Campus: San Jose State University -- December 15, 2003
Library Time Capsule Discovered Contents on Display
at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
A Carnegie Library time capsule was recently discovered by San José
State University's Special Collections department and the contents are
on display on the fifth floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.
The discovery marks the 101-year anniversary of having a library located
at Fourth and San Fernando streets where the King Library now stands.
The capsule, an 8-by-10-inch, metal box, contains memorabilia that was
placed in the cornerstone of the original Carnegie Library in 1902,
and which remained in the building's foundation until it was torn down
in 1958 to make way for a new SJSU library.
From newspaper articles found with the capsule, the metal box was filled,
set into the cornerstone of the Carnegie Library on February 16, 1902,
and cemented into the foundation. The capsule contained historical documents,
many of which relate to the library's origins. These include: a letter
to Andrew Carnegie from C.J. Martin, Mayor of San José, requesting
his assistance in securing a library; a letter from a cashier at the
Carnegie Corporation allocating $50,000 for a library building; copies
of the ordinance accepting the deed to a site on Washington Square for
the San José Public Library; and the resolution of the City of
San José to set apart $5,000 annually for the support and maintenance
of the public library. An 1896 author and title list of all the books
in the city library was also found.
"This discovery of historic documents in the early library's foundation
has symbolic as well as practical value," said Patricia Breivik,
dean of the university library. "It shows what a rich history San
José State University and the Public Library have shared for
the past one hundred years, and that the two libraries were built upon
the same foundation."
Although the documents discovered pertain to the San José Public
Library, the metal box and its contents were discovered in the University's
Special Collections. "That's because, in early 1936, SJSU (at that
time named San José State College), acquired the Carnegie Library
from the City of San José in a deal that gave the city the old
post office at South Market and West San Fernando streets to convert
into a library," said Jane Light, director of the SJPL. "Thus,
when the cornerstone was unearthed in 1958 to make way for a new expansion
wing of the university library, its contents became university property.
"That particular plot of land seemed destined for the joint city/university
King Library," added Light. "Now that the two institutions
have joined together, both the Public Library's California Room and
SJSU's Special Collections have created a shared display, in order to
showcase this discovery."
The contents of the Carnegie Library time capsule are currently displayed
on the fifth floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. For library
hours, see www. sjlibrary.org.
Contacts: Nancy L. Stake, Ron Bottini, SJSU, at 408-924-1166
Lorraine Oback, SJPL, at 408-808-2176