While the Tuscarawas County Public Library System’s Main Library in New Philadelphia has been closed during the month of May due to the extensive renovation and expansion project, 

the staff has been busy inside the building moving into new spaces, sorting and storing the collection, and organizing spaces in preparation for the next phase of construction.

Photo of blue book with gold imprint on the front.

 “You never know what you may uncover during a move or renovation,” said Assistant Director Andrea Legg. “There is always a cabinet or nook that hasn’t been cleaned out in some time.”

The Main Library building was originally constructed in 1936 with the last major renovation of the building taking place in the early 1990s.

One of the items unearthed is a 1947 limited-edition copy of Essays of Michel De Montaigne. The book, which has beautiful blue binding and a gold-leafed insignia on the front is stunning and unique in its own right. Staff knew they had found something special when they opened the pages, yellowed with time, and discovered a hand-written note from a former librarian.

The note read, “In my weeding today, I came across this book which was an edition limited to 1,000 copies and signed by the artist…” The illustrator of this book was none other than Salvador Dali, the famous Spanish surrealist painter.

“We were all really shocked when we discovered this book, signed by Salvador Dali, that had been stowed away in the bottom of a cabinet,” said Legg. “The craziest part about the book is that at one time it had been part of the library’s collection. Customers were able to check it out and take it home like any other book in the library.”

The book was published in 1947 by Doubleday & Company, Inc. and is number 928 of 1,000 copies. It features essays from the French philosopher Michel De Montaigne that were selected by Dali himself and that he then created accompanying illustrations for each essay.

Across the library in another closet, staff found a collection of unframed artwork by James Harrison “Hal” Donahey, political cartoonist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1900-1949. Hal was a New Philadelphia native and some of his folksy style artwork reflects on his time spent in Tuscarawas County. The prints feature scenes from different towns throughout Ohio, including New Philadelphia, Dover, and Tuscarawas County.

While planning for the renovation project, the library has also gathered surplus items that will no longer be used after the renovation. Some of these items include vintage solid wood tables, chairs, bookshelves, local history items, vintage newspapers and Life magazines, office equipment, and more.

“Most items will be in a public auction organized by Don R. Wallick Auctions, while the more unique items, like the signed Dali book, will be sold online,” said Director Michelle McMorrow Ramsell. “We anticipate that many library lovers may want to take home a beloved piece of history while others may have an interest in the surplus office equipment.”

The public auction is scheduled to begin at 10 AM on Friday, June 21st at the Main Library located at 121 Fair Ave. NW in New Philadelphia with a preview of items starting at 8 AM.

According to Ramsell, the Main Library will be open only for auction goers from 8 am to 1 pm. Programs scheduled outside the building will still take place that morning and all four branches of the County Library will be operating with normal business hours.

For a full listing of items available at the auction click here to visit Wallick Auctions website. For additional questions, call 330-364-4474. Construction is scheduled to be completed in late 2019.