Friday, April 15, 2011

National Library Week: Houston Public Library (Julia Ideson Building), c. 1928

I picked up this lovely postcard of the downtown Houston Public Library (the Julia Ideson Building) in a local antique shop a couple years ago.  The postmark on the back is June 28, 1928, and the building was completed and opened to the public on October 17, 1926. This building served as the main downtown library until 1976 when the Jesse H. Jones Building opened.  I'm posting it in honor of National Library Week.

The new library opened after I graduated from high school.  The downtown Houston library I remembered going to was this one. Named for the first (and only) librarian from 1903 to 1945, the building has been undergoing restoration and is now the home of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

Just this past weekend, I learned I'm not the only member of my family who's worked for a library.  My mother, Geraldine Guokas Pape, worked in this very library building, shelving books for ten cents an hour when she was about 14 (so that would have been about 1942).  She didn't like the work, though, and quit after about two weeks.  She also said her first job with the Humble Oil Company (now Exxon), after her graduation from the University of Texas in 1949, was as a clerk in their company library.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. How cool that your mom worked in a library, too, however brief. :)

    That must have been an impressive building in the 1920's. It look so small among the other buildings now.

  2. Great find! I love old photos of all types.