Most people associate Edith Taylor Nicholson with her Glen Farm and Glen Manor House, but she was a major benefactor to a Portsmouth institution. The Portsmouth Free Public Library was one of those places where you can see her good works. Ernest Dennome in his history of the library gives us an idea of her generosity.

“A cultured lady of kind concern for her adopted Community Portsmouth, Mrs. Nicholson was a splendid volunteer worker and an outstanding Red Cross Chairwoman during War War II. She was extremely generous with her huge personal fortune and spent her active senior years in Portsmouth on her 1000 acre estate, Glen Manor and Farm.”

rEdith Taylor Nicholson as Red Cross Chairman.

By the 1940s the library was collecting more juvenile books. This was a point in time when the publication of good books for beginning readers was growing. The Millers (Clara May Miller and her family) donated a special fund to buy children books. Edith and other donors like Clara Anthony, Pauline Weaver and Sue Brady, donated to the collection. By 1952 the board of directors of the library decided to make the Art Room (which had been donated by Sarah Eddy) into a Children’s Room. Edith had made some donations to the library in the 1930s. When the needs of the library were made known to her in the 1950s, she was prepared to make a donation of $5,000 for repairs to make the Children’s Room functional.

Edith made a bequest of $25,000 to the library and with matching state funds the library constructed the North wing. The Wing was dedicated as a memorial to Edith after her death in 1959.

When you visit the North Wing today to browse for a good book, think of Edith Taylor Nicholson and others who have made donations that make the Portsmouth Free Public Library the heart of the Portsmouth community today.