Book Club

By Marian Currens, Archives and Research Center Coordinator, Historical Society of Frederick County | Photography by Turner Photography Studio | Posted on 06.04.15 – History, Timepiece

This library card, which belonged to Bessie Boswell, states that its owner was a member of the Junior Library Association of the Frederick County Free Library from May 1915 to May 1916. Bessie was a second-grader at the Church Street School.

The Frederick County Free Library was organized through the efforts of members of the Frederick Civic Club. It was incorporated in 1914 by Bertha Trail, Virginia Baker, Monica Haller and Janet Motter, all of whom worked to raise funds for the library. The library remained under the umbrella of the Civic Club until enough funds were raised for The Frederick County Free Library Association to become an independent entity.

The Frederick County Free Library first opened in the YMCA and was later housed in the Frederick Academy building on Record Street. In 1936, the city began planning to raze this building and the Free Library closed its doors in 1937. The C. Burr Artz Library, now head branch of the Frederick County Public Library system, was opened on Record Street the following year. Margaret Catherine Thomas Artz, the widow of C. Burr Artz, had designated in her will that if her only child, Victorine, had no living heirs at the time of her death, the family estate would pass to the City of Frederick to establish a library in honor of her late husband. Victorine died in 1931 and the money was designated to the city.

Books from the Frederick County Free Library were added to the collection of the C. Burr Artz Library. Those books and the efforts of all involved with the Frederick County Free Library made the availability of library services in Frederick possible before the C. Burr Artz funds became available.