Skip to main content

Full text of "Annual report"

See other formats

City Document. — No. 73. 

(sa^n ®w ©(©^'ir 




18 5 3. 

In the Boai'd of Mayor and Aldermen^ 

November 14, 1853. 
Laid on the tabic and ordered to be printed. 
Attest : S. F. McCleary, Jr., City Clerk. 


Public Library of the City of Boston. 

In Board of Trustees, Nov. 12, 1853. 

Ordered, That the Report of Mr. Everett be accepted 
as the Report of this Board, and signed by its members, 
and that the Secretary deliver it to the Mayor, in obe- 
dience to the requisitions of the 4th Section of an Or- 
dinance in relation to the Public Library, dated October 
U, 1852. 

Attest: EDWARD CAPEN, Secretary. 




In pursuance of the Fourth Section of the Ordinance 
of the 14th of October, 1852, "in relation to the City 
Library," the Trustees beg leave to submit to the City 
Council their First Annual Report. 

In conformity with the provision of the section just 
referred to, the Keport of the Committee of five citi- 
zens appointed, in conjunction with a member of the 
Board as its Chairman, to examine the library is here- 
with submitted, marked A. From this Report it ap- 
pears that the whole number of books in the library, on 
the 10th day of November, Avas but little short of ten 
thousand volumes, of which about four thousand have 
been presented to the hbrary, and the residue pur- 

The whole amount expended on books is four thou- 
sand six hundred and ninety- three dollars and ninety- 
two cents, in which is included the sum of one hun- 
dred and sixty dollars and seventy cents for binding. 

The fourth section of the ordinance above referred to 
requires the Trustees to submit a statement of all re- 
ceipts and expenditures on account of the library. As 
the accounts of receipts and expenditures are kept at 
the Treasury, the Trustees respectfully refer to that de- 
partment for the required statement. 


The Trustees feel warranted in congratulating the 
City Council and the public on the condition and pros- 
pects of the library. The progess made in its organi- 
zation, during the past year, has equalled their most 
sanguine expectation. The temporary premises granted 
to the Trustees on the lower floor of the school-house 
in Mason street have been conveniently fitted up, and 
furnish all the accommodation which could be expect- 
ed under the circumstances of the case. The munifi- 
cent donation of fifty thousand dollars by our fellow- 
citizen Joshua Bates, Esq., of London, announced by 
his letter of October 1st, 1852, has already received the 
appropriate acknowledgments of the City Government. 
It placed the library at the outset on a firm basis, and 
insured its stability. Mr. Bates having consented that 
his donation should be funded, the income only to be 
applied to the purchase of books, provision was thereby 
at once made for the annual acquisition of books to the 
amount of three thousand dollars. The generous dona- 
tion of our townsman, Hon. Jonathan Phillips, of ten 
thousand dollars, to be applied in the same way, has 
added six hundred dollars annually to the fund for the 
purchase of books. From these two sources alone the 
Trustees will have it in their power, one year with 
another, to add at least thirty-five hundred well selected 
volumes to the collection. But they have no reason to 
doubt that the noble example of Messrs. Bates and 
Phillips will be followed by other benefactors, who will 
feel, as they have done, that there is perhaps no other 
way in which the intellectual culture of the communi- 
ty can be more effectually promoted. 

In addition to the large pecuniary donations of 
Messrs. Bates and Phillips, valuable presents of books 
continue to be made by individuals ; the whole number 
of volumes added to the library in this way amounting. 

1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 73. . 5 

as has been already stated, to four thousand, The 
Trustees confidently expect that the library Avill con- 
tinue to receive valuable accessions from this source. 

It was the wish of the Trustees to open the library 
for public use on the first of October. Although the 
number of books at the close of the first year, of which 
not more than six months could be devoted to active 
operations, was necessarily too limited to be of great 
public importance, it was nevertheless thought that it 
would be satisfactory to the City Government, and the 
public generally, to have a beginning made. It has, 
however, not been in the power of the Trustees to com- 
plete the necessary arrangements for so early an open- 
ing. That portion of their premises which is to serve 
as a reading room was under appropriation for another 
use, by authority of the City Government. It is the 
intention of the Trustees to open the library to the 
public, as soon as practicable, after the reading room 
shall be placed at their disposal. 

It is, however, scarcely necessary to observe that all 
their operations must be conducted on a narrow scale, 
while the establishment continues within its present 
temporary and contracted limits. It is only after the 
erection of the library building that it will be able de- 
finitively to commence its career of usefulness. The 
Trustees gladly avail themselves of the opportunity 
afforded them by this their first annual report, to express 
their deep sense of the liberality evinced by the City 
Government in the steps already taken toward the erec- 
tion of the building. The lot of land in Somerset street, 
which was at first proposed as the site of the library 
was, on further consideration, abandoned as not suffi- 
ciently near the centre of population, having regard to 
the probable growth of the city in a southern direction. 
It was accordingly resold without loss to the public. 


The eligible lot of land since piirchasecl, on Boylston 
street, unites, in a greater degree than any other which 
could be obtained, all the important conditions for such 
a purpose ; and is believed to be very generally ap- 
proved by the public. The situation is central ; it ad- 
mits of enlargement on either side, if hereafter requir- 
ed ; it can never be overlooked in front ; and it com- 
mands a view of the Common, which secures to it 
unobstructed light and air, and as fine a prospect as 
can be enjoyed in any city of the world. The Trustees 
are confident that on this spit a building may be 
erected, at moderate cost, which, besides answering the 
primary purposes of the library, will be an ornament 
to the city. 

