B. F. Jones Memorial Library: Forged in Steel Terri Bogolea Gallagher



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A flag-raising and the “B.F. Jones March,” specially written for the occasion and played by the Harding High Marching Band, were part of the ceremony. The headlines of the Aliquippa Gazette front page on February 5, 1929 proclaimed over 9,000 attended the opening events. The opening of the library garnered above-the-fold- coverage and headlines in Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph, Pittsburgh Press, Evening Times, and Aliquippa Gazette as February dawned. Architectural attributes and master art works were main subjects of the newsprint.

Western Pennsylvania readers were not the only ones regaled with the success story of the mill-town library; the opening of the doors of the B.F. Jones Library also earned national press coverage. Library Journal in July 1929 devoted a two-spread article to the library opening authored by Susan Himmelwright.136 The librarian focused on the building’s design and planning but peppered real-life stories of visiting children, one who wondered if the story room chimney was where Santa arrived. The details of the unveiled B.F. Memorial Library were also featured in Carnegie Magazine, which Moreland forwarded to Horne.137 Horne was affronted because her portrait by Hoen was featured without her permission by the Carnegie publication.138

The Quotarian, the national publication of the Quota Club, also published a story about the library scribed by Himmelwright that year. The story included physical description and a peek at library usage: During National Book Week, more than 1200 Aliquippa tykes participated in the Mother Goose story program.139 Company publication for Yawman and Erbe Manufacturing, Library Equipment also featured B.F. Jones on its cover and an inside two page spread announcing that the company products were used at the library and estimating building costs at one half million dollars.140

In 1932, the library again caught the nation’s eye when it was showcased in June 1932 in Architectural Forum. The premise of the story was that libraries should combine the aesthetic and functional. The article featured photos of thirteen national libraries besides B. F. Jones Memorial Library including: the Folger Shakespeare Library, Haishe Memorial Library, San Pedro Park Branch Library, Alexander Sanger Branch Library, Greenwich Public Library, Richmond Public Library, West Toledo Branch Library, Winchester Public Library, Dunbar Branch Library, Palos Verdes Public Library, and Bexley Public Library.141

THE LIBRARY TODAY

Following much of the hoopla of the library opening, Moreland expressed that he was instituting a hands-off approach with the library to give Himmelwright and the staff the freedom to run the library as it should be.142 That has been happening for 80 years. Today, a mill worker from the 1930s may look at the exterior of B.F. Jones Memorial Library and think that little changed in those decades. Patrons still go in and out of the brass doors on a daily basis. Children attend several storytime activities each week.

But a glance down the Franklin Avenue to the Wye near the plant tunnel reveals the town has undergone vast change to include empty storefronts, abandoned buildings and empty lots. Girls in the Aliquippa schoolyard no longer avoid mill dust. Smoke does not billow. Stacks and mill buildings are gone. A barren moonscape—interrupted by a new jail and drywall plant—stand where thousands came, tin lunch pails in hand, to work the long turn.

In a stroke of what could be labeled prophecy, William D. Evans, counsel for Jones and Laughlin steel, addressed the opening ceremonies of the B.F. Jones Library,

that long, long after these great mills and factories are stilled and abandoned, even long after this beautiful structure has crumbled and passed away, the priceless treasure which it contains will live on, because they are the embodiment of everlasting truth. 143
The stilled mills came sooner than everyone in Aliquippa hoped. In 1984, the Jones and Laughlin name ended with a merger of LTV Steel. That business would enter receivership in 1986.144 The town of 27,000 is now 11,000. Foreign born residents amount to only 342; about 881 speak a language other than in the home.145

Inside, the library, though, the works of Bach, Hoen, Hunt, Chartran, and countless stone and plaster artisans still awe the patrons. Horne’s oil overlooks the Young Adult area; Oscar Bach’s gates open to a computer kiosk.146 A recent flood has changed the basement, a brightly lit children’s area has emerged, splashed in color. One must wonder what Nora Thorpe would add from her palette. Foyer and fountain are now preschool area and the lecture room is a children’s library.

The library serves as a district headquarters. On the library home page, library employee Cindy Murphy has scribed in a Historic Images project.

The collapse of the American steel industry has changed the face of this area. Most of the Aliquippa Works has now been torn down and the Aliquippa area, like many other American rust-belt towns and cities, continues to struggle for a new identity. Yet, there remains a great sense of pride and historical interest by the area residents.147


Like Himmelwright, Murphy and her co-workers believe the B.F. Jones Memorial Library is part of that pride as well as part of the hope for the town’s future.
CONCLUSION

This analysis of the establishment of the B. F. Jones Memorial Library in Aliquippa is a window to a small town library’s history, architecture, philanthropy, and industrial heritage as the 1920s came to a close. Philanthropy made resources available that town coffers were not capable of funding, especially when financial disaster loomed. A library’s history is often woven closely with the town’s history. A library gave dreams to girls in the school yard and veterans of the tin mill. Labor and public libraries are bound with ties. Architectural treasures and priceless art works are tucked in the libraries of small villages and vales across the land if one cares to look.

