The Millicent Library is a nonprofit (501C3) corporation which operates the public library for the Town of Fairhaven. This arrangement grew out of the following circumstances.
In 1893, the Millicent Library was opened to the public. It was built by Henry Huttleston Rogers, a Vice-President of Standard Oil Company, to memorialize his daughter Millicent who died when she was 17. It was Rogers’ original intent that the proceeds from his Fairhaven Water Company would forever fund the operation of the library. He could not foresee the increase in population and the demand on the water company.
Eventually the town began to supplement the library’s income with an annual appropriation. The operation of the town water system by a private company became impossible. The need to add water service could not be managed or financed by the Fairhaven Water Company because of legal restrictions.
After considerable negotiation and appropriate action by the Massachusetts legislature, the town of Fairhaven took over the assets, liabilities, equipment and so forth of the Fairhaven Water Company and the Millicent Library gave up a valuable asset. The legislature determined that as compensation for giving up such a valuable asset, the Library should be assured of support by the town. Chapter 715 of the Acts of 1966 as amended by Chapter 830 of the Acts of 1967 and Article (B) of the Town Meeting of March 16, 1968 provide the following:
“The Town of Fairhaven, the owner of the land and building thereon and in which is located The Millicent Library, may, by contract with The Millicent Library, a corporation duly organized under the laws of the Commonwealth and charged by deed of trust with the management of said library, assume by annual appropriation, the support and maintenance of said library, insofar as any such annual appropriation is required which, when added to the annual income form other sources, would provide sufficient annual support per capita based on the population of said town to equal the annual per capita amount expended for free public library service for the entire commonwealth as determined by the department of education for the preceding year.”
The Library Corporation has twenty trustees. As part of the agreement with the town, five of these, including one selectman, are chosen by the Board of Selectmen. The rest are chosen by the Board of Trustees.
Library History – Mabel Hoyle Knipe’s booklet about the Library.
Library People – Staff, Trustees
Library Archives – how to find out about local history resources
Library Annual Reports – Early reports are interesting, both for the facts and figures and also for the attitudes toward books, reading and children. Check back for new additions. We are also looking for volunteers to type a year into a Word document.
Millicent Library Visitors Register – 1894 to 1920 and Crown Prince Akihito (1987). See if you can find other notables. Included are artist Clement Nye Swift , October 11, 1894 [p. 24 this document]; socialist Eugene V. Debs, October 31, 1897 [p. 64 this document]; circumnavigator Joshua Slocum, September 2, 1899 [p. 82 this document]; Mark Twain, February 22, 1894 [p.1] and August 4, 1901 [p. 100]; president (then Lieutenant-governor) Calvin Coolidge, July 4, 1918 [ p. 190]. Also here that day was our first Japanese visitor, Ambassador Ishii Kikujiro. The last page is the signature of now Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as well as descendents of Manjiro and Whitfield.
This is a pdf file.