Corsicana Public Library
Navarro County Texas


Corsicana Public Library

Researched by Tommy Stringer and Virginia Sherlock Scholle
Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", Vol. XXI 1987
Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society

The Corsicana Public Library has been an important public institution in the City of Corsicana for over eighty years. The name Carnegie library was derived from Andrew Carnegie, philanthropist, whose Foundation provided funds to build the structure which housed the local library for many years.

The first public library in Corsicana was officially opened in 1901 under the auspices of the women's clubs of the city. With the leadership of Mrs. Rufus Hardy and Mrs. Maud Gordon, the ladies' clubs of the town were able to collect $1,700 and 1,200 volumes and to open a library in that year. The first location was in the Hardy-Peck building on the corner of West Sixth Avenue and Main Street. An annual fee of $1 was collected from patrons to provide revenue with which to operate the facility.1

By 1904 city leaders began to realize the importance of the library. An ordinance was passed by the City Commission to "establish a free public library and to provide for its maintenance, support and management." A library board was created, naming E. A. Johnson, incumbent mayor, as chairman, with C. H. Allyn, J. H. Woods, S. A. Pace, F. N. Drane, Mrs. Josh Halbert, Sr., Mrs. W. J. Gordon, Mrs. Rufus Hardy, and Miss Louise Pace as board members.2

In 1905 steps were taken to secure a grant from the Carnegie Corporation to build a permanent public library in Corsicana. It was also decided at that time to secure the services of a full-time, professionally trained librarian.

In July, 1905, Miss Ora Smith has hired to meet that need. However, because of some misunderstandings among the Library Board members, her hiring was rescinded at the next meeting,3 and Miss Zoe Faddis was given the position. Among the first acts of the new librarian was the requisition of 3,000 books at a cost of $3,000.4

In October, 1905, Corsicana received a grand of $25,000 from the Carnegie


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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox