Cover- Dedication Pamphlet

Dedication Page


The Watertown Library

    The stately Ionic lines of the beautiful Watertown Library encompass a building that is the realization of an idea that was valiantly fought for by the best citizens of Watertown for many years.

     The press and pulpit united in the effort to secure a library building in the city. Patriotic and civic organizations took up the matter with public spirited citizens and every effort was exerted to make the movement a success.  When the movement was under way, the library became a possibility through the munificence of Mrs. Emma Flower Taylor.

     Her generous offer to furnish the City of Watertown with a library building was accepted with gratitude.  On April 8, 1901, a public meeting expressed the feeling of the community in the following resolution: "At a mass meeting of the citizens of Watertown, held in the City Opera House to-night, presided over by Mayor Porter, and addressed by clergymen of various denominations and prominent citizens, your proposition for a library was unanimously accepted, with grateful appreciation."

     The proper committees were appointed, competition instituted, and the commission for the building placed in the hands of the successful competitive architects, Orchard, Lansing and Joralemon.

     The structure is in the Grecian style of architecture, having many Roman features adapted to modern requirements. It is massive and dignified, and characteristic of the man in whose memory it is built, and whose generosity can never be forgotten by the citizens of Watertown. The work has been developed under the watchful care of Mr. A. F. Lansing, who added to professional enthusiasm the interest of a private citizen. Mr. Lansing is a resident of Watertown, one whose family has been identified with the development of the city, to which development this generous donation of Mrs. Taylor contributes the most important civic example.

Decoration of the Library

      After the form of the building had been determined upon, the corner-stone laid, and the foundations commenced, the donor, desiring to have thebuilding as important artistically as it was architecturally, invited Mr. Charles R. Lamb, of New York, to suggest a scheme for the enrichment of the entire interior. No one could have brought to this work a richer experience. Beside the decoration of many religious, civic and private buildings, one of the most notable of which was the Chapel at Cornell University, in which he designed the entire embellishment of the "Sage" Memorial, Mr. Lamb achieved distinction in the arrangement of one of the most important exhibitions of sculpture, given under the auspices of the National Sculpture Society. At a later date he showed the country at large what could be accomplished by associated effort in the Dewey Arch, of which he was the architect, erected by New York for the return of the victorious navy, and which, since that demonstration, has stood as a concrete example of what can be accomplished by a proper centralization of artistic effort

       It is true that, in the Memorial Library, form was not the only problem, or sculpture the only medium of expression; but the principles developed in these previous experiments were equally applicable to the use of color, whether as mosaic, or as mural decoration. At the dedication of the building, the designer thus formulated his creed:


    "Nature is the oldest historian, but in mans efforts to record the progress of the ages, the artist is distinctly the earliest of all historians; for, before letters were, the artist drew, the sculptor carved, and the architect built. The artist, the historian of the earliest times, the inventor of the picture forms which afterwards became stenographically the alphabet of later civilization, and the type of the modem printing press (in spite of the great development of the hieroglyphics which we now call books), visualizes in his picture writings those things, those ideas, those ideals which the written, or the spoken, word but suggests indefinitely. It is therefore fitting that Art should be asked to co-operate with Architecture in the creation of a library such as this Memorial, and the co-operation of the Arts with Literature is therefore most appropriate:"

       Mr. Lamb's experience, covering as it has such a wide field of artistic endeavor, prompted him to advocate distinct changes in the interior, in the interest of a more monumental effect. Thus the rotunda was enlarged, and the dome elevated to the heroic proportions of a full Roman, classic building.

Plan of Main Floor

       Mr. Lamb submitted a most comprehensive scheme for the entire treatment of the interior in color, mosaic, stained glass, mural painting, bronze, etc" which was accepted by the donor and the building committee, and the responsibility was placed upon his shoulders, as he in his statement said he would wish to be responsible for" everything one saw from the moment he entered the building throughout the entire interior"

The Interior of the Library

    On entering the Library, the visitor, after passing through the artistic doorway of wrought iron, bronze and glass, and the mosaic vestibule, with its welcome ccSalve" and farewell "Vale" on either side of the Seal of Watertown, finds himself within the central rotunda with its magnificent combination of marble and color. The Stack Room is directly opposite the entrance after passing through the rotunda, which is flanked on either side by the corridors. The corridors lead to the North and South Reading Rooms and are finished in marble and wood with accents of color decorations, The marble flooring, relieved under the dome by the signs of the Zodiac, as bronze inserts in the pavement, extends along the corridors, and into the main reading rooms. It adds a sense of stability not usually found in buildings of this character.



