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18 66. 

City Document. — No. 110. 







In Board of Aldermen^ November 26, 1866. 
Laid on the table, and ordered to be printed. 

Attest : S. F. McCLEARY, City Clerk. 


Public Library, November 22, 1866. 

His Honor Frederic W. Lincoln^ Jr.^ Mayor of the City of Boston : 

Sm: I have the honor to transmit to you, herewith, the 
Fourteenth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Public 
Library, prepared in obedience to the fourth section of the 
Ordinance relative to the Public Library, passed on the 20th 
of October, 1863. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Secretary of the Board of Trustees. 



In obedience to the requisitions of an Ordinance con- 
cerning the Public Library, passed October 20, 1863, the 
Trustees have the honor to submit to the City Council 
their Fourteenth Annual 


The year which has passed has witnessed greater 
industry and more labor in all branches of the library 
service than during any previous year of its history. 
The details of this work are fully given in the documents 
accompanying this Report, which are worthy the careful 
attention of every friend of the institution. Every fact, 
which will show the use as well as the abuse of its 
privileges, deserves thoughtful examination, not only in 
reference to its present administration, but also in regard 
to the future good will of the citizens and residents to 
whom its treasures are intrusted. 

The first of these documents, appended to this Report, 
and marked A, proceeds from the Examining Committee, 

6 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

appointed iiiulor the (itli section of the Ordinance, and 
consisting of five citizens at large, with a member of the 
Board of Trustees as Chairman. The Committee for the 
present year are, James M. Barnard, Esq., Rev. Henry 
M. Dexter, D. D., Walbridge A. Field, Esq., Loring 
Lothrop, Esq., Dr. Francis Minot, with George Ticknor, 
Esq., as Chairman. The fidelity and minuteness with 
which these gentlemen have pursued their investigations 
will be best appreciated by those having knowledge of 
the history, wants, and rapid development of the Library. 
No committee for many years, if ever, has given so 
much time and patient consideration to the annual 

The second of these documents, marked B, is pre- 
sented by the officer directly in charge of the institution. 
It embraces full details of every department, with all the 
statistics and figures necessary to a full understanding of 
the present condition of the Library. We think that it 
will be found to contain more information of importance 
to the City Council and to the citizens, than is to be 
found in any previous Report from the same hand. No 
one can finish its perusal without forming a just estima- 
tion of the difficulty of reconciling the largest possible 
use of the books and periodicals with that degree of 
safety which the Trustees are bound to provide. 

By the third section of the Ordinance under the pro- 
visions of which the Library is administered, the Trustees 
are required to enumerate, for the information of the 
City Council, certain facts which ' are always given by 


the Examining Committee and by the Superintendent 
with more fulness of statement than is desirable from 
the Trustees. " The condition of the Library, the num- 
ber of books that have been added during the past year, 
with an account of the receipts and expenditures," will 
all appear with sufficient distinctness in the documents 
which form part of this Rej)ort, without repetition here. 
It may be remarked, however, that the library year, so 
far as the Annual Report is concerned, does not corre- 
spond with the fiscal year of the City ; and that, there- 
fore, the only correct information as to its real financial 
position is to be obtained from the Reports of the City 
Auditor, with whose figures, taken monthly, it is, per- 
haps, unnecessary to remark, the accounts of the insti- 
tution must necessarily agree. 

By far the most important of the acquisitions of the 
Library during the past year has been the collection of 
books, heretofore in charge of the Deacons of the Old 
South Church, and known as the Prince Library. The 
agreement under which it was intrusted to our care is 
printed with the documents accompanying the Report of 
the Superintendent. Of the collection itself, it is not too 
much to say, that it forms an invaluable addition to our 
resources. The original publications relating to early 
American history have, year by year, become so costly, 
as to place them almost beyond the reach by purchase 
of any pubhc institution with limited resources. When 
this collection has been arranged in proper condition for 
public inspection, according to the terms of its deposit, 
it will be found to contain but few volumes which had 

8 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

previously been upon the shelves of a library already 
comprising nearly 180,000 volumes — and but few that 
are contained in other libraries of this vicinity. 

The magnificent silver vase presented by public sub- 
scription in 1835 to the Hon. Daniel Webster, has been 
given by a few of our citizens to the City of Boston, to 
be forever kept in the Public Library. As a testimonial 
honorable alike to the great statesman, and to the 
community which had so largely reaped the benefit of 
his intellectual labors, it is a part of the history of the 
City, and as such deserves a position of permanent 
deposit, where it may be seen by future generations. 
The measures adopted by the City Government to insure 
its safety will, it is presumed, be entirely sufiicient — 
and such regulations, governing its exhibition, will be 
made by the Trustees, as will tend to secure the same 

In considering the circulation of the Library during 
the past year, it is apparent that the use of the better 
class of books has increased, although the whole number 
of books taken out is a few less than in the previous 
year — the number being 1 93,197, or 1,4^^0 only less than 
in 1865. When it is recollected that the novels, which 
had been filled up to about 6,000 volumes when the 
Library re-opened in September, and of which a larger 
use is made than of the other classes of books of the 
Lower Hall, were necessarily withheld for some time from 
circulation, in order to prepare suitable Finding Lists, it 
will readily be seen that this fact alone accounts for the 


numerical decrease. Still farther, since the investigations 
conducted at the time of the annual examination dis- 
closed that, previous to August 1st, but 4,965 of the 7,672 
volumes of novels on the Shelf-lists were upon the shelves, 
and in proper condition for general use, there must 
necessarily have been an increased circulation of other 
classes of books. It is in many respects fortunate that 
the wear and tear of the Library falls mainly upon the 
class of works of the smallest relative importance among 
its possessions, and which can generally be so readily 
replaced when worn out or lost. 

The attention of the City Council is respectfully 
desired to the statement of facts relative to the practical 
operation of the new systems of delivery, both in the 
Reading Room and in the Library. It will be seen that 
while the public have been denied no desu-able privi- 
lege, the Library has largely gained in order, system, 
knowledge of its visitors, protection of its property, and 
in the statistics needed for its careful and efficient ad- 
ministration. It will also be seen, that, while no plan 
of general circulation can insure the return of every 
volume loaned, under the present arrangement each 
book will be definitely traced at the very date when it 
should be made apparent that it has not been retui'ned 
by the individual to whom it is charged. The return of 
the book, or its equivalent in value, is secui'ed from every 
honest borrower, while the dishonest or unfaithful 
borrower will be cut off from a further enjoyment of 
the benefits of the institution. It is perhaps too much 
to expect, however deskable such a result might be, 
that among the multitudes enjoying the blessings of the 

10 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

Library, every one should feel that the books were as 
much a trust to each and all of the inhabitants of 
Boston, as they are to the Board of Trustees, to whose 
care they are specially committed. 

Experience alone can determine whether further 
changes will be needed in the systems at present in 
successful use. The Library has grown so enormously, 
and its uses and abuses have sprung up so rapidly, that 
it is not strange that the difficulties of its proper adminis- 
tration have proportionately increased. That these have 
been in some degree surmounted is apparent from the 
fact that the institution was never before doing such 
good service to the community for whose improvement it 
was founded. A larger use would undoubtedly be made 
of the books in the Bates Hall had not an unfounded 
impression got abroad that they were for consultation 
and not for circulation. This mistake, however, is gradu- 
ally correcting itself, as its visitors become more frequent. 

In conclusion, the Trustees would renewedly commend 
the institution to the City Council, with the assurance 
that it never was in better condition to answer the 
expectations of the public, and to administer to the 
intellectual wants of every class of our population. 

All of which is respectfully submitted by 

Public Library, l&th Nov., 1866. 


