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Mabel Wagnalls Jones


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THE WAGNALLS MEMORIAL
Since 1925

Limited edition watercolor by Dick Weiser.
Available for sale in the library.

The WONDER OF WAGNALLS is the beauty of the facility, the quality of the services, its support of cultural arts, and a small-town community atmosphere which all make Wagnalls a treasure worth finding.

Located just south of Columbus in Lithopolis, Ohio, the building is constructed of native free stone. This Tudor-Gothic building provides the people of Central Ohio with a center for educational, cultural, and literary arts activities.

The original 1925 building has an auditorium, a library, a banquet hall, and two tower rooms. The auditorium, seating 300+, has a high oak-beamed ceiling with a motion picture projection room at the rear. The banquet hall, with a capacity for 150 people, a small stage with a piano, and a complete kitchen, is located on the lower level of the original Memorial building. Other additions to the original building have expanded the available library and meeting room space.

The banquet hall, auditorium, meeting rooms, and garden area are available to rent for meetings or special events. Our facilities are very active throughout the year. For information on renting these spaces, please visit our Room Reservation page.

In 1925, Mabel Wagnalls Jones designed and built The Wagnalls Memorial library and community center in memory of her parents, Anna and Adam Wagnalls. Adam was the co-founder of The Funk & Wagnalls Publishing Co. The Memorial is located in Lithopolis because both of Mabel’s parents were born here. At her death in 1946, Mabel Wagnalls Jones left the bulk of her estate to The Memorial. Much good has been accomplished since the 1925 original construction and 1946 donation.

  • $6,763,108+ given for scholarships from 1948 to present involving 3,200+ students, who attended 276+ different colleges.
  • $4,933,036+ for building projects with additions in 1960, 1983, 1991, and 1999, providing space for library expansion, offices, and meeting rooms. The additions continued the architectural theme established in the original building.
  • $25 million+ paid out for all expenses related to the many different services provided for the past 80 years.

History

Mabel Wagnalls Jones was the only child of Funk and Wagnalls Publishing Company co-founder Adam Wagnalls and his wife Anna. Her parents were both born in Lithopolis. Mabel was a concert pianist and the author of nine books. She died in March of 1946, leaving her estate for the perpetual care of this community center as a living Memorial to her parents. Mabel and her parents, husband, and grandmother are buried in the Lithopolis Cemetery, located at the east end of town.

Mabel Wagnalls Jones designed and built The Wagnalls Memorial library and community center. She then gave it to the people of Lithopolis and Bloom Township. This gift expressed the loyalty of her parents, Hester Anna Willis Wagnalls and Adam Willis Wagnalls, to the town and township in which they were born.

Mabel followed this extraordinary gift with additional gifts of nearly all of her wealth to sustain and improve the library and community center and to provide scholarships for residents of Lithopolis and Bloom Township to "institutions of learning, music and art."

Lulu Harshfield's closing of her history of The Wagnalls Memorial is presented here for your consideration: "Because a daughter honored her mother and father, because a mother and father remembered their modest beginnings and their youthful struggles to obtain education, and because of necessity of an education had been engendered in the hearts of Ohio pioneers, Lithopolis, Ohio, and Bloom Township have a community center, a library, and a scholarship program worthy of emulation."

Collections

The Wagnalls Memorial has many of the paintings that served as covers for the Literary Digest, an early Funk and Wagnalls publication. The works of many prominent illustrators who worked for the Funk and Wagnalls publishing house are on display at various times. Among those represented in our collection are Norman Rockwell, J.F. Kernan, F.X. Leyendecker, and John Ward Dunsmore, who was a special friend and official portrait artist to the Wagnalls family.

Other collections include 20th century Japanese dolls, bells from around the world, autographs and photographs to Mabel (including Harry Houdini’s), poems by Edwin Markham, and Letters to Lithopolis (letters written between Mabel Wagnalls and the author, O’Henry).

The Original
Norman Rockwell Paintings

Norman Rockwell’s (1894-1978) special talents appeared as magnificent illustrations on two early covers of the Literary Digest. Each painting was researched and done with great care to accompany a magazine theme or an article included in the specific publication. Original paintings are on display throughout the year during special events only.

The Wagnalls Memorial has prints and mugs with these two works available for purchase in the library. Other souvenirs available for purchase during your visit include editions of Mabel Wagnalls Jones's books, a watercolor print by Dick Weiser, postcards, and ornaments. A portion of the proceeds support the continuous operation of the Memorial and its programs.

Featured Links  

The Lithopolis Cemetery, also known as Baugher, Miner, or Zangmeister Cemetery, is located in the small town of Lithopolis, Ohio. The cemetery was established in 1830. The Wagnalls family graves (the people who built and donated The Wagnalls Memorial in 1925) are located in this cemetery. Their graves are very easy to find: they are in a special section across from the older Mausoleum. (website image courtesy)

 

 

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Phone: 614.837.4765 / Location: 150 East Columbus Street, Lithopolis, OH 43136
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