Marlborough native continues family legacy with library donation 


Marlborough native continues family legacy with library donation 
The Marlborough Public Library stood near Downtown Marlborough last year before recent renovation work began. (Photo by/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – Her great-grandfather was the mayor who helped secure funds from Andrew Carnegie to construct Marlborough’s then new public library.

A century later, Marlborough’s Pamela Morse has brought things full circle with a donation to support the library’s ongoing renovation project.

The Marlborough Public Library Foundation announced this donation on Thursday, noting that Morse had contributed $50,000 in honor of her mother Joyce Morse. 

“The Marlborough Public Library is a wonderful resource for the city, and I know every little bit helps,” Pamela said in a press release. “It’s a feel-good moment for me to be able to make this donation.”

Great-grandfather served as mayor

Marlborough native continues family legacy with library donation 
Walter B. Morse served as Marlborough’s mayor in the early 1900s. (Photo/courtesy Marlborough Public Library Board of Trustees)

Walter B. Morse, Pamela’s great-grandfather, served as mayor beginning in 1901. He was part of the effort to build a permanent home for the city’s public library, which had moved between a variety of locations in its infancy.  

In time, he secured a $30,000 donation from industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to support the library, which then opened in 1904.

The Library Foundation noted this week that multiple generations of the Morse family have since enjoyed the library, including Joyce, who passed away in 2020.

“My mother used the library a lot,” Pamela said. 

Joyce was heavily involved in book sales held by the Friends of the Public Library, Pamela continued. Joyce volunteered and donated to support both the library and the Friends over the years.

“I thought my donation would be a good way to honor her,” Pamela said.

Library Foundation President thanks donor

Renovation work is ongoing. Due to be completed next year, this work will expand the library’s facility and offerings while retaining the original portion of the building that was funded through Carnegie’s donation.

In recognition of Pamela’s gift this month, the Library Foundation said, a quiet reading room in that original Carnegie portion of the reopened library will bear Joyce Morse’s name. 

“The Morse family is once again stepping up to help the library at a crucial time, and we are deeply appreciative of their ongoing support,” said Library Foundation President William Keyles.

“When the library opens its doors next year, Pam – and all of those who have generously given in support of the renovation project – will be proud in knowing they were a part of a once-in-a-generation project that is critically important to our community,” he continued.

Library Foundation collecting donations to support renovation

The city of Marlborough has approved a nearly $24 million bond to fund this project. A $10 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners will help offset that.

For its part, the Marlborough Public Library’s own Library Foundation has also committed to raising $2 million toward the final cost of the building.

The Library Foundation is continuing its capital campaign to fund this library renovation. 

While library operations proceed at the nearby Walker Building, the Library Foundation has specifically noted that there are still naming opportunities “at a wide range of donation levels” within the new building. 

Learn more by emailing [email protected] or by visiting


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