The Examining Committee appointed for the year 1866, in 
obedience to the Ordinance establishing a Public Library, ask 
leave to 


First, concerning tlte Books, always the main object and interest 
of every such institution, whether their acquisition he regarded, or the 
use that is made of them afterwards. 

The whole number of volumes in the Library, as returned by 
its ofl&cers, exceeds, at this moment, one hundred and thirty 
thousand. Above twenty-four thousand of them are in the Lower 
Hajl, being the popular books which are oftenest wanted, and 
which are therefore placed where they will be most easily and 
pleasantly accessible to all, for the freest use and circulation. 
The remainder, which are in the Upper or Bates Hall, are 
equally open to all for reference and consultation ; and, although 
portions of them, like the Bowditch and Prince collections, can, 
from the conditions on which they were originally given, never 
be taken out ; and although others, from their rarity or costli- 
ness, can be taken out only after permission granted in writing; 
still, it should be borne in mind, that by far the larger part of 

12 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 110. 

this rich and excellent collection of books in the Bates Hall is 
open to free circulation. The Committee suppose that no library 
in the world, of equal size, is so trustingly offered to a large 
population as this one is. 

The whole one hundred and thirty thousand volumes are dis- 
tributed into classes, which, unless in especial cases, like the 
Bowditch and Parker collections, are so arranged by subjects in 
the different alcoves, and so entered by their titles in the Shelf- 
lists and in the Accessions' Catalogue, that it is easy to learn 
what books in any branch of human knowledge, — as, for instance, 
Natural History or Political Economy, — can be found in the 
Library, and even exactly when each one of them was acquired. 

Thus, in General Literary History and Bibliography there 
were in the Library on the 1st of August, 1865, — which was the 
date of the last examination, — more than twenty-two hundred 
volumes, to which, in the following twelve months, were added 
one hundred and thirty-nine. Of Cyclopsedias and Dictionaries 
of General Knowledge there were, August 1, 1865, above 
twelve hundred volumes, to which were added during the year, 
thirty-eight. In General History and Geography there were, a 
year ago last August, above five thousand nine hundred volumes, 
to which above an hundred have since been added. In American 
History, general, special, and local, including Biography, Travels, 
Historical Documents and the cognate branches, but not includ- 
ing Literature, there were in August, 1865, by a somewhat 
restricted reckoning, above eleven thousand six hundred vol- 
umes, to which there were added, during the year, more than 
seventeen hundred, without counting the Prince collection, which 
is rich in the earlier history of New England, but which has 
been too recently acquired to be yet arranged and catalogued. 
Of the History and Literature of all other countries, ancient and 
modern, there were, in August, 1865, above twenty-nine thousand 
seven hundred volumes, to which there have since been added 
above eight hundred. And, in the Physical and Exact Sciences, 


there were, in 1865, more than five thousand and three hun- 
dred volumes, to which above an hundred have since been 

It would be easy in the same way to consider other depart- 
ments, like the Transactions of Scientific and Learned Societies, 
and Periodicals bound up for use, which now make above ten 
thousand volumes ; works in the Useful and Fine Arts, which 
make above four thousand six hundred ; and works of Fiction, 
which make above seven thousand. But it cannot be needful to 
go further. The preceding account of such large masses and 
groups of books in the Library will show to any person in the 
habit of considering similar subjects, both the general character 
of the collection and its general purpose of being made available 
for the wants of the community at large, outside of what are 
called the three professions. 

Of the groups already noticed, those which will attract most 
attention, by their large numbers, are probably embraced 
in the department of History, — and especially of American 
History, — and of Fiction in all its many forms. But, when the 
wide and increasing importance of the first is considered, and 
the great popular demand for the second, we can hardly adjudge 
the numbers in either to be too large, though we may regret that 
there is such a strong and preponderating taste everywhere, in 
our own age, for frivolous forms of fiction. 

As a general remark, we would add, that, so far as we were 
able to examine, — and in several departments our inquiries were 
somewhat severe, — we think that the selection of books has 
been judicious, and that the Library is well fitted for its more 
important popular purposes. Indeed, the extraordinary popular 
use that has been made of it, and the very wide interest that has 
been felt in it, seem to leave no reasonable question on this 
point. We suppose it to be admitted that the Library is a 
judicious one for its wider and more general purposes, and that 
it is doing its work well throughout the community. 

14 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

But of three large departments, somewhat separated from 
these more popular purposes, it may be uecdful to speak more 
speeifically. We refer to those of Religion and Ethics, Medi- 
cine and Surgery, and Jurisprudence and Law. 

The first constitutes the division which includes Theology and 
Practical Religion, Ecclesiastical History, Morals, Metaphysics, 
and Social Science. On the 1st of August, 1865, there were 
embraced in this division more than ten thousand two hundred 
volumes, and in the next twelve months there were added above 
twelve hundred. These numbers are large; but they do not 
seem unreasonably so, when the high claims of the whole division 
are weighed. It is gratifying to add, both from our own exam- 
ination and that of our predecessors, that we believe it to be the 
best and most satisfactory collection of such books to be found 
in the City, taking all the religious sects together. 

The same general facts, we believe, may be stated, after similar 
investigations, concerning the collection of books in Anatomy, 
Surgery, Medicine, and whatever else is embraced under the 
Healing Art. It makes now almost exactly four thousand two 
hundred volumes, without reckoning a considerable number of 
books in Natural History and the related branches, which are 
usually brought into this division. We commend its protection 
to the Trustees, and especially we ask the purchase of new 
annotated editions of old medical standard works, and the sub- 
scription to one or two important periodicals besides the excel- 
lent ones now received, which will keep the Library fully up 
with the progress of medical science. It is, we suppose, a good 
collection now, and undoubtedly the best in the City ; but it is 
important that it should be watched, and continued such ; for, of 
all the professional men in our City, — and, indeed, of all men 
among us whose pursuits are mainly intellectual, — none, it is 
believed, are so little able to provide themselves with the books 
they need as our young medical students and our young practising 
surgeons and physicians. And yet, upon the proper training of 


these very men depends, in no small degree, the sanitary con- 
dition of our people. From regard to our own welfare, therefore, 
we should carefully foster this department of our Library. 

In Jurisprudence and Law, the case is partly different. The 
collection is not so large ; and, though we believe it to be well 
selected, we should be glad to see it moderately increased 
soon. There were, however, more than seventeen hundred volumes 
embraced in it on the 1st of August, 1865, and above an hundred 
were added during the following year. But the number of per- 
sons using it is much smaller than that of the persons who use 
many other portions of the Library. The reason is plain. The 
offices of our lawyers are full of elementary and practical legal 
works ; the ample Law Library in the Court House is easily acces- 
sible to such persons in the profession, or even out of it, as may 
desire to consult any work it contains ; and the State Library, 
which has a collection of books on American legislation and 
jurisprudence such as we could not hope to gather except by long 
years of labor, and a wholly disproportionate expenditure of our 
means, is open to all our citizens alike. While, therefore, we 
hope that the Public Library may continue to be — as it is now, — 
strong in whatever relates to Natural Law, to International Law, 
and to general Jurisprudence, we do not see a sufficient reason 
why it should enter into competition with the large collections of 
law books which already exist among us, and which seem to 
satisfy the general wants of the community as they are under- 
stood to do those of the profession. 

Among the other departments which are prominent is that of 
Administration and Public Service, — that of Political Economy, 
— that of Natural History, which has been very costly, — that 
relating to Patents in the United States, in Great Britain, and in 
France, which is very ample and satisfactory, — and that relating 
to Music, on which Mr. Bates expended a considerable sum out 
of his second munificent donation of fifty thousand dollars. 

