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Handsome New Library to Be Opened Publicly Today.
It Will be Christened the “Morrill Memorial.”
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George H. Morrill, Townsfolk
Address to Be Made by Col. Thomas W. Higginson.
Sketch of the Benefactors of the Norfolk Village.
Today the town of Norwood formally takes over from Mr. and Mrs. George H. Morrill a public library building, named by its donors “The Morrill Memorial Library.”
The institution, which is an important addition to the architectural beauty and intellectual life of the town, is given in memory of Miss Sarah Bond Morrill, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Morrill. The young lady, who was 23 years of age, died suddenly of typhoid fever on March 7, 1895, while on a pleasure trip to Florida, and her parents’ desire to perpetuate her memory in Norwood resulted in the construction of the useful building which is to be dedicated today.
The library facilities in the town have heretofore been very meager. The first steps toward an institution were taken in the establishment of a small cooperative library in the south precinct of Dedham. This, when Norwood became separately incorporated, was presented to the new town. For many years the library occupied quarters in the Hartshorn block, and it was afterward removed to the Village Hall building, where it has been located up to the present time. The library has a well chosen collection, amounting to something like 10,000 volumes, which have contributed much to the intellectual needs of the community. With extended quarters, including a large reading room provided by the new building, the library will now have a wider field of usefulness.
The memorial library, now completed and pronounced by the state librarian the finest of its size in the country, will be dedicated this afternoon with appropriate exercises. Mr. Frank T. Morrill, second son of Mr. and Mrs. Morrill will present the building to the chairman of the board of selectmen, Mr. Frank A. Fales, who will turn the keys over to Mr. John C. Lane, chairman of the board of trustees of the present public library.
The principal address will be delivered by Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson of Cambridge, and speech in behalf of the citizens of the town will be made by Representative Francis O. Winslow of Norwood. Music will be furnished by the Herbert Johnson quintet.
The new library is situated on the corner of Walpole and Beacon streets. It is a two-story building, with basement, and is built according to plans made by Mr. Joseph L. Neal of Pittsburg, PA, under the supervision of Mr. A. M. Marble, architect, of Boston and Fall River.
The library, which is built of granite from the Dodlin Granite Company of Oakland, ME, is of the Romanesque style of architecture on the exterior. The interior is finished entirely in mahogany after the renaissance. The building is about 97 feel long by 37 in width, and is 33 feet high to the ridgepole. It has a red-tiled roof, and the exterior, which is elaborately carved, bears also panels, in which are cut the names of ancient and modern authors, etc. The transom lights above the windows contain fac-similes of old book-marks.
In the basement of the building are the workshops, steam and electric plants, etc. The reading room, delivery room, librarian’s room and stack room – one half of the space of which only is utilized, giving accommodation for 13,000 volumes, are on the first floor. The second story is devoted to a large assembly hall, containing 170 seats.
The approach to the building is imposing, comprising two sweeping walks leading from Walpole street, and a semi-circular platform, on the edge of which are two elaborate bronze lamps. The outer vestibule of the building is reached through an arch finished in marble, with wainscoting.
Mr. George H. Morrill is the son of the late Samuel and Hannah Abbott Morrill. He was born in Worcester November 7, 1829. His father was then publisher of the Weekly Aegis, afterward the Worcester Gazette, and a year after the birth of George H. Morrill the family removed to Andover, where the boy received his early education. At the age of 16 he went to Manchester, NH, where he became an apprentice to the Amoskeag Machine Company. The occupation of machinist, however, did not satisfy the ambitious young man, and in 1851 he returned to Andover, where, with his father, he became interested in the manufacture of printers’ ink, an industry established by Mr. Morrill, Sr. in 1845.
In 1854 George Morrill removed to South Dedham, now the Town of Norwood. There, with his associates, he continued in the business started by his father.
Mrs. Morrill was Miss Louisa J. Tidd, daughter of William Tidd of Woburn. There are five children in the family, four of them living in Norwood.
The library, which is built on land purchased by Mr. Morrill of Representative Winslow, is within sight of the house of Mr. and Mrs. Morrill and those of their sons and sons-in-law.