Monday, February 25, 2008

The Grand Cosmorama of 1891

Before Mrs. Jay O. Moss was successful in her appeal to Andrew Carnegie for a donation of $50,000 for the purpose of the building a public library in Sandusky, Ohio, she belonged to a group known as the “Library Building Fund Association,” or L.B.F.A.

The Library Building Fund Association was organized in 1886 with the purpose of raising money to purchase or build a library in Sandusky. They worked diligently to secure funds by sponsoring plays, lectures, and musicals.

Pictured below is the program from the “Grand Cosmorama” held at the Opera House in Sandusky on April 3, 1891, under the auspices of the Ladies Building Fund Association.
The evening’s event opened and closed with selections from the Ladies Banjo Club. Several “living pictures” were acted out. The “Light Infantry” featured six children singing and acting. The “Wheel of Fate” number involved eight ladies in party costumes doing a drill with fans. The “Old Maids of Lee” was an amusing act in which the participants frantically tried to catch a man. Fifty Sandusky residents took part in the festivities.

Susie Selkirk (shown here in her Sandusky High School graduation photo, class of 1888) was one of the ladies who participated in the Grand Cosmorama.

See the Sandusky Daily Register of April 3, 1891 to read an account of the 1891 Grand Cosmorama, available on microfilm in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Mrs. Jay O. Moss addressed the Firelands Historical Society in 1900 and spoke about the history of the “Free Library” in Sandusky. (You can read her address in the 1900 “Firelands Pioneer.”) One of Mrs. Moss’s comments was especially poignant: “The dimensions of our building almost stagger us, for our income will be small and our size great, but if our object of bringing people and library together, in unity, acting in sympathy and sentiment, each with the other, can only be accomplished, our halcyon days are indeed upon us.”

The Sandusky Library website has a brief history of the library.

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