The year was 1914. The war, later to be known as World War I, was just beginning in Europe. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria had been assassinated and Imperialism was on the rise.
Here in the United States we were watching the events of the European countries and did not enter the war until 1917. Without television or computers, we were listening to radio broadcasts and reading the news in our local newspapers. The books we were reading were not about war until 1915. Symbolism in the books that were published in the United States was not yet confined to topics of war and nobody expected that the United States would be drawn into this conflict.
The year 1914 was also the time of the dedication of the Carpenter Memorial Building donated to the City of Manchester by Frank Pierce Carpenter in memory of his wife, Elenora Blood Carpenter. The beautiful library was a place to read the new books which some patrons could not afford on their own means. Manchester’s population in 1910 was 70,063 residents and there were 9,865 registered borrowers and 74,000 volumes in the library by the end of 1914. For Manchester it was a happy time.
Many of the books published in 1914, that Manchester residents and the world were reading have become “classics” today, and many of the authors have become famous. James Joyce’s Dubliners, Carl Sandburg’s Chicago, Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest, and Sigmund Freud’s On Narcissism have been reprinted many times. North of Boston by Robert Frost and Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde are still popular. And who can forget Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs and The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by Thornton W. Burgess? Some of books have been made into movies.
Of course there were many books published prior to 1914 that were still being read by our patrons. G. Waldo Brown‘s With Rogers’ Rangers (1906) and The Hills O’ New Hampshire by Will Cressey and James Clarence Harvey (1913) are New Hampshire titles. Others were Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) and Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome (1911), both very popular today.
As we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Carpenter Memorial Building we also celebrate the 100th Anniversary of some of the much enjoyed titles within our library!
C. O’Neil 3/19/2014