James V. Brown Library

19 East Fourth Street
Williamsport, PA 17701

570-326-0536

History:

The James V. Brown Library opened in June 1907 and was a bequest to the city from lumber baron and philanthropist James VanDuzee Brown who died on December 8, 1904, at age 78.  Already a widower with no children, Brown had dreamt for years of giving Williamsport a free, public library. The idea for the library was suggested by his late wife, Carile Brown.

In his will James V. Brown bequeathed $400,000 to the city of Williamsport, and stipulated that $140,000 be used to erect and endow a public library at the corner of Fourth and State Streets for the use of the people of Williamsport and nearby communities.
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His wishes also included how the library should be governed, a plan that is still followed today. Management of the library would be under the control of a nine-member board of trustees consisting of: the Mayor of Williamsport; the Rector of Christ Episcopal Church (where Brown was a member), the Superintendent of Williamsport Schools, a representative of Williamsport City Council, and five other representatives of Williamsport or nearby vicinity.

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