Dover Literary Society

In Dover Township, Ohio in the year 1882 a group of local young people joined together to create a social and intellectual group called the Dover Literary Society. The Society’s Constitution stated the following: “Wishing to form an effective organization for the purpose of mutual help and improvement and as one of the means to this end to establish and sustain a Library.”
The Dover Literary Society planned a variety of readings and concerts since its conception, soliciting talented performers from as far away as Oberlin, Ohio. Debates were planned well in advance and included controversial topics of the time: Does poverty or riches develop the character best? Is prohibition more effective than license against the evils of intemperance? Which was the greater president, Washington or Lincoln?
Much controversy surrounded the influence of fiction and its effects upon intellectual dissipation.
Should women have the right to vote? Ought there be compulsory education in the United States? Which is the greater crime, to lie or to steal?
In 1884 town-builder Leonard Porter bequeathed the sum of $1000 to establish a library, and what had been the wish became a reality.
Westlake Porter Public Library continues to provide "mutual help and improvement" for its patrons to this day. Hats off to those original members of the Dover Literary Society!

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