Auld Library

Artist: unknown

Object Type: Photographs


Unknown maker. Red Cloud did not have a public library until 1917. In 1913, the new YMCA created a library in one of its rooms, with material donated by the P.E.O. women, allowing its members borrowing rights. The newspaper, the Red Cloud Chief, painstakingly documented the arrival of Carnegie Llibraries throughout Nebraska, published interviews with Andrew Carnegie, and promoted the idea of Red Cloud attracting a library of its own. "At this day and age a public ligrary [sic] is no longer considered a luxury, but a necessity . . . . Now is the opportune time to take the matter up and decide what is to be done" (Red Cloud Chief, 23 November 1916).

With the local newspaper and many others supporting the initiative, in August 1916, Mayor Damerell asked the city to appraise the school lots adjacent to Grace Episcopal Church, so that those might be purchased by the city (at half price) for the purpose of constructing a Carnegie library. That motion was approved and in December of the same year, the mayor reported that he had submitted plans to the Carnegie Corporation for the Red Cloud Library; public input overwhelmingly urged city officials to accept the Carnegie offer.

However, in January 1917, just two weeks later, William T. Auld, an area banker, gave $20,000 for the construction of the Auld Library and the purchase of books. Charles Cather was elected the first president of the library board.

Credit Line: PHO-4-W689-552. Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial Collection. Willa Cather Foundation Collections and Archives at the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, Nebraska.