Captain Albertson - 100th Anniversary of His Momentous Book Donation

Celebrate with us as we mark the 100th Anniversary of Captain Charles L. Albertson’s agreement with the city of Orlando to donate his book collection for the creation of the Albertson Public Library.  Learn about the man behind the donation, read the agreement, and check out a digital copy of one of his original books.

Our History Speaks Volumes: Captain Albertson's Gift
January 15, 2021 | Mike Donohue

One hundred years ago, a private citizen donated his personal library to the City of Orlando. The rest is history.

The year 1921 was an important one for Orlando: Before Disney World had made Central Florida a landmark tourist destination, Orlando was an up-and-coming... READ MORE

100th Anniversary of Capt. Albertson's Book Donation

Captain Charles L. Albertson (1856-1932) was a New York City police inspector who wintered in Orlando starting in 1913. An avid collector of books, he had amassed 12,000 volumes. "I have thought frequently that my pleasure of book buying came very near being a disease," he wrote in his autobiography. "I felt when passing a second hand book store the same as the inebriate did when passing liquor store."

On November 10, 1921, Albertson offered his collection of books to the City of Orlando which did not have a library at the time. His generous offer came with provisos. The City had to build a new fireproof library to house the collection. That library would be called Albertson Library which "shall be put in large letters over the front entrance." And Capt. Albertson would serve as advisory superintendent for a period of one year without renumeration.

Just two days later, on November 12, Mayor Duckworth and City Commissioners unanimously agreed to Capt. Albertson's terms. Albertson Public Library opened on November 9, 1923 on the corner of Rosalind Avenue and Central Boulevard. By the 1960s, the population of Orlando had outgrown the Albertson Public Library and the Brutalist structure you see today replaced it. Capt. Albertson is honored with a meeting room in his name which exists to this day.

From that gift 100 years ago, Orange County Library System was born. From 12,000 books and one building, our collection has grown to 1.7 million multimedia items and 15 locations.