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Albertson Public Library

Captain Charles L. Albertson

On November 10, 1921, Captain Charles L. Albertson, a winter resident of Orlando and a retired Police Inspector from Waverly, New York, met with the Orlando City Commissioners and a committee from the Chamber of Commerce to officially offer his personal library of 12,000 books, valued at around $75,000, to the City of Orlando. Learn more about the beginnings of the library.

The announcement of Captain Albertson’s offer was published on the front page of the Evening Reporter Star the following day. On November 12, 1921, the Orlando City Commissioners met and unanimously accepted Capt. Albertson’s offer to donate his library to the City of Orlando. The formal agreement was signed on November 26, 1921. It stipulated that the City of Orlando would “erect a fireproof library building of sufficient capacity to accommodate the said books, and that the same shall be known as The Albertson Library…”

The Original Building

On February 21, 1922, the City held a bond election, and the vote was 446 for and 155 against a bond issue for certain municipal improvements, including a public library building. Mr. Murray S. King was instructed to prepare plans for the building, which were approved by the Commission on May 12, 1922. The contract was let to Mr. C. C. Hanner on August 30, 1922, for the sum of $73,983 and the building was erected under Mr. King’s supervision. The total cost of the building, grounds, and equipment was $110,000. On November 8, 1923, the doors of the library were opened to the public with little fanfare. For photos, documents and more visit the Albertson Public Library – In the Beginning.

A postcard written in 1929 from Mrs. C. B. Alleyn to Miss Ella Ladd in Mystic, Connecticut, was donated to the library by Nancy Pelser-Borowicz on the occasion of the library’s 100th Anniversary rededication celebration on January 7, 2023. It shows the east side of the library from Rosalind Street looking west, with the Salvation Army Citadel and the Old red courthouse in the background. Read the reverse.


ABOVE: The Albertson Public Library circa 1950

The Albertson Public Library was a fine, limestone building with four tall Greek Doric columns topped with a carving of draped Grecian figures. Eleven broad white steps led up to the entrance, and a long low wall along Central Avenue was covered with trailing lantana. Just inside the tall doors, a large skylight in the rotunda added to the natural light admitted through large windows reaching almost to the ceiling. If you stood directly under the dome, you could see the head librarian — first Miss Brumbaugh, then Miss Wendel — in her little office on the balcony over the first floor.  View architectural blueprints for the library.


ABOVE: The Adult Reading Room

Glass floors in the stacks were designed to let the light penetrate from one floor to another, but they also created “shocking” situations when static electricity sparked the woolen-clothed patrons in cool winters. The heating plan was not installed until 1938 and in later years the building leaked terribly in heavy rains.


ABOVE: The Children’s Room in the basement.

There was a separate Children’s Room in the Albertson from the very beginning, and story hours and vacation reading clubs were held regularly. A garden and entrance to the Children’s Department on the Rosalind Avenue side were added in 1935 as a result of a gift from Miss Annetta O’B. Walker of Portland, Maine.


ABOVE: The Art Room

Sorosis donated all suitable books from their library to swell the original collection of 12,000 to more than 15,000 and then the City purchased books so that the Library began with a collection of 21,000 volumes.

The original accession books, listing every title added to the library and the donor or book seller from whom it was purchased, still exist.

The first accession book contains entries 1 – 10,000, and includes books gifted by Captain Charles L. Albertson, the Sorosis Club, and others in the community.

Accession book one

Front Matter

Entries 0001-1000

Entries 1001-2000

Entries 2001-3000

Entries 3001-4000

Entries 4001-5000

Entries 5001-6000

Entries 6001-7000

Entries 7001-8000

Entries 8001-9000

Entries 9001-10,000


ABOVE: The librarian’s desk in the lobby. The entrance to the Stack Room to the right.

In 1935, the library received a gift of $4,000 by a library patron who wished to remain anonymous. A large portion of the money was used to create a beautiful gated and walled garden to complement the addition of a side entrance to the Children’s Department located in the basement.

