Dyer Memorial Library

The Historical Gem of Abington

Dyer Memorial Library, Abington, MA

Micawoo, shared via creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Dyer Memorial Library, Abington, MA

Nivetha Aravindan, Copy Editor

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The town of Abington is home to the Dyer Memorial Library: an amazing resource for discovering ancestors and learning about the history of Abington, Rockland and Whitman. The Dyer contains an extensive collection of historical resources ranging from roughly the mid 1650s to present day.

The Dyer was founded in 1930 according to the will of Marietta White Dyer: the niece of international banker Samuel Brown Dyer who spent many years in France and returned to Abington to spend the remaining years of his life. Marietta left $80,000, land, and her personal estate to be placed in a Dyer Fund for the establishment of the library.

One of the main reasons people visit the Dyer is to explore their family genealogy. All resources at the library are free and can be used to trace American, Irish, English, Scottish and Canadian ancestry. Visitors have come from many states, as far away as Hawaii, to do family research.

One of the main reasons people visit the Dyer is to explore their family genealogy. ”

— Nivetha Aravindan

Merlyn Liberty, the Dyer’s librarian, explained that the best part about the library is that students and researchers can walk in having a broad idea about a historical topic or era they would like to study and find just about anything on the topic with respect to Abington, Rockland and Whitman.

The filing cabinets, which are often overlooked, contain clippings, photos, booklets, genealogies and thousands of other artifacts that can help researchers narrow their topic of study or discover new unique facts about their interest.

Eileen Walls, assistant librarian at the Dyer Memorial Library and former Social Studies teacher at the Frolio Middle School, explained that “local history was always a part of the curriculum” in her seventh grade classes. “My classes always made a visit to the Dyer to see Old Abington history up close and personal.

Most students never even knew the Dyer existed and were amazed at the important and extensive role Abington and her residents have played in American history.

I would love to see Abington students utilize the Dyer for historical research and genealogy”

— Ms. Eileen Walls

The Dyer is home to certain one-of-a-kind artifacts. Ms. Walls always showed her students the desk of Benjamin Lincoln located in the foyer of the library. Benjamin Lincoln was George Washington’s second-in-command and accepted the British surrender at the final battle of the Revolutionary War.

“I am amazed every time I think about the fact that Abington is home to the desk of the man who played a pivotal role in the creation of the United States!” said Ms. Walls.

One of Ms. Liberty’s favorite artifacts on display is “Mr. Bone,” the skeleton that belonged to Dr. Gilman Osgood. “He is a mellow guy and is especially interesting to our younger visitors when they find out he is not made of plastic. He has quite a story to tell!” said Ms. Liberty.

Several Dyer supporters, including Ms. Walls, played a role in the new school as well. The information and materials on the “History of Abington” wall just outside the gymnasium came from either the Dyer Memorial Library or the Historical Society of Old Abington. In addition, there are several old yearbooks, postcards, and photos of Abington schools and students through the years at the library.

“I would love to see Abington students utilize the Dyer for historical research and genealogy” said Ms. Walls. Ms. Liberty emphasized that all resources at the Dyer are shared and available for free.

The staff is very friendly and eager to help students and researchers. Students can volunteer in transcription and cataloging projects or just drop by for a visit.

The Dyer Memorial Library is open from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visit the library website at http://www.dyerlibrary.org/.

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