Such a building will necessarily occupy two or three 
years ; and it is of the utmost importance to the pros- 
perity of the library that the plan should be in the 
best taste ; that it should combine all the most recent 
improvements in library buildings ; and that such a 
plan, once adopted, should be carried out to its comple- 
tion with steadiness. To attain these ends, the Trustees 
respectfully submit to the City Council that it might 
be expedient to confide the superintendence of the 
structure to a commission specially appointed for that 
purpose, whose duty it shall be to adopt a plan for the 
building, employ a well-qualified architect, make the 
necessary contracts and generally be responsible for the 
work. Such a commission might consist of a member 
of each branch of the City Council belonging to the 
Committee on Public Buildings, and of a certain num- 
ber of citizens elected at large. Thus constituted the 
commission will on the one hand be kept in constant 
and intimat(; relations witli the City Government for 
tlie time being, while on llic otlier hand it will be able 
to preserve lliat unity of counsel and purpose which 

1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 73. 7 

are essential in the execution of a work of a somewhat 
novel and highly important character. 

In conclusion, the Trustees beg leave to express their 
grateful sense of the favor hitherto extended to this un- 
dertaking, in various ways, by the City Government, 
and to commend it to their further countenance. They 
are persuaded that the Public Library will acquire a 
strong hold on the affections of the people. It is des- 
tined, they believe, to grow up into an establishment 
second only to our schools, as a means of promoting 
the great cause of popular education. In fact, it should 
be viewed as a part of the same system, intended to 
furnish to the mass of the community the opportunity 
of completing that education of which the foundations 
have been laid in the Public Schools. 

All which is respectfully submitted by 


Boston, 12th November, 1853. 





The Committee appointed under the seventh section 
of an Ordinance in relation to the Public Library, 
ask leave to 


That, as instructed, they have examined the library, 
and find its condition to be as follows, viz : 

First As to Books. The number of volumes, 
which is fast increasing, amounts now to nine thou- 
sand six hundred and eighty-eight. All of them are on 
the shelves, in good order. All are in English, except 
a few that have been presented. And all that have 
been purchased, seem chosen mainly with reference to 
the wants of the citizens generally, and, in particular, 
of those who have not access, as easy as they should 
have, to good collections of books. 

Second. As to Catalogues. The Catalogue of Acces- 
sions, which gives the history of all additions to the 
library, day by day, as they occur, and the Alphabeti- 
cal Catalogue, which contains the full title of each 
book on a separate card, arc, both of them, so prepared 
as not only to render the library generally useful now 
and in all future time ; but so as to furnish materials 
for the Printed Catalogue, which will diffuse among the 
citizens at large a complete knowledge of the library 
and its contents. 

1853.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 73. 9 

Third. As to the Lihrary Rooms. The library can- 
not be opened to the public until after the end of De- 
cember, when the outer of the two rooms now appro- 
priated to it in Mason street will cease to be required 
as a Ward Room, and can be fitted up as a Reading 
Room, where above an hundred American and Euro- 
pean periodicals, together with the books in the li- 
brary, will always be conveniently accessible. But even 
after both rooms are within the control of the Trustees, 
the accommodations in Mason street will be too small ; 
and before a proper building can be erected, they will 
be found insufficient even for putting on convenient 
shelves the books that will have been received. Indeed, 
in order to place the whole establishment on a footing 
of usefulness becoming the city and its wants, there is 
obviously needed an edifice, in which a great and rich 
library, in all languages and in all departments of 
human knowledge, can be so gathered and adminis- 
tered, that all our citizens — each according to his inter- 
ests, tastes and wants — can enjoy reasonable facilities 
for obtaining and using the books they may need, either 
for themselves or for their households. Such a build- 
ing, we are gratified to learn, will be erected, without 
any unnecessary delay, on the lot of land recently pur- 
chased for the purpose in^Boylston street. 

All which is submitted. 


Public Library, Nov. 10, 1853. 

City Document — No. 74. 

n^^ ®w iB®©^® 




In Commo7i Council^ November 2, 1854. 

Ordered, That the Trustees of the Public Library be and 
they are hereby requested to present their Annual Report to 
the City Council in print, and that they be allowed to print 
5000 copies. 

Sent up for concurrence. 


In Board of Mayor and Aldermen, November 6, 1854. 


J. V. C. SWl'Tll, Mayor. 


In Board of Trustees^ Nov. 3, 1854. 

Ordered, That the Report of Mr. Everett be accepted and 
signed by each member of the Board ; and that the Secretary 
deliver it to the Mayor, in obedience to the requisitions of 
the 4ih section of an Ordinance in relation to the Public 
Library, dated October 14, 1852. 

Attest: EDWARD CAPEN, Secretary. 



In obedience to the fourth section of the ordinance of the 
14th of October, 1852, in relation to the Public Library, the 
Trustees beg leave to submit to the City Council their 
second Annual Report. 

In conformity to the provisions of the ordinance, the 
Report of the Committee of Examination marked A, is here- 
with submitted. This Committee consists of live citizens 
at large, appoiuted by the Trustees, and of one of their own 
Board acting as chairman. The citizens at large, who have 
kindly given their services as members of the Committee, 
the present year, are : Hon. Jonathan Phillips, Rev. Dr. 
Edward Beecher, Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, Hon. Nathan 
Appleton, and Oliver Frost, Esq. The Trustees deem it a 
duty publicly to acknowledge the prompt and diligent atten- 
tion of these gentlemen to the duties of a Committee of 
Examination, and the interest manifested by them in the 
prosperity of the institution. 