In November 1948, the community celebrated the Silver Anniversary of the Public Library in Orlando and a booklet was created to commemorate the event. It outlines the history of how the library came to be, the library board through the years and facts and figures on the library’s holdings, circulation and borrowers in 1948.

Peruse the 25th Anniversary booklet.


It is unclear if “The Book Shelf: notes from the Albertson Public Library” was a weekly feature of the Corner Cupboard newspaper, but based on the title and the graphic, it seems that it might have been. The February 3, 1950, edition was a full-page article about the benefits and needs of the local library. Penned by library director Clara Wendel, it emphasizes the need for a better facilities to meet the needs of the community.

Have you ever wondered why we tore down the beautiful traditional Albertson Public Library and built the current structure?

Many folks have and many folks ask. Read this report completed by the Jaycees in January 1959 and you’ll understand why it was a necessity!

The committee that studied the library was composed of John Barber, John Peake and S. Victor Tipton, and they enumerated 13 issues that made the library unfit for staff and residents. Number 10 caught my attention:

There is grossly inadequate space for the some 40 clerical and staff workers to carry on their work. For example, four attempt to work at desks in a room 8 by 12 feet which includes also book shelves and filing cabinets. Desks have to be placed in almost every corner of the building. Some are protruding into aisles necessarily used by patrons. There are only eight small lockers for the 40 odd workers.

Explore the DOCUMENTS and IMAGES below under ATTACHMENTS.

People of note mentioned in correspondence or newspaper articles include Clara Wendel, Wintson Henderson, Walter Reed, Mrs. Kenneth Rogers, Donald Walker, Rev. Louie Blackwell, David Flick, Mrs. Floyd H. Bruton, Lois Lenski, Hamilton Holt of Rollins College, Melvil Dewey.

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ATTACHMENTS

Captain Charles L. Albertson circa 1905

Photograph of Charles L. Albertson published in the January 19, 1906 edition of The Waverly Free Press.

Portrait of Charles L. Albertson

Painting of Captain Charles L. Albertson.

Rollins College job offer to Olive Brumbaugh March 11, 1927

Rollins College job offer to Olive Brumbaugh March 11, 1927

Postcard of the APL sent on January 19, 1929

Nancy Pelser-Borowicz donated this postcard of the Albertson Public Library for the library's 100th Anniversary. It is taken from Rosalind Street look...

Postcard of the APL sent on January 19, 1929

Nancy Pelser-Borowicz donated this postcard of the Albertson Public Library for the library's 100th Anniversary. It is taken from Rosalind Street look...

Quest Society invitation to Melvil Dewey's Birthday

Letter from the Quest Society dated November 1, 1931, inviting librarians to attend the 80th birthday celebration for Melville "Melvil" Dewey.

Letter from Florida Library Association dated November 9, 1931.

Letter from Florida Library Association dated November 9, 1931, to Olive Brumbaugh asking that she represent the organization at Melvil Dewey's 80th...

Albertson Library Interior 001

Interior photograph from the Albertson Public Library.

Albertson Library Interior 002

Interior photograph from the Albertson Public Library.

Albertson Library

No description has been added yet

Albertson Library Interior 003

Interior photograph from the Albertson Public Library.

Albertson Library Interior 004

Interior photograph from the Albertson Public Library.

Albertson Library Interior 005

Interior photograph from the Albertson Public Library.

Albertson Library Interior 006

Interior photograph of the Albertson Public Library.

Gated garden to Children's Department.

In 1935, the library received a gift of $4,000 by a library patron who wished to remain anonymous. A large portion of...

Gated garden to Children's Department.

In 1935, the library received a gift of $4,000 by a library patron who wished to remain anonymous. A large portion of...

Gated garden to Children's Department.

In 1935, the library received a gift of $4,000 by a library patron who wished to remain anonymous. A large portion of...

Albertson Library Interior 008

Interior photograph from the Albertson Public Library.