The archives at B.F. Jones Memorial Library still hold much of the town’s story and the steel industry’s story to be examined. More than 400 letters from B.F. Jones final years, telegrams from the White House, a local history photo collection and oral town history await exploration.

In a history of the Erie Public library, Adam Blahut quoted Peter Dobkin Hall’s sentiment that the more fundamental an institution is to a town, the less likely society is to examine it.148 Change is long overdue for library history. The author hopes this Ohio River steel-town’s library story will stoke the furnace of further historical analysis of this library and other village library stories and, especially, the treasures within their walls.

Appendix I:

Table 1: Financial Statement of Library Expenditures149________________________________________

Service Company Disbursement

General Building Contract A&S Wilson Company $299,072.23

Architect's Commission Brandon Smith $21,076.95

Furniture and Equipment Remington Rand *

Furniture and Equipment Yawman and Erbe Manufacturing *

Furniture and Equipment Art Metal Construction Company $15,725.93 * combined

Books $15,000.00

Decorating Interior Joseph Horne Company *

Decorating Interior Norah Thorpe Advisory $10,968.79 * combined Wrought Iron Screens Oscar Bach $6,750

Lighting Fixtures Beaux Arts $5,620

Shrubbery Ezra Stiles $1,048.63

Wrought Iron Fence Moore Metal Manufacturing $680

Leaded Glass Window Henry Hunt $620.00

Marble Benches C. Francini $605

Miscellaneous heating, lighting, janitor $537.47

Insurance $514

Watch for Maitland Wilson Hardy and Hays $204

Electrical Work W.P.Klein $203.00

Marble Discs Wall Medallions Iron City Marble $147.60

Dedication expenses Invitations, Decorations $141.70

Chelsea Clock Hardy and Hays Company $135

Toys for Children's Room Kaufmann's $113.15

Water Meter Woodlawn Water Company $80

Electric Light Bulbs Jones and Laughlin Steel $73.57

Portrait handling J.J. Gillespie Company $47.75

Waxing linoleum C.B. Townsend $33.16

U.S. Flag A. Mamaux & Son $20.00

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Total $379,418.09 150


Appendix II:

Table 2: Statistics of 100 Libraries, compiled by S.E. Weber, Charleston, WV; used by William Moreland.



151

Bibliography



Aliquippa Gazette. “Our New Library Open to Use Today.” February 5, 1929.

Aliquippa Gazette. “Over 9,000 Visit New Library During Dedication Event,” February 5, 1929.

Aliquippa Gazette, “Full Text of Addresses Delivered at B.F. Jones Memorial Library Dedication February 1st. February 5, 1929.

Aliquippa Historical Images Project. “History of Aliquippa.” www.bfjoneslibrary.org.

Anderson, Heather. “History of the Winterville Library.” North Carolina Libraries Online. 65 (2007) 6-11. http://www.nclaonline.org/NCL/ncl/NCL_65_1-2_Spring- Summer2007.pdf]

Axelrod, Alan. The Colonial Revival in America. New York: W.W. Norton &Company.1985.

B.F. Jones Memorial Library Annual Report, 1937.

Blahut, Adam. “A Study of the Founding of the Erie Public Library.” Edinboro Universtity of Pennsylania. 2005.

Bobinski, George. Carnegie libraries: their history and impact on American public library development. Chicago: American Library Association. 1985.

Butler, Joseph, Recollection of Men and Events: An Autobiography. New York: Putnam and Sons: New York. 1927. 336-337.

Carnegie, Andrew. Triumphant Democracy. New York: Charles Scribner and Sons. 1893.

Carnegie Magazine. “B.F. Jones Memorial Library.” Volume II no. 10 (March 1929). 17.

Davin, Eric Leif. “Blue Collar Democracy: Class War and Political Revolution in Western Pennsylvania, 1932-1937.” Pennsylvania History 67 (no. 2) 2002; 240-297

Dearinger, David Bernard, “Painting and Sculpture in the National Academy of Design,” New York; Hudson Hills Press, 2004. 10.

Egan Smucker, Anna. No Star Nights. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1989.

Genealogical Chart, Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation Archives, John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh PA, MSP33,

Green, James, “Democracy Comes to Little Siberia: Steelworkers Organize in Aliquippa, PA 1933-37,” Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Penn State, 1993.

Girdler, Tom M. Bootstraps, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1943.

Goedeken, Edward. “The Literature of American Library History, 2003-2005.” Libraries & the Cultural Record, 43 no. 4 (2008) 440-80. doi: 10.1353/lac.0.0038

Hubbard, Elizabeth. “Library Service to Unions: A Historical Overview.” Library Trends, 51 no.1 (2002). 5-18.

