Col. James Anderson, Founder of Free Libraries

Who was the founder of free libraries in Western Pennsylvania? You might say Andrew Carnegie, but Mr. Carnegie himself will be the first to correct you. As a boy, he spent his Saturdays in the library of Colonel James Anderson, whose selfless example inspired Carnegie to become the greatest patron of libraries in the history of civilization. This monument, put up by Carnegie in 1904 near his Free Library in Allegheny, may look humble at first glance, but for the art Carnegie engaged possibly the greatest American sculptor of all time, Daniel Chester French. It still stands beside the Buhl Planetarium, just across the plaza from the old Carnegie Free Library in Allegheny Center.

The inscription is obviously more recent than the monument, but probably duplicates the wording of a lost plaque:

Allegheny Center is a short walk from the North Side subway station.


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