16 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

The Committee have thus gone over the Library with some 
care — sufficient to show them that its different parts have been 
judiciously considered and maintained. They do not, however, 
intend by this to say, that any one of its departments is as com- 
plete or as strong as it is desirable that it should be. On the 
contrary, the fact, as they are aware, is far otherwise. The 
Library is everywhere incomplete. But they wish to say, 
considering the state of knowledge in the world — considering 
the special wants of our community — and considering the 
means and resources at the disposition of the Library, that its 
different departments taken together constitute an important, 
judicious, and well proportioned whole. 

But if it be not such — if books, such as are wanted, are not 
to be found in any of its various divisions, it is, in no small 
degree, the fault of the public, and especially of those persons 
who miss what they inquire for, when they resort to its cata- 
logues and shelves. For, by one of the standing " Rules," given 
from the day the Library was opened fourteen years ago, to more 
than sixty thousand persons, asking for its privileges, each one 
of them, who does not find any book he may need, when he 
inquires for it, has been " particularly requested to enter its title 
on a card which the Librarian will furnish for the purpose." 
This request has been urged in every mode of solicitation 
within the power of the persons having control of the institution. 
Especially five or six years ago it was repeated and re-enforced 
by a printed notice, of which a copy was put into every book 
loaned during a fortnight, thus bringing it afresh and very 
pointedly home to several thousands of the persons most 
frequenting the Library, and, therefore, most interested in having 
it thoroughly supplied with all needful books. But the number 
of books thus asked for, which had always been small, and, in 
three successive years had been less than fifty each year, was 
not materially increased by this urgent appeal. In the Library 
year 1864 it was only sixty, and in 1865 only fifty-eight. In 


the last year ending August 1, 1866, by uncommon exertions 
and personal application it was raised to three- hundred and six, 
— a number still greatly less than it should be, but which it 
seems very difficult to increase. The same urgency, however, is 
continued. The card is always ready at the distributing desks 
to be filled up with the title of any book that may be desired ; 
and, if no obvious objection to its purchase exists, it is immedi- 
ately ordered by the Superintendent, and as soon as it arrives 
notice by post is sent to the person originally desiring its 
purchase, informing him that it has been received and that it 
will be retained five days subject to his order alone. 

Of the three hundred >and six books asked for this year, forty- 
six were already on the shelves, having been overlooked from 
carelessness on the part of those asking for them ; one hundred 
and thirty have come to hand ; two only have not been ordered ; 
and the rest are expected, so soon as they can be found and 
despatched by the agents of the Library, chiefly abroad, who 
have been directed to purchase them. It is, we suppose, difficult 
to do more in this direction for the increase of the Library 
without more co-operation on the part of the public. 

One principal reason why this co-operation has not been 
obtained is, we apprehend, that the real character of the Library 
and its very wide purposes have never been fully understood. 
For it is not, like the British Museum, nor like the great libraries 
in Paris, nor like the Library of the Vatican, nor, in short, like 
any of the large and precious collections of books, which in their 
appropriate ways render constant service to the cause of human 
improvement in other countries. For these institutions are not 
open for a free circulation of their treasures. No attempt is 
made to administer them for the practical benefit of a whole 
people. They are, in fact, really important to scarcely any 
persons except scholars, or the few who make careful investiga- 
tions into particular subjects, and who are able to resort to the 
reading halls of these institutions during the restricted number 

18 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

of hours and days when they are open to any body. But our 
own is a library for an entire community, which, by its free 
schools and general intelligence, is remarkably well fitted to 
avail itself of a privilege so great; and we know of no way in 
which it can be thoroughly and readily enabled to fulfil its 
important duties except by warning voices and counsels sent 
from all sides indicating to its officers the books that are most 
needed. Let all, therefore, ask in due form for such books as 
they may really desire to read or use, but cannot find on its shelves 
and in its catalogues. It is more im[)ortant that one good ])ook 
should be bought which is vouched for as 'positively wanted by 
some person who will therefore be tolerably sure to use it, than 
that many equally good books should be bought, which it can 
only be hoped will be wanted, but which, after all, may remain 
for years on their appropriate shelves untouched, except when 
they are annually dusted and accounted for. 

Nor is there danger by this mode of supplying, in part, the 
real wants of the public, that the Library will become embar- 
rassed by worthless books, or that its regular increase in the 
highest departments of knowledge, and by the constant addition 
of the most important and the rarest works in those departments, 
will be either restricted or retarded; for the Trustees of the 
Library, with their Committees and Superintendent, will always 
decide, not only what amount of their resources can be judicious- 
ly expended in any given department, but what individual books 
shall be bought in each ; and they will always be held rigorously 
responsible that a becoming selection shall be made, and a 
becoming proportion observed. The difference will be, that, 
under such a system of practical administration, the Public 
Library will become every year more and more absolutely 
adapted and fitted to the real, ascertained, recorded wants of 
those for whose benefit it was established, whether they are 
persons of the humblest or the highest culture, whether they 
need the commonest or the rarest l)Ooks ; and that it will thus 


grow to be what no other library in the world has either 
attempted or desired to become — a powerful and direct means 
for the intellectual and moral advancement of a whole people, 
without distinction of class or condition. And this, we believe, 
can be done easily, wisely, and well. It is, from its very nature 
practical and effective. It falls in with the habits of our people 
and with the spirit of our institutions. 

But there is. one class of books for the purchase of which 
those in charge of the Library can have little assistance from 
those outside suggestions which, in all other respects, are so 
desirable. We refer to new and popular publications which 
should be obtained as soon after they appear from the press as 
their fitness can be ascertained, and, therefore, sometimes before 
there is opportunity for inquiry and suggestions by others. 

The task is a difficult and delicate one, but so far as numbers 
and promptness are concerned it seems to have been performed 
successfully. By returns made to us, it appears that in the two 
years ending August 1, 1865, two thousand nine hundred and 
sixty-two volumes fresh from the press were received at the 
Library, without reckoning more than one copy of any one work 
though several copies were often bought ; and it appears further, 
that in the year ending August 1, 1866, there were received 
seventeen hundred and forty-five. Nine-tenths of these, we be- 
lieve, were published in the United States, and they were offered, 
with many others not accepted, by the Boston agent of the Library 
at two hundred and seventy-three different times, or, upon an 
average, more than twice a week. The rest were either obtained 
from the European agents of the Library, who alwaye have small 
sums in hand to buy important new books as they come out, or 
were obtained from other booksellers here, or by donations of 
friends. Most of them were English. 

There seems, therefore, no doubt that quite as many books 
fresh from the press, and especially from the American press, 
have been bought during the last three years, and quite as 

20 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

promptly as it was possible to ascertain whether they were worth 
having or not. If any mistake has been made, it has, we think, 
been made on the other side, from .buying too many new books, 
and too promptly. At any rate, if there were any delay in pro- 
curing even a single new book, it was only necessary to ask for 
it in the prescribed form and it would at once have been bought, 
if no moral or other sufficient objection existed against its pur- 
chase. But we have heard of no such delay. 

In order, however, to facilitate in every way that is in our 
power the purchase of books for the Library, and to do ourselves, 
as well as we can, what we ask others to do, we subjoin a list of 
books, in different departments, which we commend to the con- 
sideration of the Trustees. Probably it may not be deemed 
advisable to buy them all at once, nor may it be possible to 
obtain them all, as some are old and rare, but we doubt not that 
what is best and most judicious for the Library will be done. 

Second, concerning the Catalogues. Next in importance to 
the hooks themselves are the Catalogues, which alone can make them 
easily accessible and practically useful to the community for whose 
benefit the Library has been established. 