The Trustees also submit the Annual Report of the Libra- 
rian, marked B, made in pursuance of chapter III., article 
12th, of the rules and by-laws of the Library. 

From these documents a full knowledge may be obtained 
of the operations of the Library during the past year, and of 
its condition at the present time. 


This year has been one of great importance in the history 
of the Library, being that of its opening to public use, on a 
plan somewhat novel in institutions of this kind. At the 
date of their former annual report, it was the hope of the 
Trustees that they should be able to commence their opera- 
tions on the first of January. This was rendered impossible 
by the circumstance, that the larger room appropriated for the 
present use of the Library was still required as a place for 
Ward meetings. The reading room was opened on the 20th 
of March, but it was not till the 2d of May last that the 
Trustees were able to open the circulating department of the 
library to public use. Since that time, with the exception 
of the usual public holidays, the library has been open every 
day from 9 o'clock A. M. to 9 1-2 o'clock P. M., till the ITtli 
ult., when, in compliance with the rules and by-laws, the 
doors were closed for the amuial examination. 

The facts stated in the report of the examining committee 
will show the use which has been made of the library, both 
as a place of resort for reading and for the purpt^se of bor- 
rowing books for home use. Notwithstanding the dilFicultics 
incident to most new undertakings, it is believed that there 
is no library in Boston, or the neighborhood, of which so 
extensive a use has been made. 

Such has been the case, although the pnrt of the year, dur- 
ing which the library has been open, is that in which, for seve- 
ral reasons, the greatest resort is not likely to take place. 
During the summer many families reside in the country, and 
many more travel. Of those who remain in the city, many 
give their leisure time to excursions in the neighborhood and 
to those out-door occupations which are favored by the pleas- 
ant season. The long evenings of winter and early spring 
will, it is anticipated, considerably increase the resort to the 

Meantime its growth has exceeded the most sanguine ex- 
pectations of the trustees. In their annual report of last 
year, they stated that the income of Mr. Bates's munificent 
endowment, of the generous donation of Mr. Phillips, and of 
the other invested funds of the library, would furnish the 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 5 

means of purchasing 3500 volumes for the current year, 
while from other sources still further accessions might be 
confidently anticipated. In point of fact the library, during 
the course of the year, had, at the date of the librarian's re- 
port, been increased by 6533 volumes and about 3000 pam- 
phlets. Of these it appears, by the librarian's report, that 
over two thousand volumes and nearly all the pamphlets 
have been donations, and that about four thousand four hun- 
dred volumes have been bought. If we are authorized to 
form an opinion of the future growth of the library from the 
experience of the past, we may safely calculate upon an in- 
crease hereafter of at least six thousand volumes annually, 
exclusive of pamphlets ; a rate of increase which in fourteen 
years will carry the library up to 100,000 volumes, — a larger 
collection than any at present existing in the United States. 

It is true that a considerable number of the new books 
added to the library the present year are duplicate sets of 
popular new publications, which have been purchased in 
pursuance of the principle on which the circulating depart- 
ment is founded, viz : that of supplying the public, as far as 
it could be reasonably done, with those books for which there 
is an urgent present demand. It is expected that for a certain 
class of books this demand will be temporary, and that in due 
time — sooner for some and later for others, — all but a single 
copy, or a very few copies may be dispensed with. In the 
meantime, however, the books will have performed their 
office ; the taste and habit of reading Avill have been cul- 
tivated ; and if the expectations of the trustees are realized, 
the standard of the reading community will have been 
steadily raised, and the class of nev/ books called for will 
become more and more one of permanent value. 

The trustees are of opinion, even at the present time, and 
in addition to the number of duplicate volumes of works of 
temporary interest, that a larger number of new works of 
permanent value have been added to the library the present 
year than to any other public library in Boston or the 
vicinity. Many of the works purchased in this couMlry 


and all of those imported from abroad, may Ijc reckoned in 
this class. 

In order more cfrectnnlly to meet the wants of the com- 
mnnitv, in reference to the supply of books, the trustees have 
systematically invited the co-operation of the public in their 
selection. For this purpose blank forms of recommendation 
have been prepared to be filled np with tlie titles of books 
not already on the shelves, and which the applicant may 
wish to have purchased. If deemed by the Committee of the 
Trustees a book proper for the Li])rary, it is ordered without 
dela^'. Several hundred volumes have, in the course of the 
season, been procured in this way, and they have usually 
been furnished to the reader in twenty-four hours after his 
application was made. 

The Trustees have from the first calculated on large ac- 
cessions to the Library from donations, individually tnken of 
a small amount. In a city as large as Boston, containing 
probably as great a number of educated persons as any city 
in the world of its size, there are in almost every house a few 
volumes, — sometimes rare and curious works, — ^which, in 
some cases have descended -from former generations, and 
which the present owners would rather have preserved in a 
public collection than retain themselves. Many such vol- 
umes have already been presented to the Library. Larger 
donations of this kind, — and in some cases collections which 
have been formed at great expense of time and money, — will 
in the natural course of things be ])resented to the Library. 
Their proj)rietors will often feel that, in the fluctuations of 
fortune to which families are subject, there is no way of dis- 
posing of a valuable collection of books, by which its perma- 
nent usefulness is so sure to be secured, as to place it on the 
shelves of a firc-proof building belonging to a great public 

