Nutley Library ‘Lady or Tiger’ Room Is Opened for Youngsters

Named for Frank Stockton, Noted Local Author

(Feb. 6, 1942) – Dedicated to the originator of “teaser” type fiction, the Frank Stockton room, New Jersey’s first library department exclusively for junior high school students, was opened here at noon Monday.

A clamoring queue of young people was waiting to get its first view of the slick bright new room when doors of the free public library were opened for them without ceremony, department supervisor Solveig Olsen revealed last night.

She said demands for the “leisure” reading material on the room’s spacious shelves were so great previous records for the children’s department were nearly doubled.

About 150 books went out in the Stockton room and 131 in the old children’s room, she estimated. The record for the whole department had been around 150 until then.

Honored author Stockton, it was also explained, gained fame when his puzzle story, “The Lady or the Tiger?” became world famous and started a vogue in literature.

Even India Wondered

Written originally to amuse a group of friends, the narrative left its hero required to open one of two doors, behind one of which was a beautiful woman and behind the other a man-eating tiger.

Debates on the ultimate outcome raged all the way to India and similar stories appeared everywhere for years, although Stockton never did answer his question.

The former resident of Walnut Street, dead since 1902, was chosen as posthumous sponsor of the new library room because of other works, however.

A prolific writer of humorous tales for both children and adults, he wrote one around an imaginary family who went to live in a houseboat near here and it was this, “Rudder Grange,” that inspired his selection.

A scene from the work will be hung at the north end of the room on completion by Ivan Stoppe, New York artist.


An editor as well as a writer during his long career (he was 63 when stricken, in Washington, D.C.), the way Stockton first broke into print is nearly as famous as his “teaser” story.

Convinced after numerous rejections that editors would use nothing from an unknown, he and his brother sent a copy of Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” to a magazine under their names.

They expected a rejection an were prepared to gloat over it, But though hazy on his Milton, the editor proved he knew a good thing when he saw it and bought the story.

Barred From Adult Dept.

Located in the basement of the WPA-constructed library wing, opened last Tuesday after a one month library closing, the Stockton room will contain 3,000 volumes of fiction, non-fiction and magazines as well as Stockton’s juvenile works.

The Lady or the Tiger? Frank StocktonApproximately 1,385 volumes are there now and any child of 7th, 8th, or 9th grade school age can participate in its privileges. They will henceforth be barred from the adult sections.

Probably the most outstanding objects in the room, aside from its books, are the eight bronze and glass box-shaped chandeliers that hang from the ceiling.

Designed by Frank G. Simmons, former school board president, they are covered with engraved figures representing music, painting, drama and the other arts in their sprightliest visual forms.

In addition to Miss Olsen, a Lyndhurst girl, the department will be supervised by Miss Gertrude Dupont, a local resident, and by Head Librarian Irene Phillips, who first suggested using Stockton’s name.

Open hours will be noon to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 6 p.m. on week days.

Source: The Nutley Sun, February 6, 1942

Frank R. Stockton books in Nutley Public Library, Nutley, NJ


Frank Stockton

Stockton Place, Nutley, N.J.

The Lady or the Tiger and Other Stories 

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