The history of the Jordan Bramley Library centers around one very remarkable woman, Jessica Edgarita Leland Bramley. What follows is a brief compilation taken from two sources: an article in the Syracuse Post-Standard, by Anita Altman from May 20th, 1975, and from a hand written article, by Marge Austin titled “Remembering Jessica Bramley”, from February of 2009.
Jessica Edgarita Leland was born in 1890, on a farm located on Bonta Bridge Rd., in the Town of Cato, New York. As a child she was schooled in local one room school houses, on Bonta Bridge & Jorolemon Roads, and in 1907 graduated from the Jordan High School. She next attended Syracuse University graduating in 1912, with a degree in Library Science. Upon completing her studies, she married Charles M. Bramley, who practiced law first in Jordan, then in Syracuse, New York.
Besides serving as the Jordan librarian for 55 years, she also taught English at the Jordan High School, and was school librarian for many years. Jessica Bramley was a trustee of the Onondaga Historical Association, charter member of the New York State Canal Society, charter member of the Onondaga Library System (organized in 1962), organized and was first president of the Jordan Parent-Teachers Association, helped to start the Jordan Study Club in 1915, and was a sponsor of the Hiawatha Junior Yorkers Group, which organized Jordan’s early historical museum.
Jessica Bramley was 90 years old at the time of her death in 1980. She and her husband are buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, in the Town of Elbridge, New York.
This photo of Jessica Bramley, from the Jordan Historical Museum archives, was taken in 1975 by the Syracuse Post Standard, for an article about her & the library, written by Anita Altman. She is standing next to the Dewey Decimal System card file... the precursor to the online library search engine we use today.
After graduation from college, the Bramley’s returned to Jordan. In 1922, citing that “We needed a library; as there was none.”, Jessica Bramley founded the Jordan Free Library, and ran it herself, with the help of volunteers.
The former Mechanic Street Garage was destroyed by fire in 1950, and rebuilt as a Chevrolet Agency. In 1970 it was purchased by the Jordan Free Library Association, and refurbished as the new Horace W. Whiteley Memorial Building / Community Center, which also houses the Jordan Historical Museum.
In 1972, when the newly renovated car dealership was ready, the library moved from the Village Hall. Upon the move, the Jordan Free Library was renamed the Jessica Bramley Free Library. Today it is known as the Jordan Bramley Library.