Charles Town Library celebrating Elsie Murphy, and 85 years

CHARLES TOWN – The Charles Town Library will celebrate its 85th year of providing library services to the people of Jefferson County with a special event next week.

Elsie Bogardus Murphy, who was born Nov. 12, 1881, is credited with making the Old Charles Town Library possible.

The library was formally established in 1928 when, for $1, Miss Murphy deeded the property between Samuel and Mildred streets to the board of trustees of the Helena Platt Murphy Memorial, also known as the Old Charles Town Library.

Miss Murphy had purchased the property along with a small brick building for $4,200 a year earlier from the Jackson-Perks Post No. 71 of the American Legion.

Decades before her death in 1965, Elsie B. Murphy deeded the property between Samuel and Mildred streets for the Charles Town Library. The library is planning a celebration in Murphy’s honor on Tuesday, the 132nd anniversary of her birth.

Decades before her death in 1965, Elsie B. Murphy deeded the property between Samuel and Mildred streets for the Charles Town Library. The library is planning a celebration in Murphy’s honor on Tuesday, the 132nd anniversary of her birth.

She continued to generously support the library until her death on Nov. 26, 1965. In a resolution by the library’s board of trustees shortly after her passing, she was described as “a great and generous contributor to a public institution … the consequence was she was not only a philanthropist but a humanitarian. Her vision for the Old Charles Town Library was that it might grow and expand in size and usefulness. Especially was she anxious that children learn to seek the riches found in the pages of the books here. These qualities enshrined Miss Elsie in the hearts of those who knew her and will enrich the lives of many who only knew her name, but know she stood for all that is fine in human life and she expressed it in many ways, rather than contained it in self-satisfaction.”

On Tuesday, the anniversary of her birth, we will celebrate her legacy with a party at 3:30 p.m. at the library. Join us to share your memories of the library and of Miss Murphy.

You also can join in the spirit of generosity so ably demonstrated by Miss Murphy by buying a brick for the library’s Knowledge Path. The $85 cost includes a Friends’ membership. Your purchase supports the library and provides a permanent place for an inscription of your choice, whether you remember a loved one or mark an important occasion.

Poetry reading

Michael Czarnecki brings his “Poems Across America” tour to Charles Town next week.

His presentation at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 is his only scheduled stop in West Virginia, the 46th state on his tour of the Lower 48. He’ll conclude his project in New York on Nov. 17. For more information about him and his tour, go to foothillspublishing.com/48states.

Winter birds

Kathryn Henry of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society’s Backyard Naturalist program discuss winter birds at 7 p.m. Nov. 21.

Her talk will include the recommended types of bird feed and feeders and birds’ needs in winter. She will also provide details about what winter birds are likely to be seen in Jefferson County backyards this winter.

Children’s programs

Our regular children’s programming continues through November with story times at 10:30 a.m. on Mondays and at 4 p.m. Thursdays.

– Marcella Genz is the director of the Charles Town Library at 200 E. Washington St. Reach her at 304-725-2208 or octldirector@frontier.com.

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