Full text


Ryan Shaw

In the nineteenth century, company libraries played an important role in the practice of welfare capitalism. The Pullman Palace Car Company was a model of welfare work, and its library was no exception. Using a historical case study, this paper explores the Pullman Library, how it was used by employees, and the motivations of the company. Like many other aspects of the Pullman Company’s welfare work, the Pullman Library was furnished opulently. Its collection featured many volumes from the Tauchnitz collection and, although it housed less than 10,000 books, covered a variety of topics. The membership fee was prohibitively high, and membership never reached more than 250. The library continues to operate as a branch of the Chicago Public Library, a fate shared with many company libraries from the nineteenth century.

Headings: Special libraries Corporate libraries Libraries and labor



Brittany N. McCarver

A Master’s paper submitted to the faculty of the School of Information and Library Science of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in

Library Science.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

April 2020

Approved by



Table of Contents


Literature Review...5

Welfare Capitalism...5

Company Libraries...9



George M. Pullman...17

The Pullman Palace Car Company...20

The Town of Pullman...22

The Pullman Company Library, 1883-1894...27

Library Dedication...27

Library Interior...27




Library Fees...36


The Pullman Strike...39

Pullman After the Strike...42



Appendix A...55



Company libraries were often an important part of industrial welfare work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many of these libraries evolved into modern public libraries. The practice mostly died out after the Great Depression brought the beginnings of state welfare to the country. The Pullman Palace Car Company was one of many businesses that practiced welfare work, and the Pullman Library was an important part of that. Although there have been histories of the company, there are no in-depth studies of the library and the role it played in town life or the subsequent Pullman strike that played a major role in changing the perspective on most welfare work.

The purpose of this study is to explore the history of company libraries and welfare through a case study of the Pullman Palace Car Company library. The questions to guide this process are: 1. What was the library like when it was run by the company (resources, fees, staff, etc.)?, 2. What was the experience of workers and their families in these libraries?, and 3. What were the purposes of the libraries, and how well did they help to meet goals?.

I used historical data-collecting methods, which are explained in more detail in the “Methodology” section, in order to answer these questions. Secondary sources were used to understand how the Pullman Library fits into larger contexts, such as the


Literature Review

Welfare Capitalism

Welfare capitalism is defined by historian Stuart Brandes as “any service

provided for the comfort or improvement of employees which was neither a necessity of the industry nor required by law.”2 Companies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries would organize and fund many different programs that their employees could take advantage of. These programs could include things like housing, schools, company stores, churches, recreation programs, and libraries, among many other things. In 1926, 80% of the 1,500 biggest companies in the United States reported that they had

implemented at least one welfare program and almost half reported “comprehensive” welfare programs.3 The intentions behind and the reasons for these programs varied and will be discussed more fully later in this section.

The beginning of welfare work in America is marked as 1790 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island when Samuel Slater, nicknamed by Andrew Jackson as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution” and founder of some of the first textile mills in the United States, began a Sunday School for his workers to learn on their day off. In the early nineteenth century, the cotton mill industry prospered in New England and welfare work did, as well. Companies in places like Lowell, Massachusetts established


Industry began to shift to other parts of the country near the middle of the nineteenth century, with textile mills moving south, mining companies springing up across the country, and the railroad industry gradually spreading west. Welfare capitalism spread with industry, focused mainly on employee housing, leading to this period being called “the calm before the surge of modern welfare capitalism.”5 The end of the nineteenth century saw the flourishing of the industrial welfare movement. This continued through the early twentieth century, though the rise of labor movements slowed the growth considerably. The Great Depression “terminated the movement as it had existed.”6 In times of economic trouble, businesses routinely cut funding to welfare programs first.7 The Great Depression was no exception, and welfare became the responsibility of government rather than business.

Welfare programs evolved to become much more complicated than Slater’s Sunday School, and housing was a major part of most companies’ programs. By providing employees with lodging that was close to work and relatively affordable, business men were able to attract more people to their towns.8 The company store was another aspect of welfare that became commonplace. Employers would build stores in their neighborhoods for their employees to buy anything that they might need. Because the companies very often owned the land, they did not have to allow other merchants to set up shops in the area. This meant that they controlled all aspects of the market in the company towns. Workers routinely complained of high prices, pressure to shop there, and lack of variety and competition that were associated with company stores.9


of these institutions.10 Other programs that were not as central included libraries,

recreation programs, medical care, and profit-sharing programs, to name a few.11 Welfare programs were not cheap to establish or maintain, but businessmen had quite a few motivations when putting these programs into place.

One important motive for businessmen was profit. When a company paid its employees, their wages were spent to pay rent (to the company), pay any outstanding debts they owed to the company store, buy goods from the store, and pay any fees for programs that the company ran. All of these expenditures would put the money that the company paid out to their workers back in company hands. George Pullman, the founder and president of the Pullman Palace Car Company, insisted that his town “was a business venture pure and simple.”12 He was determined that the only services to be offered in Pullman would be ones that produced a profit.13 Although the company hoped for at least a 6% revenue, the town only ever reached 4.5% through 1896.14 Although welfare work was not always profitable, it often served other interests to companies, as well.


appearing more philanthropic, businessmen hoped that they could erode any public support of unions, making strikes less likely.17

Welfare capitalism was also a means of social control, in multiple ways. Strikes were a major source of trouble for businessmen during the peak years of welfare capitalism. In the years between 1880 and 1900, there were almost 23,000 strikes that affected more than 117,000 businesses, an average of three new strikes a day.18 It was hoped that welfare would create a loyal workforce and discourage employees from striking or joining unions. Welfare programs were believed to “show a humane desire on the part of the manufacturer to brighten the workman’s life, and they call forth respect and esteem, the surest preventives of labor troubles.”19


the most important element in this aspect of welfare schemes, they still played an important part.

