The Morrill Memorial Library Dedicated Tuesday
Official Acceptance and Address by F.O. Winslow
Last Tuesday the Morrill Memorial Library was dedicated. In spite of the storm the Congregational Church was well filled, and the dedicatory services were very impressive. After an invocation by the pastor, Mr. Frank T. Morrill of New York presented the library to the town on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. George H. Morrill. The speech of acceptance was made by Mr. Frank A. Fales, who, on behalf of the town, expressed appreciation to the Morrills for their generous gift. Mr. Fales’ speech was brief but earnest, and he expressed in fitting language the gratefulness that is felt by every Norwood citizen for this beautiful building. Following Mr. Fales, Hon. J. C. Lane, on behalf of the library trustees, also expressed his thanks in a brief speech. The storm prevented Col. Higginson from attending the services, and, as the quartette were also absent for the same reason, the order of exercises was changed somewhat. Mr. Fo. O. Winslow made a very eloquent address, in which he referred in beautiful language to Miss Morrill, in whose memory the library was built. In the course of his address he brought out very clearly the thought that in giving the library the Morrills relinquished every claim to it; that it was given absolutely to the town, to be used and enjoyed by every citizen and his children and descendants forever. After the hymn, “America,” had been sung by the congregation, Mr. W. B. Eddy pronounced the benediction. The library was open for inspection during the afternoon and evening. The hall on the second floor was closed, as it was not quite finished; but crowds of visitors thronged the other parts of the library. The appearance of the exterior is already well known. The entrance is ornamented with two very beautiful bronze lamps, which costs, we understand, $600 apiece. Passing in, one enters the delivery hall, finished in mahogany. On the left is the delivery desk, and back of this the alcoves for books. These are in metal, and are painted in olive green. In the rear of the book-room is a fireplace with a gas-log. Over the fireplace is a coat-of-arms of the state, carved in mahogany. Directly opposite the entrance, at he back, is the trustees’ room, furnished with leather-covered chairs and a couch, and a fine mahogany roll-top desk. A passage from the left side of the trustees’ room leads to the book-room. In an alcove at the side of the entrance to the trustees’ room is a table and a cabinet for containing the card catalogue of the library. Just to the right of the entrance to the delivery hall is seen the flight of stairs leading to the hall above. This hall, as we have stated, was not open to public inspection on the day of the dedication. The entrance to these stairs is on the outside of the building by a separate door from the main library entrance. The right wing of the building is set off for a reading room. On either side of the entrance and in the reading room are two very fine oil paintings – the one on the right wall of the entrance representing Miss Sarah Bond Morrill and the one on the left representing Mr. George H. Morrill. The further end of the reading room contains a fine fireplace and this entire room, as are the other parts of the building, is finished entirely in mahogany. Four massive tables, of mahogany, with the tops inlaid with plate-glass, are placed in this room, and in each corner stands a clothes’ pole for the convenience of occupants of the room. The floors are all of hardwood, highly polished, and covered with rubber matting. The whole building is one of which the town of Norwood may justly feel proud. Every inhabitant of Norwood, we are sure, not only appreciates the motive which led to this beautiful gift, but also the lavish generosity with which the plan was executed. George H. Morrill will always stand in the hearts of his Norwood townspeople as one of the town’s greatest benefactors, and by her father’s beautiful gift the memory of his charming daughter will always be left fresh in their minds.
In Memory of Miss Morrill
Mr. F. O. Winslow, in speaking of the daughter of Mr. George Morrill, to whose memory the library was erected, said:
“It is said that the greatest grace of a gift is, perhaps, that it anticipates and admits of no return. We can only express our sincere appreciation and gratitude for this great act of generosity. The library building is a tribute to the memory of one held in the fondest parental affection.
Many of our citizens have never known the person concerning whom the celebration of this day derives its chief significance. Sarah Bond Morrill was known to some of us from our childhood. We are glad to pay our tribute to her personal worth. For many years she was absent from home, devoted to study and culture. She was a beautiful young woman, of noble spirit and ambition. Her life within the home gave hope of large success in the future. Her memory is now forever enshrined within this beautiful and most fitting edifice. Her portrait will hence forth take on an ideal form. Her face will become a composite picture, viewed with the loving eyes and sympathetic heart of those who see in her a resemblance of their own daughters.
In the marble room of the Lick Observatory at Mt. Hamilton (CA) may be seen an old carpenter’s bench, which was brought from South America in 1849, and upon which by honest and faithful labor, James Lick laid the foundation of that fortune, by means of which he conferred great benefits upon mankind. Above, in the massive dome, is place the costly telescope, and still above rise the heavens, with mysteries and glorious truths. It illustrates the truth that there must ever be first the foundation of hard work. Then follows realization or achievement; finally, the ideal for the highest and best.
The Morrill Family
Mr. George H. Morrill is the son of the late Samuel and Hannah Abbott Morrill. He was born in Worcester Nov. 7, 1829. His father was then the 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 H. 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.
Official Acceptance and Address by F.O. Winslow
Belongs to Town (published; dated 1898; unknown publication)