Venetta Shurtleff Elwell
1902 – 1945
Venetta Shurtleff Elwell was born to Eugene Shurtleff and Hattie Cook in 1902. In the 1920s, she ran the Adamsville Wayside Library from the north room of their home. She ran that free lending library until she and her new husband, Clarence Elwell, moved to Braintree, MA.
In an oral history interview, Helen Shurleff Collins reflected on what happened to the books after Venetta moved away:
I’ve often wondered and all I can think of was maybe [Venetta] gave them to the town library, not Brownell, the other town library that was in Town Hall. They had oodles of them there that were never registered. My father did all that one time. When he wasn’t busy, he went up and catalogued all of them. They were her books and she didn’t charge for them. It was just a plain lending library. When you get through with them, bring them back and you can borrow more, and that’s the way she ran it as far as I know. I don’t know where she got the [books]. But my grandmother read a lot. Grandpa had glasses and Grandma had glasses, you know the little ones, but they read a lot.
Based on an oral history interview with Helen Shurtleff Collins.
First published in “Remembering Adamsville” by the Little Compton Historical Society, 2013.