The Interior of the Library

     The North Reading Room is large and inviting, with a panelled ceiling in rich relief. The finish is, in the main, of wood, low and quiet in tone. Bookshelves at convenient heights wainscote the walls while the main points are accented with constructive or color decoration. The interesting painting of the" Open Book" by Ella Condie Lamb is located in this room. The picture shows a seated figure of the mother surrounded by her children. The color scheme and subject of this picture have received the attention of art critics throughout the country. The picture, with its decorative composition, forms a fitting focus for the elaborate design. In the spandrel above, and repeated at the opposite end of the room, is a rich foliated treatment, with tablets bearing the names of the great writers from classic to modern times.  As a whole, it is a fitting interpretation of the quotation that knowledge is power and the only good.  The color scheme in the room is rich and restful.  An added touch of comfort is given in tan important fireplace of marble, enriched with mosaic; the whole effect, however, is so carefully worked out b the designer, that the seeker after knowledge finds rest and comfort in his books, rather than a distraction.



"Live and Learn."


1.  "Read, mark and inwardly digest."          2. "Wisdom is the principal thing."


1. "A blessed companion is a book."           2.  "Reading maketh a full man."


 "Knowledge is the only good."


"The Open Book"—Ella Condie Lamb.

 Mantel.—"Knowledge is Power."


1. St. Paul             2. Plato          3. Horace           4. Goethe
5. Voltaire       6. Chaucer       7. Irving
1.  Isaiah           2. Thucydides           3. Livy           4. Schiller
          5. Hugo       6. Macauley     7. Emerson

The South Reading Room

     This room, located at the opposite end of the building, is a counterpart in size and architectural treatment of the North Reading Room. The  color scheme of this room is somewhat different. Here the great spandrels, verging to blues and greens, are filled with the conventional treatment of the vine, upon which are placed the bookmarks of the early printers.

Mantel- "Study the watchword of fame."



1.  " Mind is the great lever of all things."    2.  "No man is born wise."


1. "In books is the soul of the past."           2.  "The sweet serenity of books."


"Knowledge is the fountain of human liberty."


"The true university is a collection of books."

Famous Old Printers in South Reading Room


Frontispiece- Dedication Pamphlet



















The publishers wish to acknowledge their thanks to the Craftwman of Syracuse, N.Y., for portions of the plate matter and to Messrs. J. & R. Lamb, New York, for the use of copyrighted photographs.


Original Building




J. Scott Harley Sculptor  Charles R. Lamb-Artist-Architect

Literature North view- Frederick S. Lamb


Literature South View- Frederick S. Lamb



Rotunda Looking Toward Entrance

Corridors- Looking North


North Reading Room

File written by Adobe PhotoshopÔ 4.0

Detail of North and South Corridors

Mantel in South Reading Room

Mezzanine Floor- Looking Across Rotunda


One of Conversation Rooms

Charles Leen
William Wosterman
Jacob Stadelberger
Thielman Kerver
Peter Short
William Caxton
Voster Simon
Mantius Aldus
Lawrence Andrews
Valentine Schumann
Lucantonio Giunta
Widow Orwin
John Sholar
Mathis Van der Goes
Jacob de Breda
Andrew Hester
Richard Grafton

Antwerp, 1487-1488
Antwerp, 1500-1544
Heidelberg, 1513-1517
Paris, 1497-1522
London, 1585-1650
Westminster, 1476-1491
Paris, 1480-1520
Venice, 1450-1515
London, 1499-1527
Leipzic, 1502-1534
Venice, 1500
London, 1596
Oxford, 1512-1518
Antwerp, 1472-1494
Dementer, 1486-1519

London, 1537-1583



















Memorial Children's Room

Mantel - Children's Room

Ella Condie Lamb


The Children's Room

       One of the novel and most interesting features of this Library is the Children's Room, set apart for the special use and pleasure of the young people by Mrs. Taylor in loving commemoration of her eldest son, dead in infancy. His name and the dates of his brief life are recorded on the bronze tablet set high on the North wall over the fireplace, and on either side are the portraits of his younger brother and sister, bearing Spring flowers as in tribute to his memory. These graceful figures were painted by Mrs. Ella Condie Lamb. The room is very well arranged for its purpose, the interior furnishing being of the required simplicity and practicableness, and the color scheme of the whole pleasant and harmonious and not  too high in accent nor too ornate to conflict with this directness of purpose. The books of the library are lined up in open stacks along the walls, listed in a card catalogue, at the free disposal of any child, and the abundant I light and the comfortable tables and chairs offer their hospitality to every comer.

