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Mystery Solved! by Laura Ploenzke

The individual who recently donated a book of local significance to the Westlake Porter Public Library has made himself known.

Tim Vilyus of Bay Village contacted the library shortly after an article appeared on the library’s Web site about the book Facts for Farmers, an agricultural reference book published in 1864 that contained three signatures of the library’s founder, Leonard Porter. He brought the book to the library’s used book room in January of this year, but staff members were preparing for closing and did not have time to get his name.

“My wife reads a lot on Porter (library’s) Web site,” Mr. Vilyus said. “She saw the article and printed it out for me to read. We got the biggest kick out of the article. We are thrilled that something we brought to the library was of such historical interest. When I first saw the book, I didn't register that the signature in the front was (Leonard Porter's) actual signature."

The book originally belonged to Mr. Vilyus’s mother, who had lived in South Euclid. When she died in 2000, the book was discovered with some genealogical materials another family member had researched. Since Mr. Vilyus’s mother’s maiden name was Porter, "she must have thought there was a connection [between her family and Leonard Porter's]," Mr. Vilyus said. (Subsequent research on Mr. Vilyus's mother's family by a member of the library's reference staff revealed no direct connection to Porter.)

"The age of the book is pretty amazing," Mr. Vilyus said. "It also seems to be in great condition considering its age." As for the contents, he said, "It's a pretty interesting book if you had a need for it, but it seems like a collection of facts and oddities."

Facts for Farmers will be on display in the Popular Materials area of the library from July 15-August 15.

To read the original article about Facts for Farmers and to view images of the book, please see the Local History blog.


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