But of the Catalogues it is hardly necessary to speak at all. 
They have been fully described and explained in earlier Reports, 
and, what is of more consequence, such of them as have been 
published have proved eminently satisfactory to the multitudes 
who have used them. They have, in fact, we believe, left nothing 
to be desired, so far as the Bates Hall is concerned. 

In the Lower Hall, they are not now in a state so satisfactory. 
This is owing to the bad condition into which the whole collec- 
tion of books in that part of the Library gradually fell during 
the few years preceding the last examination, in consequence of 
a great abuse of its privileges by those to whom it was opened ; 
in consequence of the shameful mutilation and defacement of its 


books" and in consequence of their disappearance in such num- 
bers that it seemed as if those who borrowed them were, from 
the imperfection of the record and of the administration, invited 
to wrong-doing. But new regulations and arrangements have 
been adopted, which, it is believed, will remedy these great evils 
either largely or wholly, while at the same time they already 
facilitate the use of the institution and increase its benefits. To 
this condition of things the Catalogues and the Shelf-lists of the 
Lower Hall will, as soon as possible, be accommodated. For 
the most practical purposes, the work is akeady completed. 
For the rest, it is in progress. 

One suggestion, however, for making the Library more exten- 
sively useful by means of its Catalogues, your Committee will 
offer to the Trustees for their consideration. 

It is founded on a wish often expressed that the titles of such 
books as are from time to time acquired by the Library, should 
be earlier and oftener made known to the multitudes interested 
in them, whether they are books fresh from the press, or works 
both old and rare. So far as the Lower Hall is concerned, this 
has been done annually for eight years, and has been followed 
by a materially increased use of the books. But this is no 
longer deemed often enough, and in the Bates Hall it will not be 
done nearly so often — probably, as heretofore, not more fre- 
quently than once in five years. 

No doubt such an annunciation of the books at short intervals 
as they arrive, would excite that just and enlightened curiosity 
for their contents which it is always desirable to excite, and 
would cause them to be more read. It has, therefore, been 
proposed to publish their titles occasionally in our newspapers, 
or to print them on slips, accessible to those who frequent the 
Library and to whom they should be freely given. But our 
public journals would hardly, without ample compensation, give 
them the large space they must occupy, and would not, after all, 
carry them to precisely the persons by whom they would be 

22 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

most desired and used ; and, on the other hand, the slips, would 
be sure to be in general awkwardly misplaced and oftener 

What may be preferred, therefore, is a Monthly Bulletin sent 
by mail to those persons who shall subscribe and pay for it at a 
very low rate. This, we think, may be done easily and cheaply, 
and will send the information to those who most desire to have 
it. It will demand little labor on the part of the persons em- 
ployed in the Library, as it will be readily made up from 
materials that are always on hand for the catalogues from the 
moment the books have reached their proper shelves. It may 
dispense with the annual supplements, and it will cost hardly 
more than the price for paper and printing, which will not be 
much greater than that of these awkward appendixes to our 
regular catalogue. Moreover, besides being used for its main 
purpose, it may become an authorized vehicle for important 
information respecting the Library, its progress, and its wants 
from month to month. 

That such a publication would materially increase the general 
interest felt in the institution, and not only promote the use of 
books that would otherwise be neglected, but that it would 
directly tend to the advancement of knowledge among us, is, we 
suppose, all but certain. If, however, this should not prove to 
be the case, or if the number of persons desirous to receive the 
information thus offered them should' not be so large as to defray, 
or nearly to defray, its cost, then at the end of a year, or at any 
other limited period, the publication can be discontinued. 

Third, concerning the Building, which is the next accustomed 
subject for inquiry by (he Examining Committee, since it is destined 
not only to protect a great amount of property belonging to the City, 
but to render that property useful and attractive to very large num- 
bers in the community of both sexes and different ages. 


That the Library Buildmg is now in its accustomed good 
repair we are assured by those who pass their lives in it, and 
to whom the details of its condition must necessarily be well 
known. This is a matter for much congratulation always. But 
in two particulars this important municipal edifice has never 
been what it ought to be. It has never been well lighted in 
many of its alcoves and other of its much-used portions, nor well 
ventilated in its Distributing Room down stairs, or its Reading 
Room. These last are the two halls to which more persons 
resort daily than to all the others in the building united ; and, 
if the officers aud attendants employed in them suffer much, the 
public suffer more. The state of the air, therefore, as well as 
the imperfection of the light in them, has long been complained 
of; and we are consequently gratified to find that the City 
Government, at the suggestion of the Trustees and of the muni- 
cipal Standing Committee on Public Buildings, have taken action 
in regard to both of the defects in question. We suppose that 
it is hardly needful for us, under these circumstances, to add 
our voices to theirs ; but as the Library Building is one of the 
subjects committed to us for inquiry, we beg leave to do it 
earnestly and confidingly. 

Fourth, the last svhjecl to he noticed by your Committee, follow- 
ing the course of their predecessors, is that concerning the ADMINIS- 
TRATION of the Library, and. its tidaptation as a public instiiution 
to the purposes for which it was established. 

In its more general arrangements, we are informed by its 
officers, that it has been conducted, during the past year, as it 
had been earlier ; and that, as ahvays heretofore, it has been 
carried on without trouble or disturbance on the part of those 
frequenting it in great numbers daily. But, in two respects, 
changes have been made which wo are, of course, expected to 
notice, premising, however, in relation to both of them, that 

24 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

tlicy were deiniindcd in all three of the ofiicial printed Reports 
last year — the Reports, we mean, of the Trustees, of the 
Examining Committee, and of the Superintendent — so that 
they cannot have been adopted without assigned causes and 
careful consideration. 

The first of these changes regards the Reading Room, and its 
management and use. This ample and fair hall, with a multi- 
tude of periodicals, foreign and domestic, covering its tables, had, 
until last year, been accessible, substantially, without restriction 
to all comers, little or no inquiry being made whether any per- 
son entering had a right to be there at all. For a long time 
only slight ill-consequences followed this liberal indulgence. 
But, in 1864 and 1865, Reviews and Magazines in considerable 
numbers were stolen, as a few had been earlier; many were 
mutilated ; and still more were abused in various ways, some- 
times by gross words written on them, and sometimes by in- 
decent drawings, offensive not only to the many young ladies 
and matrons daily frequenting the room, but to • any person of 
becoming manners and education. At the same time, the peri- 
odicals spread all over the tables were continually so changed 
from their proper places, and so thrown about by those using 
them, that it was often difficult for any body to find what he 
wanted without walking up and down the room in a way inevi- 
tably to disturb many others by the noise he made, as well as by 
his mode of search generally. Frequent complaints, therefore, 
were made by those who asked for quiet as well as propriety 
and decency, and demands for a better condition of things were 
soon heard, and often. Among the rest, as we have said, the 
official Reports spoke out plainly. At last, about a year ago, 
the periodicals were withdrawn from the tables, where they had 
been so much abused ; and they have since been given out only 
when they have been asked for, but al^w^ays in the simplest, 
easiest, and readiest manner, an attendant being always present 
to deliver them with absolute promptness. 


By the testimony of all the persons having charge of this part 
of the institution, as well as by the testimony of other persons 
much frequenting and using it, this change has been found a 
satisfactory remedy for the evils and irregularities before com- 
plained of, and which had become so offensive. The number of 
persons who resort to the room seems to increase beyond what 
it was before, as its condition has become quiet and respectable, 
and the Reviews and other periodicals are neither stolen nor 
abused as they had been. All the irregularities are not perhaps 
yet stopped, and perhaps all of them never will be ; but that a 
great amelioration has taken place in the state of things is certi- 
fied to us in so many ways that we are bound to accept the fact, 
and do so with much satisfaction. 

