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The History and Early Days of the Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library

By: Bonnie Veinote


Waldo Peirce Reading Room & Library, far right


     The Waldo Peirce Reading Room, was founded in 1892, by Harriet Maria (Peirce) Cushing, in memory of her father, Waldo Peirce. In an article by her niece, Louise McDowell Brighton, she states ‘In memory of her father and her daughter’ (This is the only reference that Harriet also founded the library in memory of her daughter.) (Peirce files, W.P.R.R.)


     (Notice that the Waldo Peirce Reading Room sign, was on the original building at the time this photo was taken.) The other two buildings on the left of the W.P.R.R., belonged to E. P. Treat Esq., his home and Law office. Historical articles show that both buildings burned, but say the fire was contained to just the two buildings.


     The W.P.R.R., in 1892, was located on the Loggin road in Frankfort, Maine, at the corner of the Loggin Road and the Old Stage Road. Coming into Frankfort from Winterport, once you cross the bridge, over Peirce Pond, and turn onto the Loggin Road, on the left, just before the Old Stage Road, was where the first Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library was located.




     Back in 1892, in the quaint little village of Frankfort, the center of town was at the very sharp corner as you enter town. As you made the turn onto Loggin road, on the right, was a set of several buildings that were all connected and had a wooden boardwalk.

     The center of the picture above, (the dark building) shows the Franklin Treat house on the corner, to the left, is the Loggin road showing the set of buildings mentioned above. They wrapped around the corner toward the bridge and out the Loggin Road to where the Brassbridge home is today, in 2020. Directly across from the end of this set of buildings, is Averill Road, sometimes called Back Alley. To the left, on the corner of Loggin road and Averill road, is the E. P. Treat Esq. home seen on previous page. Just beyond, and not seen, is E. P. Treat Esq.’s Lawyer’s Office and the first Waldo Peirce Reading Room, at the corner of Loggin road and the Old Stage road.

     To the right of the Franklin Treat house (the dark building), the long set of buildings, is where the Waldo Peirce Reading Room, the former Robert Treat homestead, is today.  The long back portion is gone now, torn down by Reno Thibodeau in 1955, and only the main house and ell still remain.


Harriet Maria (Peirce) Cushing


Born - August 11, 1817

Died - June 30, 1897


Harriet was the founder of WALDO PEIRCE READING ROOM AND LIBRARY, in 1892, in memory of her father, Waldo Peirce,

born February 22 - 1778 - died October 10 - 1841.





     It is suggested in several historical articles that (1st) Waldo Peirce was one of Frankfort, Maine’s first settlers, he married Catherine Treat in 1803. On their “Peirce Family Chart” located at the library, (1st) Waldo Peirce, the namesake of the Waldo Peirce Reading Room, was born in 1878 and died 1841.


     There is always some confusion when it comes to which Waldo is the namesake of the library, I hope the following explains.


     (1st) Waldo and Catherine had a son, (2nd) Waldo T. Peirce, (2nd) Waldo T. Peirce also had a son he named (3rd) Waldo Peirce, a grandson to the namesake of the library. The second generation (2nd) Waldo T. also had a son (3rd) Mellen, who named his son (4th) Waldo, this Waldo, was the great-grandson to the namesake of the W.P.R.R. and is the well-known artist whose work is displayed at the library. There are also others in the Peirce family, who have the name Waldo as a middle name.


First generation of Waldo’s (1st)


Waldo Peirce ~ Namesake of Waldo Peirce Reading Room

B: 1778 – D: 1841


Second generation of Waldo’s (2nd)


Waldo T. Peirce ~ Son to the first generation and namesake,

Waldo Peirce


Third generation of Waldo’s (3rd)


Waldo Peirce ~ Son to Waldo T. Peirce’s and grandson to the first generation and namesake, Waldo Peirce


Fourth generation of Waldo’s (4th)


Waldo Peirce ~ (Artist) ~ Son of (3rd) Mellen Peirce and great-grandson to the first generation and namesake, Waldo Peirce




The following is a portion of the hand written letter from

Earl S. Peirce to Amy McKay, dated October 31, 1973.

