From the Library Archives: Central Library Dedication, October 17, 1964

Library-1964-Ded-Photo

This week we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of our Central Library building. On October 17, 1964, the newly built 5-story Library, the anchor of the Buffalo & Erie County System, was formally opened by civic leaders, authors, educators, and a crowd of spectators.  Dedication events included concerts on the Library ramp by the U.B. Band and U.S. Army Band.

Dedication thing

Dedication Program, October 1964

At 375, 000 square feet, it was the largest public library built in the United States since WWII.  Covering two city blocks, the building is longer, at 437 feet, than the height of City Hall, at 378 feet.  Built to house over 2 million volumes, much of the collection is housed in the Closed Stacks, two floors of storage between public floors, known to staff as “the tiers.”  By 1965, there were 50 miles of shelving in the Library.

The original interior design featured royal blue and vermilion (bright orange-red) furniture, and black walnut wood paneling and fixtures.

Library 1964 CE Readers image

“The Reader’s Library,” Courier Express, October 11, 1964.

Central Library Information booklet, 1964.

Central Library Information booklet, 1964.

The construction of the Central Library was one of the many milestones in the merging of the Buffalo Public Library, the Erie County Library  System, and the Grosvenor Reference Library.  Many of the books that were moved into the Central Library from the Grosvenor and Buffalo Public Libraries form the core of our current Local History and Genealogy Collections.

Central Library postcard, 1964

Central Library postcard, 1964

“More important than any building as a material entity is the spirit and philosophy which animates it. And no one can mistake the beliefs and aspirations that underlie our investments in free public libraries. They bespeak our dedication to freedom to read and the pursuit of truth and enlightenment.” “More Than a Building.” Editorial. Buffalo News, October 17, 1964.

Posted in Library History, Local History | Tagged

Images of School Days Past

An East High Classroom, 1934

An East High Classroom, 1934

School No. 21, 1906

School No. 21, 1906

School No. 43, 1908

School No. 43, 1908

School No. 29, 1907

School No. 29, 1907

School No. 31, 1906

School No. 31, 1906

At the lab 1907 - School Scrapbook v3

Technical High School, 1907

School No. 53, 1935

School No. 53, 1935

South Park High, 1934

South Park High, 1934

Fosdick-Masten, 1934

Fosdick-Masten, 1934

Posted in Genealogy | Tagged

Our Ancestors’ Summers

Our Ancestors’ Summers, Circa 1870-1880:

Preparing to travel:

Preparing for the Trip

A boy’s summer outfit:

Boy's summer outfit

Women’s swimsuits:

Women's bathing attire

Cooling off on a breezy mountain top:

At the beach

Posted in Genealogy | Tagged

Erie County Penitentiary Records Are Now in Ancestry ———We Found a Familiar Name!

If you are looking for the skeleton in your ancestor’s closet, Ancestry has just added a record set that may help.  Various New York State prison records are now available for research.  To access Erie County records, search for this title in Ancestry’s Card Catalog: New York, Governor’s Registers of Commitments to Prisons, 1842-1908. Erie County Penitentiary commitment registers are included from 1883-1908.  The registers are keyword searchable and  list convict names, crime, name of judge, county where the convict was arrested, date of sentence, date received at the penitentiary and length of incarceration.

Jack London in Erie Co. Penitentiary

Included amongst the Erie County records is author, Jack London.  He is found on line 176 in the June listings, as “John Lundon” [see image above].   London famously wrote about his Erie County Penitentiary experience in The Road, which is a memoir of the time he spent as a Hobo in the 1890s. On June 28, 1894 London was arrested in Niagara Falls, NY for being a “tramp.”  At his “trial,” he was not allowed to speak [not even to enter a plea]; he was not afforded a trial by jury; and he was not allotted a lawyer. London was sentenced to spend 30 days in jail.   Both his trial and prison transfer happened the same day of his arrest.

London survived his sentence with the help of a friend who he met en route to the prison.  His friend was an experienced convict who taught him the ropes and secured him a position as a “hall-man.”  A hall-man was shielded from heavy labor and served the prisoner’s their food.  They were able to obtain extra bread and used it in the prison bartering system.  London also used his letter writing and other skills to acquire money and favors from other prisoners.

To learn more about London’s time in Erie County, read chapters “Pinched” and “The Pen” in The Road: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14658

To learn more about the Erie County Penitentiary, see the following article from Western New York Heritage: http://www.wnyheritagepress.org/photos_week_2012/jack_londen_pen/jack_london_pen.htm

Other recently added New York prison-related records include: New York, Prisoners Received at Newgate State Prison, 1797-1810, New York, Executive Orders for Commutations, Pardons, Restorations and Respites, 1845-1931, New York, Discharges of Convicts, 1882-1915.

Posted in Databases, Genealogy, Local History | Tagged ,

A Different Kind of Buffalo Celebrity

Dr. Harvey Tananbaum, for many years the Director of NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, was also a graduate of Bennett High School.

Harvey Tananbaum Bennett HS Beacon 1960

Dr. Tananbaum also has the distinction of having been photographed studying at the Grosvenor Library in April of 1960.

Harvey Tananbaum, Grosvenor Reading Room, Apr. 18, 1960

Read more about Dr. Tananbaum’s career with NASA in this interview where he also discusses briefly his life in Buffalo, here: http://www.aip.org/history/ohilist/25491_1.html

 

Posted in Genealogy

Buffalo Beauty

Our latest blog entry features another Bennett High School alum: actress, model and businesswoman Beverly Johnson, shown here in her yearbook photo from the Bennett Beacon, 1969.  The former champion swimmer became, among other notable things, the first African-American model to grace the cover of the US edition of Vogue in 1974.

Image

 

 

Image

Posted in Genealogy

Another Buffalo native’s High School Yearbook photos

Today’s blog entry features retired professional basketball player Bob Lanier, in his yearbook pictures from Bennett High School, 1966.  Lanier played for the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks, retiring in 1984.

 

Bennett High School, Beacon 1966 - Bob Lanier

 

Bennett High School, Beacon 1966 - Bob Lanier copyBennett High School, Beacon 1966 - Bob Lanier 2

Posted in Genealogy