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History of Cambria County, V.2

456 HISTORY OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.
been carefully and wisely planned, embracing the history, art, literature and music of many nations, thus successfully fulfilling the object of the league –– “The Study of the Polite and Liberal Arts.” Many delightful evening entertainments in Library Hall have been given either by the members or by eminent lecturers whom they have called here.
    The Cambria Library of today had its origin in the Cooperative Library Association, which was organized in January, 1870. Sixty-five members who had pledged themselves to contribute three dollars each, were enrolled the first meeting, and as the result of a canvassing committee appointed, sixty more were added by the second. The Cambria Iron Company gave an amount equal to the other contributions. The offers were as follows: President, Cyrus Elder; treasurer, James Eldridge; secretary and librarian, Joseph H. Berlin; and library committee, George W. Cope, Powell Stackhouse, Pearson Fisher, R.W. Hunt and George T. Swank.
    The Library was formally opened in the Assistance Fire Company building. Tuesday, April 17, 1870, with Daniel J. Morrell's gift of a handsome bookcase containing one hundred and sixty volumes as its nucleus. On June 13th of that year a charter for the “Cambria Library Association” was granted by the court. At the end of the first year the volumes numbered 1,270 purchased with the membership fees, bequests, the proceeds of a lecture and a calico ball. The initial number of the course was Miss Olive Logan's lecture on “The Passions,” in Union Hall, October 8, 1870. Among the eminent men and women of the day who appeared under the association's auspices those years were John B. Gough, Wendell Phillips, John G. Saxe and Mrs. Mary A. Livermore, and the money obtained from this source, as well as from the annual calico balls, was of great material aid.
    In 1872, thinking that the library might be of greater benefit if it were in a more public place, the association leased rooms from Mrs. Marbourg, on Market street, but at the end of four years it was moved to the Dibert building, at the corner of Main and Franklin streets. At this time the association evidently did not deem it necessary to have the library hours very lengthy, as it was only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays of each week, from 3 to 6 and from 7 to 9 p. m. Notwithstanding this change of location, interest was flagging. and the Cam-


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Created: 26 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors