The Chevy Chase Free Library Association
Advocates for the first “Public” Building in Chevy Chase
In the late nineteenth century, a movement to build free lending libraries became popular in cities and towns across the nation. While some libraries were funded by donations from wealthy benefactors such as Andrew Carnegie, many were the result of the efforts of local citizens. The Chevy Chase Free Library Association, formed in 1896, benefited from Francis G. Newlands’ gift of a sizeable lot on Connecticut Avenue as well as the energetic fundraising activities of Chevy Chase residents. In 1901, the Chevy Chase Land Company transferred the land to the Free Library Association and construction of the Library was completed that same year.
"The fete will be given under the auspices of the Chevy Chase Free Library Association, of which Miss Janet Richards is President, Mr. John L. Weaver, Vice President and Mr. D. G. Porter, Chairman of the executive committee.
… There will be no admission fee, but every one, it is hoped, will make a donation of a book to the Free Library. Old books, in good condition, and even magazines and paper back books will be gladly received."
The Washington Post, June 6, 1897, p.17.
"The Chevy Chase lawn fete given at “The Pines,” the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Richards, last Thursday for the benefit of the Chevy Chase Free Library was largely attended and greatly enjoyed. The evening was perfect for an outdoor entertainment, and the grounds were rendered most attractive by strings of beautiful Chinese lanterns and numerous electric lights, not to mention the clear and brilliant moonlight. Refreshments were served on the lawn and a fine musical program, which could be heard and enjoyed throughout the grounds, was given on the front veranda."
The Times, July 3, 1898, p. 5.
The Washington Post reported on the same event, with similar comments about the “open-air fete.” The Post article included a longer guest list, listing attendees from outside Chevy Chase as well as many local residents:
"Among those present were Baron von Hermann and a party from the German Embassy; Mr. Wu, the Chinese Minister, and Mr. Chow, Mr. and Mrs. Francis G. Newlands, the Misses Newlands and party, including members of the French and German Legations; Miss McAllister, Frau Bachrach, Senator Burrows, Mrs. Andrews, Mr. and Mrs. Spear, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Weaver, Mr. and Mrs. Morris Hacker, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Verrill, Mrs. A. H. Wilson, Mrs. Davis, Mr. Lewis Earle, Mr., Mrs., and Miss Robertson, Mr. Leon Robertson, Miss Lewis, Mr. and Mrs. Darrell Porter, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Mix, Mr. and Mrs. William Richards, Mr. and Mrs. Dubant, Mrs. Terrill, Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Sands, Miss Little, Col. Miersh, Mrs. and Miss Dingman, Miss Baldwin, Miss Hayden, Miss Rhodes, the Misses Proudin, Mrs. and the Misses Barbarin, Mrs. Herbert Claude, Mrs. George Dunlop, the Misses Dunlop, Mrs. Dunlop, Miss Marshall, Mrs. Masi and many others. A large number of books was donated."
The Washington Post, July 3, 1898, p7.
Learn about the design of the new library building on the next page.