Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Bean, Jonathan


Abstract Between the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, drastic changes were made to the structure, organization, and purpose of libraries throughout the United States. The St. Louis Public Library was no exception, beginning as a public school library during the 1860s. Between 1870 and 1930, the foundations were established for the St. Louis Public Library to become a modern American library through the efforts of administrators such as Frederick Crunden, Arthur Bostwick, and Effie Power, among others. This project seeks to examine the St. Louis Public Library as a case study of library development across the United States, and how it, as a Progressive institution, sought to inculcate a love of readership and education and therefore democratize the availability of books and other materials for the advancement of all.




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