4 Old Center Road S
At a special town meeting, held on Sept. 8, 1880, the town voted to establish a Free Public Library for the use of the inhabitants of the town. Frederick Plummer James offered $1000 for the purpose of establishing the library and he selected John Dudley Philbrick as his agent to handle the sum, make arrangements to provide books, and present the gift. At first the books were housed in a small room, which had previously been the town clerk’s office, upstairs in the Town Hall.
Nearly 30 years later Mrs. Julia James Butterfield made an offer to the Women’s Relief Corps of Deerfield. She agreed to donate half the money needed to erect a building which could accommodate the library her first husband had given to the town in 1880. The campaign for funds began. The women held sales, had entertainments, and dances. They wrote letter after letter to everyone they thought might be interested in the project. Almost 2 years later, the W.R.C. had raised the remainder of the money and bought land from John C. Rand in the town center. The building cost nearly $9000. Original plans called for a library and a memorial hall for the soldiers of past wars.
On July 28, 1914 the Soldiers’ Memorial Building was completed and dedicated, giving our town the Public Library bearing the name Philbrick-James Library.