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Come celebrate Reginald Willey Jr.’s contributions to Question Mark

Many citizens of Question Mark are extremely familiar with the life of Reginald Willey, though few of us truly understand the equally impressive contributions of his son, Reginald Willey, Jr. Born in 1851, the same year this town was founded, Reginald Jr. spent his childhood exploring Willey Envelope, witnessing the birth of the Industrial Revolution, and recognizing how quickly industrial advancements were changing life in our town and country.

After the death of his father in 1896, Reginald Jr. created the Question Mark Public Library with his wife, Rebecca, in order to house his father’s papers and offer town residents the opportunity to seek complicated answers to life’s most puzzling questions. It was here, at the QMPL where Reginald Jr. spent the majority of his personal life, reviewing his father’s writings, curating up-to-date books, newspapers, and other periodicals so that ordinary citizens could recognize how their lives were being quickly transformed by the latest political, cultural, or scientific discoveries.

Although Reginald Jr. was said to become somewhat secretive and withdrawn in the years leading up to his death in 1918–there are even some apocryphal stories of him being able to disappear and reappear in different rooms in the library–every patron who steps through the door of the QMPL is touched by Reginald Jr.’s humility, love of discovery, and enterprising spirit. Please come celebrate Reginald Jr.’s accomplishments by visiting the QMPL today.

Posted by Greta Twombley, Head Librarian on March 5, 2024