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History of the Hampton Library

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.

John F. Kennedy
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In 1876 The Hampton Library in Bridgehampton was incorporated, built and endowed by Charles Rogers and William Gardiner. It was opened to the public May 13, 1877. Mr. Rogers gave $10,000 for the building and the books; Mr. Gardiner, his brother-in-law, gave $10,000 and the land. What remained from this amount was to be used as endowment.

At a later date Mrs. Charles Rogers gave $5,000 to increase this fund. The first trustees were: Charles H. Rogers, William Gardiner, Capt. James Hunting, Judge Henry P. Hedges (the first president), Wickham S. Havens, and John F. Youngs (the first librarian, secretary and treasurer of the trustees). Portraits of these six original trustees hang in the library today within our Elise Quimby Long Island Room - a repository for materials about the greater Bridgehampton area and its early settlements of Mecox, Hayground, Scuttlehole, Bull’s Head, and Sagg. It also has items relating more broadly to Suffolk County and Long Island. The collection consists of non-circulating books, town records, diaries, ledgers, photographs, oral histories, maps, manuscripts, genealogies, and periodicals, all available for in-house research. The mission is to preserve for future generations all materials that document the history and evolution of the hamlet of Bridgehampton and its people.

Elise Quimby Long Island Room

The original one-story library was modeled after the home of William Cullen Bryant, a friend of Mr. Rogers who helped him select the original 3,523 books. In 1892 the north room was added and the library was made into a two-story building, with an apartment upstairs for the librarian, so that all the lower floor would be for Library use. A veranda, added in 1888, was later converted into an office for the librarian at which time a new children's room was added.

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In 1904, through the efforts of Egbert Bishop, the front room was furnished for a reading room, in which at the time were only "The New York Times," "Library Journal," "Book List," "Readers Guide to Periodical Literature," and a few magazines. In 1914, in memory of Mrs. William Walker, her collection of pictures and a cabinet of china were presented to the library and a Walker Fund of $1,000 established to provide care for the room where it was placed. In 1916 the library was equipped with electrical lights.

When the library was opened in May 1877, a yearly fee of $2 was charged which was later reduced to $1.50 and then to $1. The fee was discontinued when the Hampton Library was registered as a public library under the State Board of Regents and received $100 annually from the State.

Hampton Library, circa 2009

In September of 2008 the library broke ground for a major renovation and expansion that has updated the aging structure and nearly doubled the square footage.

At the present time the library has nearly 41,000 books, 5,000 films, 1,000 audio books, and 600 music CDs — over 10 times the original collection. The Hampton Library is governed by a board of nine elected Trustees.

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LIBRARY HOURS: Monday to Thursday - 9:30 am to 9:00 pm | Friday - 9:30 am to 6:00 pm | Saturday - 9:30 am to 5:00 pm | Sundays - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Contact Us

Hampton Library

2478 Main Street

Bridgehampton, NY 11932

Email: info@hamptonlibrary.org

Tel:   (631) 537-0015

Fax:  (631) 537-7229

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