Reading Area - Albertson Public Library

Patron shown in the reading area at the Albertson Public Lbirary.

Lobby - Albertson Public Library

Lobby in the Albertson Public Library.

Albertson Public Library - Front exterior circa 1960

Albertson Public Library - Front exterior circa 1960. From the private collection of Tim Orwick.

Captain Charles L. Albertson Dies

Mentioned: Captain Charles L. Albertson, Charles Albertson, Florida Sanitarium, Albertson Public Library, Mrs. Lillian Albertson, Lake Jennie Jewell.

Silver Anniversary Cover

Cover from the program for Albertson Public Library 25th anniversary in November 1948. Peruse the entire program and read the history of the...

Albertson Public Library Bookmobile in action

Newspaper photograph showing children and the bookmobile in a country setting publsihed in the Orlando Sentinel on June 1, 1950, 2nd section. Caption:...

Telephone Reference Service - Albertson Public Library - 1949

Telephone Reference Service - Albertson Public Library. This article published in a December 1949 issue of the Orlando Morning Sentinel by George...

Albertson Public Library - Customers At Card Catalog

Customers using the card catalog at the old Albertson Public Library.

Card Catalog - Albertson Public Library

Card catalogs in the old Albertson Public Library.

Albertson Library

Front steps

Albertson Public Library - Orlando Public Library

This is an original painting by James Stoll and is part of the Orlando Remembered display case located  on the 4th floor...

Albertson Library

Circa 1964 prior to demolition.

Albertson Library

Circa 1964 prior to demolition.

Albertson Library

Circa 1964 prior to demolition.

Albertson Library

Circa 1964 prior to demolition.

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Waverly Free Press - Albertson Library - Waverly, N.Y.

January 1906.

The Albertson Library (Waverly, NY) is featured on the entire front page of the Waverly Free Press. The Press takes the reader room by room listing most of the titles on the shelves in the Library located in one of Captain Albertson's homes.

This is historical accounting of our own Orlando Public Library as these are most likely some of the works that were part of the collection donated by Captain Albertson to create the Albertson Public Library in Orlando.


Acceptance of Capt. Albertson's Offer

November 12, 1921. City Commissioners unanimously accepted Capt. Albertson's offer to donate his 12,000 books to the City of Orlando.


Agreement between Capt. Albertson and the City of Orlando.

November 26, 1921. Articles of Agreement between Charles L. Albertson of Warverly, in the State of New York and the City of Orlando in the State of Florida.


Accession Book 1 - Front Matter

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 0001-1000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 1001-2000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 2001-3000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 3001-4000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 4001-5000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 5001-6000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 6001-7000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 7001-8000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 8001-9000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Accession Book 1 - 9001-10,000

First Accession Book showing the first 10,000 books in the library's opening day collection.


Albertson Library Rules

Rules of the newly opened Albertson Public Library


Albertson Public Library - Rollins College Letter

March 11, 1927 Albertson Public Library - Rollins College Letter


Albertson Public Library - Letter from Melvil Dewey - March 29, 1928

Albertson Public Library - Letter from Melvil Dewey - March 29, 1928


Albertson Public Library - Invitation to Melvil Dewey's 80th Birthday Celebration

Albertson Public Library - Invitation to Melvil Dewey's 80th Birthday Celebration


Albertson Public Library - letter from FLA

1931 Albertson Public Library letter from FLA


Albertson Public Library - letter from Hamilton Holt of Rollins College

April 7, 1928 Albertson Public Library - letter from Hamilton Holt of Rollins College


Albertson Public Library - Letter from City of Orlando

1928 Letter from City of Orlando thanking Albertson Public Library for helping with Halloween festivities.


April 13, 1928 letter to Olive Brumbaugh from the board

April 13, 1928 letter to Olive Brumbaugh from the board, notifying her that her pay was being increased by $300 per month and she would have two months vacation each summer.