The letter can be found at the W.P.R.R. in the Peirce files.


     [Apropos your question to the “Waldo Peirce” reading room. Grace is right – it was originally started by Mrs. Hayward W. Cushing (Harriet Maria Peirce) in memory of her father, Waldo Peirce, who died in 1841. Soon after her death, her oldest daughter, Florence, willed $20,000 for permanent maintenance of the library, to carry out her mother’s wishes and interest.]


     (It is here that I will mention, that several articles, including the one above, writes that Harriet, was Mrs. Hayward W. Cushing. In all of my research, I have found that Hayward, her husband, was Hayward Peirce Cushing (his father and mother were Nathaniel and Jane (Peirce) Cushing) and their son’s name was Hayward Warren Cushing. This may explain the H. W. Cushing, or Hayward W. Cushing. B.V.)


The following article is taken from a Louise Seekins Story

And can be found in the W.P.R.R. History files.


     [The Waldo Pierce Reading Room, a public library, was endowed by the family of Waldo Pierce, an early settler at the March, Miss Maud Averill was the first custodian, followed by Mrs. Effie Clark Tait, Miss Ida Tait and the present incumbent Mrs. Virginia Rainey. It formerly was in a building near where the post office now stands, until moved to its present location, the Col. Robert Treat house.


     Waldo Pierce came from Scituate, Mass. in the late 1700's. In 1803 he married Catherine Treat, granddaughter of Frankfort's first settler, Lt. Joshua Treat. He died October 10, 1841, at the age of sixty-three. His son, George A. Was born March 4, 1812, and married Louisa T. Pike. He became senior partner of Pierce and Rowe, who developed the largest granite pharynx in the U.S. Waldo Pierce of Bangor, the well-known artist, is another descendant.


     The Frankfort Pierces are directly descended from Capt. Michael Pierce who was born in England and came to America in 1645. He fought with the Indians and was killed in 1676, after a great many noteworthy experiences. His brother, Capt. Wm. Pierce of London, was captain of the "Mayflower" in 1629.]


(Notice that Louise used the incorrect spelling of Peirce.)


     In the 1905 College and school Directory - Public Libraries, Maud Averill is listed as librarian. In a DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Bureau of Education document, dated 1913, it is stated that the date of establishment, of the Waldo Peirce Reading Room, was 1892, Rosa K. Tait, was librarian.


     In a R.J., Frankfort article, dated December 13, 1899, by S.L.P., it is stated that a small building was RENTED and furnished for the purpose of a Library, with reading-tables, chairs, good lamps and an abundance of books and periodicals, making it, from the first, an attractive reading-room.


     In all of my research, so far, I have not found any material that the original Waldo Peirce Reading Room, on the Loggin road, burned. I have seen it written that the building burned in 1903, I have also read in the Republican Journal, dated May 23, 1911, that a fire broke out in the Frankfort Supply Co., and spread to the residence of Edward Parker Treat and his office, the fire was contained to the places mentioned. I have not found any article to prove that the Library burned.

The ‘Waldo Peirce Reading Room’ sign is on the library (far right) in this photo.


If you notice, the post card has a note written by Maude A,

probably a note from one of our first librarians, Maude Averill.


     This Frankfort post card shows, L. to R.: The Frankfort Post Office (far left, was on the corner of Route 1A and the Loggin Road; across from the post office, in 1803, was the Waldo Peirce House, later a hotel known as The Mannor Inn, it burnt Aug. 9, 1911; Frankfort Supply Co. on the Loggin road; next is E. P. Treats Lawyers Office and the Waldo Peirce Reading Room. You can’t see the home of E. P. Treat Esq., because it sets back away from the road. Averill road is between the Company Store and the big tree. As you can see, all of the buildings on the left side of the road are gone now. The post card is stamped July 24, 1906

     Frankfort was supposed to have a granite library building, like the one in Winterport, Maine. It was to be built on the corner of Loggin road and the Main road (1A), where the post office once stood. (Where the home of Jeff Anderson is in 2020) This granite library was to be a memorial to Sarah L. Peirce who was particularly interested in W.P.R.R.


