Shedd Free Library

46 North Main Street
Washington, NH 03280

Miss Sara Shedd was born in Washington on April 29, 1813. She was well-educated and had a love of nature which she expressed throughout her life in both prose and poetry.Sarah's father died when she was 15, and she found work in the textile mills to help support her family.She spent her summers teaching in Washington. This was probably not an organized school, but children seemed to gravitate towards Sarah and she, in turn, shared her love of nature, poetry, and books with them.

Sarah was able to support her family and achieve a level of independence that allowed her to indulge her love of reading by purchasing books, a luxury in her day.Following her mother's death in 1860, Sarah began to save her money to found a public library for her home town. She died April 5, 1867 and left her entire estate of $2500 to the Town to start a public library.

The Town voted to accept the bequest and in 1869 named the library the Shedd Free Library. The Library opened on October 30 of that year with 292 books, some of which were Sarah's own.For many years the Library existed in unused rooms of various houses in Town, the first being what is Dr. Meiers' house.

The Library Building Today

In the spring of 1881, Mr. Lumen T. Jefts of Hudson, Massachusetts proposed to build and donate to the Town, a building to be used as a Library. He had happy childhood memories of Washington, but it was Mrs. Clara Hurd who urged his idea.

The town agreed to pay for constructing the basement and foundation of the building and to maintain the building for no other purpose than a library or strictly literary society.

Mr. & Mrs. John Safford donated the land for the library building which was designed by S. S. Woodcock of Boston, Massachusetts. Construction began at once. The brick and stone building was completed in November of 1881 and dedicated on December 21, 1881.

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