Honorable Stephen Gordon Nash and the Gordon-Nash Library at New Hampton School
“The spine tingles when one enters a library – it is like entering a room full of heroes. A book is a great thing.“
Stephen G. Nash was born in New Hampton Village in 1822. His father, John Nash was an early treasurer of New Hampton School and his mother, Abigail Gordon, provided housing for students attending the female seminary. The earliest library in town, the New Hampton Social Library (1813), was located in their home on Main Street.
Judge Nash entered New Hampton School in 1833 and graduated at age 16 in 1838. After completing his B.A. at Dartmouth in 1842, he returned to teach for a year before becoming a barrister in Boston and then the youngest Superior Court Judge appointed by the Commonwealth.
Upon retirement, the Judge and his wife, Mary Upton, were determined to give back to the town and school that built the foundation for a successful life. In 1887 the Judge petitioned the New Hampshire State Legislature to incorporate a library, using the surname of both his parents as its name – The Gordon-Nash Library – and the seeds were sown. While the Judge died before full fruition, his wife, and other long-time friends, worked tirelessly to ensure the library was built, endowed, and populated with 6000 books from the Judge’s personal library and 4000 books from the school’s literary societies. The majority of the Judge’s estate was dedicated to establishing, “a public library and reading room in ‘Smith’s Village’ in New Hampton, New Hampshire, my native place, for the free use of said town, whether residents, students or sojourners.”