The Trustees in this connection feel bound to make a 
special acknowledgement of the liberality of Dr. James Jack- 
son, of Dr. John Ware, of Dr. Charles G. Putnam, and Dr. 
E. A. Kittredge, for donations of medical books, amounting 
in the aggregate to eight hundred and twenty volumes, and 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 7 

to one thousand and eighty-six pamphlets. The Hon. G. S. 
Hillaid has presented to the Library two hundred and two 
volumes, among which is the Encyclopedie Methodique, in 
197 volumes 4to, one of the most valuable of the works of 
that class. One hundred and seventy-eight volumes and 
seven hundred and ninety-six pamphlets have been received 
from the Hon. Jonathan Phillips, in addition to his liberal 
donation often thousand dollars, a copy, in excellent bind- 
ing and preservation, of the American edition of the Ency- 
clopedia Britannica from Mrs. Louisa Thompson ; and from 
many other benefactors volumes amounting in the aggregate 
to several hundred, of which a specification accompanies the 
Librarian's report. 

The Trustees, in the purchase of books, have had an eye 
mainly to the wants of the mass of the reading public in a 
community like our own. In a few cases, when there has 
been an opportunity of purchasing a valuable work to great 
advantage, it has been done, although the work may not 
have been adapted for frequent popular use. But with 
this exception, it has been the object of the Trustees to 
make the acquisition of useful books, in the English lan- 
guage, in plain, good bindings. Works in the learned and 
foreign tongues, books or editions of books which owe 
their value to their rarity, works of luxury as they are 
called, splendidly illustrated publications, and sumptuous and 
costly bindings have been wholly avoided. The Trustees 
do not undervalue works of this class, when surplus funds 
exist for their purchase. They look forward to the time 
when, the more immediate wants of the institution having 
been supplied, there will be a propriety in making the acqui- 
sition, to a reasonable extent, of works of this class ; which 
they also have no doubt will, from time to time, be added to 
the Library by private liberality. But for the present they 
are under the impression, that works intended for substantial 
use, rather than for curiosity and show, are what the public 
need and have a right to expect. 

It was remarked in the report of the Trustees last year, that 
" all the operations of the Library must be conducted on a 


comparatively narrow scale, while the establishment con- 
tinues within its present temporary and narrow limits. It is 
only after the erection of a library building that it will be 
able definitively to commence its career of usefulness." It 
will be recollected that a piece of land for a library building 
was purchased on Somerset street, which was given up, 
Avithout pecuniary loss to the City, as not sufficiently large or 
central. An eligible site was then obtained on Boylston 
street, which, according to the opinion expressed by the 
Trustees in their report last year, was better adapted to the 
purpose than any other then to be procured. The circum- 
stances which have prevented any progress being made, the 
present season, in the erection of the building, are well 
known to the City Council as altogether beyond the control 
or influence of the Trustees. 

On the 17th of October the Trustees were invited to attend 
a conference with a committee of the City Council, appointed 
to consider the subject of the location of the library ; and 
from this conference it appeared, that it had been proposed 
to erect the new building on some suitable place in the pub- 
lic garden. The Trustees infer from this circumstance, that 
differences of opinion as to the best situation for tlie library 
may have had an influence, in causing the delay which has 
taken place in reference to the building. 

This question is one exclusively for the City Government; 
and in their decision, whatever it may be, the Trustees will 
respectfully acquiesce. Although as individuals in common 
with their fellow-citizens, but led by their duty to take an 
especial interest in the prosperity of the library, they may 
have their opinions on the relative advantages of different 
spots, the subject does not fall within their province as a 
board, and has never been officially considered by them. 

They trust, however, that they shall not be thought to go 
beyond their sphere of duty in saying, that whatever site is 
fixed upon, it is extremely desirable that as little time as pos- 
sible should be lost. The faith of the City is pledged for 
the erection of a library building, to the munificent bene- 
factor who has so generously endowed the institution. Any 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 9 

unnecessary delay in redeeming this pledge would bring just 
reproach on the good name of the City. Till a fire-proof 
building of ample dimensions is erected, it is in vain to ex- 
pect those liberal donations of books from individuals, which 
may be confidently depended upon, when adequate provision 
is made for their safe keeping and convenient use. In addi- 
tion to these considerations, it must not be forgotten, that 
the resort to the library is already so great, that the present 
temporary premises, (which consist of the basement story of 
one of the City school houses,) are altogether insufficient for 
the accommodation of those who come to borrow books, 
and still more of those who wish to avail themselves of the 
great advantages of the reading room. Notwithstanding 
great diligence and promptitude, on the part of the librarian 
and his assistants, aided by an admirably contrived system 
for the search and delivery of books asked for, it is manifestly 
impossible, in premises so contracted as those now appropri- 
ated to the library, with an average of three hundred persons 
daily resorting to it, to prevent occasional delay and crowd. 
It is hoped by the Trustees that the convenience of more 
than six thousand citizens who have already inscribed their 
names for the use of the library, and to whose number addi- 
tions are daily made, will, be thought by the City govern- 
ment to merit their earliest attention. 

The Trustees are firmly convinced, taking into considera- 
tion the present resources of the institution and the indica- 
tions of public interest in its progress, that, with a fire-proof 
building of suitable dimensions well adapted to the purpose, 
the Free Public Library will immediately become both an 
honor and a blessing to the community ; — an institution 
which will reflect credit on the liberality of its benefactors 
and of the City ; — and which will put the finish to that 
great system of public education of which Boston is so justly 

Before concluding this report, the Trustees beg leave to 
add, that they have great reason to be satisfied with the 
fidelity, indu:stry, zeal, and spirit of accommodation of the 
Librarian and his several assistants. Their diligence in the 


discharge of their laborious duties, under circumstances some- 
what embarrassing, has been exemplary, and has materially 
contributed to diminish the inconveniences, which would 
otherwise have been experienced by the public from the 
crowded state of the rooms. 

