History of Brown Memorial Library


W.W. Brown and his labor of love, Brown Memorial Library

William Wentworth Brown's memorial to his parents



                                     The Man Who Made It All Possible


 “ I wished to do something in the memory of my  dear parents who were my ideal of all that is best and purest in life…”

Thus spoken, William W. Brown, (1821-1911), dedicated a very special gift to his hometown of Clinton, Maine in remembrance of his parents Jonathan and Betsey (Michaels) Brown.

That gift was Brown Memorial Library.

It was a gift that included not only the library building and the lot that it sat on, but also  the furniture, artwork and books to make it functional and attractive . In addition, with a businessman’s foresight, he gave to the library a $5,000 endowment fund to safeguard it’s future.

W.W. Brown’s loving memorial to his parents spared no expense. The building was constructed of red granite gleaned from New Hampshire and trimmed with red freestone from Massachusetts. The slate for the roof came from the Sebasticook River bank right in Clinton and the ledge for the foundation came from the land of J.T. Ward, a Clinton farmer.

William Brown chose to enlist the expertise of  the prestigious architect John Calvin Stevens of Portland for his important undertaking. The contractor was Horace Purinton of Waterville.

Ground was broken for the library on August 29, 1899, and the cornerstone laid almost a month later. The library opened to the public on July 21, 1900 with Grace Weymouth, a descendant of Jonathan Brown, as its first librarian.

William W. Brown’s vision has survived the trials of the years and exists for those who want to share the sentiment that he imparted during the dedication in 1900:

 “...Generation(s)  may come and go, but I trust the good to be derived from this gift may go on forever.”

 God willing, it will.