Similar remarks, we are informed by the officers of the Li- 
brary, should be made in regard to the change called for by the 
three Reports last year, complaining in the same way of abuses 
in relation to books borrowed from the Lower Hall even more 
gross than the abuses in the Reading Room, as well as more 
mischievous and injurious. 

But one circumstance in relation to this last change is pecu- 
liarly fortunate. It is one that relates only to the mode of 
recording the books borrowed, and therefore does not affect 
those who frequent the Library, as to their mode of asking for 
books or their mode of obtaining them. It affects only those 
officials who make the record, and affects them only as it may, 
by possibility, but not probably, a very little increase their 
labors. To the rest, — that is, to all who come as borrowers, — 
everything is unchanged. A card is presented, announcing the 
wants of the person asking for a loan just as it was before, and, 
just as before, the person is despatched with quiet readiness. 
But, after three months' experience, great advantages, we are 
informed, are found to have been insured to the Library itself 
from this new mode of recording a loan when obtained, and a 
great protection for the books from loss and abuse, which 

26 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

was not possible under the old mode ; for, if the book borrowed 
is not returned on the very day that it should be, the borrower 
is at once notified of his delinquency, which was not earlier pro- 
vided for ; and if a book is injured or stolen, new and better 
means are at hand for following and detecting the offender. 
These are, no doubt, great benefits and improvements, which 
break up substantially, if not completely, the worst results of a 
system which seemed to invite abuse of great privileges, and 
even to favor crime and its concealment. 

But, besides these benefits, important statistical information is 
collected by the new mode of recording, which was earlier 
inaccessible. For it is now known from day to day, what 
classes of books are most asked for, and even what individual 
books are most popular and most needed, so that the changing 
and especial wants of the institution can, at any time, be ascer- 
tained to a degree that was always desirable, but which was 
never before practicable. These are plain improvements, which, 
if carried out — as we trust and believe they will be — in the 
spirit in which they have been devised, will gradually develop 
the resources of the Library farther than they have yet been 
done, as a means of intellectual and moral progress to the 
community in. succeeding generations, even more than in our own 

We have, therefore, desired the Superintendent to insert in 
his Report of this year a more detailed account than we have 
been able here to give, of these two changes, derived, as the 
present account has been, from the statements of all the persons 
who have been employed in carrying them into effect, and from 
the statements of persons most frequenting the Library, and of 
course most interested in having it well administered. Such an 
account given on authority so unquestionable will, we doubt not, 
be both instructive and timely. 

In conclusion, your Committee would report, that they have 
each and all given such diligent attention as they have been able, 


during the last three months, to the examination of the Library, 
and that nearly all of them have made frequent visits to its 
halls and alcoves with pleasure and advantage. The result is, 
that they believe the institution to be one of the more important 
in the City, and that its administration and management must 
heretofore have been watchfully cared for, or it could not, in the 
short time it has existed, have been brought to its present pro- 
portions, usefulness and success. At the same time, they feel 
bound to add, partly from their own inquiries and observation, 
but more from the knowledge and statements of the officers who 
have faithfully served it, and who are necessarily familiar with 
whatever regards its interests, that, in no respect, has its pros- 
perity been diminished during the past year, and that it is now 
doing more good than it ever did before. 
All which is respectfully submitted, 


Examining Committee. 

Public Library, November 10, 1866. 


To the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston : 

Gentlemen : In obedience to the requirements of the By-Laws 
relative to the Trustees and Officers of the Public Library, I beg 
leave to present to you a Report upon the condition and increase 
of the Library from the 1st of September, 1865, to the 1st of 
September, 18 66. 


During the year, 7,089 books, not including the Prince 
Library of 1,899 volumes, 4,008 pamphlets, 112 other articles, 
consisting of maps, prints, broadsides, and sheet music, have 
been added to the Library ; besides 2,727 separate numbers of 
newspapers and journals. 

Of these, 1,476 books, 3,342 pamphlets, and all the other 
articles named, excepting 1 maps, engravings, and atlases, were 
donations from 336 individuals and societies. A list of them is 
appended to this Report, and marked AA. 

These numbers are taken from the Catalogue of Accessions^ 
in which the volumes are counted as they are received into the 
Library. They are afterwards frequently bound in a difierent 
number of volumes. Many also, which are at first ranked as 
pamphlets, are subsequently bound, and placed on the shelves as 

30 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

As the aggregate niiinber of volumes in the Library, reported 
at the end of the year, is obtained by counting the volumes upon 
the Shelf- lists after the changes have been made, it will not, 
probably, correspond with that produced by adding the acces- 
sions of the year to the aggregate reported the preceding 

Among the donations received during the year, the gift, by J. 
Ingcrsoll Bowditch, Esq., of the volumes needful to continue up 
to the present time, the series of Memoirs of the Academy of 
Sciences at Turin, formerly belonging to his father, the late Dr. 
Nathaniel Bowditch, and presented to the Public Library by his 
sons, is one of the most considerable and costly. 

Our thanks are due, as often before, to the Commissioners of 
Patents of Great Britain, for the continuation of the very valuable 
series of specifications and drawings of English Patents. 

During the year, the Deacons of the Old South Church of this 
City, acting as Trustees under the will of the Rev. Thomas 
Prince, former pastor of that church, have deposited in the 
Public Library, on terms contained in the agreement appended 
to this Report, and marked BB, the precious collection of books, 
pamphlets, and manuscripts, bequeathed by him to the Old South 
Church in the year 1758, and commonly known as the Prince 

It consists of eighteen hundred and ninety-nine volumes, as 
now bound, and is very rich in books and pamphlets relating to 
the history of New England previous to the date of his death, as 
well as in the first productions of its press, and in the works of 
its early authors. 

Mr. Prince began to form this collection, as is stated on the 
label in many of the books, upon his entering Harvard College, 
July 6, 1703, and diligently enlarged it by purchases in this 
country and in Europe. No man of his time was more competent 
for the task, which his enlightened zeal in American history led 
him to undertake, of forming a New England library. The 


vicissitudes of more tliau a century, and its exposed situation 
during a part of the revolutionary war, in the tower of the Old 
South Church, while the building was occupied as a riding school 
by the British troops, have brought this library down to our day 
somewhat diminished in numbers ; but the value and importance 
of what remains is enhanced to a degree which it is not easy to 
estimate. It still includes what may be termed a large collection 
of American books of extreme rarity. It has the Bay Psalm 
Book, — the fii'st book printed in the United States, a copy of 
which has been sold, I believe, for about $750, — Eliot's Indian 
Bible, of both editions, and also several volumes and packages of 
original manuscripts, comprising letters of the principal magis- 
trates and ministers of the first years of New England history, 
and official State papers of the British and Provincial Govern- 
ments, some of which have been printed in the Collections of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. 

The collection has been so recently received that it is not 
possible to give here any extended notice of its rarities. The 
City Council has made an appropriation for putting it into good 
condition and printing its catalogue. The work is now in pro- 
gress, and when it is completed, those who are interested in 
American history will, it is hoped and believed, find much satis- 
faction in examining and using its hitherto almost hidden 

The superb silver vase presented in 1835 to the Hon. Daniel 
Webster, having been purchased by several citizens of Boston, 
was, in March, 1865, presented by them to the City, to be pre- 
served in the Public Library. It is now placed in the room 
formerly called the Ladies' Reading Room, where arrangements 
have been made by the Superintendent of Public Buildings for 
its safe keeping and exhibition. The large historical painting 
by Copley, the statue of the Arcadian Shepherd Boy, by Story, 
and the group of the Holy Family, by Troschel, are also placed 
in the same apartment. 