The Trustees may be permitted to add that on their own 
part they have spared no pains, by personal attention to the 
affairs of the library, to give effect to the enlightened views 
in which it has been founded and sustained. They have 
held a regular meeting every fortnight, throughout the year, 
and extra meetings when necessary ; — and the attendance of 
some one of their number, generally of more than one, has 
been given on some part of almost every day. 

All which is respectfully submitted by 


Public Library^ 2d November, 1854. 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 11 


The Committee, appointed under the seventh section of an 
Ordinance in relation to a Public Library, passed Oct. 14, 
1852, ask leave to 


That they have examined its condition on the three points 
embraced in the Report of their predecessors of the last year, 
both because those points seem to involve all the inquiries it 
was intended they should make, and because, by adopting, 
from year to year, the same system of investigation, the 
state and progress of the institution can be more easily un- 
derstood. Within these limits, then, they find the condition 
of the Public Library to be as follows : 

First, as to its Books. The number of volumes, which, 
in the Report of November 10, 1853, was stated to be nine 
thousand six hundred and eighty-eight, is now, by the Libra- 
rian's account, sixteen thousand two hundred and twenty- 
one, besides two thousand nine hundred and eighty-nine 
tracts, added this year, and nearly a thousand given earlier, 
portions of which are bound into volumes, and the remainder 
arranged alphabetically in compact cases, for easy reference 
until they, too, may be bound up. The books and tracts are 
in good condition and fit for use. Those purchased during 
the past year have been bought with reference to the wants 
of the citizens generally, but especially the wants of those 
who may not have access to good libraries. Of a large num- 
ber of these books there are duplicates, and in not a few 
cases there are several or many copies of the same work. 
But still the supply falls very far short of the demand. 
A great number of persons cannot obtain the book they want 
at the time they ask for it, even when more than one copy 
belongs to the Library ; and of many books that are much 
needed, no copy at all has yet been bought, from deficiency of 


funds. Our citizens meantime have been watcliful and lib- 
eral. The Librarian's Report on the state of the Library 
during the past year shows this in a manner most honorable 
to the individuals whose names it records. And it is confi- 
dently believed, when the remarkable facts stated in this 
Report shall have been considered by the public, that other 
patrons and friends to the Library will be found, like those 
who have made it what it is, and that many persons who 
have books lying idle in their houses, because they have 
ceased to be interesting to their families, will gladly add 
them to the Public Library, where they will again become 
useful. The City Government, too, has this year made the 
appropriation it has heretofore made for the general expenses 
of the Library, and a part of this appropriation, but mainly 
the munificent foundation of Mr. Bates, of London, and the 
income of funds given in a similar spirit by others, consti- 
tute, when taken together, the only resources of the Library 
for the purchase of books. But these resources are, by no 
means, sufficient. Even the present urgent wants of our 
citizens cannot be satisfied by them, and these wants are 
constantly increasing. Many persons add their names daily 
to the list of those who use the Library, and many more will 
follow; — for we have a growing population, and the number 
of readers among us grows in a ratio still greater than that of 
the increase of our people. The Liibrary, therefore, needs 
large additions to its collection of books. 

Second, as to its Catalogues. These are ample and 
well adjusted to their purposes. They consist, 1st, of the 
Catalogue of Accessiotis, in which every book, with its cost, 
condition, &c., is entered as soon as it is received. This 
Catalogue, therefore, constitutes a History of the Library as 
a Collection of Books. 2d. The Alphabetical Card Cata- 
logue, which contains a full title of each book on a separate 
card, with short alphabetical references on other separate 
cards to each word of the title under which the book is 
likely to be asked for. This constitutes the best basis for a 
thorough knowledge of the Library by the Librarian and his 
assistants, and for the use of its books by all persons who 

1S54.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 13 

wish to make careful investigations of particular subjects. 
3d. The Shelf Catalogue, which contains the titles of the 
books as they stand on their respective shelves, and which, 
therefore, affords the means of knowing, at any moment, the 
exact condition of the Library as a part of the City's prop- 
erty ; And 4th, the Printed Alphabetical Catalogue, of which 
interleaved copies, containing the titles of the books added 
from day to day, may always be found on the tables of the 
Reading Room; — thus placing a knowledge of the contents 
of the Library and the readiest means for using it within the 
reach of every citizen. These four Catalogues are all in good 
order, and carefully made up to the present date. 

Third, as to the Library Rooms. The present Rooms — 
which were regarded merely as a temporary provision when 
they were first assigned for the use of the Library — are only 
two in number, and are already found to be wholly inade- 
quate to the proper management of such an institution and to 
the demands daily made on it by our citizens. The outer 
one is the Reading Room, where there are one hundred and 
thirty-eight Periodicals, Transactions of Mechanics' Institutes, 
Scientific Bodies, ifcc. — all of which are to be read and con- 
sulted on its tables. But this Room — from the want of any 
other for the purpose — is now necessarily used for the deliv- 
ery of books, every afternoon and evening, to above three 
hundred persons on an average, and sometimes to more than 
five hundred. It is, therefore, noisy, uncomfortable and unfit 
for its peculiar purposes as a place for quiet reading ; — besides 
which it often happens, that the persons who come to borrow 
books are so numerous as to be most inconveniently crowded 
together; many of them being, kept standing and waiting 
much longer than ought to be necessary, until their turn 
comes round to be served. The interior or proper Library 
Room is no better than the Reading Room. It is small, ill- 
lighted, ill-ventilated, cold in winter, and so nearly filled 
with books that it will soon be impossible to find places for 
more. Both of them, by their exposure to fire, are unsafe 
repositories for books. But there can be no need of adding 
a word ou this point. The case is a plain one. Every body 