Company Libraries

One element of welfare programs was libraries for the employees of the company. Although they were not extremely common in company welfare, they were still an important resource for employees and a tool for employers, like the other aspects of welfare capitalism. Company libraries sometimes evolved into public libraries, but many of the “early factory libraries suffered an unrecorded death.”22

Company libraries often emerged from earlier mercantile and mechanics’ libraries, which were more targeted for skilled workers in specialized fields.23 The first mercantile libraries opened in Boston and New York in 1820 and Philadelphia in 1821. These special libraries were at first controlled by the merchant groups, but by the middle of the nineteenth century employers had come to control them.24 In the 1830s, two of the earliest company libraries were established in Petersborough, New Hampshire and Great Falls, New Hampshire. These were sponsored by a cotton mill and a manufacturing company, respectively.25 The 1850s saw the real growth of the practice.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, there was an increase in the “number of unskilled workers in large, concentrated industries,” and companies hoped to meet their needs by providing libraries.26 In 1851, the Manufacturer’s and Village Library of Great Falls was open to members of the community after a fee, and employees received


Association opened in 1857 and “followed a pattern that had become more or less standard,” requiring dues and providing educational programs. 27

Stuart D. Brandes marked the first, official company library as one opened by the Cambria Steel Company in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1881 for the cost of $30,000.28 Andrew Carnegie was an early champion of factory libraries. He donated $20,000 to a company in Braddock, Pennsylvania “to establish a free library for the benefit” of the employees. In 1886, he built a library in Pittsburgh for the employees of Keystone Bridge Works, and eventually, he would open his libraries to everyone in the area, not just his employees.29

Company libraries were opened in many different industries. The Champion Copper Company opened a library in Painesdale, Michigan in 1903. The Calumet and Hecla Mining Company opened one in Calumet Michigan. In 1858, in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company opened their own library. Despite being spread across disciplines, all three of these libraries later evolved into public libraries.30

Industrial libraries continued to grow throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth; “by 1916 at least 155 companies had either a library of their own or a branch of a public library located on company property.”31 Like other forms of welfare capitalism, company libraries began to fade out after the Great Depression, although some libraries held out until around the Second World War.32


9,000 in 1896.34 The collections usually emphasized fiction, “biography, history, technical matter, and popular magazines.”35 The choices included in the company libraries showcased some of the motives behind them.

Like the other aspects of welfare programs, company libraries were hoped to help solve a number of problems. Of course, businessmen hoped that their humanitarianism would improve their images.36 A major motivation was that of keeping workers out of trouble. The libraries were often “intended to compete with saloons for the leisure time” of employees.37 Owners hoped that they would be able to get to know their workers better through the libraries, this easing labor tensions.38 In addition to this, reading was one way in which businessmen hoped they could improve their workers.39 Because of this motive, the selection of materials was an important aspect of library development, as it showed what the employers held to be important.



The purpose of this study was to explore industrial libraries and their role in welfare programs through a case study of the Pullman Palace Car Company library. This was done through a historical analysis lens. Although the Pullman library was operational into the early twentieth century, its main period of operation was at the end of the

nineteenth century. Thus, a historical approach is the most fitting. It allows us “to understand how we go from where we were to where we are and why the present is structured the way that it is.”42

Before beginning research of any kind, research questions should be developed. Historical research questions should be open-ended, analytical, and flexible.43 The research questions for this study were: 1. What was the library like when the company operated it (resources, fees, staff, etc.)?, 2. What was the experience of workers and their families in these libraries?, and 3. What were the purposes of the libraries and how well did they help to meet the goals of the company and its employees?. It is also important to note that “in historical research, there are no discrete phases; hypothesis formation and the collection and interpretation of evidence…are all integrated with one another.”44 This means that the steps described in this section were not quite as linear as they are

presented here, but the methods themselves will be explained.


include things like autobiographies, diaries, correspondence, newspapers, bulletins, government or business documents, and many other items. They are important because they provide as close to an eyewitness testimony as possible for events that happened decades or centuries ago. Secondary sources are created after the event, and they are based off of primary sources.They “provide background and context for the subject.” 45

In order to find sources, I started by searching library databases for secondary sources. These databases included Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, Library Literature and Information Science Retrospective, among others. The main search terms I used were “welfare work,” “industry library,” “Pullman library,” “Pullman welfare,” and a few others. I also searched UNC’s library catalog for relevant literature, using the same or similar terms. As I found secondary sources, I examined their bibliographies for further sources and also found relevant primary sources, a process known as “source mining.”46 This was an extremely helpful strategy to find more and more sources. Primary sources that are relevant to my topic were located in multiple archives and manuscript collections. These collections were mostly located in the Chicago area.


As I found sources, I evaluated them based on their reliability, authenticity, and credibility. Secondary sources should be from credible sources, like major publishing companies, university presses, and other similar sources. It was also important to try to find information that was provided in multiple sources to help ensure its accuracy. Sources are “imperfect and incomplete,” and cannot always provide an accurate picture of what happened, which can inhibit the conclusions drawn from them.47 By triangulating my research in this way, I hoped to be able to make a more accurate and complete picture.

After sources were collected and verified, I began data collection. I read the sources that I collected and looked “for trends, for cause and effect, for interactions among individuals and groups, for repeating themes and events, and…names.”48 Data collection and interpretation in historical research is left to the discretion of the

researcher. I tried to let the sources speak for themselves in supporting the argument that I am making. It is important to note, however, that historical research “cannot and does not pretend to provide statistically significant results. It cannot and does not pretend to provide absolute, final, conclusive answers to questions.”49 There are some things that I did to make my conclusions better, though.

Morgan and Wildemuth identify the four most common fallacies of historical research as generalization, reduction, tautology, and misplaced literalism.50 Avoiding language that makes situations seem to be the norm or overgeneralizing events will help to allow readers to understand that the Pullman case study may not be the rule of


repetition, seems to me to be a more stylistic issue of writing. Just like events, humans are complex, and both secondary and primary sources are created by people. Reading sources with a bit of healthy skepticism allowed me to analyze them more closely, while avoiding taking everything at face value.


