Southeast Library Turns 100

Southeast Library

Southeast Library Turns 100

Looking back at 100 Years of the Southeast Library

Library History

Public Library Opened in Southeast | Washington Star PaperThe DC Public Library is excited to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Southeast Library! The Southeast Library opened on Dec. 8, 1922. It was the second neighborhood library built in D.C. after the Takoma Park Library and it is one of three Carnegie Libraries in the District. Noted library architect Edward Tilton designed the library in the neoclassical style specifically for its irregular triangle-shaped plot.

The original design consisted of a main floor divided into a delivery and stack room, librarian's office, reference room and two large reading rooms - one for adults and one for children. A fireplace created a traditional Victorian home-like atmosphere in the children's room. The rooms were furnished by the Library Bureau with an octagonal delivery desk, shelving, desks, chairs and tables in light wood with a greenish finish. The ground floor was occupied by a teachers' room, two club or meeting rooms that could be combined into one, a stack room, staff offices and janitor's quarters. A mezzanine level provided additional workspace for patrons and staff.

The library opened with a collection of some 5,000 volumes and 75 periodicals. It was expected that the collection would be frequently supplemented by deliveries from the already overcrowded central library, which at that time contained nearly 250,000 volumes. The branch was set to be open most weekdays from noon to 9 p.m., on Wednesdays from noon to 3 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The staff consisted of branch librarian Frances S. Osborne, a children's librarian, an assistant, a page and a janitor.

The Southeast Library was dedicated with much fanfare on the evening of Dec. 8, 1922. You can see a short news story from The Evening Star describing it on the left. (Click the image to read the full paper from that day!) Several community representatives spoke, including the presidents of the Southeast Washington Citizens' Association and the East Washington Citizens' Association. D.C.'s public librarian, Dr. George Bowerman, and the president of the Board of Library Trustees also spoke, praising the forward step accomplished by the opening of this second neighborhood library. 

Learn more about the history of the Southeast Library.

Birthday Events

Join the Southeast Library for several fun events in celebration of their birthday!
Hollywood on the Potomac book cover
Celebrate by joining us for a talk by author Mike Canning as he explores DC on film. In addition to being an author, Mr. Canning is a member of the Friends of Southeast Library (FOSEL), and will discuss as well how his book Hollywood on the Potomac: How the Movies View Washington, D.C. came to be published with FOSEL's support. 
Blank card with gifts
Southeast Neighborhood Library in 100 Words
Thursday, Dec. 8 - Saturday, Dec. 10, All Day

Drop by anytime from Dec. 8 - 10 to share what the branch means to you in 100 words (or less) on a provided reflection card.
Sparkling candles
Family Mask and Instrument-Making Party
Saturday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m.

Stop by for an afternoon of festive mask and instrument making - and then show off your projects at our 5 p.m. Fairy Tale masquerade procession.
Fairy Tale Masquerade Procession & Birthday Cupcakes
Saturday, Dec. 10, 5 p.m.
Wrap up a festive day with a parade and sweet treat. Meet us at the D St. entrance at 5 p.m. for a "candlelit" Fairy Tale masquerade procession around the block. Costumes are encouraged. LED candles and noisemakers will be distributed to participants. Then, join us back at the branch for special birthday cupcakes.

Washington D.C. in 1922

There were several major historic events in 1922 in D.C., including the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial which drew more than 50,000 people to the National Mall, autopilot inventor Lawrence Sperry landed a small plane on the steps of the Capitol Building and the Knickerbocker Storm hit the mid-Atlantic, resulting in the tragic collapse of the Knickerbocker Theatre. See daily newspapers from that year by clicking the mastheads below and logging in with your library card.

Washington Evening Star The Washington Post
Research local news and history in the long-considered "hometown paper of record" for the nation's capital from 1852-1981. Full-text access to The Washington Post, 1877-present. 

Books Published in 1922

1922 was a big year in publishing with many frequently read classics hitting the shelves from influential authors like Agatha Christie, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald and more. Check out some of the most popular books from that year with your library card!
Cover image for Ulysses / James Joyce ; with an introduction by Craig Raine. Cover image for The Beautiful and Damned Cover image for The Secret Adversary
Cover image for The Velveteen Rabbit Cover image for The Enchanted April Cover image for The Forsyte saga / by John Galsworthy.
Cover image for The voyages of Doctor Dolittle / Hugh Lofting ; illustrated by the author. Cover image for Siddhartha Cover image for Jacob's room / Virginia Woolf ; edited with an introduction and notes by Kate Flint.

Music Released in 1922

In popular music in 1922 people danced to blues, jazz, ragtime, swing music and more! Some of the most popular artists at the time included Fanny Brice, Fats Waller, Paul Whiteman and Marion Harris. Listen to their discography by clicking on the images below or listen to the greatest hits from that year with your library card on Freegal!
Album Album Album

Movies Released in 1922

Silent films were still the norm in 1922, the first film with sound wouldn't premiere until the following year on April 15, 1923, in New York City. The top-grossing film of the year was Robin Hood. It was the very first film to have a premiere at Grauman's Theatre in Hollywood which is now the home of the Hollywood walk of fame. Another notable 1922 film was the horror movie Nosferatu. This creepy classic has inspired much of the look and feel of vampires in cinema since its release. See a selection of films that came out in 1922 with your DC Public Library Card in Kanopy!