Club found way to keep folks reading

By Linda Emley

While looking over my files, I found one more story about our early libraries that I want to share. The Literary and Civic Improvement Club of Richmond was the group of ladies that established the library in the basement of the Methodist Church in 1916. This same group also tried to secure the Carnegie Library a few years earlier.
These fine ladies were actually successful with a small public library a few years before they opened the library at the Methodist Church.
Richmond Conservator, Jan 29, 1914: “Public Library Here. Civic Improvement Club Makes Start in Library Line. Through the effort of the Literary and Civic Improvement Club Richmond now has a public library consisting of fifty volumes – histories, biographies, classics, art, science and the popular novels. Also books for children. This is one of the circulating libraries located at Jefferson City and furnished by the state. Any town can secure one of these divisions by conforming to certain rules and regulations. The books may be kept for three months and by request the time extended to six months. These books are under the care of the librarian of the Club, Mrs. Clarence Hubbell and are kept at her home. The library is open every day from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Any person or child may get one of these books by calling upon the librarian and pledging to conform to required rules and regulations. Parents are responsible for their children under 16 years of age. These books may be kept two weeks and by request the time extended two more weeks. By this means the members of the club are desirous of encouraging the use of a library by the school children as well as grown ups. From this small beginning the ladies hope to soon see a permanent public library established for Richmond and vicinity. They are to be commended for the energy they are showing and their efforts should be crowned with success.”
Fifty books may not sound like a lot, but it is better than not having any books. The next time you are in a waiting room at the doctor’s office without any magazines to read, just think about the people of Richmond and how eager they must have been to get their hands on one good book to read. We are truly blessed to live in a world where we have so much available for our reading pleasure.
In 1914, when Richmond was trying to share those 50 books, there was a lot going on around town. The old courthouse was being moved and work was starting on our current courthouse. Another important event happened on July 3, 1914, when George Trigg bought some equipment and started printing the newspaper we read today.
The following article tells us that there was a Richmond Daily News before the more recent Daily News. The first one was in business from 1898 to 1913.
The Richmond Missourian ran a notice of sale on June 18, 1914. “Newspaper Plant to Be Sold. The Trustees of the Ray Publishing Co., formerly publishers of the Richmond Daily News, will sell at public auction to the highest bidder at the building occupied by said corporation on Friday July 3rd. The following notice has been posted in Richmond by the trustees of the said defunct corporation.”
By order of the Ray County Circuit Court all equipment was sold, including a printing press, a Rockford folding machine, a Boston stapling machine, a perforator machine, a punching machine, a lever cutter, 5 imposing stones, a mailing machine, a Hail safe, oak desk, and among other things, an L.C. Smith and Brothers typewriter.
George Trigg paid $1,205.00 and became the proud owner of his own newspaper and issued his first edition later in 1914.
On June 18, 1914, there was another article in the Missourian that took me by surprise because I found a story about a hospital I never knew existed.
“Emergency Hospital Opened. Large Crowd of Visitors Attended the Opening on Saturday. Between two hundred and two hundred and fifty visitors attended the formal opening of Richmond’s Emergency Hospital, Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 6 o’clock. Three rooms – two wards and an operating room –compose the hospital. These rooms are in the Hughes building and have been carefully remodeled, redecorated and put in excellent condition for this purpose. Eight patients can be accommodated at one time. The wards have dainty, sanitary and tasty furnishing and the decorations are of a quiet and restful nature. For the present, no trained nurses will be kept in charge of the rooms. If a patient is in need of the services of a trained nurse, one can be gotten from Kansas City within a few hours. This hospital is for everyone and is not under the supervision of any one doctor, (with) all patients exercising the privilege of having their own doctor or nurse. In case of accidents it seems as if this institution would be of indispensable value. The Civic Club urges the cooperation of all Richmond people to make the plan a success.”
I’m on a mission now to find out who were the members of the Civic Club and the Literary and Civic Improvement Club of 1914 Richmond. I want to know if these two clubs were the same and what other important things they did for Richmond. We’ll never run out of stories because there are always more questions than answers with each new chapter of our history.

You can write Linda at or see her during business hours at Ray County Museum.

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