 At the right of this picture, you can see the post office that stands where the Granite Library, a memorial to Sarah Louisa Peirce, was going to be. I have not found any record of why it was not built. On the far left you can see what now, in 2020, is the present W.P.R.R…


     In a R. J. article dated January 21, 1904 ~ The decease of Miss Sarah L. Peirce on Sunday, Jan. 10th, at her home in Frankfort has brought sadness to many hearts. Not only her family and friends but a whole community have suffered a distinct loss by the untimely death of so noble a woman.


     In a County Corres. Article, FRANKFORT - dated Apr. 5, 1906 – {Work on the new public library will begin soon. It is to be a memorial to the late Miss Sarah F. Peirce of this place, who was active in advancing the educational interests of Frankfort and was particularly interested in the Waldo Peirce Reading Room. The new building will be of granite, and will stand on a lot on the corner of the square where the post office now is. A sister of Miss Peirce, who lives in Boston, will be here soon to look after the matter. {I notice that listed here, the name is Sarah F. Peirce, I believe this to be a typing mistake and should be Sarah L. Peirce}

     May 17, 1906 – County Corres - Frankfort - The post office building at this place will be moved and a new library put in its place.


     It is not known what happened to the first Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library building or if maybe there was a temporary one before the opening of the present location. It is known, that after Harriet Maria (Peirce) Cushing’s death, in 1897, the library was supported by members of the Peirce family.


     Until I started this project, I had never heard of Sarah Louisa Peirce. If I am not mistaken, Sarah is the one that led us to having our, Waldo Peirce Reading Room of today.


     In a Pat Lewis scrapbook, at W.P.R.R., an article, no source or date given, it states that the library building was given by Mrs. Sarah Peirce, but books were a gift of Florence Cushing. This article was speaking of our present library.


     Sarah Louisa Peirce passed away January 10, 1904, at age of 43. According to documents, she had written her last will and testament on July 15th, 1902, but because Sarah’s wishes could not be proven and allowed, because it was not witnessed in the manner required by law, her soul heirs agreed, that Hayward Peirce and Albert Peirce, her brothers and administrators of her will, should carry out the directions of Sarah, as expressed in the instrument she had written.


     The administrators of Sarah Louisa Peirce, bought the property known as the Robert Treat homestead from Evelyn Treat Whitehouse for the sum of $1,600.00, on May 16, 1907, the real estate was made out to Hayward Peirce, paid for pro rata from all funds belonging to the Sarah Louisa Peirces estate, as they felt she would have desired.


     On September 23, 1909, The Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library Association of Frankfort, Maine, was established as a Corporation of the State of Maine. Officers at the time were, Hayward Peirce, president; Frances Peirce, treasure; Hayward Peirce, clerk; Florence M. Cushing, director; - unknown - director; Katherine P. Scrippe, director; Frances W. Peirce, director and Hayward Peirce, director. (State of Maine Certificate W.P.R.R. files)


Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library


     The Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library was bought and sold to W.P.R.R. by the brothers and administrators of the Sarah Louisa Peirce estate. Sarah is the daughter of, George Albert Peirce, Waldo’s brother and the niece, of the namesake, of Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library.


     On January 1, 1911, Hayward Peirce, of Frankfort, Maine, sold to the Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library Association, for the sum of $1,600.00, the land and buildings known as the Robert Treat homestead, that was bought with Sarah Louisa Peirce’s estate. (From the Hayward Peirce to Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library Association deed at the W.P.R.R.)


Our present-day Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library, 2020


     The Waldo Peirce Reading Room sign, on the library, looks to be the same sign that was on the original library on the Loggin road. It is thought that the building on the Loggin road burned, but in my research, I have not found any articles, other than speculation, that it did. If this is not the original sign, it is a perfect duplicate. The sign on the present building was first put above the windows and was later moved to below, for better viewing. A ‘Library’ sign was added to the entrance door for the same reason. The ‘Library’ sign was made and donated by: Thaxter (Bud) Sheen, a special friend of former board member, Ruth Fields.