who visits the Library, and the thousands who use it, know 
and feel every time they come there, that its present Rooms 
are wholly insufficient for its present wants, — to say nothing 
of the increasing wants and inconveniences that must arise 
from the increased numbers who are constantly demanding 
its privileges and benefits for themselves and their families. 
It is obvious, therefore, that something should be done with- 
out delay for the erection of a proper building ; — a building 
becoming the character of the City, and becoming the 
pledges it has given. 

In conclusion, it maybe remarked, that the Public Library, 
although begun under the very considerable disadvantages 
already suggested, has yet been eminently successful. It 
was opened as a Reading Room March 20, 1854, and for 
the circulation of books May 2, and closed for the annual ex- 
amination, October 17 ; the latter dates including a period 
of just five months and an half. During this period, it appears 
that six thousand five hundred and ninety persons entered 
their names in order to enjoy its privileges ; that the number 
of volumes borrowed for home use was thirty-five thousand 
three hundred and eighty-nine, besides several thousands 
used in the Reading Room, of which no record is kept ; that 
no one book of this very large number is known or believed 
to have been wantonly or unreasonably injured ; that, after 
a very careful examination, only twenty volumes are now 
missing from the slielves ; that most of these twenty will, 
probably, be found and returned to their places ; and that not 
one of them is of suflicient pecuniary value to permit its loss 
to be considered important or to allow its absence to be 
attributed to any cause but accident or misfortune. More- 
over, if none of them should be recovered, the very trifling 
fines already promptly and cheerfully paid for the undue de- 
tention of books, would jjurchase them all several times over. 

It is certain, therefore, that a very large amount of good 
reading has been circulated among our citizens by the Public 
Library, and that the books containing it have been treated, 
as it might be expected they would be treated by persons 
who know their value. 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 15 

The benefits tliat must follow from such an Institution, 
fitted, as the Public Library is, to continue by home-reading 
and self-culture the education begun by our excellent system 
of Free Schools, your Committee will not pretend to esti- 
mate. Indeed, if this Library should be liberally fostered 
and administered by the persons to whom its support and 
care are entrusted, all its benefits to the intellectual, moral 
and religious training of our community, and especially of our 
children, can neither be measured nor foreseen. 

It may be appropriate here to add, as an important circum- 
stance in the present condition of the Public Library, that the 
very simple system now in operation for arranging its books 
on their shelves and circulating them among our citizens, is 
not only an excellent system in itself, but is, also, a system 
that admits of such easy and almost indefinite expansion, 
that it may be relied on to meet the future no less than the 
present demands of the public. But, in order to give our 
community the benefit of this system and of the wise and 
liberal use of the Library which it involves, a building must 
undoubtedly be erected permitting arrangements and facili- 
ties for its management and administration, that are quite 
impossible in the present inappropriate, uncomfortable, unsafe, 
and insufficient premises. 

All which is submitted. 


Public Library, October 31, 1854. 



By chapter III., article 12, of the Rales and Regulations 
of the Public Library, it is incumbent on the Librarian, 
"before the last day of October, to make in writing and pre- 
sent to the Trustees a detailed and circumstantial Report on 
its condition and increase during the year preceding." 

Agreeably to this provision I submit the following Report : 

On the 10th day of November, 1853, there were 9688 
volumes belonging to the Library, and 961 pamphlets. 
Since that time there have been added 6533 volumes and 
2989 pamphlets. Of these, 2152 volumes and nearly all the 
pamphlets have been received in donations, and 4381 vol- 
umes have been purchased. 

The number of volumes at present belonging to the Li- 
brary is therefore 16,221, and the number of pamphlets 3950. 
In this account are included the duplicate or numerous 
copies of many works which it was found necessary to pur- 
chase, in order to supply the reasonable demands of the 
large number of readers who have availed themselves of the 
privileges of the circulating department. 

This department was opened to the public on the 2d day 
of May last, and, on the 17th day of October, when the 
Library was closed for examination, had been in operation 
just five and a half months. During this period 6590 per- 
sons, by signing their names in the book for signatures, put 
themselves under obligations to obey the rules and regula- 
tions that had been or might be prescribed by due authority. 
Of these 5384 have opened accounts in the " Loan Books," 
and thereby obtained the right to receive books for home 
use. Justice to these subscribers requires a strong statement 
of the fact, that, under many inconveniences and much dis- 
comfort, from the want of proper accomodations in the 

1854.J CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 17 

library rooms, the rules of the Library, both in letter and 
spirit, have been cheerfully complied with. 

It has been ascertained that 35.3S9 volumes were taken 
from the Library between the 2d day of May and the 17th 
of October, for home use ; an average of 250 vohinies a day. 
The average number of books taken out daily for the week 
ending September 22, was 306, or 1836 volumes in all. On 
the 16th of Sejjtember 535 volumes were taken out. In 
other weeks, w[ien no account was kept, the average is sup- 
posed to have been greater. The average number of books 
used daily in the reading room during the week ending Sep- 
tember 30th was 34, or, in all, 204, On other weeks it was 
probably grealer; and all these numbers- grow larger from 
week to week. 