32 CITY DOCUMENT.— No. 110. 

The Instrument of Presentation of the Webster Vase, with 
the names of the donors attached, is appended to this Report, 
and marked CC» 


The Library contained, on the 1st of August, 1866, — 

In the Bates Hall .... 105,312 volumes. 
In the Lower Hall .... 25,366 " 

Total, .... 130,678 volumes. 

All the above are bound volumes ; but about 4,500 of them are 
pamphlets bound up and placed as volumes upon the shelves. 
But several hundreds of the volumes above enumerated contain 
each from ten to twenty separate works. 

The number in the Bates Hall is thus composed : 

Books accessible to the public, August, 1865, . . 91,826 
Books located since August 1, 1865 4,983 

Books accessible to the Public, August 1, 1866, 96,809 

Books recently received, not located Aug. 1, but 

all located since 1,649 

Sale duplicates and odd volumes 4,955 

Prince Library 1,899 


The number assigned above to the Lower Hall, represents all 
the books which from the beginning have been placed there. A 
considerable number of them have been lost or condemned as 
unfit for further use. Many of these have been replaced, but 
not all. When the reorganization of this branch of the Library, 
now in progress, shall be completed, and all the lost and missing 
books which can be procured replaced, an exact enumeration can 
again be made. 

The present number of duplicates and odd volumes laid aside 
for exchange or sale is four thousand nine hundred and fifty-five. 


During the year, three hundred and thirty-five have been disposed 
of, and three hundred and six (being mostly donations) have 
been added to the list. The exchange of about five hundred and 
fifty more volumes is in progress. 

It is impossible to give any proper enumeration of pamphlets 
belonging to the Library. It can only be stated that since the 
Library was commenced, 36,566 have come into its possession. 
Many of them have been bound several in a volume. About 
four thousand five hundred have been separately bound, and now 
stand on the shelves as books. Several thousand more have been 
selected to be bound, and the process of selecting and binding is 
constantly in operation. But by far the greater part of the large 
number reported are duplicates or odd numbers of magazines, 
and legislative documents, or publications of little or no value. 


The number of new cards issued during the year was 5,306, 
making the whole number of those who have registered their 
names to secure the use of the books, since Sept. 17, 1858, 

The number of landings from the Lower Hall, for 

home use, was 183,424 

From the Bates Hall, for home use . . 9,763 


The number of books used in the Bates Hall, was 10,438, 
besides the use of the English Patent Specifications by 187 
persons, averaging 1^ hours each. 

The daily average lendings for home use was, within a 
fraction, 695. 

The number of days during which the Library was open to 
the public, was 278. 

These numbers do not represent the use of the periodicals in 
the Reading Room, nor of several hundred books placed there, 

34 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

open to unrestricted use, and constituting an admirable library 
of reference, nor the use of great numbers of volumes in pro- 
tracted investigations, for which especial permission has been 

The circulation, although greater than for any year, before the 
last, was somewhat below that of the last year, owhig to the fact 
that it became necessary to withhold a part of the books in the 
Lower Hall temporarily from circulation. Eight years had 
elapsed since the completion of the Index. During this time, 
the accessions had been made known to the public by annual 
Supplements. But many of the books had been worn out, muti- 
lated, or lost, and the Indexes were thus rendered imperfect. It 
was, besides, inconvenient to use so many Supplements. It had 
been stated in previous Annual Reports, that it would soon be 
necessary to combine the Index and Supplements into one 
alphabet. The completion of the large Supplement for the 
Bates Hall was the time proposed for beginning the needed 
work. But it was felt to be extremely desirable not to interrupt 
the use of the Lower Library, which had become so extensive 
among all classes of our citizens, so many months as would be 
required for reorganizing the collection, and preparing and 
printing a complete new Index. It was decided, therefore, to 
attempt the task, alcove by alcove, thus retaining from circulation 
but a small part of the books at a time, and to do as much of 
the work as possible upon that part of the Library in greatest 
demand, during the annual recess. In this way, since July last, 
six alcoves out of twenty have been examined ; the books col- 
lated; those unfit for further use withdrawn; their places, as well 
as those of books lost, as far as possible filled by new copies ; 
the catalogues revised ; a new Finding List for the whole de- 
partment of Fiction printed, and another Finding List for the 
department of the Ai'ts, Sciences, and Professions, made nearly 
ready for the press. This, of course, has to some extent dimin- 
ished the aggregate cu'culation, both from the retaining of the 


books while the work was iil progress, and from the temporary 
diminution of the number of books by withdrawing those unfit 
for further use. 

I am happy to add (as this Report is not presented till after 
the circulation of the books which it had been necessary for a 
time to retain has been resumed) that the daily average of books 
lent has, for the last two weeks, been greater than ever before 
at this time of the year, notwithstanding that a large number of 
the lost and missing books have not yet been replaced. If, 
however, the work of reorganization of the alcoves and reprinting 
of the Indexes be continued, as it certainly ought to be, it may of 
course be expected that there will, in consequence, again be a 
temporary diminution of the circulation. 

It also became necessary, after an uninterrupted use of eight 
years, to revise the list of persons entitled to the privileges of 
the institution. The number had reached 45,869. Many of the 
signers had removed from the City, though their cards were still 
sometimes used. Others had changed their residences in the 
City, without giving notice ; so that it was difficult or impossible 
to recover books charged on their accounts. Many other prac- 
tices, unfair towards the honest frequenters of the Library, had 
grown up, which it seemed impossible to detect and suppress 
without a new and more careful registration. But to require 
every person to enroll his name anew was to be avoided if 
possible. In order to obviate the necessity of this, it was pro- 
posed to change all the cards, and to question the owners as 
they might present themselves, as to their present residences and 
their right to use the Library. 

The time of introducing a new system of recording loans, 
rendering some alteration in the form of the card desirable, 
was selected as the least inconvenient for the proposed change. 
Every arrangement was made to accomplish this purpose with 
the least possible trouble to readers. Still it doubtless checked 
for a time the circulation, both in the Bates Hall and in the 

36 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

Lower Hall. The greater part of this change was effected in 
the last of tlie summer months, when the inconvenience was least 
felt by the citizens. It has resulted, however, in greater security 
for the books, and will, it is strongly hoped, prevent the necessity 
of a new registration. Since the first few weeks, during which 
it was necessary to keep the former Loan books constantly on 
the desk, no difficulty has resulted from this source. On the 
contrary, a great advantage has incidentally accrued. It had pre- 
viously been necessary to restrict the times of receiving names 
and issuing cards to hours when the Loan books were not in 
use; and people were obliged to make a special visit to the 
Library in order to sign their names and receive cards, at hours 
when they could not get books. Now, the names can be signed 
whenever the Library is open. This is a great gain. 

I have felt it desirable to explain these matters somewhat at 
length, in order to make it manifest that these interruptions to 
the circulation, small as they were, arose from no permanent 
cause, but were merely temporary and inevitable. 

It has been said before, that the extent of the circulation is 
not the sole or the proper measure of the usefulness of the 
Library. It would be easy to quadruple the circulation, by mul- 
tiplying copies of popular novels, but with benefits by no means 
proportioned to the great increase of expense for their first cost, 
and for the arrangements needful for their circulation. The 
object of the Trustees has been to get good novels, in such quan- 
tities as to supply the demand for them, after their value had 
been fairly ascertained and it had become known that they were 
not merely of ephemeral interest, but to avoid filling the building 
with books which, after a few weeks, would be recognized as the 
most worthless and neglected trash ; to furnish, in short, so far 
as their resources permitted, everything of tried worth, in as 
many copies as people would call for. 

