Willard Library: Oldest Operating Library In Indiana Offers Two Really Unique Features

Willard Library: Oldest Operating Library In Indiana Offers Two Really Unique Features

Published On: November 12, 2018|Categories: Blog, Evansville, Things to Do|Tags: , , , , |

Did you know that Evansville’s very own library, Willard Library, is actually the oldest operating library in Indiana? It’s true. Willard Library opened in 1885. It was actually opened under a specific directive: to be of use to the people of all classes, races, and sexes and to be free of charge forever. Willard Library features two incredibly unique historical amenities. The Special Collections’ departments’ genealogy collection and the Grey Lady!

The Special Collections

The Special Collections department in Willard Library houses one of the biggest genealogy collections in the entire Midwest. Willard’s collection includes the following:

  • References from all states
  • National references
  • International references
  • Family histories in a variety of formats, including loose-paper formats!
  • Local news papers from history dating back to the early 1820s!
  • Church records
  • Funeral home records
  • DAR book collection
  • Online database access to all three major genealogical search engines

Grey Lady Ghostcam

People absolutely love watching the Grey Lady of Willard Library using their 24-hour Ghostcams! Check them out here. One rumor is that the Grey Lady is Louise Carpenter, the daughter of the library’s founder. Her father was Willard Carpenter and rumor has it she was upset when he donated most of his fortune to the library. She even sued and lost the case.


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