Patricia Dillon


In 1900, only six years after moving to Tampa, Florida, Willie Miller Lowry spearheaded a drive to solicit funds from Andrew Carnegie to build a public library. Throughout her correspondence with Carnegie, Lowry repeatedly described Tampa’s rapid development and the need for new educational facilities. She argued that the library would not only provide improved educational standards but would also help to cultivate middle-class American values in the city’s immigrant population. Lowry reported that “one to one-half of Tampa’s population are Cubans and Spaniards, who, though fast becoming Americanized, stand in dire need of uplifting and educational advantages.“