Himmelwright, Susan. “Individuals in Quota.” The Quotarian, circa 1930 11.12

Himmelwright, Susan. ““Aliquippa’s Beautiful New Library,” Library Journal, July 1929, 591-592.

Carnegie Magazine, “B.F. Jones Memorial Library,’ March 1929.,

“History of Allegheny County, Genealogy and History” Volume 1 (Unigraphic.) 1889. 233-236

Jones, Theodore. Carnegie libraries across America: Public legacy. New York: John Wiley and Sons. 1997.

Jones and Laughlin Corporation. “Welcome to the Aliquippa Works.” Pamphlet. 1979.

Library Equipment Magazine. “Beautiful Aliquippa Library –Shrine to Steel Man’s memor. March 1929.

Luyt, B. “The ALA, Public Libraries and the Great Depression.” Library History. 23 (2007)

23, 85-96. doi: 10.1179/174581607x205626.
Mossman, William T. Biographical Sketch of B.F. Jones. Jones and Laughlin n.d. 4-5. John Heinz Center Historical Archives, Jones and Laughlin Collection.

Muswigan, Marie. “Beautiful Aliquippa Library Shrine to Steel Man’s Memory,” Pittsburgh Press, Feb. 1, 1929.



Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “Benjamin Franklin Jones, Jr. Steel Leader Expires,” January 2, 1928.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . “Industrialist Benjamin Franklin Jones’ Summer Cottage Dodges the Wrecking Ball as another emerges from the Shadows.” July 31, 2010.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “Million Dollar Millstones.” May 5, 1996.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “Sewickley Heights House Makes a Dramatic Comeback.” January 29, 1995.

Pittsburgh Press, “Canal Clerk to Steel Magnate,” January. 21, 1931.

National Historic Places Application. Department of the Interior. B.F. Jones Memorial Library archives. 1978.

National Historic Place Listing for B.F. Jones Memorial Library, Department of the Interior, http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/pa/Beaver/state.html



New York Times. “Senator Quay’s Portrait.” May 31, 1902.

Pennsylvania,State Planning. Committee,Commonwealth Libraries. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/pennsylvania-state-planning-board/preliminary-report-pennsylvania-state-planning-board-hci/page-38-preliminary-report-pennsylvania-state-planning-board-hci.shtml

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Sparanese, Ann. (2002). Service to the labor community: A Public library perspective. Library Trends. 51. (2002); 19-35. http://navigator-clarion.passhe.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27466149&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

Stauffer, Suzanne. “In their own Image: the Public Library Collection as a Reflection of its Donors.” Libraries and the Cultural Record. 42 no. 4 (2007); 387-408.

Time. “Business: Family’s Fourth.” April 13, 1936. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,756010-1,00.html

Tilton, Edward. “Library Planning and Design.” Architectural Forum ,56 no. 6 (June 1932); 573-604.

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Vanderslice, H. W. “The All-Year School in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.” The Elementary School Journal (1930). 576.


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Walker, Charles Rumford. Steel: the Diary of a Furnace Worker. Edited by Kenneths Kobus. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1922; reprint, Warrendale, PA: Iron and Steel Society, 1999.

Weber, S.E. Statistics of 100 Libraries. Charleston, WV. pre-1926.

Wollman, David and Inman, Donald R. Portraits in Steel. Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press. 1999

Woodlawn Gazette, “Story of Woodlawn,’ Franklin Publishing. 1924.

Woodlawn Gazette. “Council Asked to Levy Tax For Library,” March 8, 1921

Will of Benjamin Franklin Jones. B.F. Jones Memorial Library archives. 1903.

Will of Joseph Horne, .B.F. Jones Memorial Library, 1893.


1The researcher would like to offer heartfelt thanks to the staff of the B.F. Jones Memorial Library, especially Library Director Mary Elizabeth Colombo and District Consultant Rebecca Long for help and free access to the library’s archives and Donald Inman for his expertise on Jones and Laughlin Steel and access to the Beaver County Industrial Museum materials.

Anna Egan Smucker, No Star Nights (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989). 1.



William Moreland to Elisabeth Horne, letter, December 17, 1929. Nearly three years of almost weekly correspondences between Moreland and Horne concerning the library’s construction are in the B. F. Jones Memorial Library archives.

 “Our New Library Open to Use Today,” Aliquippa Gazette (Aliquippa, PA), February 5, 1929.

2 David H. Wollman and Donald R. Inman, Portraits in Steel (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press) 1999, 1.

3 Account officer to Elisabeth Horne, Library Statement, Itemized Disbursements, letter, August 6, 1929. Long turns are double shifts.

