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Picturesque Stamford, 1892

Educational Institution, pp 193, 194


The Ferguson Library is named after Hon. John Day Ferguson, who was at one time Probate Judge and for many years the leading member of the Board of School Visitors. Mr. Ferguson was widely known and highly honored for his devotion to education and at his death (December 9, 1877) he left by will the sum of $10,000 to found a Public Library. The gift was conditioned on the raising of $25,000 more, and this was promptly contributed by the subscriptions of many citizens. The act incorporating the Library was approved March 12, 1880, and the trustees named in this act immediately organized. The Library was opened to the public in November, 1881, in temporary quarters, which were used until the summer of 1889, when the property now occupied was purchased and fitted for more permanent use. The present building, however, is neither large enough for much growth nor suitable in style or accommodations, and the trustees look forward to the erection of a new building when funds shall be provided. Several gifts have been made to the Library since its foundation, notably the bequest of Mrs. C. E. Richardson, who, at her death in 1884, left to the Library real estate valued at $22,000. The last annual report of the treasurer (1892) estimated the entire property of the institution at $82,746. Of this sum $24,000 is invested in the land and building occupied by the Library, and about $11,000 in books, etc.

Ferguson Library Building, Atlantic Street

The Ferguson Library attempts to cover, however inadequately, all fields of literature in the English language [except] theology and technical scientific works. It maintains a large reading-room with about a hundred periodicals, open to all comers; and the books of the Library are free to all for use in the reading-room. The privilege of taking books away is obtained by tickets, which cost $1.50 per annum. But free tickets are given to all the teachers in the schools of the town, with special privileges intended to aid them both in study and in teaching.

The Ferguson Library looks to the future, and aims to be safely progressive. It has been the policy of its trustees to advance only so fast as was consistent with a sound financial condition, and with this limitation they propose constantly to enlarge their field. The number of books has doubled since the library was opened, and the collection has been pronounced by experts unusually free from worthless matter. Especially it is the aim to follow the example of the founder, by making the Library an educational institution, both in the quality and scope of its material and in the facilities offered to teachers and to special students. Much of this is yet in the future, but none of it is overlooked, and modern methods of administration are a subject of study with the trustees. It is confidently predicted that when another edition of “Picturesque Stamford” shall be called for, the Ferguson Library will be found to have kept pace with the most progressive institutions of the town.

John Day FergusonObituary, John Day Ferguson
Interior of the New Reference Room at Ferguson Libary, March 19, 1932
(Whitman Bailey Sketch)

Picturesque Stamford, 1892
Research Library
917.46 Stamford G