Tuesday Evening Club

In 1894, a group of Salida’s brightest townswomen formed the Tuesday Evening Club, an organization dedicated to giving Salida a library.

Soon, the club began to acquire books for their library and by 1902, they had acquired around 1,200 books. The Tuesday Evening Club then took the necessary steps for incorporation and the Salida Library Association was formed that same year. The library collection was first housed at the Central School on the corner of D & 3rd, then moved to a room near the Disman-Alger block on W. 2nd, then to 306 F Street, and finally to the City Council rooms at 124 E St. All during this time the club members took turns serving as desk clerk to the library cardholders who were checking out books.

The need was becoming ever greater to build a library to house the growing collection. Club members held fundraisers for this purpose, and in July of 1905, Salida Library Association president Ruth Spray wrote a letter to Andrew Carnegie, noted library philanthropist, requesting additional funding. Salida’s mayor and aldermen, the president of the Board of Trade, and the deputy District Attorney all endorsed the creation of a new library, and letters of support were sent to Carnegie. By the end of the year, a single sentence response was received from Carnegie’s secretary:

“If the city agrees by resolution of council to maintain a free public library at a cost of not less than $900 a year and provide a site for the building, Mr. Carnegie will be glad to give $9,000 to erect a free public library building in Salida”

The fundraising began in earnest and the Club eventually raised $6,000 with the help of the community. Club member Mary Ridgway bought the property on the corner of 4th and E and donated it to the cause.

In May 1908, the Tuesday Evening Club cornerstone was laid. It was a great moment for Salida. February 1909 marked the opening of the Salida Public Library, built at a cost of $15,000. It was due in large part to the efforts of the Tuesday Evening Club. The Club immediately handed over the library to the city and council accepted. A dedicaiton was held in May of that year, celebrating the newest jewel of Salida.

 

Ruth J. Spray

Laying of the Cornerstone

The bulk of the following documents were donated by the Salida Museum. They document the correspondence between the Tuesday Evening Club (Salida Library Association) and the Carnegie Corporation from the years 1905 – 1909. The last includes a response to a patron who had requested the use of the Library’s assembly hall for use as a dance space.

Salida Public Library’s Head Librarians/Library Directors:

Nettie K. Gravett (later became Colorado State Librarian)   1909 – 1910

Helen Cook   1911 – 1923

Monte Fesenbeck   1923 – 1924

Ida Neddermann   1924 – 1960

Catherine Latimer   ca. 1961 – 1965

Norma Edlund   ca. 1966 – 1993

Jeff Donlan   1994 – 2015

Susan Matthews   2016 – present

A compilation of newspaper clippings, images, and ephemera of the Tuesday Evening Club from its inception to the mid-1930s.

Salida Library Histories:

On the 40th anniversary of the Tuesday Evening Club’s founding, Mary C. Ridgway, the first president of the club, mailed a letter to the current members:

Mary C. Ridgway letter 1934

Tuesday Evening Club

article from the Salida Mail, June 23, 1938

Tuesday Evening Club History 

manuscript from the Noranne Giemer Collection.