The Webster Library is as old as Webster itself. Charles Webster’s will, read in 1916, states that The Webster Apartments “shall contain a library for the mental improvement of the occupants.” The initial allocation of funds to purchase books for the Library was $5,000. That’s $63,000 in 2014 dollars!
In 1924, Josiah Webster, our first President, appointed a Board Library Committee to “supervise the Library and have the charge of ordering such additional books as it may seem well to place on the shelves from time to time.”
In 1928, the Board authorized the Manager “to purchase each month two or three volumes from among the best sellers, according as calls may be made for them.” (Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey was the top seller that year.) I am often astounded at how thorough the Board was in their attention to every detail.
Originally, The Library was located where our Second Floor TV Room is now. In 1947, we moved it to its current location on the First Floor.
In 2009, The Board passed a resolution naming it The Donald J. Petrie Library. Donald Petrie served on the Board for 39 years and was the President of Webster from 1973 to 2009, thirty six years. He loved Webster with all of his heart. I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity work for him during my first ten years as Webster’s Manager. Mr. Petrie’s love and dedication approached that of Josiah Webster himself; he kept Webster going through some difficult financial times. Were it not for Mr. Petrie, I wonder if Webster would still exist today.
Thank you Charles and Josiah Webster, Donald Petrie, and the many others who have passed on, having left their mark on our wonderful residence. We owe you so much!