Unfortunately, one major limitation of historical research is whether or not primary sources still exist and are available. This proved to be true for this study. Although the Pullman Company was a major player in the late nineteenth century, and archival holdings related to it are abundant, records that pertained to the company library were relatively scarce. The library was mentioned in passing in many works about the company and its welfare work. The majority of primary sources used for this study were contemporary newspapers, which provided a good progression of the state of the library and public opinion about it.

One primary source that would have been helpful to a study like this would have been first-hand accounts of Pullman residents and employees. Regrettably, because of the nature of welfare capitalism and the relationship it creates between employer and

employee, residents were usually rather reluctant to share their true feelings about the business or the town of Pullman.51 During a tour of the town in 1884, Richard T. Ely noted that in a town of 8,000 people, “not one single resident dare speak out openly his opinion about the town in which he lives.”52 The US Strike Commission’s Report on the


the library.53 Although it was helpful to have these interviews, this study would have benefitted greatly by discovery of more employees’ opinions about the company library.


George M. Pullman

George Mortimer Pullman was born on March 3, 1831 in Brocton, New York, the third child of James Lewis and Emily Minton Pullman.54 His father was a general

mechanic, but the size of his family, which eventually included ten children, prevented the family from amassing a great amount of wealth.55 Pullman did not receive much of a formal education, completing the fourth grade before leaving school at fourteen and taking a position as a clerk in his uncle’s store, where he worked for three years.56 This lack of education would follow him into later life, when he pushed the importance of even an informal education on to his employees. He served as president of the Chicago Athenaeum, which focused on the education of young working-class men, in the 1870s.57


would later insist that his employees would be willing to pay for the best and engaged in paternalistic practices.

Pullman moved to Chicago in 1859, when he began work moving buildings and raising parts of the city.60 It was around this time that he developed an interest in improving sleeping cars, doing research about the history of the railroad industry, and looking into the building of railroad cars.61 Needing more capital for his Chicago business prospects, Pullman went to Colorado in 1860 during the gold mining boom in that area. His main interests there, however, were commercial. He returned to Chicago in 1863.62 These years were important for Pullman because they allowed him to enter into the sleeping car business.

Figure 1. George and Hattie Pullman. Chicago History Museum.


children.”63 The Pullmans’ considerable wealth “only served to inspire her to multiply her charities, encouraged by her generous and indulgent husband.”64 Mrs. Pullman’s

emphasis on charity work for Chicago’s lower classes becomes important later in this study.


The Pullman Palace Car Company

After George Pullman’s return to Chicago in 1863, he turned his full attention to building sleeping cars. These cars were used on long railroad journeys but were known to be rather uncomfortable for riders. Pullman wanted to improve them. The first Pullman cars were constructed in 1858 after a partnership with Benjamin and Norman Field, businessmen in the railroad industry.67 The first traditional Pullman car, named

“Pioneer,” was built in 1864 and first used in the tour of President Lincoln’s body from Chicago to Springfield, Illinois in 1865.68 Before Pullman’s efforts in the early 1860s, a traditional sleeping car cost $5,000 or less. “Pioneer” was built for $20,000.69 Because of the extravagance of his sleeping cars and their eventual popularity, Pullman seemed to prove that people were willing to pay more for the best quality.

By the end of 1866, there were 48 Pullman sleeper cars in use.70 A charter was issued to the Pullman Palace Car Company by the Illinois State Legislature on February 22, 1867.71 Andrew Carnegie was a stockholder in the company. The two men had decided to go into business together to avoid competition with each other. Carnegie later sold his stock in the company in 1873.72 In 1875, the company employed 600 men; that number grew to 1,000 by 1880.73


The Town of Pullman

After establishing a factory in Chicago in 1870, George Pullman began to

consider forming a community for his workers. As early as 1873, he announced plans for a building that would contain restaurants, bathing facilities, a library, and family rooms.78 This planned structure would not come to fruition until almost ten years later, known as the Arcade building, which will be discussed further in this section. He began the venture in earnest in 1879. Chicago’s growing status as a major hub in the railroad business and the continually increasing demand for Pullman products necessitated a larger presence in the area, and therefore a community for the employees that would work there.79 Along with this, other areas of Chicago’s growth motivated Pullman to insulate his community.


and make life better for them. An added benefit was that they would be making business better for themselves.

Pullman found a site that was 14 miles from Chicago that consisted of 4,000 acres. The company purchased the land for $800,000 from 75 different owners.81 He planned to build his model town “just as he built his Pullman Sleeping Cars, to be orderly, clean, and with an appearance of luxuriousness.”82 In short, Pullman wanted the best, and he was willing to pay for it. His original estimates for machinery, buildings, and other utilities was about $1 million. By March 1881, the company had spent $1.3 million dollars. By July, it was over $2.5 million. The total in January 1882 was over $4.8 million.83 When the town was finally completed in 1884, the company had spent $8 million.84

Included in this cost was everything that Pullman expected his workers to need. The company provided houses and the utilities that went with it. The workplaces had also been included in the factories that the town was built around. The company had full control of the public and municipal services in the town.85 Pullman made an effort “to balance manual toil with adequate recreational and educational opportunities.”86 Among the amenities in the town were the Hotel Florence, a market house, livery stable and fire department, an arcade, which featured a library, a theater, and shops, a church, a school, a casino, parks, and playgrounds.87


positions.89 The houses that were built for management were located closer to the factories and community buildings. This “meant that the executive and professional homes overlooked all the parks and buildings designed for community use” and “would have required that workers experience them under the watchful gaze (real or perceived) of those above them in the work place organization.”90 This was one of the effects of a paternalistic system. Other industries in the town included a paper wheel company, an iron foundry, a horseshoe company, a coal yard, a brick yard, and ice works.91 Pullman wanted other businesses in the town, but almost all of the other businesses were somehow related to the Palace Car Company.92

On January 1, 1881, Edward Benson, his wife, their child, and their niece moved into the house at 11109 St. Lawrence Avenue, becoming the first family to move into Pullman.93 By June, the number of residents had increased to 654, and by November to 1,725.94 In February of 1882, there were 2,084 people living in Pullman. This number increased to 8,203 by September of 1884.95 At that time, there were more than 1,400 houses in the town. By July of the next year, there were 3,752 men, 1,945 women, and 2,906 children under 16 living there, for a total of 8,603 residents. This number continued to grow, with 10,000 residents by 1888 and 12,600 in 1893. The average length of


workers was a very common one at the time, and it would have motivated George Pullman to better his workers even more.

