From unlikely sources came the beginningsTwice the library has been supported by unlikely benefactors. First it was Eric V. Hauser, for whom the library is named. Hauser died in 1929, leaving $100,000 each to Reed and three other local colleges.
Born in 1864, Hauser left school at the age of 13, working first without pay, then for $1.50 a week as a printer's helper. When he asked for a raise, he was fired. He left printing and began working construction, eventually owning his own company. He became rich building ships during World War I, turning much of the profits back into relief work for soldiers and their families. He was described as "a man of large enterprise and big achievements, a splendid citizen with imagination, true sympathy and helpfulness, a quiet, generous philanthropist."
In 1972 the library received its second large gift-$200,000 from William Nieubower, a man the newspapers described as a "Burnside derelict." Although he lived in seedy hotels, he used public libraries to research stocks and financial reports. His investments paid off handsomely.
His gift to Reed was traced to a conversation he had with a man he met in a stock exchange office-Paul Feldenheimer, husband of a Reed trustee. When he asked Feldenheimer what he should do with his money, the advice was to give it to Reed. Later, the library-loving Nieubower did just that.