       For the general color effect of the room, Mr. Lamb selected a handsome bluish-green, to which all the woodwork, the Volkar tiles of the chimney-piece, the pressed bricks of the walls, and even the metal work, contribute in varying tones. The commemorative bronze tablet is of a verd antique, and the text in gold. On the paneled soffits of the ceiling beams is the only detailed ornament of the room, a continuous rose pattern, worked out by stencil and hand painting in crimson and a reddish yellow, the sup- porting tones green, thus completing the setting of this very pleasant library and reading room. Few features of this admirably planned and carried out building are more worthy of imitation in similar enterprises than this practical and justly appreciated gift to the children of the city.

Other Rooms on Main Floor

       The reference and librarians rooms adjoin the north and south reading rooms. They harmonize in color.

       The conversational rooms, known as the Colonial room and Empire room, are located to the right and left, respectively, of the main entrance hall. Utility has not been sacrificed to beauty, for no small portion of the area on this floor is devoted to the Stack Room; simple and dignified, with little or no embellishment, it explains, in a glance of the eye, its purpose.

Staircases and Mezzanine Floor

       Leaving the main floor, we mount by staircases at the right and left of the main entrance, to the mezzo floor, and face, on each staircase, the able decoration from the brush of George W. Breck: on the north wall, the conference between De la Barre, Governor of Canada, and the representatives of the Five Nations, which was held at La F amine Bay, Jefferson County, September 3, 1684; and, on the south wall, the first public commemoration of the Declaration of Independence in Jefferson County, which was held at Independence Point, July 4, 1802. These panels, low in tone, and studied in drawing, will convince the most skeptical of the artistic possibilities of the historic subjects to be found in great number among the early records of our county.

     At the head of the staircase, on the west wall, are to be found portrait heads of the Chief Garonkonti, and the Chevalier Champlain. The wide expanse of the walls of the north and south halls is cleverly relieved with decorative panels by H. Peabody Flagg, of the Battle of Lake Erie, and the Battle of Sacketts Harbor. It is impossible not to admire the virility of these canvases, and the clever way in which apparently impossible subjects are adapted to decorative treatment; while every detail is minutely portrayed with historic accuracy. The critical moment in each battle is explained by engraved diagrams, which show the exact point of the battle selected. Thus the historian and the artist are equally pleased with the result.

Smaller Rooms

     The north hall leads to the room dedicated to the Daughters of the American Revolution. The spirit of "Words pass as wind, but when great deeds are done, a power abides, transferred from sire to son," is fittingly portrayed in the decorative frieze illustrating the buildings of the early settlers. From the house of Count Le Ray Chaumont to the La Farge Mansion we have records of the families which have made the history of this section. Passing through a small room devoted to the clergy, we enter a spacious apartment in which we find the buildings of Old Watertown: the State Arsenal, the first corn-mill, the Merchants' Exchange, the old Coffeen House, and, leaving "Old Watertown," the visitor passes through a small room for the use of the medical profession, and enters the last of this series which is devoted to the uses of the Historical Society. Again the delicate scheme of color is relieved by a decorated frieze containing buildings and his- toric places. Here are the buildings erected by Elisha Camp and Commodore Woolsey. Here is a monument. to the unknown soldiers of Watertown and vicinity who were killed in 1812. Here also will be found recorded on canvas, the Madison Barracks, Fort Pike, Sacketts Harbor, and the old ship house, where the ships were built that fought so gallantly on the lakes.

     Thus the three rooms described reserved for the " D. A. R.," "Old Watertown," and the "Historical Society," have been most interestingly schemed in friezes, a historical record which is distinctly personal to the city of Watertown and Jefferson County. In no building that we are familiar with has such a definite article of sequence been given artistic form, and Mr. Lamb is to be congratulated upon establishing in this work, which is the artistic handiwork of the brothers Leon and Scott Dabo, a principle which can worthily be followed by other civic buildings that are already erected or about to be erected in other parts of the country.


     It is needless to say that the main decorative effect has been reserved for the rotunda, simple and massive in its architecture, beautiful and harmonious in its color. In its combination of marble, gold, and pigment, it stands the central and most attractive feature of this most interesting building. The marble and bronze of the lower part are left rigid in their simplicity, the heavy moldings at the base of the dome are perfectly simple in their color, and the richness of the scheme is concentrated in the dome above.

     Here, a problem of no small difficulty met the designer: a great expanse of wall surface was to be decorated without destroying the simplicity of the whole. But four accents were used. These, placed at the main axes of the building, personify History and Romance, Religion and Science, and they, in turn, are separated by intermediate figures of Fable and the Drama, Lyric and Epic Poetry. The first group, in almost medieval costume, is executed in a deep and rich tonality. The second group, more classic in detail, is given a lighter and intermediate color. The upright lines are further accentuated by a decorative treatment of repetitive trees, and are united by foliation which extends completely around the lower portion of the dome, acting as a background to the figures and a connecting link in the color scheme. The question of scale has been carefully studied, and the figures, although but life size, are ample to make the entire scheme eminently satisfactory; while the delicate but rich skylight, the eye of the dome, sheds a warm glow over all and gives that sense of rest so essential in such a building.