The rents in the town were slightly higher than those that workers would have paid in Chicago. The company insisted that this was because of the myriad of

opportunities and amenities available to workers in Pullman.97 Row houses in the town rented for between $15 to $17.50 per month in 1894.98 Around this same time, employees averaged about $613 a year in wages.99 The officers’ houses average around $50 a month for rent, while officers earned up to $5,000 a year in wages.100

Figure 2. Arcade Building, 1925. Historic Pullman Foundation.


where video games are played, the Arcade Building was named for its architecture. This type of arcade “is a covered way or passage either open at the side with a range of pillars, or completely covered over as it” was at Pullman.102 Pullman’s arcade was an early example of a closed shopping center in America.103 The company spent $318,000 to build it. The first floor contained a restaurant, shops, the Post Office, and the Pullman Loan and Savings Bank. The theater, library, barbershops, halls, and offices were located on the second floor. The third floor contained rooms for lodging.104


The Pullman Company Library, 1883-1894

Library Dedication


Library Interior

As previously discussed, the library was located on the second floor of the Arcade Building, which was in a central location of the town. The main room measured 60 by 42 feet, with windows on the east and west sides.112 A reading room for men, which

measured 18 by 19 feet, was on the left side of the main room. On the other side of the room were the librarian’s office, a women’s reading room, and another room for miscellaneous purposes, like the classes held there.113 All of the rooms were decorated extravagantly, except the men’s reading room, which was “furnished plainly” with a separate entrance for men who worked in the factories and may “not feel comfortable in the other rooms.”114


The rooms of the library featured plush Wilton carpets, stained glass windows,

and chandeliers, which “gave the impression of a gentleman’s club.”115 The six chandeliers were lit with gas lighting, and steam coils kept “the rooms at an even temperature.” The rooms were furnished with arm chairs, lounges, “shaker rockers,” came bottomed chairs, and tables made of heavy cherry wood. Each table could hold between ten and twelve people and even had space underneath for hats to be stored. The library also included fireplaces with tile and wood mantels.116 The furniture was made of dark wood, upholstered in maroon velvet.117

Figure 4. Interior of Library. Historic Pullman Foundation.


main room with “light carved capitals” helped support a dome of stained glass.120

Eighteen bookcases, “of the modern style, double-sided, and so low that the topshelf can be easily reached,” gave the library the capacity to hold 20,000 volumes.121 Hattie Sanger Pullman, the wife of George Pullman, was credited with ensuring the elegance and luxuriousness of the library’s interior and was said to have chosen the furnishings herself.122


The Directors and Advisory Committee was responsible for the upkeep of the library. Its members upon the library’s dedication were George M. Pullman, George C. Clark, Norman Williams, J.L. Woods, John Christianson, D.R. Martin, G.S. Beman, Dr. John McLean, Henry Vogt, R.N. Caslin, J.P. Hopkins, Reverend Mrs. Bestor, Hattie Pullman, Mrs. A. Rapp, and Mrs. E.W. Hendrick.123 The first librarian chosen was Lucy Hall Fake, “an old resident of Chicago,” who began her post on April 10, 1883.124 She was given a salary of $100 per month and resided in a worker’s cottage on Morse Street with her husband.125 Fake served as librarian until October 1, 1889.126

After Lucy Fake left the post, Mattie Smith took over.127 She was a member of Pullman’s extended family, and he even left two of his children in her care when he visited Europe in January of 1891.128 Smith was president of the Women’s Union of Pullman, a relief society founded in early 1892 by herself and 40 other women.129 She served as librarian until September of 1897.


the library and its staff and plans. She also listed some of the assistants who had helped in the library throughout its history. These included Miss Edith Doty, Miss Minnie Pogue

(who would later become a doctor), Miss Isabel Ludlam, Miss Luella Hewitt, Miss Rhoda Hiestand, Miss Caroline Mott, and Miss Freda Grapes.130 Like the librarians, of whom at least two were related to the Pullman family and were therefore of a higher class than the Pullman factory workers and their families, the assistants were from the families of higher-level employees, and some, like Isabel Ludlam, were also related to Pullman, judging from their last names.



Before the library was opened, George Pullman planned for a library that would house 45,000 books.131 When the library did open in 1883, it contained only a small

portion of that number. Pullman donated almost 6,000 books to the library from his personal collection, selecting books “he believed would promote ‘moral and intellectual’ growth.”132 Lucy Fake, the first librarian, was tasked with selecting books for the

collection, along with Duane Doty, the town’s manager, and a Mr. Poole from the Public Library of Chicago.133 The collection featured books in travel, history, poetry, religion, art, and science.134 One contemporary observer said that it was “the most complete public library, in miniature” they had seen.135


By 1892, the collection had grown to contain 7,750 books: 400 volumes of art, 300 of biography, 130 on politics, 2,600 fiction, 500 historical, 750 of juvenile fiction, 325 literature, 55 on philosophy, 300 poetry volumes, 225 on religion, 730 on science, 300 on travel, 300 reference, 500 public documents, and 335 magazines.136 Some of the periodicals that the library subscribed to were ones “likely to be of special importance to mechanics,” like Railway Age, Iron Age, Scientific American, and Popular Science Monthly.137

In a newspaper article from 1890, Duane Doty detailed the works in each department of the library. There were 450 volumes on history at the time, divided between the subjects of American history, English history, Roman, French, Greek, and Spanish history, the Crusades, the Netherlands, the history of Civilization, Scottish history, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, the Americas, and ancient history. Some of the authors from this department included George Bancroft, Washington Irving, David Hume, Thomas Macauley, Thomas Arnold, and Napoleon.