April 8, 1929 letter from Gov. Carlton's office

April 8, 1929 letter from Gov. Carlton's office acknowledging that he would be happy to meet with Miss Brumbaugh when she was next in Tallahassee.


Letter from Buffalo Library to Olive Brumbaugh

During the financial crunch in 1930, Captain Albertson sent an inquiry to the Buffalo Public Library asking about number of hours staff were required to work per week. They responded to Olive Brumbaugh with humor.


Letter to the Editor April 9, 1930

Letter to the Editor, April 9, 1930, on the virtues of the Albertson library and the Rollins College library.


Letter from genealogy patron

Interesting letter from Genealogy patron describing the location of a book from which they needed information and a map showing exactly where to find it.


Article for the newspaper on the 7th anniversary

Article published November 7, 1930, penned by Olive Brumbaugh on the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the opening of the Albertson Public Library, entitled "A Business That Grows and Grows."


Orlando newspaper article mentioning Brumbaugh

Orlando newspaper article mentioning the APL as "one of the finest in the South," and Olive Brumbaugh, "Orlando Proves to be a Popular Hoosier Resort."


25% reduction in budget

Due to financial crisis later to be called "The Great Depression," the library budget was cut by 25 percent.


Case against the library ends against library

Case brought against the library and Miss Brumbaugh by disgruntled staff ends.


Newspaper clipping 1930s - New York publisher

Newspaper clipping referencing letter to edition in a Delaware County, New York newspaper, praising the services of the staff at the Albertson Public Library under the direction of Olive Brumbaugh.


April 26, 1931 Letter from Edward P. Moses.

Letter from Edward P. Moses of Tampa concerning the bill before the Florida Legislature regarding providing library services to unincorporated sections of counties dated April 26, 1931.


APL 10th Anniversary

Olive Brumbaugh's writing for publication in the local newspaper on the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the Albertson Public Library ten years prior on November 8, 1923.


Albertson Public Library - Letter from Children's Author Lois Lenski - 1944

Albertson Public Library - Letter from Children's Author Lois Lenski - 1944


Public Library Silver Anniversary

This commemorative booklet was created in celebration of the Silver Anniversary of the opening of the establishment of the Albertson Public Library in Orlando. The booklet lists the Board of Directors, Librarian and staff and presents the history of the library from its beginnings with the Sorosis Club of Orlando.


Orlando Brief - Page 20 - Albertson Public Library

Page 20 of the Orlando Brief includes photos of the Albertson Public Library and the Orlando Municipal Auditorium (Bob Carr Auditorium). The auditorium is hardly recognizable if you see it today as a façade was added to the front of the building that altered the entrance area many years ago.


Clara Wendel, Book Shelf, Corner Cupboard Feb. 3, 1950

Clara Wendel, Book Shelf, Corner Cupboard Feb. 3, 1950


Albertson Public Library - Orlando Evening Star Article, David Flick, Mrs. Floyd H. Bruton, Clara Wendel

Albertson Public Library - Orlando Evening Star Article, David Flick, Mrs. Floyd H. Bruton, Clara Wendel, circa 1951


Albertson Public Library, Orlando Evening Star Article, January 16, 1953

Albertson Public Library, Orlando Evening Star Article, January 16, 1953.


Albertson Public Library, Orlando Evening Star Article, January 17, 1953

Albertson Public Library, Orlando Evening Star Article, January 17, 1953.


Albertson Public Library - Orlando Evening Star Article - February 8, 1953

Albertson Public Library, Orlando Evening Star Article,February 8, 1953


APL - Orlando Evening Star Article - February 10, 1953

Albertson Public Library - Orlando Evening Star Article, February 10, 1953, Wintson Henderson, Mrs. Kenneth Rogers, Donald Walker, Rev. Louie Blackwell


APL - Orlando Evening Star Article March 11, 1953

Albertson Public Library - Orlando Evening Star Article - March 11, 1953: Clara Wendel, Wintson Henderson, Walter Reed


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