Honors Program


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Blomstedt, Emily. “Lincoln's Carnegie Library: A History of Community and Philanthropy.” Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2024.


Copyright Emily Blomstedt 2024.


Nebraska received 69 Carnegie libraries from the Carnegie foundation between 1899 and 1922. The first and most expensive Nebraska Carnegie library was granted to Lincoln in December 1899, after a fire destroyed Lincoln’s previous library. Lincoln’s main Carnegie library served the community between 1902 and 1960 before it was torn down in 1961 to build the present-day Bennett Martin library. This thesis explores the 60-year history of Lincoln’s Carnegie library, how it connects to national trends surrounding Carnegie libraries, and the role community and philanthropy played in the development of Lincoln’s public library system. These themes are examined through a variety of primary and secondary sources, including local newspapers, postcards, and previous literature of Carnegie library research.