Fiske Free Library

Site: N07-8
: Claremont, NH
Location: 110 Broad Street Site Type: Library


The Fiske Free Library ..., a Carnegie Fund structure of stone, was built in 1903. In 1873, Samuel P. Fiske, a native of Claremont, founded a library by giving the town 2000 volumes. At their death, Mr. and Mrs. Fiske left $10,000 for the purchase of books. In the basement are three Historical Rooms, the first containing furniture, jewelry, pictures, china, clothing, maps, books, dolls, and many other articles, mostly connected with early Claremont history. The second room includes such household implements as spinning wheels, looms, swifts, and candle molds. In the third room is a natural history collection, consisting of minerals, shells, mounted birds, and bird eggs. On the main floor is a small art collection given by the family of George Farwell, consisting of several fine originals, excellent copies of masterpieces, photographs, porcelains, and a few pieces of sculpture. Rod Miller, one of Claremont's most distinguished artists, has lent some of his best-known landscapes to the Library.

The Library has a Tall Clock, a duplicate of that in the Green Vault in the royal palace of the kings of Saxony in Dresden, Germany, lent by the Farwell family. The clock is made of inlaid rosewood, with brass trimmings, and stands nearly nine feet in height. On top of the clock is a brass figure of Atlas bearing the world on his shoulders, to the left a winged-footed Mercury, and to the right a figure of a woman, running, probably representing Atalanta. The signs of the zodiac, and the month, day, hour, minute, and seconds are all registered on the face. On the face appears the name of Samuel Ruel Ratterdan, an English clockmaker of Queen Anne's time. The clock was given about the year 1880 to Mr. Farwell by his friend Alfred Sully of New York City. Mr. Sully's agents are said to have scoured Europe to fill the order for a valuable antique tall clock, and when landed in New York it cost him $1000. For 80 years the clock had been in a Dutch admiral's family.
(Source 2:129)