List of libraries in 19th-century New York City

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This list includes libraries located in New York, New York, active in the 19th century.[1] Included are public libraries, academic libraries, medical libraries, church libraries, government libraries, circulating libraries, and subscription libraries.

Spingler Institute, Union Square, 19th century
Advertisement for Helen Williams' Circulating Library and Fancy Store, no.304 Bowery, 1840
Rutgers Female Institute, Madison St., 1843
Merchants Exchange, reading-room, c. 1863
Mercantile Library, Clinton Hall, Astor Place, 19th century
Portrait of Ellen M. Coe, chief librarian, NY Free Circulating Library[2]
Astor Library, Lafayette Place, 19th century (later occupied by the Public Theater)
Webster Free Circulating Library, c. late 19th century
"A Free Reading Room, N.Y. City, U.S.A." 1891
Jackson Square Branch of the N.Y. Free Circulating Library, West 13th St., c. 1893
Apprentices Library, c. 1893
New York Society Library, 1894
Aguilar Free Library, 1895
YMCA, 19th century
Ottendorfer Branch of the New York Free Circulating Library (left) Former building of the German Hospital (right); 2010 photo
  • Bacon Literary Association[5]
  • Bancroft Institute[5]
  • Samuel Berrian's circulating library[13]
  • Bowery Circulating Library; Caleb Bartlett[14]
  • Boys' Free Reading Room[15]
  • Broome Street Free Library[3]
  • Hocquet Caritat's circulating library
  • Cathedral Free Circulating Library[16]
  • Catholic Club Library[3]
  • Children's library[15]
  • City Library[3]
  • Clinton Place Female Seminary[5]
  • College of Pharmacy of City of New York[3]
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons[5]
  • College of St. Francis Xavier[3][5]
  • College of Veterinary Surgeons Library[3]
  • College Settlement Library[3]
  • James Collins' circulating library[14]
  • Colored Home and Hospital Library[3]
  • Colored Orphan Asylum Library[3]
  • Columbia College[5]
  • Cooper Institute[5]
  • Courtland-Street Library; William Stodart[17]
  • De Witt Memorial Free Library[3]
  • Ecelectic Medical College Library[3]
  • Episcopal Historical Society[5]
  • Episcopal Theological Seminary[5]
  • Equitable Life Assurance Social Law Library[3]
  • Five Points Mission[15]
  • Francis' circulating library[6]
  • Franklin Library; Mr. Lockwood[14]
  • Free Academy[5]
  • Free Circulating Library for the Blind[4]
  • Gaelic Society[4]
  • Genealogical and Biographical Society Library[3]
  • General Theological Seminary Library[3]
  • German Hospital and Dispensary Library[3]
  • A.T. Goodrich's circulating library[14]
  • Grammar School no.21, Holbrook Library
  • Grolier Club (est.1884)
  • Harlem Law Library[4]
  • Harlem Library[3]
  • Health Department library[3]
  • Helmich & Co.'s German circulating library[18]
  • Horsfall's French circulating library[6]
  • House of Detention for Witnesses library[3]
  • House of Refuge[5]
  • I.O. of O.F. Library[19]
  • Institute for the Deaf and Dumb[5]
  • Institution for the Blind[3][5]
  • Irving Literary Union[5][20]
  • Italian Free Reading-Room and Library[15]
  • Juvenile Asylum[5]
  • Adolph Kirsten's German library[21]
  • Maimonides Library Association[3][22]
  • Manhattan College Library[3]
  • Maritime Exchange library[4]
  • Masonic Library[4]
  • Mechanical Engineers Library[3]
  • Mechanics' Institute (est.1830)[5][23]
  • Medical College and Hospital for Women library[3]
  • Mercantile Library Association (est.1820)[5]
  • Merchants' and Clerks' Library Association[5]
  • Metropolis Law School library[3]
  • Metropolitan Medical College[5]
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art library[3]
  • Military Service Inst. library[3]
  • Minerva circulating library; W.B. Gilley[14]
  • John Montgomery's circulating library[14]
  • Mott Memorial Medical and Surg. library[3]
  • E. M. Murden's Circulating Library and Dramatic Repository[14]
  • Odd Fellows' Library[4]
  • Olivet Library[3]
  • Joseph Osborn's circulating library[27]
  • Parthenon Circulating Library and Reading Room[14][28]
  • Peck Memorial Library[3]
  • Players' Club library[4]
  • Post grad. med. school and hospital library[3]
  • G.B. Powell's Book Store and Circulating Library, 134 Bowery[29]
  • Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions[3][5]
  • Printers' Free Library (est.1823)[5]
  • Prison Association library[3]
  • Produce Exchange library[4]
  • Public School, 14th Ward[5]
  • Public School (20th Ward) Library[5]
  • William Radde's German circulating library[29]
  • Railroad Men's Building library[3]
  • Riverside Free Library[3]
  • Rutgers Female Institute[5]
  • St. Agnes' Free Library[3]
  • St. Barnabas' Free Reading Room[3]
  • St. George's Free Circulating Library[3]
  • St. John's College library[3]
  • St. Luke's Hospital[5]
  • St. Mark's Memorial Chapel, free library[15]
  • Seamen's library, Pike St.[15]
  • Seamen's Friend Society Library[4][5]
  • Spingler Institute (est.1849), Union Square[5]
  • John Stagner's circulating library[30]
  • Teacher's College, Bryson Library[3]
  • Trow Directory library[3]
  • Webster Free Circulating Library (est.1894)[3]
  • Washington Heights Free Library, Amsterdam Ave.[3][15]
  • Washington Institute[5]
  • Westermann's German circulating library[6]
  • T. Whybrew's circulating library[14]
  • Helen Williams' circulating library[29][30]
  • Woman's Library, no.19 Clinton Place[3][15]
  • Women's Free Reading-Room and Library, no.16 Clinton Place[15]
  • Women's Medical College of New York[3]
  • Workingmen's Free Reading-Room and Library[15]


