A Library in 1885

A hundred years ago establishing a library was an affair of cooperation among interested citizens. Several such collections were made over the years. Such a one was made in 1885.

The room chosen was over the Sullivan and Company’s store in the Pippo building. It was furnished with bookcases, desks and chairs for the village library. The desks moved from the Union School were neatly painted and grained to give the needed shelf room.

Over 1,000 books were collected from various sources and placed on the shelves. They were ready to be cataloged. At that time this process was a laborious one for the librarian. There was no central place where this service was provided complete with cards.

A call went out for books. “Now is the time to send whatever works you may be willing to contribute to the library.” Perhaps this is where the idea was gained that all unwanted books could be given to the library. This idea is not altogether useless for many volumes of value come to light.

An effort was being made to secure the “Alvord Library,” evidently sold in a series to subscribers as many such had consented to send their copies to the library. This would add 100 volumes to the collection.

Another source of books was publishing companies. Messrs. Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor and Company sent about 20 volumes, among them a fine atlas of the United States. A. S. Barnes and Co. forwarded a lot of 15 volumes of miscellaneous books. A popular history, U. S. Carrington’s Battles of the American Revolution and a memoir of President Garfield was among them.

The principal of the Union School, Professor Miller, contributed 30 volumes of new books. Among these were a set of 11 volumes of Washington Irving; Miss Young’s history on England, France, Rome and others, six volumes in all; Macauley’s England in five volumes; and light volumes of Macauley’s Essays. Evidently the high school had increased its collection of books from the time it had received the library of the second Whitehall Academy when it was dissolved so that it could give some away.
What a difference there is in the concept of a library today 100 years later. The school library with its fine collection of books has all the other attributes to add to youth’s training in microfilm, slides, magazines, computers, and other materials. It evolved in formal collection from the classroom libraries in the back of the rooms of Miss Waite and Miss Layden at Central building. The village library has grown from collections of donated books to it services in association with the Southern Adirondack Library System. Both are ready to serve youth and adults alike.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – Whitehall Times – December 11, 1986

A True Dog Story

In Dresden in 1885 farmer Barrett owned a cocker spaniel. For over five years the dog had shown a great love for geese, especially the goslings. She swam in the water
among them. They in turn accepted her presence. People enjoyed watching them. One day the dog disappeared. She was mourned for a week when she appeared
starved and haggard. She was promptly fed but after gorging herself she seized a bone and disappeared again in the thick underbrush.

A few days later the dog reappeared in worse condition than before. But this time a string was tied around her neck and when she whined to be let loose her master followed her at the end of the string. She seemed delighted that he came along. Mr. Barrett worked his way through the bushes and stopped only when the dog stopped before the nest of a large white goose. He loosened the string. The goose rose up from the nest, showing nine large blue tinted eggs. The dog wagged her tail and then carefully arranged her body so that it covered all the eggs. She mutely begged understanding from her master.

Mr. Barrett visited the nest frequently. A week later nine lively goslings appeared with the delighted dog. The goose led her family down to the lake and all plunged in,
where they were greeted with “three cheers and a tiger” as the editor of the Whitehall Times explained it.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – August 1, 1985