Home Library Group

Compromise Alley, 1904
photo: Carnegie Museum of Art Home Library Group
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Coke oven smokestacks loom as members of a boys’ reading club pose in an what is likely a factory slum along the Monongahela where workers lived to be near their jobs at the Jones & Laughlin Steel Mill in Hazelwood.

Six years earlier, steel titan Andrew Carnegie, himself a self-​educated working boy who found inspiration in a neighbor’s generous book lending, began using his vast fortune to construct a series of libraries in the Pittsburgh region, with the mission of providing everyone with free access to books. Library outreach programs — such as home libraries and reading clubs — with small staffs and a slew of volunteers, aimed to reach those across the city, particularly children, who were unable to visit the library branches.

This image by the Chautauqua Photographic Company (active 18971911), is one of many photographs made to document Carnegie Library’s outreach programs, later published in the Carnegie Institute annual reports during the early 1900s.


PQ Staff

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