It should also be here noted that an increase or decrease of 
circulation may depend upon causes which have nothing to do 


with the success or value of the Library. It sometimes may not 
be easy or possible to account satisfactorily for these variations. 
In one year of the history of the Library the circulation dimin- 
ished so much as to suggest the question whether the public 
interest in the Library had not reached a point at which it could 
not be permanently sustained. Much investigation was made at 
the time, and various theories were formed to account for the 
fact. All of them, however, were at fault ; for, the next year, — 
all the conditions, so far as could be seen, remaining the same, — 
the circulation reached a point never before attained. We are 
not perhaps to expect that the circulation will or can go on con- 
stantly increasing from year to year. 

It is also noticeable that the use of books in the Bates Hall 
was less than for last year. This arises mostly from the fol- 
lowing cause : 

It had become very common for visitors to demand the use in 
the Hall of costly books of engravings, for mere purposes of 
curiosity, to such an extent and in such a manner as greatly to 
injure the books themselves, and often to prevent their use by 
those for whom they were especially provided. This particularly 
attracted the attention of the Committee of citizens appointed 
the last year to examine the Library, and led to a recommenda- 
tion, which was adopted by the Trustees, that these books should 
not be kept as mere show books, but should only be exhibited to 
those who should make a written request for them. It was sup- 
posed that no persons who could derive from them the benefit 
which they were intended to confer, would find this degree of 
formality onerous. I have heard no complaint upon the subject ; 
but it has certainly, for a time, required us to report a dimin- 
ished use of the books in the Bates Hall. 

The following table exhibits a classification of the books lent 
from the Bates Hall and used therein. Comparing this table 
with that presented last year, the principal changes of proportion 
among the classes are, in the department of English History an 



increase of five per cent, and in that of Fine and Useful Arts a 
decrease of eig-ht-and-a-half per cent. 


English History and Literature . . . .18 

Periodicals 11 

American History and Literature .... 8 

Medicine 8 

Fine and Useful Arts 8 

Matliemiitical and Physical Sciences . ... 7 
French History and Literature .... 6 
Transactions of Learned Societies .... 5 
Oriental History and Literature .... 4 
Theology, Ethics, and Education .... 4 

Bibliography 3 

General History and Literature . . . . .3 

Italian History and Literature .... 3 

Greek and Latin Classics . . . ... .3 

Natural History ....... 3 

German History and Literature . . . . .2 

Jurisprudence, Government, and Political Economy 2 
Miscellaneous 2 

In future years a similar table may be given for the Lower 
Hall. The new mode of recording loans renders it for the first 
time practicable. Such a statement may be expected to be 
extremely instructive and useful, though the proportionate circu- 
lation of the different classes of books will doubtless surprise 
many who have given but little attention to the subject. But 
the wise administration of such an institution requires a knowl- 
edge of such facts, heretofore unattainable. 


As the last year has been one of transition, by the adoption 
of new methods long foreseen to be unavoidable, for using the 
books, and for guarding them from abuse, it is not possible to 


present statistics of losses and injuries which can be properly 
compared with those reported in former years, or so reliable as 
those which can hereafter be given. The modes now in use will, 
it is hoped and believed, render this portion of the Annual Report, 
in the future, more acceptable than it has been heretofore. The 
examination of the books in the Bates Hall by the Shelf-lists has 
been very strict. This year, twenty-seven volumes were missing 
from their places. Some of those not found at first, have been 
returned in a way as mysterious as their disappearance. Nearly 
half of those remaining unaccounted for, are pamphlets which 
had been placed by themselves to be bound, and are doubtless 
merely mislaid. Of the nineteen reported missing for the year 
1864-65, nine have been found. Of the fifteen reported missing, 
in all, previous to September, 1864, eight have been returned. 
So that in all, from the first circulation of the books of the 
Bates Hall, in 1861, to the present time, forty-three books only 
are not to be found. A part of these will doubtless be returned. 
Of nineteen books charged to borrowers previous to September 1, 
1865, but not then returned or replaced by them, two have 
this year been returned. Seven books charged to borrowers 
during the year 1865-66, have not been returned; but two of 
the seven borrowers having lost their books promise to replace 

It is not, perhaps, to be wondered at, that in so large a collec- 
tion it should be impossible to find everything the moment it is 
sought. But the measures taken to prevent losses and displace- 
ments in this Hall are so stringent and so constantly enforced, 
that I cannot report any books missing, at the time of the annual 
scrutiny, without dissatisfaction. I know not, however, of any 
reasonable method in addition to those already employed to 
diminish this small evil. 

As to mutilations and injuries, the examination has disclosed 
nothing to be reported in the Bates Hall. The books have been 
very carefully used, and are in excellent condition. 

40 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

Ill the Lower Hall, an accurate collation has been made of the 
books in six of the twenty alcoves, including the four of the 
class of Fiction, upon which the abuses have principally fallen. 
The result is presented in the following table. It will be under- 
stood that the statements cover all the accumulated losses and 
injuries in the alcoves, not repaired since the first opening of the 

result of collation op books in alcoves 4, 7, 14, and 17 
(comprising works of fiction). 

Whole number of books on the Shelf-lists 

in Aug., 1866 7,672 volumes. 

Number missing on examination by Shelf- 
lists 1,678 

Number since condemned as imperfect or 

odd volumes 1,029 

2,707 volumes. 

4,965 " 
Number of condemned books supplied, and 

of missing books returned, up to Sept. 1 940 

Number remaining after collation (which 
has, however, since been considerably 
increased) 5,905 volumes. 


Whole number on Shelf-lists Aug., 1866 . . 3,183 volumes. 

Number missing on examination by Shelf-lists 111 
Number condemned since, as imperfect . . 8 

Number removed to Bates Hall 220 

339 volumes. 

Number remaining Nov. 1, after examination 2,844 " 

The number of missing and condemned books replaced varies 
from day to day as they are received from the agents, to whom 
the orders were given to procure them as promptly as possible. 


Some of them are out of print, and cannot be obtained without 
considerable delay. In some cases, several copies of one work 
have been removed from the shelves. As these may be injured 
in different parts, it is probable that one complete copy may 
in some cases be profitably made from two or three imperfect 

When these alcoves were reorganized every book was collated, 
all pencil marks were erased, and all stains removed, so far as 
they could be. The condition of each book was noted, as well 
as might be, upon the book itself, and upon the Shelf-list. It had 
been proposed to examine every book anew each time it should 
be returned by a borrower, so that every borrower could be held 
to an immediate and undeniable responsibility for the condition 
of the book he had received. But it was found that scarcely one 
hundred books a day could be thus collated and cleaned by one 
person, and it seemed probable that after this first work had 
been performed at least thi-ee additional attendants would be 
needed to collate the books as they should be returned. The 
expense of this would be greatly disproportioned to the value of 
the books which we might expect would be thus saved from ruin, 
and the delays incident to the process would be matter for many 

Practically, a certain amount of loss and injury must for the 
present be borne with. This amount, in the most popular classes 
of books of a library open so freely to the whole community, 
must be expected to be large. There is probably no feasible 
remedy in the power of the Trustees consistent with the wonted 
freedom of the Library, and it does not seem likely that the evil 
can be fully stopped unless the Legislature of the State can apply 
some suitable penalty which can be practically enforced in cases 
of gross and wanton abuses. 

The principle of administration upon which this Library was 
founded was, at least in the magnitude of its application, quite 
novel, and, I may say, startling. 

42 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

It was proposed to place in the reach of all the people of a 
large city the most ample stores of entertaining and useful read- 
ing, with no safeguards or restrictions in the first instance, except 
such as were, in the apprehension of every one, obviously and 
absolutely indispensable, and to adopt no restrictions afterwards, 
except as they became imperative to secure and perpetuate the 
benefits of this great literary cliarity. 

