Grundy Library….. Been Bookin’ It for 50 Years [Chapter 1]
by Cate Murway
The Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library ‘Grand Opening’ was held on Saturday, 25 June 1966 [1966-06-25], just five years after the death of Senator Joseph Ridgway Grundy [January 13, 1863 – March 3, 1961]. Upon the Senator’s death in 1961, his Last Will & Testament established The Grundy Foundation to create and oversee the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Museum and the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. Both the Museum and Library were named in honor of his pre-deceased sister, Margaret, known as “Meta.”
Fifty years ago, the war in Vietnam was escalating, the space race was in full swing, the Rolling Stones were on a world tour, the U.S. President was Lyndon B. Johnson, the newest film was “Sound of Music” and people were listening to “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles.
The original building had been known as the Bristol Free Library.
From The Bristol Daily Courier, Issue Date: Saturday, June 25, 1966:
Grundy's Civic Endeavors Lauded At Library Rites, by AL BOWMAN, Courier-Times Staff Writer
“Over 300 persons beamed in 94-degree temperature yesterday afternoon when Congressman Willard S. Curtin lauded the civic endeavors of the late Margaret R. and Sen. Joseph R. Grundy in his dedicatory speech for the million - dollar Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library.
[Willard Sevier Curtin (November 28, 1905–February 4, 1996) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.]
The 215-foot-long structure, designed to hold 60,000 volumes, will be open to the public on Monday at 2 p.m. The library's hours are the same as the former Bristol Free Library; that is, Monday through Friday, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Curtin addressed the crowd, which consisted mainly of Bristol residents and dignitaries from throughout the county, on the "front lawn" of the library. The "front lawn” faces the Delaware River, since the library proper is underground, within a contemporary wall and brick paths to the river edge. The library was financed with interest from the estate of the late Senator in honor of his sister, Margaret. It is located on Radcliffe Street near Dorrance Street in Bristol.
The Bristol High School Band, under Kenneth F. Bachman, played "The Star Spangled Banner" to open the dedication ceremonies.
Mayor John M. Rodgers stated, “It is a forerunner of new and better times to come."
Whatever the vast financial and political interests of the Senator over the state and the nation, he never lost his love for his home community.”
Now the time has come to celebrate that half of a century.
The 50th Anniversary celebration will be quite an eclectic mix of family oriented presentations.
The Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library, 680 Radcliffe Street, will celebrate its milestone 50th Anniversary with a series of events beginning May 21st. The public is invited to participate in all of the events scheduled through October.
Calling all Local Experts! Hurry……..Deadline for applications is Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
Join Grundy Library’s “How- To Festival” and ‘Learn 50 Things on their 50th’ on Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Anyone have a flair for fixing stuff or really clever ideas to share? Grundy Library Administrator Dana Marie Barber and Programming & Marketing Librarian Barbara June Gerhard are seeking local experts, business owners, community leaders, educators, artists or craft persons, or any of the many talented community members with his/her wide variety of expertise, skill sets, knowledge and experience to share talents and participate in this sure-to-be-fun event.
‘Learn 50 Things on their 50th’ attendees may visit their booths of choice to experience a 15-minute “how to” session.
Imagine learning up to 50 new things in one day, rotating tented stations every 15 minutes.
FYI- Artists of Bristol VP Gail Bracegirdle will be one of the 50! She has agreed to tote her sketchbooks and share her contemporary talents filled with light and color, utilizing watercolors and pencils. Gail B. is a signature member of the Philadelphia Water Color Society, her paintings are actively exhibited in juried, group and solos shows throughout the region, have won awards, and are held in private collections in the United States, Europe and Australia.
This event is FREE to the public as well as the participating experts.
Applications are also available at the library. Hurry……..Deadline is Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
50th Anniversary heavy duty natural canvas tote bags with navy blue trim will be sold for $15.00.
Plenty of room for books and more!
Hey….it’s been Five Decades……YOUR memories are important.
Barbara Gerhard has resourcefully worked at the Grundy Library for 14 years. As a young child, she visited her local library, the Levittown Library that had “gaps between the steps and as a child it was frightening. I wanted to go to the library with the closed steps.” She much preferred the Grundy Library! She and Dana Barber are actively seeking memories from anyone recalling the Margaret R. Grundy Library being built and any memories from its 50 years.
Do you remember the “peek cut-outs” during its construction to see what was going on inside?
Dana has worked at the Grundy Library for the last 18 years and she shared her recollection of the children’s part of the library, “I remember the ‘alive’, moving kites on the ceiling.”
What memories can you share about your library experiences?
You are invited to share your Library perceptions and any keepsakes.
This is a terrific opportunity to include your recollections and memorabilia in the Grundy Library local history collection! If you have a memory about the library or photographs and memorabilia from the Library’s history, please consider sharing them on either Saturday, April 2 or May 7 from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. Your materials can be donated, or they can be scanned and kept as digital copies for the collection.
Some mainstream things that came to be in 1966:
AstroTurf hit it big when the company was tapped to turf the newly opened Houston Astrodome.
Doritos, the cheesy guilty-pleasure resembling Mexican chilaquiles, first made its way onto grocery shelves nationwide.
Quaker Oats first introduced Quaker Instant Oatmeal, the speedy method to cook the classic breakfast food.
Johnny Carson played Twister with Eva Gabor on ‘The Tonight Show.’
And Wite-Out came to the rescue, fixing little mistakes and typos that an eraser couldn’t handle.
Join in on the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library’s month long exhibit!
This acclaimed institution, open to everyone since 1966, serves the community as a link to the past, present, and future.
The Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library
680 Radcliffe Street
Bristol, PA 19007