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The Founding of the Public Library

Ed Houck, Jr.

(Originally published in the Emmitsburg Chronicle) 

On August 1st, 1906, the late Mr. Sterling Galt, appointed a committee to consider plans for the founding of a Public Library in Emmitsburg. The meeting was held on Wednesday evening at 9 o’clock in the home of Mrs. J. Harry Stokes. Officers that were elected were Rev. A. M. Gluck, president; Miss M. Belle Rowe, secretary.

Three weeks later the executive staff was augmented by the addition of Dr. John Forman, Miss Ruth Hoke and Miss Gertrude Annan. These last two officers were commissioned to canvas the town for members and to accept any books which might be offered. The result was excellent and 30 odd charter members were secured. As seen in the 25 year old book of minutes of the Emmitsburg Library, the charter members appear as follows:

Mrs. Albert Patterson, Mrs. George Eyster, Miss Edith Nunemaker, Miss Ruth Gillelan, Miss Helen Zacharias, Miss Nellie Eyster, Miss Mary McNair, Miss Eva Rowe, Miss Maude Derr, Mr. Clarence Hoke, Mr. Harry Whitmore, Miss Madeline Frailey, Mr. Lewis Higbee, Mr. T. E. Zimmerman, Mr. Isaac Annan, Mr. Annan Horner, Misses Marian Hoke, Anna Adelsberger, Mrs. D. E. Stone, Mrs. Edgar Annan, Miss Sue Guthrie, Mrs. Geo. B. Resser, Dr. B. I. Jamison, Miss Eva Shulenberger, Mr. G. Zimmerman, Mrs. James A. Helman, Mrs. A. A. Hack, Mrs. H. G. Beam, Mrs. A. A. Annan, Mr. J. Stewart Annan, Miss H. White, Miss Helen Knouff, Mrs. James Eichelberger, Mr. Samuel Rowe, Dr. Brawner, Mrs. Reinwald, Mr. Reinwald, Mr. William Colliflower, Mr. G. L. Palmer, Mr. Breichner, Mrs. John Henry Stokes, Miss Ruth Hoke, Miss Belle Rowe, Dr. Forman, Mr. A. M. Gluck, Miss Gertrude Annan, Mr. Sterling Galt, Mr. Joseph Elder, Mr. Andrew Annan, Mr. William Troxell, Mr. Angelo Saffer.

Mr. Sterling Galt was the prime factor and in reality the originator, of a public library for Emmitsburg, and despite his death some six or seven years ago, the little institution has manfully enlarged itself into a respectful source of knowledge for the town folk. Miss Mary Higbee, present librarian, has announced that more convenient quarters have been selected and the library is to be moved to Miss Belle Rowe’s house, below the square.

A plea for more patronage has been extended and it is felt that the good work begun by Mr. Galt, will not have been for naught.

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