The 275 volumes in the biography section included 50 books on distinguished women, including Mary Sommerville, Madame Recamier, and Empress Josephine, and 250 books on men, including Washington, Jefferson, Voltaire, Columbus, Muhammed, and Charles Dickens.

There were 300 volumes on the subject of travel to places like Africa, India, Persia, Brazil, Rome, London, and Cuba. 100 of these volumes focused on North


10 volumes each. China and Japan were the subjects of 6 volumes each, while 5 were on Germany, and 4 on Siberia.

The Pullman Library at this time had 300 volumes of poetry. The Riverside edition of British poets numbered 70 of these. There were 31 volumes dedicated to poems of places. Some of the poets included were Tennyson, Poe, Emerson, Longfellow, Virgil, Lucy Larcom, and Celia Thaxter.

The 375 volumes relating to art included books on Ruskin, the biographies of artists, famous sculptors, ancient art, pottery, and architecture. The collection contained 220 volumes on religion, including the topics of Christian history, Buddhism, Judaism, and “Oriental” religions. The philosophy section, which was comprised of 50 volumes, included books on Plato, logic, Scottish philosophy, and others.

There were 600 volumes on science. These included volumes on ethnology and anthropology, 50 volumes on natural history, 25 on botany, 20 on education, 20 on chemistry, 20 on astronomy, 30 on anatomy, 10 on the steam engine, and 15 on electricity. The 300 volumes of literary works included authors such as Emerson, Thoreau, Madison, and Lowell. The politics and law section contained 100 volumes including Adam Smith, the Federalist Papers, John Bouvier, and William Blackstone. Juvenile works accounted for 750 volumes, while reference consisted of 100 volumes. 2,500 volumes of fiction included works by Thackeray, Dickens, Bronte, Holmes, and Stowe. More than 1,500 of these books were from the “Leipzig editions of Baron Tauchnitz.”138


Published between 1841 and 1943, it included 5,370 volumes and sold more than 40 million copies.139 The collection featured cheap reprints of British and American fictional works, plays, and poetry. Some of the authors included in the series were Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, and Nathaniel Hawthorne (most of whom were also included in Doty’s description of the library’s collection).140 Despite a note on the cover or the title page of theses editions, which read “Not to be Introduced into the British Empire and United States of America,” libraries in the United States “in the 1880s and 1890s had routinely ordered great numbers of Tauchnitz

paperbacks for their collections because of their low cost and durability,” including, apparently, the Pullman Library.141



In 1883, 4,360 books were checked out. This number continued to increase every year through 1893; 6,968 in 1884, 8,537 in 1885, 10,211 in 1886, 11,231 in 1887, 12,233 in 1888, 13,134 in 1889, 15,936 in 1890, 19,931 in 1891, 20,221 in 1892, and 22,740 in 1893.145 The company tried to encourage its workers to explore books of “a superior class.” Despite this, in 1884 Richard T. Ely, who was not affiliated with the company, reported that around 75% of the books checked out were works of fiction, “about the usual percentage in public libraries.”146 In contrast with this, that same year Lucy Fake, the librarian reported that “a notable feature is that the books most in demand are those devoted to advanced, progressive and substantial subjects.”147 In 1893, Margarite Doty also claimed an increase in the interest of books in this same category and a decrease in fiction and juvenile books.148

Like most libraries today, the Pullman Library did not offer only books to its members. Every year, the librarian arranged events held in the Arcade Theater for the benefit of the library, “to swell the book buying fund.”149 More important than this, however, were the education opportunities that the library afforded to its users.


Library Fees

Although, at the time of its opening, the Pullman Library was known as the Pullman Public Library, and it was often known as the Pullman Free Library, it was neither free nor open to the public. It was only open to employees of the Pullman

Company and their families. There was a $3 annual fee for adults and a $1 annual fee for children.154 Although Duane Doty pointed out that this equaled “less than a cent per day,” $3 in 1894 is equal to around $90 in 2020.155 This would have been a substantial amount for most Pullman employees. George Pullman claimed that the fee was to give members “a sense of ownership” and to avoid being accused of paternalism.156

The fees charged did not cover the full expenses of the library, partially because of low membership. The fees were used for magazine subscriptions, book repairs, and sometimes new books. The company paid for the other costs of running the library, including the salaries of employees and upkeep of the facilities.157 A visitor that was not a member was usually allowed to use the library three or four times before “he is reminded ever so gently of the fee of $3 and that he has yet to pay it.”158 As can be imagined, this was not conducive to encouraging an increase in membership.

One of the major complaints of employees about the library was that the fees were too high. In testimony before the US Strike Commission, Thomas W. Heathcoate, who had been a car builder for five years in Pullman, said that he had enough reading materials at home without paying the expensive fee.159 Others obviously agreed, as membership never exceeded more than around 250.


“avowedly part of the design of Pullman to surround laborers as far as possible with all the privileges of large wealth.”160 The Strike Commission concluded that, because the employees were not more involved in the management of the library, it was possible that it “prevent[ed] more universal and grateful acceptance of its advantages by


Annual Report

The only annual report from the Pullman Library that I was able to access for this study was the librarian’s annual report from 1890. Because the report provides some interesting details about the library’s year, it will be described here. Every year on April 11, the anniversary of the library’s dedication, the librarian sent a report to the board of directors. Martha “Mattie” Smith was the librarian at the time. She reports that Lucy Fake, the previous librarian, had been in China and Japan for six months.


