Charleston Public Library Chronology

1698 Trv. Thomas Bray sent box of books to new colony
1748 Founding of the Charleston Library Society by seventeen young men
1750 C.L.S. institutionalized with officers and rules
1754 Charter granted for the C.L.S. by the King of England
1759 New rules and by-laws approved and ratified for the C.L.S.
1778 Fire destroyed majority of library (C.L.S.)
1813 Franklin Library Society
1822 Ramsay Library and Debating Society
1823 Edisto Library Society
1824 Apprentices' Library
1829 Incorporation of Trinitarian Library Society (church or subscription?)
1830 Bonneau Library Society founded by free Blacks in the antibellum South
1837 Incorporation of James Island Library Society
1844 Incorporation of Mercantile Library Association (subscription?)
1850 Census lists thirty-six thousand volumes in C.L.S.
1851 Revised constitution of Mercantile Library Association; twenty thousand volumes in C.L.S.
1860 Census lists twenty-thousand volumes in C.L.S.
1870 Census lists two circulating libraries of eleven hundred volumes in C.L.S.
1874 Merger of the Charleston Library Society with the Apprentices' Library
1917 Jockey Club established fund to buy and repair books
1918 Carnegie Grant of $5000. toward present building
1931 Founded as the first free library in Charleston

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