Academic Libraries

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Historical information

Between 1900 and 1923, Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Corporation provided grants to 108 academic libraries, and 8 institutions received 2 grants for their libraries.1 Grants to academic libraries were awarded in 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Toronto, Canada. The majority of the grants were awarded in 1904 (15 grants), 1905 (50 grants), and 1906 (21 grants). In general, the academic grants were much more generous than the grants for the public libraries, and many of the grants were for very idiosyncratic amounts.

Iowa received grants for 7 of its academic institutions, following Pennsylvania (9 grants), and Ohio (8 grants), and Iowa tied with Kansas with 7 grants. Iowa’s academic institutions received $210,000 compared with Kansas ($196,000), Ohio ($368,445), and Pennsylvania ($441,000). In 1901, Upper Iowa University ($25,000) in Fayette received the 4th academic grant awarded by Carnegie. Subsequent academic grants were received in 1903 by Grinnell College ($50,000) and Cornell College ($50,000), in 1905 by Simpson College ($10,000), Drake University ($50,000), and Parsons College ($15,000), and in 1906 by Ellsworth College ($10,000). Three of these communities, Fairfield, Indianola, and Iowa Falls also received Carnegie grants for public libraries. The grant to Cornell College was unusual because the library was intended to function as both an academic library and a public library, an orientation it maintains to this day.

1 These numbers were culled from List D of Durand L. Miller, Carnegie Grants for Library Buildings 1890-1917 (New York: Carnegie Library Corporation, 1943), page 38-40. Miller also provided the amount and date of the academic grants.