Reading Room

Workers' reading and education tradition include Mechanics' Institutes (1800) and Reading Rooms in union halls. Dorothy Day's columns in The Catholic Worker specifically mention the reading rooms in every union she visited. Samuel Gompers' cigar rollers voted to have a member on the clock read to them as they worked. Welcome to our online Reading Room page, continuing and expanding on the Reading Room feature that I started  with this Tuesday March 10, 2009 post.

Closing with another reading room image, the Ottendorfer Libraryopened in 1884 as New York City's first free public librarya sentimental personal favorite. This picture of the stack looks much the same as I remember the library 1965-7 when I lived just around the corner on East 9th.


  1. Such a beautiful photo, and this brings memories for me too:!

    I remember studying in the main NY library -- with the lamps just like this -- and being romanticized by the atmosphere more so than by the books!

    But now I realize that it was all part and parcel, just like your wonderful collection: I cannot believe you have a bit of everything for every activist: thank you!

    1. One of my first outings after moving into East 9th St apartment was to the NYC Public Library -- Main Branch to get a card. Mark one off the bucket list. The location was not so convenient, but then I discovered the Ottendorfer Branch just around the corner. What a wonderful history. The first free public library in the city -- a reading room for workers, among them immigrants and anarchists. How's that for breadcrumbs from destiny?


pull up a soapbox and share your 2¢

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...