Mabel Wagnalls Jones
THE WAGNALLS MEMORIAL
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
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
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
$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.
million+ paid out for all expenses related to the many
different services provided for the past 80 years.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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
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).
Norman Rockwell Paintings
(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.
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.
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)