The Pullman Strike

The Pullman Strike of 1894 and the resulting changes completely changed the town of Pullman and the library. It is important to understand how the changes came about, but understanding the strike in minute detail is not as imperative for this study. There was a nationwide economic panic in 1893, which saw the number of employees in Pullman drop from 4,500 to 1,100 between July and November. This number had

increased to 3,100 by April of 1894.163 Because of the economic conditions, the Pullman Company drastically reduced wages for their workers. At the same time, however, they refused to make any adjustments to rent or any other fees.164 This was the main cause of the workers’ grievances against the company.

After attempts at negotiation with company officials had failed, employees listed their demands: 1. investigation of shop abuses, 2. reduction of rent, and 3. restoration of wages to pre-depression level.165 The company continued to make no efforts to meet any demands, and workers called a strike that started on May 11, 1894.166 By noon that day, almost 3,000 men had walked out, leaving only around 300 still working in the Pullman shops.167 The company responded by laying off the employees that remained and keeping its shops closed for the duration of the strike.168


Pullman cars that began on June 26.169 This helped bring the strikers’ demand to the attention of the American people. It also increased the burden that the Pullman Company felt to answer the questions of the public.

In Chicago, the strike progressed relatively quietly and peacefully. In May and June, “the situation in Chicago did not go beyond some sabotage and an occasional demonstration that was quickly suppressed by the police.”170 However, there were an extra 5,000 deputy marshals recruited in June in Chicago to help suppress the strike.171 Federal troops were sent to the city on July 3, which marked a significant increase in the violence associated with the strikers. More violent mobs were formed and there were several riots in Chicago between the 4th and 7th of July. Four rioters were killed on the 7th.172 For all intents and purposes, the strike was virtually over by July 13.173 In Chicago, twelve people died, 515 were arrested, 71 were indicted, and 119 were arrested with no indictment.174 Even after all of this, none of the strikers’ three original demands were met.


Pullman After the Strike

After the death of George Pullman in 1897 and the decision of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1898, the company began to relinquish control of the town. Around 1907, the company had cut all associations with Pullman, and the town was annexed by Chicago.178 That same year, Pullman’s widow, Hattie, bought the Arcade Building for $50,000 “largely out of sentiment.”179 The company would no longer be associated with the running of the Pullman Library beginning January 1, 1908.180

Hattie Pullman guaranteed the cost of operations for the library. She formed a Library Executive committee, which had as its members: Ellis Morris, Mr. D.R. Martin, Louise M. Vosburgh, Abigail M. Hunt, and Dr. John McLean.181 The committee decided to reduce the membership fee to $2 and soon “it became apparent to all that the day of library membership fess had past and that if this library was to grow to greater

usefulness…it should be made a free as well as public library.” The fee was abolished July 1, 1908.182 It is unclear what effect this had on membership or use of the library.


for the Pullman collection.185 The school donated land, and a new library building was finished in 1928.186 The collection became part of the George M. Pullman Branch of the Chicago Public Library.187

Figure 6. Modern Pullman Branch Library. Chicago Public Library.



This research presents a case study of the company library of the Pullman Palace Car Company. The goal was to use this case as a way to understand more fully the development and evolution of company libraries. As a reminder, the guiding questions for this research were: 1. What was the library like (resources, fees, staff, etc.)?, 2. What was the experience of workers and their families in these libraries?, and 3. What were the purposes of the library and how well did it help to meet those goals?.

As was discussed earlier, the Pullman Library’s collection was donated and influenced by George Pullman. Although there was a significant portion of the collection that could be considered popular literature, much of the collection consisted of books that were meant to help readers better themselves. The library was designed to give users the best environment possible at the cost of $3 per year. Staff included librarians and

assistants, who were often of a higher class than the users and sometimes part of George Pullman’s extended family.


Like many other aspects of corporate welfare programs, companies established libraries with the goal of creating better workers and increasing a sense of loyalty to the company. As evidenced by the strike in 1894, the town of Pullman, and its library, did not accomplish the goal of company loyalty. Assessing the success of the goal of bettering workers is almost impossible for modern researchers to do, but the company, and later Hattie Pullman, did continue to provide for the operation of the library, so they must have believed that it was successful to an extent.



Victor Jelin, “Instrumental Use of Libraries: A Study of the Intellectual Origins of the Modern Industrial Libraries in Nineteenth Century America,” Libri 20, no. 1-2 (1970): 16.

2 Stuart D. Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism:1880-1940 (Chicago: University of Chicago

Press, 1976), 5-6.

3 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 28.

4 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 11.

5 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 11-12.

6 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 142.

7 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 19.

8 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 44.

9 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 45, 47.

0 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 67.

1 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 34.

2 Carroll Rede Harding, George Pullman, 1831-1897, and the Pullman Company (New York:

Newcomen Society, 1951), 25.

3 Liston E. Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince: A Biography of George Mortimer Pullman (Niwot,

CO: University Press of Colorado, 1992), 1.

4 Nicholas Paine Gilman, A Dividend to Labor: A Study of Employer’s Welfare Institutions

(Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1899), 240.

5 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 31.

6 Gilman, A Dividend to Labor, 24.

7 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 32.

8 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 1.

9 Gilman, A Dividend to Labor, 26.


2 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 117.

22 Anthony Thomas Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 1820-1940

(New York: Special Libraries Association, 1965), 28.

23 Bart Dredge, “Contradictions of Corporate Benevolence: Industrial Libraries in the Southern

Textile Industry, 1920-1945,” Libraries and the Cultural Record 43, no. 3 (2008): 309.

24 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 19.

25 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 22.

26 Dredge, “Contradictions of Corporate Benevolence,” 309.

27 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 20-23.

28 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 60.

29 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 23.

30 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 24.

31 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 60.