2020 Board of Trustees of Waldo Peirce Reading Room

And Librarian


President: Sharon Fields (IN MEMORY)


President: Bonnie Veinote


Vice President: Robert Drew


Secretary: Ruth Treat-Kroll


Treasurer: Lawrence Brassbridge


Assistant Treasurer: Colleen Mitchell


Board Member: Janet Keene


Board Member: Muriel Martin




*Waldo Peirce Reading Room - Genealogy and History room, 2nd floor


*Pat Lewis files at W.P.R.R.


*Republican Journal files at W.P.R.R.


* County Corres. files at W.P.R.R.


*Peirce genealogy files at W.P.R.R.


*Peirce family genealogy chart at W.P.R.R.


*Louise Seekins article, found at the W.P.R.R. history files


*Ancestry (Names and Dates)


*Census Record ~ Found at W.P.R.R. - Genealogy and History room, 2nd floor


*Find-A-Grave (Dates)


* College and School Directory ~ Public Libraries ~ Internet search


* Department of the Interior Bureau of Education ~ Internet search


* Marilyn (Wotton) Doe


*Lawrence and Charlene Brassbridge


*Waldo Peirce Reading Room ~ Board Meeting Minutes


* Photo credit: Bonnie Veinote Collection


* Photo credit: W.P.R.R. / Bonnie Veinote


(Note: All the information in this history of the Waldo Peirce Reading Room is correct to the best of my knowledge. It is offered without guarantee on the part of the author. The author disclaims all liability in connection with this material.)

Florence Maria Cushing

1853 – 1927

Florence gave a twenty-thousand-dollar trust fund to the

 Waldo Peirce Reading Room

In memory of her grandfather, Waldo Peirce

and her mother, Harriet (Peirce) Cushing


     In the Last Will and Testament of Florence Maria Cushing, pages 5 and 6 show that on her death, in 1927, in the memory of her grandfather, Waldo Peirce and her mother, Harriet Maria (Peirce) Cushing, both inhabitants of the town, of Frankfort, Maine, she gave the Waldo Peirce Reading Room, a $20,000.00 trust fund. The trust fund is to fill the needs of the Waldo Peirce Reading Room, Frankfort, Maine, as long as it bears the name of the Waldo Peirce Reading Room and is serving useful purpose in said town. (Document located in the Genealogy and History room, in the W.P.R.R and Library files.)

Former librarians of Waldo Peirce Reading Room


Maude Averill ~ (1905 College and School Directory ~ Public Libraries)

Rosa Tait ~ (1913 Department of the Interior Bureau of Education)

Ida Tait ~ 1926 ~ (Ida Tait Reed, 1933) ~ Minutes/Reports

Virginia Rainey ~ 1950 – October 4, 1978 (Retired) ~ News Article

Phyllis (Hussey) Moore ~ 1978 ~ News Article

Frances (Dot) (Larrabee) Wotton ~ 1982 – 2003 ~ Marilyn (Wotton) Doe

Andrea Cousins ~ Marilyn (Wotton) Doe

Melissa Brassbridge ~ 2005 Minutes

Susan J. Rizza ~ December 7, 2005 – January 9, 2008 ~ Minutes

Andrea Reynolds ~ January 9, 2008 – May 12, 2010 ~ Minutes

Paul Emerson ~ 2010 – July 31, 2013 ~ Minutes

Reba Stewart ~ July 31, 2013 ~2021


     I have seen reference to the name of, Alice Averill, as being the first librarian of W.P.R.R., but have not found any document stating that. I have also seen reference to Effie (Clark) Tait, with no document to show that she was librarian. Both Alice and Effie were Frankfort residents. (Census Records).


     It is thought that the early records of the Waldo Peirce Reading Room and Library were destroyed by fire, I have not found anything to document this, but with research, I have come up with these names and dates of librarians. I will still be researching and if anyone has any records, of dates or names, of librarians at the Waldo Peirce Reading Room, please contact the library with any information. Thank you in advance.

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