Books were in constant circulation until August 1, without 
requiring us to replace, in a single instance, the paper cover ; 
and up to this time eighty-three volumes only have been re- 
bound, and only fifty-two more are now known to require 
a new binding. It is not known that, in any instance, a 
wilful, and in only one instance an accidental injury has 
been done to a book, and in the latter case the damage was 
voluntarily and cheerfully made good. One book has been 
lost by accident, and that also has been paid for. 

An examination of each shelf, with the alcove catalogue, 
shows that the books are all in their places, with the excep- 
tion of twenty volumes. As an offset to this item we have 
received, in fines collected for the undue retention of books, 
the sum of $87. 30, which has been paid into the City 
Treasury, on account of the Library, and will amply replace 
all the books that may have been lost. 

Appended to this report, in a paper marked No. I., will be 
found the names of the benefactors of the Library, with the 
amount of money, or the number of volumes, pamphlets, 
charts, &c. received from each during the past year ; the 
whole preceded by the names of those who had earlier 
been benefactors. This shows us the agreeable fact that 
over one hundred and fifty persons, many of whose dona- 
tions have been of great value, and all desirable, have had in 
mind the wants of the Library. 

f 3 


Appended also to this report, in another paper marked No. 
II., will be found a statement of the expenditures of money, 
for whatever purpose, from the first day of November 1853, 
to the last day of October 1854. A little inconvenience 
arises from the fact that the financial year of the City com- 
mences on the first day of May, and that the appropriations 
are made for a year from that period. But the most impor- 
tant thing here, is to exhibit the way in which the moneys 
in trust for the wants of the Library have been spent. This 
exhibit can be made month by month, and item by item, if 
it be necessary; but it is presumed that the divisions made 
in this statement will be sufficiently minute. It should, 
however, be understood that the heavy items of the construc- 
tion and furniture accounts cannot occur again, and that 
about the sum of $200, (192 46) charged to the account of 
printing, has been refunded by the receipts from the sale of 

Respectfully submitted, 

EDWARD CAPEN, Librarian. 

Boston, October 24, 1854. 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 19 

No. I. 


Previous to the \Qth November, 1853. 

Applcton, Samuel $1,000 00 

Bates, Joshua Funded, 50,000 00 

Bigelow, John P. « 1,000 00 

Bowditch, N. I. Services valued at - - - 200 00 

Brown, James 500 00 

Nightingale, James - - - - - - - 100 00 

Phillips, Jonathan Fund, 10,000 00 

Volumes. Pamphlets. 

Appleton, Samuel -.--_- i 

Appleton, William ------ 9 1 

Balfour, David M. 3 

Ballard & Prince, ------ 1 

Ballon, M. M. 1 

Barnard, Henry, Conn. ----- i 

Bigelow, John P. 207 87 

Bishop, Nathan 3 7 

Boston, England ------ 1 

Boston, City of - - - - - - - 315 39 

Bowditch, J. I. 4 

Clapp, Otis ------- 5 41 

Clapp,W.W. 7 

Cotiin, Admiral Sir I. - - - - - 6 

Dall, William - - - - - - - 70 150 

Dearborn, Nathaniel - - - - - 21 

Dillaway, Charles K. - - - - - 2 

Dui)ee, James A. ------ 1 

D wight, Louis --'----- 4 

EastJnirn, John H. 1 66 

Eliot, Samuel A. ------ 85 

Eustis, William T. 4 

Everett, Edward 1170 2 

Flint, Charles L. - - - - - - 11 

French, B. F. 3 

Gait, J. M., Va. 14 

Gilbert, A., New York, 1 

Gray, Asa 2 

Gray, Francis C. ------ 57 

Greene, C. W., Greenwich, R. I. - - - 33 

Gr is wold, Almon W, - ' - - - - - 1 

Guildhall Library Committee, London, - - 1 


Hale, N. & C, - 
Ilcrrick, E. C, Yale College, 

Jarvis, Edward, _ _ _ 
Kingnian, Charles B. - 

Knecdand, Saimiel _ _ - 

Lawrence, T. B. - - - 

Lee, Thomas J. - _ _ 

Livermore, George, Cambridge, - 

Loring, James S. - - - 

MclMahon, J. B. - - - 

Massachusetts, State of - - 

McClearj, S. F. - - - 
Montagu, A. de 

Norton, Cliarles B,, New York, - 

Norwood, Samuel - - - 
Paine, IMartyn, NeAv York, 
Paris, City of - 

Parsons, Ushei-, .* _ - 

Phillips, Jonathan _ - - 
Rhode Island Historical Society, 

Riddle, Edward _ - . 

Sawyer, F. W _ _ _ 

Seaver, Benjamin . . _ 
Shurtleff, N. B. ... 
Smith, Elbridge, Cambridge, 
Southcy, Thomas, England, 

Sparks, Jared - - - - 
Spurr, O. H. - 

Thornton, J. W. _ - . 

Ticknor, George _ - - 

United States, - - - - 

Unknown, _ _ _ _ 

Wales, George B. - - - 

Walker, Amasa _ _ _ 

Warren, J. Mason - - - 

Warren, Jolui C. - - - 

Warren Street Chapel Library, - 

Webster Daniel _ _ _ 
Weld, Moses IL 1 Crystallotyi)e. 

Wilkins, John IL - - - 
Williams John D. W. 

Winthrop, Robert C. - - 
Withington, William 


















































3889 DGl 

1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 21 


For the year 1853-54, and the number of Volumes, Pamphlets, 
Charts, &)-c. received from each. 