32 Dredge, “Contradictions of Corporate Benevolence,” 310.

33 Dredge, “Contradictions of Corporate Benevolence,” 60.

34 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 22-23.

35 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 61.

36 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 24.

37 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 21.

38 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 61.

39 Brandes, American Welfare Capitalism, 60.

40 Dredge, “Contradictions of Corporate Benevolence,” 312.

41 Kruzas, Business and Industrial Libraries in the United States, 11.

42 Suzanne Stauffer, “Historical Methodology,” in Research Methods for Librarians and

Educators, ed. Ruth V. Small and Marcia A. Mardis (Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2018), 65.

43 Stauffer, 61.

44 Chad Morgan and Barbara M. Wildemuth, “Historical Research,” in Applications of Social

Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science, ed. Barbara M. Wildemuth (Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2017), 155.


46 Morgan and Wildemuth, “Historical Research,” 157.

47 Morgan and Wildemuth, “Historical Research,” 156.

48 Stauffer, “Historical Methodology,” 64.

49 Stauffer, “Historical Methodology,” 65.

50 Morgan and Wildemuth, “Historical Research,” 160-161.

5 Stanley Buder, “Pullman: An Experiment in Industrial Order and Community Planning,

1880-1930” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 1966), 127.

52 Richard T. Ely, “Pullman: A Social Study,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 70 (1884): 464.

53 US Strike Commission, Report on the Chicago Strike of June-July 1894 (Washington:

Government Printing Office, 1895),, 416-433.

54 Harding, George Pullman, 8; Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 11.

55 Harding, George Pullman, 8; Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 13, 24.

56 Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 16, 19; Harding, George Pullman, 8.

57 Buder, “Pullman,” 47.

58 Harding, George Pullman, 9.

59 Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 22, 24, 27.

60 Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 26; Harding, George Pullman, 10.

6 Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 37; Harding, George Pullman, 10.

62 Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 46, 67, 71.

63 Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 92-93, 261.

64 “Extracts from Mrs. John A. Logan’s Tribute to Mrs. Pullman,” Journal of the Illinois State

Historical Society 14, no. 1 (1921): 211.

65 Buder, “Pullman,” 273; Harding, George Pullman, 32.

66 Harding, George Pullman, 33.

67 Buder, “Pullman,” 11-12.

68 Buder, “Pullman,” 14, 16.

69 Almont Lindsey, The Pullman Strike: The Story of a Unique Experiment and of a Great Labor

Upheaval (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942), 21.

70 Buder, “Pullman,” 20.


72 Buder, “Pullman,” 23; Harding, George Pullman, 15-16.

73 Buder, “Pullman,” 25.

74 Buder, “Pullman,” 24.

75 Harding, George Pullman, 19.

76 Buder, “Pullman,” 38.

77 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 23.

78 Buder, “Pullman,” 46.

79 Harding, George Pullman, 24-25; Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 164.

80 Buder, “Pullman,” 48-52, 59.

8 Charles H. Eaton, “Pullman and Paternalism,” American Journal of Politics 5 (1894): 576; “The

Town of Pullman,” Pullman State Historic Site, accessed December 28, 2019,

82 William Adelman, Touring Pullman: A Study in Company Paternalism: A Walking Guide to the

Pullman Community in Chicago, Illinois, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Illinois Labor History Society, 1977), 2.

83 Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 167-171.

84 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 40, 48.

85 Buder, “Pullman,” 143; Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 62.

86 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 49.

87 Buder, “Pullman,” 75-76; Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 45, 47.

88 Charles W. Snell, “Pullman Historic District,” National Register of Historic Places Inventory

Nomination Form (Washington, DC: National Park Service, 1969), 1, 8.

89 Almont Lindsey, “Paternalism and the Pullman Strike,” American Historical Review 44, no. 2

(1939): 275.

90 Jane Eva Baxter, “The Paradox of a Capitalist Utopia: Visionary Ideals and Lived Experience in

the Pullman Community, 1880-1900,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 16 (2012): 658.

9 Buder, “Pullman,” 77, 79.

92 Buder, “Pullman,” 76.

93 “The Town of Pullman”; Buder, 73; Frank Harry Beberdick, Chicago’s Historic Pullman

District (Arcadia Publishing, 1998), 39.

94 Buder, “Pullman,” 73, 76.


96 Buder, “Pullman,” 97, 105, 110, 112, 107.

97 Snell, “Pullman Historic District,” 8.

98 Adelman, Touring Pullman, 15.

99 Buder, “Pullman,” 198.

00 Adelman, Touring Pullman, 16.

01 “The Arcade,” Pullman State Historic Site, accessed December 28, 2019,

02 Mrs. Duane Doty, The Town of Pullman: Its Growth with Brief Accounts of Its Industries (T.P.

Struhsacker, 1893), 7.

03 Beberdick, Chicago’s Historic Pullman District, 105.

04 Beberdick, Chicago’s Historic Pullman District, 44.

05 “Pullman Library – 1892,” South End Reporter (1959), accessed February 16, 2020,

06 Ely, “Pullman,” 458.

07 Snell, “Pullman Historic District,” 6.

08 Doty, The Town of Pullman, 10.

09 Kate Corcoran, “The Pullman Library,” Pullman State Historic Site, accessed December 28,


10 “The Pullman Library,” InterOcean, April 11, 1883, Pullman Company Records – Scrapbooks,

Newberry Library, Chicago.

11 “Pullman Library Dedication,” Chicago Tribune, April 12, 1883, accessed September 30, 2019,

12 “Pullman Library Dedication.”

13 Mrs. Duane Doty, “Sketches of Pullman,” n.d., Pullman Company Records – Scrapbooks,

Newberry Library, Chicago.

14 “The Arcade,” Pullman State Historic Site.

15 Buder, “Pullman,” 84.

16 Doty, “Sketches of Pullman.”

17 “The Pullman Library.”

18 “Pullman,” Chicago Evening Tribune, April 12, 1883, Pullman Company Records –


119 “The Pullman Library.”

