The Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library
July 29, 1904: The Public Library in Copley Square was designed by architect Charles Follen McKim of the firm McKim, Mead and White. The cornerstone of the building was laid on November 28, 1888, and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes composed a dedicatory poem for the occasion. The library, which cost $2.5 million to build, opened its doors for viewing on Feb. 1, 1895, and began circulating books for the public on March 11, 1895. A photo of Copley Square in 1904 shows the Old South Church tower on the right and the Boston Public Library in the middle.
June 13, 1926: The play of light on the marble of the grand staircase lead one up to the twin lions on pedestals at the turn of the stairs. The lions were made from unpolished Siena marble by sculptor Louis Saint-Gaudens. They are memorials to the Second and Twentieth Massachusetts Civil War infantry regiments.
July 15, 1926: Margaret Lappen of the library staff oversaw the outdoor library in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library on this summer day. From noon to 2 p.m. the colonnaded courtyard was transformed into an open-air reading room. Armchairs from the main reading room as well as a book truck with over 100 books and magazines were provided for patrons to enjoy some reading time outdoors as well as the ability to check out books to take home.
April 18, 1937: This view of the facade of the library showed the library's seal over the doors, flanked by the seals of Massachusetts and Boston. They were the work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, brother of the sculptor who carved the lions on the grand staircase.
May 22, 1938: In 1937, the library rebound 75,000 books. Library employee Nettie Bandiera is shown here preparing to do a job of hand stitching to the 1938 collection. A study by the library at this time showed that books averaged just five lendings before they came to the bindery for rebuilding.
May 22, 1938: Mary J. Coyle loaded a book cart deep in the stacks to carry the book freight to the delivery desk using the library's interior electric railway system. Tiny cars with a capacity of about a dozen books each ran constantly from the depths of the stacks to the circulation desk in response to slips from patrons which were electrically dispatched from the desk.
Oct. 29, 1942: Paul Lambert of Dorchester and Emily Scott of Hyde Park visited the War Information Center at the Boston Public Library. The Works Projects Administration, or WPA, provided assistance for every library to become a War Information Center, "making available all the latest facts, reports, directories, regulations and instructions for public use."
Feb. 6, 1964: Impressive Bates Hall at the Boston Public Library is 218 feet long, 42½ feet wide and 50 feet high to the crown of the barrel-arched ceiling. It is named for Joshua Bates, an early benefactor to the library who donated $50,000 for the purchase of books with the condition that "the building shall be such as to be an ornament to the City, that there shall be a room for one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons to sit at reading tables, and that it be perfectly free to all."
March 28, 1965: Kathleen Mitchell, a student at Suffolk University, read details of Charles Lindbergh's famous solo flight to Paris in the Sunday Globe of May 22, 1927, from the microfilm reader in the the newspaper room.
July 16, 1968: Ronald Hobson 14, left, of Dorchester and Nathaniel Hickler, 14 of Wellesley shared a laugh during a visit to the Boston Public Library as part of the Wellesley Summer Program.