  1. ^ Pre-19th century libraries in New York included, for example, the commercial circulating library of Garrat Noel, bookseller, c. 1760s
  2. ^ Library Journal, 1887
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk Weston Flint (1893), Statistics of Public Libraries in the United States and Canada, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, OL 20512177M 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n King's handbook of New York City. 1893
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax William Jones Rhees (1859), Manual of public libraries, institutions, and societies, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., OCLC 3991453, OL 6937678M 
  6. ^ a b c d Norton's Literary and Educational Register for 1854
  7. ^ Elizabeth McHenry. "'An Association of Kindred Spirits': Black Readers and their Reading Rooms." Institutions of Reading: the Social Life of Libraries in the United States. Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007
  8. ^
  9. ^ Tom Glynn. Books for a reformed republic: the apprentices' library of New York City, 1820-1865. Libraries & Culture 34.4 (Fall 1999)
  10. ^ Supplement to the Astor Library Catalogue. NY: 1866
  11. ^ Edwards, Edward (1869), Free town libraries, their formation, management, and history, London: Trübner & co., OL 14008658M 
  12. ^ New York City directory for 1842 and 1843
  13. ^ Longworth's American almanac, New-York register and city directory. 1808
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i James Hardie (1827), The description of the city of New York, NY: Samuel Marks 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Appleton's Dictionary of New York and its vicinity. 1898
  16. ^ O'Rourke, M. M. "History of the Cathedral Free Circulating Library of New York City (1887-1905)." Catholic Literary World 25 (1954): 115-19.
  17. ^ New York Annual Register. 1833
  18. ^ Advertisement in: E. Porter Belden. New York, past, present, and future: comprising a history of the city of New York, a description of its present condition, and an estimate of its future increase. NY: Putnam, 1849
  19. ^ Doggett's New York City Directory. 1848
  20. ^ "Irving Literary Union." New York Times, Dec. 2, 1852
  21. ^ Doggett's New York City Directory. 1848
  22. ^ Trow's New York City Directory. 1857
  23. ^ "Mechanics' Institute". The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York. Archived from the original on March 3, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  24. ^ a b New York Annual Register. 1833
  25. ^ "Reading for the people." New York Times, March 7, 1890
  26. ^
  27. ^ Longworth's American almanac, New-York register and city directory]. 1808
  28. ^ Catalogue of the Parthenon Circulating Library and Reading Rooms. New York: Charles S. Francis. 1834. 
  29. ^ a b c A.E. Wright's Boston, New York, Philadelphia & Baltimore, commercial directory. 1840
  30. ^ a b New York City directory for 1842 and 1843

Further reading[edit]

See also: List of New York Public Library Branches

External links[edit]