Adam Wagnalls, born in 1843 in Lithopolis, was co-founder of the Funk and Wagnalls Publishing Company publisher of the famous Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary, and other standard handbooks including the Literary Digest.
Impact on Lithopolis
Adam Wagnalls and his wife, Hester Anna Willis Wagnalls, were both born and lived in Lithopolis, a village just south of Columbus, OH. Adam moved away at the age of five, but the family's impact on the village is impressive. They had a daughter, Mabel, and the family maintained ties to the area by frequent visits to family and friends. One of Hester's dreams was to "do something for the little village which had never had anything done for it." Mabel would make this dream come true -- though after her mother's death in 1914 -- by establishing the Wagnalls Memorial Library. Mabel also established The Wagnalls Memorial in 1925.
Art work is displayed throughout the Memorial complex. Prized pieces include original Norman Rockwell paintings which served as covers for The Literary Digest, an early Funk and Wagnalls publication. Four of the Norman Rockwell covers may be viewed online:
- Friends and Allies (Oil on canvas) April 19, 1919
- Grandpa's Christmas Visit (Oil on canvas) December 24, 1921
- The Rewards of Patience (Oil on canvas) July 30, 1921
- The Boutonniere (Oil on canvas) April 15, 1922
The works of many other prominent illustrators who worked for the Funk and Wagnalls publishing company are also on display, including J. F. Kernan, F. X. Leyendecker, and John Ward Dunsmore who served not only as a friend but as the official portrait artist to the Wagnalls.