A True Tolland Namesake

Former Tolland resident Hannah Dodier has named her infant daughter after the town's first librarian, Lucile Agard.

Hannah Dodier may now be a Massachusetts resident, but Tolland and its history have always stayed with her.

It was her strong connection to her hometown and in particular, to Tolland's first librarian, Lucile Agard, that ultimately inspired Dodier to give her daughter, now 6 months old, a distinctly Tolland-centered name: Lucille.

"My mother gave Lucile Agard's journals to me when I was pregnant, and while I was reading it, the name just kind of came to me. It was in my consciousness, and I just started liking it and thinking about it," Dodier said.

"I ran it by my husband and he was sold. He loved it."

Dodier, whose maiden name is Fain, grew up with close connections to Lucile Agard. Her family moved into Agard's former home on Tolland Green when she was around five years old. Fain lived in Lucile's old bedroom.

Fain never met Lucile Agard, but she did get a glimpse into her life and thoughts. When her family moved in, they also received a number of Agard's travel journals, including the very same journal that would later move Dodier to name her daughter after Agard years later.

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Little Lucille's namesake, it could be argued, is a Tolland icon. Agard was a founding member of the back in 1898 and served as the librarian for 50 years, before retiring in 1948.

According to Town Historian Barbara Cook, Agard, who was born in 1875, first came to Tolland with her parents when she was only 10 years old. However her family was already established in town. Agard lived right in Tolland's center, at 76 Tolland Green, which her grandfather built. Cook said that a total of five Agard generations lived at that address through the years.

In fact, the Fain family was the first to move into the home after the Agard's, according to Cook.

Even though her family was well-known locally, Agard's work at the Tolland Public Library helped her stand out on her own.

She took over the library, based out of the , as a young woman most likely with a high school-level education. Through her dedication, the library's circulation grew from about 400 books at the end of the nineteenth century to 5,584 at her retirement in 1948, according to a Hartford Courant profile on Agard.

But what Agard truly enjoyed was cultivating a love of reading in young Tolland residents, according to the 1948 Courant article marking her retirement.

Dodier hopes that young Lucille will inherit a passion for literature from Agard, since she also places a high value on reading.

"I love that the connection to her name is a connection to Tolland history and to books and reading," Dodier said. "Tolland was where I grew up, and reading is something that's always been important to me."

Cook, who volunteered at the library while Agard was still in charge, had nothing but kind words to remember the hard-working librarian.

"She was lovely. She encouraged many, many generations of Tolland kids to read, including my mother," Cook said. "She was the sweetest lady."

Check out the attached photos above to see Lucille and Lucile.

Heather Ricker-Gilbert June 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Thanks,Jayme, for writing this story about Hannah Fain who many readers will remember is the daughter of Moira and Joel Fain.
John Serrell June 12, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Great Story, I live at 89 Tolland Green and remember the Fain family growing up. I love learning the history of Tolland and the town green.
MaryAnn June 22, 2012 at 03:59 AM
How lovely that Hannah Fain chose to keep her connection with Tolland through her baby daughter! It is nice that the next generation will have the close connection to Tolland's past that her family cherished.


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