8ffd446181895a09bc453794 • Born in England, Sep 1, 1847 • Graduated from WashU, 1869 & 1872 • Principal of Jefferson & Benton schools, 1869-1872 • WashU Faculty, 1872-1876 • Named librarian of STL Public School Library, 1876 • First librarian of STL Public Library, established 1893-94 • First ALA President, 1889 • Hosted ALA @ World’s Fair, 1904 • Series of illnesses, 1905-1911 • Died in St. Louis, Oct 28, 1911 https://dp.la/item/36fc923d490f15542aacc58 “To attempt to keep pace with rival cities without a free library is like doing business without the aid of telegraph, telephone and typewriter.” 1893, p21.
  6. 6. ca 1900. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University Library. https://dp.la/item/e819921a251b78bba97fb34af772dd3a Frederick M. Crunden John Cotton Dana
  7. 7. 1904. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University Library. https://dp.la/item/580917811ce9eb837777c9679c3b31d5 Purd B. Wright Frederick M. Crunden
  8. 8. Crunden’s decline “paralysis” “stroke” “breakdown” “great illness” “malady” “fell ill”
  9. 9. “Old” Crunden Branch Library 1909-1953; DEMOLISHED 2005
  10. 10. Washington University Libraries, University Archives. https://dp.la/item/ffde8fa8f720a34b44bab31e0399dc85
  11. 11. Washington University Libraries, University Archives. https://dp.la/item/a908db4b05f70e010bb818e161492741
  12. 12. Crunden Children’s Room, 1909. St. Louis Public Library, Special Collections.
  13. 13. St. Louis Public Library Crunden Branch 14th St. and Cass Ave. DO YOU KNOW … that there is a free library? DO YOU KNOW ... that it has a rich collection of Yiddish and Hebrew books? DO YOU KNOW … that it has books that will help you learn English? DO YOU KNOW … that it has books that will help you become a citizen? DO YOU KNOW … that it has many Yiddish newspapers? Use this library, and if not—why not? Ask for a list of Yiddish books *Translation from Yiddish courtesy Michael Getty
  14. 14. Legal Advisory Boards, 1917. St. Louis Public Library, Special Collections.
  15. 15. Old Crunden decline “Old” Crunden
  16. 16. “New” Crunden Branch Library 1959-1981
  17. 17. Interior, Crunden Branch Library, 1959. St. Louis Public Library, Special Collections.
  18. 18. Interior, Crunden Branch Library, 1959. St. Louis Public Library, Special Collections.
  19. 19. Interior, Crunden Branch Library, 1959. St. Louis Public Library, Special Collections.
  20. 20. Interior, Crunden Branch Library, 1959. St. Louis Public Library, Special Collections.
  21. 21. Project Head Start, 1966. St. Louis Public Library, Special Collections.
  22. 22. Heroines Mrs. Ellen Q. Claus Ms. Irene Eveland Mrs. Margaret Pinkus
  23. 23. Crunden Branch Library today – Church of the Living God.
  24. 24. 14th & Cass today
  25. 25. From Eames & Young to Pruitt-Igoe A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CRUNDEN BRANCH LIBRARY Chris Freeland Associate University Librarian Washington University Libraries Missouri Conference on History Springfield, Missouri March 24, 2017

Editor's Notes

  • Hosted ALA @ World’s Fair
    Hall of Congresses, now Ridgley Hall
    Missouri Building caught fire 2 weeks before close of Fair
  • Death
    First breakdown on eve of European trip
    Cared for by his wife Mrs. Kate Edmundson Crunden @ St. Luke’s Hospital
  • Crunden played a role in planning
    Carnegie $1M gift in 1901
    Opened Sep 11, 1909 @ 14th & Cass
    Designed by Eames & Young in Beaux Arts style
  • Served a diverse population
    Eastern European & Russian Jews
    Lived & worked nearby at factories

    This branch is in that part of the city which contains probably the poorest of the population. To the north & east reside the employees of the many factories in this district, to the immediate west the old German element and tot eh immediate south immigrants mainly from Russia & Poland.

    Many parents will not allow their children to “start library” for fear that harm will come to the books and they’ll have to pay damages.
  • Community space in basement
    Polish Industrial Workers, Jewish Branch of the Socialist Party, United Defense League, Equal Suffrage League of STL & Boys Scouts of America
    Supported War efforts
    In 1918 branch held a dance to support ALA’s Library War Service Program; attendees donated a book or fee to supply reading materials to soldiers oversees
    WWII – space for draft boards & for sugar rationing

  • Encroachment of Industry in 1953
    Sold to Pulaski Savings & Loan Association in 1954
  • Municipal bond issue in 1955 financed construction of 4 new branches, one of which was “New” Cruden @ 20th & Cass
    Site selected specifically to serve Pruitt-Igoe
  • Dedicated Dec 19, 1959
    Had hoped to open on Sep 11, 1959, 50 years after opening of “Old” Crunden, but had delays
    Patron base was very large
    23 elementary schools & 100,000 residents, 25,000 from P-I-V
    Intentionally located by P-I, trustees invested in the neighborhood by “banking on the future and making their contribution to it.”
  • Very popular with children
    Stocked with 10,000 books
    As many as 850 kids would be in library in the 2 hours after school; also a refuge at lunchtime for those who couldn’t afford lunch at St. Stansilaus
    Materials were in heavy circulation (look at shelves), central bindery woulnt’ take materials
  • Provided social services – outreach to teens & Head Start Program
  • Ellen Q Claus, branch manager
    “If I had to run a nice, quiet, conventional library I’d be bored to tears.”
    Colleagues complained about libraries becoming “dating bureaus” but Mrs. Claus embraced the idea, held record-listening parties & music ensembles in the auditorium
    “Shocking pink bookmobile with a loudspeaker blaring rock n roll & blues” stocked with useful materials – novels & magazines, but also DIY manuals, citizenship rights
    Irene Eveland – Childrens’ librarian
    Mrs. Margaret Pinkus – Ethical Society, book sales,
    Mrs. Frankie Ragland
  • 1972 – first PI building imploded, all gone by 1977
  • SLPL had dwindling resources
    Lower tax base because of movement to suburbs
    Shortened branch hours to 9-5:30MW & 9-5F

    Joan Collett
    Cut services
    Wanted to change budget to put more unique materials in each branch rather than practical materials
    No book budget in 1980
    Closed April 1981

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