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Smith, Toni; Wedemeyer, Martha (ed.) / Tea and service : 100 year history of the Port Washington Woman's Club
(1998)

Projects events fund raising and fun


Public Library
The sponsorship of the Port Washington Public Library in
1899 was the first major project of the P.W.W. C. There is some
mention of 1898 but the former seems most logical. P.W.W.C., like
any new organization had to allot considerable time to the writing of
the constitution, by-laws and familiarizing the club members with the
rules of order. Their attention to detail is evidenced by examples of
their bookkeeping and written programs that we are privileged to have
in our trust.
March of 1898, a Miss Lottie Steams, a member of the Free
Library Association was the Club's first guest speaker. The question
arises, if Miss Steams' talk became the catalyst for the library project
or it was just another step in a plan that had been in the minds of the
founding members, before P.W.W.C. became a reality. Following
Lottie Steams' talk, a suggestion was made to donate books to a
reading room.
History is unclear about the suggestion for donating books
that followed Miss Steams' talk. Was that suggestion put on hold until
the Mayor and City Council approved the library or were the books
collated in anticipation of the council's approval? What we know is
that Mr. and Mrs. Courtland donated space for the library in the back
of their drug store which was located at the southwest comer of
Franklin and Main. Mrs. Courtland offered to take charge of the
books for one year without charge. Mrs. Courtland raised money
among the businesses to buy shelving for the books.
The mayor and city council were petitioned by the club for a
City Library. The petition was approved by the Mayor and City
Council of Port Washington in 1899. The city now had a public
library thanks to a group of women who worked to improve their
community.


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