Charles Merriam

Guess who’s turning 200

Charles Merriam, co-founder of G. & C. Merriam Co. (now Merriam-Webster, Inc.), benefactor of the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library.

“I recall the value such an institution would have been to me in my early life, and entertain a not improper wish to be pleasantly remembered by a good influence perpetuated.”

Charles Merriam, 1806-1887

Charles Merriam was born more than 200 years ago, on November 21, 1806 in West Brookfield. In 1880, he funded the costs to erect the Library which totaled just over $20,000. It was his “hope that the town will cherish the institution as one of which all its citizens have an interest, and may find it of lasting value”.

As an expression of our immense gratitude and acknowledgement of his wish, the Library hosted a year-long birthday celebration in honor of his life. Throughout 2006-2007, programs and exhibits were offered that affirm how fortunate West Brookfield is to be the hometown of many distinguished residents.

With great joy and deep appreciation in our hearts, we celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Merriam and reflect upon the more than four generation of people who have benefited so greatly from his lasting, relevant, and vital gift to West Brookfield.

Merriam-Gilbert Library

The Library is unequivocally the architectural gem of the town. With an eye always to the future, preservation is our goal as many of the Library’s original architectural elements are still intact. The Future Fund is being established to address specific restoration issues, mainly the original 118 year-old slate roof and exterior window frames, so that for generations to come, this structure will be theirs to marvel at.

The Library is also taking this opportunity to invite our residents to contribute toward the Library capital fundraising campaign, which will address building restoration.

Your gifts are tax deductible.

Checks may be made out to:Friends of the Merriam-Gilbert Public Library

and mailed to: P.O. Box 364, W. Brookfield, MA 01585

Library Hours: Mon & Wed 8:00am to 5:00pm Tues & Thurs 2:00pm to 8:00pmSaturday 9:00am to 12:00pm

Closed Friday & Sunday