     That nothing might be wanting for the comfort and pleasure of the visitors, Mr. Lamb has added on the roof of the Stack Room a pleasant summer garden, shaded by a pergola and fitted with fountains, vines and bay trees, supporting columns and the necessary seats, tables, etc. In short, here is not only a library but also a People's Palace, combining all the advantages of a well appointed mansion set apart for the citizens' use, preserving their historical records, completing their facilities for study, for relaxation, and for keeping alive their civic pride.

     From this description it will be seen that all decorative themes used are either literary, or draw their artistic inspiration from local data. The Flower Memorial Library is unique, in that every historical embellishment is a record of something of importance to Jefferson County. It was a daring thought of the designer to establish such restrictions for artistic inspiration, but the result justifies the idea. With this in mind, one may truly feel the truth of the statement as made by the editor of the Watertown Times, who is chairman of the building committee:

     "The building stands complete in every particular. To say that it is one of the finest libraries in New York State, in fact, in the United States, is in no wise an exaggeration. The Flower Memorial Library, just dedicated, is one of the most beautiful libraries in America, and stands as a permanent tribute to the great man who is now dead, but whose remembrance remains with hundreds of residents of this city, gracious, ennobling, inspiring  and priceless."                

     Watertown is indeed to be congratulated upon the successful realization on the part of the donor of her ideals in the building thus described, for it is in truth a noble memorial to the man whom Watertown is glad to honor, and of whom the dedicatory inscription in permanent bronze says:

 "I make this gift in loving memory of my father, to perpetuate his name and love of progress and to benefit those who delight in knowledge. The City of Watertown, as a condition of this gift, agrees to devote not less than five thousand dollars annually to the care and maintenance of the premises conveyed, the library and library building now established there, and all parts and departments of which shall always be known as the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library."


Mural Painting, North Staircase Hall

George W. Breck

     A conference between De LaBarre, Governor of Canada, and the representatives of the Five Nations was held at La Famine Bay, Jefferson County, September 3, 1684.  The French desired to conclude a treaty of alliance with the Indians, but were unable to do so.


Mural Painting, South Staircase Hall

George W. Breck

     The first public commemoration of the Declaration of Indepen-dence in Jefferson county was held at Independence Point, Jul 4, 1802.  A patriotic demonstration and reminiscences of the Revolution characterized the celebration of the day.


Battle of Sackets Harbor

H. Peabody Flagg

North Mezzanine Hall


   "Lieutenant Woolsey, who had taken charge of the shore defences, caused a 32-pound cannon, which had been discarded from his brig, the Oneida, as it was of too heavy calibre, to be mounded on a pivoted carriage upon a mound commanding the harbor, placing it under the direction of Sailing Master William Vaughan.    "When the British demanded the surrender of the port they were refused and a shot from this gun, the first one fired in the war, begun the battle. The Americans, lacked 32-pound shot for their cannon, but used 24-pound balls wrapped in pieces of carpet. For two hours the British ships stood on und o1f the harbor, keeping up a desultory fire, until a well directed shot from the 32-poulider raked the 1\ag ship, the Royal George, fore and aft, killing eight men and wounding many others. This Drought the engagement to an end; and the British commander made all sail for Kingston, abandoning the attempt to capture the port, which the Royal George alone, well manned and appointed, might easily have accomplished."


Battle of Lake Erie

H. Peabody Flagg

South Mezzanine Hall


  "At forty-five minutes past two the British "endeavored to swing around so as to bring fresh broadsides into play, but in so doing their line became broken and en- tangled. Seeing the Niagara coming down to close quarters, Provincial Lieutenant Irvine, on whom the command of the Queen Charlotte ~ad devolved, determined to pour a broadside into her, and then board, but his plan was frustrated by the sudden failing of the wind, which just before had been fresh. At this moment a shot carried away a downhaul of one of the sails, which left her at the mercy of the wind, which again rose suddenly, and she ran foul of the Detroit and became entangled with her. The Niagara now gave the signal for' close action,' backed her main topsails, and, running across the bow and stem of the two English ships, raked them fore and aft with her starboard broadside. The effect of this fire at such close quarters was dreadful. The storm :of iron swept along the decks of the enemy, tearing ghastly chasms through the crowds of officers and men."


D.A.R. Room

Historical Society Room


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Old Watertown Room

Roof Garden and Pergola

Charles R. Lamb


Stack Room-Main Floor


Stack Room-Basement