4 Heather Anderson, History of the Winterville Library. North Carolina Libraries Online. 65, (Spring-Summer 2007); 6-11. http://www.nclaonline.org/NCL/ncl/NCL_65_1-2_Spring- Summer2007.pdf]

5 Edward Goedeken, The Literature of American Library History, 2003-2005. Libraries & the Cultural Record, 43 (4). 447. doi: 10.1353/lac.0.0038

6 Suzanne Stauffer, In Their Own Image: the Public Library Collection as a Reflection of its donors. Libraries and the Cultural Record. 42 (2007) 387-388, Academic Search Complete.

7 Daniel Ring, “Men of Energy and Snap: The Origins and Early Years of the Billings Public Library,’ Libraries of Culture, 36 no. 3 (Summer 2001) 397.

8 Elizabeth Hubbard, “Library service to unions: A Historical overview.’ Library Trends, 51 no. 1 (2002). 5.

9 Hubbard, “Library Service’, 10.

10 Goedeken, “The Literature of American Library History,” 447.

11 Goedeken, “The Literature of American Library History,” 448.

12 Brendon Luyt, “The ALA, Public Libraries and the Great Depression. Library History. 23 (2007) 85.doi: 10.1179/174581607x205626.

13 Luyt, “The ALA, Public Libraries, 85.

14 Charles Seavey. “The American public library during the Great Depression,” 52 no. 8/9 (2003) 375. Proquest Research.

15 “Over 9.000 Visit New Library During Dedication Event, Aliquippa Gazette, February 5, 1929.

16 Woman’s Club of Woodlawn, meeting minutes, 1920; Historical Images Project, B.F. Jones Public Library, http://www.bfjoneslibrary.org/libraryinfo.htm

17 Woodlawn Gazette, “Story of Woodlawn,’ Franklin Publishing (1924) 9; part of the B.F. Jones Memorial Library Pennsylvania Collection.

18 Woman’s Club of Woodlawn, monthly report, Feb. 8, 1921

19 “Council Asked to Levy Tax For Library,” Woodlawn Gazette, March 8, 1921; B.F. Jones Memorial Library Annual Reports, through 2009.

20William Moreland, Typed Account, Library History for Himmelwright’s Retirement, June 22, 1950.

21 Moreland, Account of Meeting Woodland Land Company, 1926

22 Wollman and Inman, Portraits, 85.

23 Wollman and Inman, Portraits, 93.

24 William Moreland to Elisabeth Horne, letter, April 10, 1926. Nearly three years of correspondences concerning the library are located in the B.F. Jones Memorial Library archives.

25 Horne to Moreland, letter, April 14, 1926; Moreland noted that Horne also replied in telegram that day, “I think favorably of your proposition; will write.’’

26 Moreland, Typed Account Library History, June 22, 1950

27 “Benjamin Franklin Jones, Jr. Steel Leader Expires,’ Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 2, 1928.,

28 1930 United States Census

29 Moreland, Typed Account Library History, June 22, 1950

30 Woodlawn meeting minutes, November 5, 1926.

31 Horne, Disbursements, Aug. 6, 1930

32 Horne to Woodlawn Borough Council, letter, November 5, 1926

33 Horne to Woodlawn Borough Council, letter, November 9, 1926

34 Horne, November 9, 1926.

35 Horne, November 9, 1926.

36 F.R. Fieger to R.J. Wysor, Jones and Laughlin Interdepartment Correspondence, July 26, 1926.

37 Horne, Nov. 9, 1926; B.F. Jones Memorial Library Bylaws, Nov. 16, 1926

38 Woodlawn Borough Ordinance 301, Volume 3, Page 290, Nov. 15, 1926

39 Aliquippa Borough Ordinance, 365, January 26, 1928.

40 Woodlawn Gazette, Story of Woodlawn, 1924.

41 Woodlawn Gazette, Story of Woodlawn, 1924.

42 Tom M. Girdler., “Bootstraps,” New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1943. 167. Girdler was the superintendent of J&L Aliquippa works, where he worked from 1914 to 1930. Bootstraps is his autobiography.

43 “Welcome to the Aliquippa Works, pamphlet Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation, 1979.

44 Woodlawn Gazette, Story of Woodlawn, 1924

45“Business: Family’s Fourth,” Time Magazine, April 13, 1936. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,756010-2,00.html#ixzz12TSETlYd.

46 1930 United States Census.

47 Charles Rumford Walker, “Steel: the Diary of a Furnace Worker,” Atlantic Monthly Press. Reprinted with preface and afterword, edited by Kenneth J. Kobus, Warrendale, PA: Iron and Steel Society, 1999.

48 1930 United States Census

49 H.R. Vanderslice, “The All-Year School in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, The Elementary School Journal (1930). 576.

50 Woodlawn Gazette, Story, 1924.

51 Girdler,
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