This is the East Harlem branch of the N.Y, Free Circulating Library, (NYFCL), at 18 East 125th Street on July, 1895.
The photograph was taken outside in front of the cobblestone and trolley track street of the public libraries of New York Public Library (NYPL).
The Harlem Branch developed from the opening on July 7, 1892, of a small distributing station in part of a room at 2059 Lexington Avenue on the corner of 125th Street, between five and six hundred volumes being drawn off from Bond Street and Jackson Square Branches. During the lifetime of the NYFCL in Harlem moved from there, to two rooms at 1943 Madison Avenue, to 18 East 125th Street on July 1895 (above) and finally to the beautiful glass Harlem Branch of the NYFCL, No. 18, at 218 East 125th Street in 1892 (below). The kids stand outside in front of the cobblestone street in May, 1899.
The NYFCL was begun in 1879, and incorporated in 1880. Its aim was to supply free reading material and reading rooms to the people of New York City. Over its lifetime, it expanded from a single location to eleven locations and an additional traveling department. It was notable for the large part women played in its administration and staffing. In 1901, the system became part of the New York Public Library.
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