From Humble Beginnings

A History of the Irving Public Library System

Esther Hurwitz
Esther Hurwitz

On May 5, 1941, civic activist Esther Hurwitz opened Irving’s first library in a corner of Louis Blaylock’s furniture store at 126 East First Street. The store was on the south side of the street just east of the intersection of First and Main Streets. (First Street is now Irving Blvd). To provide enough books to open, Mrs. Hurwitz stocked the fledgling library with fifty volumes from her husband’s private collection. Topics ranged from sheep ranching to popular fiction.

       check Original receipt
(click to enlarge)

Soon after the library’s meager beginning, several residents organized the Irving Library Board to oversee its activities. On December 8, 1941, the Irving Library Association received a state charter, with J.E. Van Horn, W.E. Harrington, and Mrs. Hurwitz serving as incorporators. This act officially sanctioned one of the first privately owned libraries in the Dallas area.

early library board
Blaylock’s Furniture Store, December 1941,
site of Irving’s first library.
Pictured (l to r) are County Commissioner Tom Field, County Judge George Harwood, Mrs. W.P. Jones, and Mrs. Esther Hurwitz.

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