Bates, Joshua, London, Interest, .... $3000 00 

Bigelow, John P. " .... 60 00 

Bowditch, J. Ingersoll, 300 00 

Phillips, Jonathan, Interest, GOO 00 

Volumes. Pamphlets. 

Albany Young Men's Association, ... 1 
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mis- 
sions, by Prudential Committee, - - - 32 

Appleton, J. W. M. 1 

Appleton, W. ....... 7 1 

Austin, J. T. 2 

Balfour, David I^I. 55 

Ballou, Maturin M. 5 

Bigelow, Henry J. ------ 6' 

Bigelow, John P. ----- - 4 

Binney, C. J. F. 1 

Binney, Horace, Philadelphia, .... 2 

Bishop, Nathan, ...... 5 

Boston Society of Natural History, ... 4 1 

Bowditch, Henry I. ------ 6 1 

Bowditch, N. I. 1 

Bradley, John N. - ■ 55 

Brown, Obadiah, Benevolent Fund of - - 9 

Cass, Mrs. L. A. 5 

Chandlei", George, "Worcester, .... 1 

City of Boston, Departments of - - - - 23 1 

Clapp, David 11 60 

Cogswell, Joseph G., New York, ... 3 

Copeland, Elisha -13 79 

Cornell, William M. ----- - 4 8 

Couthouy, J. P. 4 

Davis, David E. ------ 2 

Dench, Lawsou B. ------ 3 

Dennet, W. H. 1 

Dixon, B. Homer, - - - - - - 10 

Durkee, Silas, ..-.--- 1 

Eastburn, John II. ----- - 1 

Eliot, Samuel A. ------ 2 

Everett, Edward, 27 Charts, &c. - - - 166 245 

Flint, Ch. L. 2 1 

Foster, F. E. Miss 1 




French, James & Co. - - - . . 

Frost, Oliver -.-.-.. 

Garrison, "William L. - - - . _ 

Gasking, Samuel -_---. 

Girard, Cliai-les, Philadelphia, - - - - 

Guild, Albert. 

Harvard College, President and Fellows of, 
Ilillard, George S. ----- - 

Holland, F. W. 

Howe, John, Jr. -____. 

Jackson, Abby C. ----- - 

King, Gedney Mrs. ------ 

Jackson, Francis ______ 

Jackson, James --____ 

Kittredge, Edward A. - - - - - 

Lawrence, Abbott, Jr. - - - - - 

Leeds, Charles H., New York, - - - - 

Loring, James S. ----- - 

McCleary, S. F. Jr. 

Maryland Historical Society, - - - - 
Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, - 
Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, 

Merritt, J. Mrs. 

IMiinroe, .James - - ■ - 

Munsell, J., Albany, ------ 

New York University, Regents of - - - 
New York Society Library, - - - - 

Otis, Harrison Gray Mrs. - - 

Paris, City of 

Parker, Henry T. ----- - 

Phillips, Jonathan - - - - -, - 

Potter, E. R., Rhode Island, - - - 
Prescott, Frederic W. - - - - - 

Pulsifer, David -_-___ 

Putnam, Cliarles G. - 

Quincy, Eliza S. ----- - 

Quincy, Josiah, Sen'r. - - - - - 

Reed, Sampson --.._. 

Rich Brothers, London, - - - - - 

Roelker, Bernard ------ 

Ruggles, S. B., New York, - - - - 

Shurtleff, N. B. 

Spear, Charles ---__. 

Sumner Charles ------ 

Sumner, W. IL, Roxbury, - - - _ 

Sunderland, La Roy - - - - . 

Tarbell, Thomas Mrs. - _ . - . 

Tliayer, Gideon F. ----- - 

ThompfiOn, Louisa Mrs. - _ _ _ . 
Thwing, Thomas .----. 









































1854.] CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 74. 23 

Volumes. Pamphlets. 

Ticknor, George, 14 Charts, Sec. - - - 116 32 

Ticknor, Reed & Fields, ----- 3 

Torrey, Henry W. ------ 1 

Turner, J. AV, ------- i 

United States, State Department, - - - 36 

United States Commissioner of Patents, - - 1 

Unknown, -----.-19 7 

Ware, John 239 307 

Warren, Jolm C. ------ 1 

West, E. L. Mrs, 2 

Wetherbee, Moses H. - - - - - 3 

Whitney, Frederic A., Brighton, - - - 30 

Wilkins, John H. ------ 2 

Willard, F. A. 2 

Williams, 'J. D. W., Roxbury, - - - . H 3 

Wilson, John ------- 1 

Winthrop, Robert C. 3 

Woods, Charles - 1 

Wright, Ephraim M. - - - - - - 7 

2152 2871 


No. 11. 

From November 1, 1853, to October 31, 1854. 

Binding Books, $ 525.43 

Blank Books, Stationery, &c., 381.70 

Books, G,247.;i0 

Construction, Repairs, &c., ------ 505.01 

Expresses, Cartage, &c., ------ 24.77 

Freights, Customs, Wharflige, Sec, - - - - 21.14 

Furniture, Tools, &c., ------- 774.35 

Gas, 10(5.82 

Insurance, --------- 157.00 

Miscellaneous, 25.24 

Periodicals, G80.22 

Porter, for Fires, Cleaning, &;c., ----- 52.00 

Postage, 73.91 

Printing and Paper, ------- 1,719.20 

Salaries and Extra Help, -".-.-- 2,543.98