Item No: pdcf00438
Title: Ridgway Branch
Additional Title: Rare book room in the Ridgway Branch, 1948
Historic Street Address:
901 S. Broad Street
Print and Picture Collection
The Ridgway Library, donated in 1878, was originally an annex to the Library Company of Philadelphia (a non-circulating independent library, founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin). During WWII, the Ridgway Library became the sole home of the LCP.
In 1944, due to financial and personnel shortages, the LCP invited the Free Library to open a branch there, resulting in the addition of professional staff and a modest circulating collection. This is a 1948 interior view of the rare book room.
What began as a three-year experiment became a mutually-beneficial 12-year relationship, until the LCP was able to resume its own stewardship in 1955. The building served several purposes in later years, and since 1997, the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts has occupied the building.
From 1944-1955, the Ridgway Branch served the Bella Vista section of South Philadelphia.