The Romney Literary Society (also known as the Literary Society of Romney) existed from January 30, 1819, to February 15, 1886, in Romney, West Virginia. Established as the Polemic Society of Romney, it became the first organization of its kind in the present-day state of West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States. The society was founded by nine prominent men of Romney with the objectives of advancing literature and science, purchasing and maintaining a library, and improving educational opportunities.

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  • The Romney Literary Society (also known as the Literary Society of Romney) existed from January 30, 1819, to February 15, 1886, in Romney, West Virginia. Established as the Polemic Society of Romney, it became the first organization of its kind in the present-day state of West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States. The society was founded by nine prominent men of Romney with the objectives of advancing literature and science, purchasing and maintaining a library, and improving educational opportunities. The society debated an extensive range of scientific and social topics, often violating its own rules which banned religious and political subjects. Even though its membership was relatively small, its debates and activities were frequently discussed throughout the Potomac Highlands region, and the organization greatly influenced trends of thought in the Romney community and surrounding areas. The society's library began in 1819 with the acquisition of two books; by 1861, it had grown to contain approximately 3,000 volumes on subjects such as literature, science, history, and art. The organization also sought to establish an institution for "the higher education of the youth of the community." In 1820, as a result of this initiative, the teaching of the classics was introduced into the curriculum of Romney Academy, thus making the institution the first school of higher education in the Eastern Panhandle. In 1846, the society constructed a building which housed the Romney Classical Institute and its library, both of which fell under the society's supervision. The institute was administered by noted Presbyterian Reverend William Henry Foote. Following a dispute with the society, Foote founded a rival school in Romney, known as the Potomac Seminary, in 1850. The Romney Literary Society and the Romney Classical Institute continued to grow in influence until the onset of the American Civil War in 1861. The contents of the society's library were plundered by Union Army forces, and only 400 of the library's volumes could be recovered following the war's end in 1865. Reorganized in 1869, the society took a leading role in Romney's civil development during Reconstruction. Between 1869 and 1870, it completed construction of Literary Hall, where the society held meetings and reassembled its library. The organization used its influence to secure the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind for the town of Romney, and offered the school its former Romney Classical Institute campus. The schools opened on September 29, 1870. Interest in the society waned during its final years, and its last recorded meeting was held in 1886. (en)
dbo:affiliation
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  • Polemic Society of Romney (en)
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  • 1819-01-30 (xsd:date)
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  • The society's purpose was to advance literature and science, purchase and maintain a library, and improve educational opportunities.
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  • Defunct
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  • A round stone monument commemorating the establishment of the society (en)
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  • Stone commemorative marker at Literary Hall in Romney, West Virginia (en)
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  • 1886-02-15 (xsd:date)
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  • 1819-01-30 (xsd:date)
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  • Polemic Society of Romney (en)
dbp:founders
  • (en)
  • David Gibson (en)
  • John Temple (en)
  • Thomas Blair (en)
  • Charles T. Magill (en)
  • James M. Stephens (en)
  • James P. Jack (en)
  • Nathaniel Kuykendall (en)
  • Samuel Kercheval, Jr. (en)
  • William C. Wodrow (en)
dbp:headquarters
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  • Romney, West Virginia, United States (en)
dbp:name
  • Romney Literary Society (en)
dbp:purpose
  • The society's purpose was to advance literature and science, purchase and maintain a library, and improve educational opportunities. (en)
dbp:status
  • Defunct (en)
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  • The Romney Literary Society (also known as the Literary Society of Romney) existed from January 30, 1819, to February 15, 1886, in Romney, West Virginia. Established as the Polemic Society of Romney, it became the first organization of its kind in the present-day state of West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States. The society was founded by nine prominent men of Romney with the objectives of advancing literature and science, purchasing and maintaining a library, and improving educational opportunities. (en)
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  • Romney Literary Society (en)
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  • Romney Literary Society (en)
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