20 “The Pullman Library;” Lindsey, The Pullman Strike.

21 “The Pullman Library.”

22 Doty, “Sketches of Pullman.”

23 “Pullman,” Chicago Evening Journal, April 12, 1883, Pullman Company Records – Scrapbooks,

Newberry Library, Chicago.

24 Bertha Ludlam, “The History of the Pullman Library,” Calumet Index, October 12, 1917,

accessed December 28, 2019,

25 Douglas Pearson Hoover, “Women in Nineteenth-Century Pullman” (Master’s thesis, University

of Arizona, 1988), accessed February 9, 2020,, 76-77.

26 Ludlam, “History of the Pullman Library.”

27 Corcoran, “Pullman Library.”

28 Hoover, “Women in Nineteenth-Century Pullman,” 89; Leyendecker, Palace Car Prince, 248.

29 Hoover, “Women in Nineteenth-Century Pullman,” 88-89.

30 Ludlam, “History of the Pullman Library;” Dredge, “Contradictions of Corporate Benevolence,”


31 “George Pullman’s Dream,” Chicago Morning News, December 29, 1881, Pullman Company

Records – Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

32 Dredge, “Contradictions of Corporate Benevolence,” 309.

33 Ludlam, “History of the Pullman Library;” “Pullman,” Inter-Ocean, November 13, 1882,

Pullman Company Records – Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

34 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 51.

35 “Observations,” (n.d), Pullman Company Records – Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

36 Corcoran, “The Pullman Library;” Doty, Town of Pullman, 133-134.

37 Ely, “Pullman,” 458.

38 Duane Doty, “Pullman-Public Library,” November 15, 1890, Pullman Company Records –

Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

39 Charles Johanningsmeier, “Exporting America in Leipzig, Germany: Tauchnitz Editions and the

International Popularization of American Literature,” Papers pf the Bibliographical Society of America

112, no. 2 (2018): 202.

40 Johanningsmeier, “Exporting America in Leipzig, Germany,” 203.


42 US Strike Commission, Report on the Chicago Strike, xxi-xxii.

43 Doty, “Pullman-Public Library.”

44 Doty, Town of Pullman, 135.

45 Doty, Town of Pullman, 135.

46 Ely, “Pullman,” 459.

47Hyde Park Herald, December 20, 1884, Pullman Company Records – Scrapbooks, Newberry

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48 Doty, Town of Pullman, 134.

49 Beberdick, Chicago’s Historic Pullman District, 110; Ludlam, “History of the Pullman


50 Buder, Pullman, 170.

51 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 51.

52 “Life in the Suburbs,” Chicago Herald, February 12, 1888, Pullman Company Records –

Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

53 “Life in the Suburbs,” Chicago Herald, February 26, 1888, Pullman Company Records –

Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

54 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 74-75.

55 Doty, “Pullman-Public Library;” “Inflation Rate between 1635-2020: Inflation Calculator,” U.S.

Inflation Calculator: 1635→2020, Department of Labor data (Official Data Foundation, 2020),

56 Lindsey, “Paternalism and the Pullman Strike,” 280; Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 91-92.

57 Eaton, “Pullman and Paternalism,” 575; Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 51.

58 “Must Pay for Reading,” Chicago Times, August 1, 1894, Pullman Company Records –

Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

59 US Strike Commission, Report on the Chicago Strike, 429.

60 Ely, “Pullman,” 458-459.

61 US Strike Commission, Report on the Chicago Strike, xxi-xxii.

62 “Pullman Public Library - Report, 1889-1890,” Pullman Company Records – Public Relations

Department, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

63 Buder, “Pullman,” 200.

64 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 92.


66 Buder, “Pullman,” 211.

67 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 123.

68 US Strike Commission, Report on the Chicago Strike, xxxviii.

69 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 133.

70 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 203.

71 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 165.

72 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 209.

73 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 233.

74 US Strike Commission, Report on the Chicago Strike, xviii.

75 Buder, “Pullman,” 262-263.

76 Buder, “Pullman,” 277; Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 342.

77 Buder, “Pullman,” 278.

78 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 346; “The Town of Pullman.”

79 “Sentiment in Big Sale,” Record Herald, December 25, 1907, Pullman Company Records –

Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

80 Ludlam, “History of the Pullman Library.”

81 Ludlam, “History of the Pullman Library.”

82 Lindsey, The Pullman Strike, 345; Ludlam, “History of the Pullman Library.”

83 Beberdick, Chicago’s Historic Pullman District, 111; “’Buys Pullman Arcade,” Calumet

Record¸ December 28, 1922, Pullman Company Records – Scrapbooks, Newberry Library, Chicago.

84 Buder, “Pullman,” 288.

85 John McDonnell, “Books and Culture Sit Side by Side: Pullman Library in 75th Year of

Service,” Chicago Daily Tribune, February 14, 1960.

86 Adelman, Touring Pullman, 43; McDonnell, “Books and Culture Sit Side by Side.”

87 “The Town of Pullman.”

88 “CPL History,” Chicago Public Library, accessed January 10, 2020,

89 McDonnell, “Books and Culture Sit Side by Side.”


Appendix A

“Pullman Public Library - Report, 1889-1890.” Pullman Company Records – Public Relations Department, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Books Drawn and Used at the Pullman Library For the Year Ending July 31,1889

For the Year Ending April 11, 1890


Art 707 580 .031

Biography 407 367 .027

Pol. Economy 183 285 .02

Fiction 2797 2894 .201

History 718 876 .061

Juvenile 851 1329 .094

Literature 1000 1087 .077

Ment. Philosophy 103 157 .011

Poetry 989 1168 .081

Religion 206 190 .014

Science 1449 1970 .037

Travels 1015 883 .063

Reference 2688 2612 .183

Totals 13113 14389 1.000

1 Percentages were taken directly from the report. They appear to be incorrect, and it is unclear



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