Historical Wagnalls Library



The Wagnalls Memorial Foundation

College Scholarship Program

The original historic Library has been carefully preserved and updated to serve the needs of today and the future.

The original library is a work of art in itself, furnished with handmade tables and chairs. The upper walls have a sculpted grape vine with bunches of grapes to signify plenty. Owls stand guard over the room from their perches. Under the perches are shields that depict what was so important to the Wagnalls family: religion, industry, education and patriotism. The center window contains stained glass inserts to further tell the Wagnalls’ story: the State of Ohio Seal, a printing press, a log cabin, the lamp of learning, and the Seal of the United States.

The inscription above the fireplace is from a book Mabel wrote, The Rosebush of a Thousand Years. Portraits of Adam and Anna are displayed on the library walls as well as four oil paintings by Dunsmore that were used as illustrations for Mabel’s book, Palace of Danger. This room now holds a collection of adult fiction and biographies.

The Story of the Owls

During the quarrying of the stone from the ravine behind The Wagnalls Memorial, some baby owls were found in a tree that had been cut down. Mabel and her husband were called out to see them, and they decided that the owls would be remembered in the ceiling arches of the original library.

The 1961 Addition

The 1961 addition is located to the north of the original building and is accessed from the foyer by a central corridor completely enclosed by windows which provide a view of the grounds. The addition originally contained the juvenile library and rooms used for meetings, technical media services, and offices. A recreation room, kitchen, and more offices filled the basement.

The Story of the Owls

Wagnalls memorial Children’s Library

The 1983 Addition

The current Children’s Library is in a lower level addition added in 1983. The train station and corral were built by a local craftsman whose children enjoyed storytime here. There are many illustrations signed by the artists adorning the walls.

The 1992 Addition

This addition is a two-story space placed on top of the 1983 addition. The first floor currently houses patron services, the Rager Reading Room, adult non-fiction, the computer lab, and administrative offices. The second floor is used for special events.

Mabel’s favorite Steinway grand piano from her Long Island home, DoReMi Manor, is also on display in the Rager Reading Room. The Loving Cup sitting on the piano was given to her by the village of Lithopolis at the 1925 building dedication.