Library Records Reveal Neighborhood Reading Patterns

At the Seward Park Library, serving the Lower East Side of Manhattan for 95 years, annual reports have unearthed details about readers. The Times notes that in a 1920 report, sweatshop workers and tenement dwellers greadly desired Dickens and Hawthorne. During the Depression, “undesirables” scoured the stacks for books on syrup flavoring. And They Were Expendable and A Bell for Adano were popular just after World War II.