Sara A. Bailey, 1910
written for Peacham Library’s Centennial Celebration
In 1810-so the records run
Peacham’s noted adopted son,
Thaddeus Stevens of late renown
Sought to serve his foster town
By planting the seeds of a library here
Which took firm root that self-same year,
When was formed the association
That gave to Peacham re-creation
‘Twas housed, I am told, in days of yore
In what is now the Renfrew store,
Today devoted, as you have seen,
To fish, molasses, and kerosene,
A humble start, but much that’s great
Has had its birth in low estate;
You remember the copy you bungled so,
“Great oaks from little acorns grow.”
Here was gathered a goodly store
Of ponderous tomes of weighty lore;
I can see them still in yellow covers,
The kind of books not sought by lovers,
But solid matter and proper quite
For full grown mental appetite;
It really almost made one smile
To find them labeled “juvenile.”
Humor then did not advertise,
Though it masqueraded in solemn guise;
Wit sought for utterance in vain
Till the advent of our own Mark Twain;
And fiction was so very prudent
It had few charms for any student.
Who can forget while memory holds
That versatile genius, J. O. Cowles,
Who trigged our clocks when time got spinning
Renewing teeth, that age was thinning?
Across the years the listening ear
The roll of his bass can plainly hear.
“Mid dental wares our library flourished
On costly drugs it was safely nourished,
But men may come and men must go
And Heaven recalled our good J. O.
Then back to the Renfrew store we went,
Where for years we were quite content.
Till a former friend in generous mood
Noting our want of mental food
Gave to supply this grievous lack
A thousand volumes from his stack.
He knew our needs and so he sent
Some bibles with benign intent,
But where he got them is the question
That’s open to his own suggestion.
However this may be ‘twas plain
Our library could no more remain
So circumscribed, but now must find
A home appropriately designed
For its expansion; so was bought
This smoke-begrimed historic spot.
Friends have redeemed its sullied name,
Have freshened up its tarnished frame
And the interior have made meet
The culture of the world to greet.
At last our wanderings are o’er,
We rest secure to roam no more,
Our home is not pretentious, still
It stands a beacon on a hill,
Pointing above life’s toil and odds
To summits where abide the gods.