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Dare County, North Carolina, Jeep Bookmobile

• CATEGORIES: Features, Fire/Police/Industry Vehicles This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

UPDATE: This was originally posted June 18, 2020:


April 1954, Dane County, North Carolina: The jeep was painted green.

An April 15, 1948, newspaper article in the Winona Republican (Winona, Minnesota) claimed that there were roughly 377 bookmobiles traveling the United States, out of which only one was a jeep.

Two years later, by 1950, the jeep was proving more popular for use as a bookmobile, because it could access rural areas more easily than other vehicles. I doubt there are any records on how many jeeps were used as bookmobiles, but at least one appeared in multiple photos and articles: The Dare County Jeep Bookmobile.

Dare County purchased it’s first jeep in 1950, hence all the photos and news articles on this post. According to the library’s history page: “After the war, the library continued to grow. In 1950, the first bookmobile was purchased – a green Willys Jeep converted for this purpose began making regularly scheduled runs. As there were then no bridges from the mainland or to the Outer Banks, all trips involved ferries. Georgia Harwood retired in 1956, succeeded by Jean Turner Ward, who served as librarian for the next fifteen years.”

This full page article with photos was published in North Carolina’s News and Observer on April 23, 1950. It appears the new jeep bookmobile had just been put into service.


Clipping from The News and Observer -

This next article, which predates the above article by 13 days, was published in North Carolina’s News and Observer on April 23, 1950.

Clipping from The News and Observer -

North Carolina’s News and Observer on April 10, 1950.

Dare County’s digital archives provided additional photos:


9 Comments on “Dare County, North Carolina, Jeep Bookmobile

  1. Chris

    Dare County, NC is comprised mostly on the Outer Banks, a narrow strip of barrier islands (including where the Wright Brothers flew their gliders and later powered airplane). Paved roads were few and far between, so the off road capability made the Jeep vehicles a natural choice.

  2. Galen

    As a great fan of books & literature, I think this is my favorite post in quite some time! Love the history, and although I’ve never been tempted by a wagon restoration, this would be the exact one I would do if I had the chance. Great post & thanks for the history lesson!

  3. Dave C

    I agree, Galen, this wold be a cool recreation. I don’t know a lot about the aftermarket utility bed manufacturers, and I wonder who made the bed / library unit. Can’t imagine that would be a one-off design. Does anyone recognize the manufacturer?
    Dave C

  4. David Eilers Post author

    I wondered who manufactured these library cabinets as well. Though I’ve yet to find other pics as good as the ones for this post, there are plenty of other jeep book mobile articles from Tennessee, Alabama, and other areas. So, it’s possible that the manufacturer of this also manufactured others.

    Like hunting for jeep-barn-finds, trying to locate interesting, unpublished jeep stories and content has become a challenge! As a book reader and writer, running across this story was fun for me, too.

  5. Glennstin

    The AACA Bookmobile at Hershey is all restored and used in many displays. It would yield info as to sources. It’s been written up several times.

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