The result of this unbounded confidence in the honor of the 
citizens of Boston, and their just appreciation of such a boon, 
was for a long time matter of just pride and of frequent con- 
gratulation. At first, indeed, the success of the experiment 
seemed well-nigh complete. It was certainly surprising, even to 
those who at the outset were most sanguine. 

Instances of ungenerous, if not of wanton and criminal abuses of 
this confidence did, however, show themselves, and increase from 
time to time in such a way as to cause anxiety, and finally alarm. 
The Trustees faithfully reported these indications from year to 
year. It was clear that these abuses could be suppressed, but 
not, it was feared, without in some degree curtailing the freedom 
of the institution. It was probable that only a comparatively 
small number of persons were thus regardless of their honor and 
duty ; but all must be affected by any restrictions of privilege. 
Those to whose charge the Library was committed, studied the 
whole subject carefully, with the best advice, and with the light 
of the best experience they could command ; and they applied 
the remedy in such a manner that it is believed the danger may 
be checked, if not entirely removed, without adopting measures 
onerous or distasteful to any well-meaning frequenter of the 
Library. On this subject some misapprehension has been need- 
lessly excited, especially with reference to certain changes, mostly 
of internal administration, which have been adopted during the 
last year. These changes were designed to bear, and do bear, 
only upon those who were to a greater or less degree neglectful 
or culpable, and are not felt by those who are duly observant of 


the course of conduct which the participation in privileges like 
those here enjoyed would dictate to all right-minded persons. 


Tlie Reading Room for periodicals was the part of the Library 
most liable to abuse. In this, more than 150 from among the 
best journals published in the world were at first laid upon the - 
tables, and offered freely to every one who chose to enter and to 
use or abuse them. They were placed in alphabetical order, 
and an attendant was charged with the endeavor to keep them 
so, — a task always difficult, and at last quite impossible. They 
were removed from their places, turned over, covered up, tossed 
about, mutilated, and sometimes purloined, till at length, instead 
of an orderly apartment in a library, it presented sometimes the 
appearance of a room for refuse pamphlets and waste paper. 
A person in search of a periodical, not finding it in its place, would 
often wander about the room, peering over the shoulders of 
many, disturbing by fruitless questions the pursuits of others, 
and more or less interrupting all in the room, — finally, perhaps, 
to fail in his quest because the magazine desired had been stolen 
or had not been received. This course was not that of one per- 
son in a day, but, to a more or less aggravated extent, of very 
many. Serious readers were annoyed, aggrieved, and sometimes 
quite disgusted. Complaints were frequent; not, indeed, in 
public, for they came from thoughtful persons sincerely bent 
upon making the best of their privileges, and not upon hazarding 
what remained to them by public denunciations. 

It was found, moreover, that the periodicals were so frequently 
mutilated or stolen, that it was next to impossible to make up 
complete sets for preservation. 

To prevent these evils by a more stringent police for the room 
seemed impracticable. Several policemen stationed there could 
not have suppressed effectually such abuses and annoyances. 

44 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

Their employment would have imposed upon the establishment a 
heavy burden of expense, and would have been a standing re- 
proach to the good people of our well-behaved City. 

The course suggested for the remedy of this evil was one 
which, in any library not founded upon the principle of no-re- 
striction, would most likely have been adopted at the outset as a 
necessary precaution. 

It is simply that of placing the periodicals behind a desk, 
under the care of an attendant, who gives them out, as called for, 
keeping the account of the borrowers. The applicant must say 
what he wants, and who he is that wants it. Generally, this is 
done by the borrower writing on a slip of paper his name and 
residence, and the shelf number of the journal wanted, which he 
derives from lists always at hand. Persons to whom this is 
troublesome need not do even so much, but simply whisper the 
title of the journal, or point to it upon the list, and give their 
own address to the attendant. It would seem to be an absurd 
denial of the facility of writing on the part of our citizens, to 
say that this use of a lead pencil could be considered burden- 
some, and it is no more complimentary to assume that any one 
would be ashamed or unwilling to give his name and hold himself 
responsible for anything he may desire to borrow. At all events, 
the change has worked like a charm. It has brought order out 
of confusion. It has saved the loss of property. It has enabled 
readers to find what they want. It has had a sensible effect upon 
the quiet of the room. It has attracted back some who had left 
in disgust. It has excited no serious complaint. It has not 
diminished the use of the room, which, it is believed, was never 
before greater than it is at present. It has eliminated groups 
of idle boys who formerly entered from the distributing room 
while waiting for books, occupied the chairs, and sometimes 
scribbled or even drew indecent figures upon the margins 
of the magazines. In short, it has in no way been injurious 
to serious readers, while it has been beneficial to all. It 


is needless to discuss the question whether a person in a vacant 
half hour may not enter a reading-room and turn aimlessly over 
the leaves of one magazine after another and go away having 
found some sort of profit from the proceeding. It is idle also to 
assert that such persons would not be embarrassed by not finding 
the journals lying promiscuously about the tables. But if their 
case is to be considered, who come in mere listlessness, surely 
the claim of those who come in seriousness and good faith, with 
a definite purpose of improvement, knowing what they want and 
willing to ask for it, is far more respectable ; and where one must 
be postponed to the other, it is not to be doubted which should 
be preferred. 

The needfulness and effect of these changes are so well set 
forth in letters from the Librarian and from two professional 
gentlemen who have used the Reading Room, both before and 
after the change, that I cannot refrain from appending them to 
this Report. They are marked DD. 

It should be stated that, last year, forty-six numbers of different 
valuable journals were reported as taken away from the room 
and never returned. Since the new system was adopted, a year 
ago, not a single number of a magazine given out from the desk 
has been lost. 

The importance of keeping safely every number of a maga- 
zine should be considered not solely in its pecuniary and its 
moral aspects ; it should be remembered that if a journal is thus 
purloined by one person, all others who would be readers of it 
are deprived of their privileges. K a foreign journal be taken, it 
cannot probably be replaced for months, — sometimes not at all. 
We have now in the Library hundreds of volumes thus rendered 
imperfect, which we have been unable to complete after many 
attempts to do so. 

It may also be mentioned here that the principle of withdraw- 
ing the periodicals from the tables was not at first applied to all 
of them. Thirteen of the most popular and useful journals 

46 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

were subscribed for in duplicate, and one copy of each was laid 
upon the table with the intention of keeping them there, if pos- 
sible. In a few weeks, thieving fingers had dealt with them all. 

It is hoped and believed that these evil practices were con- 
fined to a small number of persons. But these few culprits 
contrived to bring discredit upon a law-loving people, reproach 
upon a noble public charity, and, perhaps, suspicion upon honest 
frequenters of the Library. 

It should here be stated, that what may be termed a library of 
reference, comprising several hundred volumes of the best and 
most recent Encj^clopa^dias, Lexicons and Vocabularies of various 
languages. Gazetteers, Biographical Dictionaries, Directories, Al- 
manacs, Atlases, and Handbooks of various kinds, are arranged 
around the desk of the attendant, and left still entirely open to the 
use of every one, without the slightest restriction. These are so 
immediately under the eye of the attendant, that they are, in 
general, safe, although some of them have heretofore been muti- 
lated, defiled by obscene words and figures, and sometimes stolen. 

A volume of the last edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica 
was, several years ago, ruined by tearing ruthlessly out of it a 
very valuable article of more than one hundred pages, and the 
detective force of the City could not discover the perpetrator of 
the outrage. Among the books several years ago purloined 
were a Bible and a Concordance ! After two years' absence, 
the latter was returned mysteriously to the Library. 


Another important change efiected during the year, is in the 
method of recording loans, both in the Bates and Lower Hall. 
This change is one merely of internal administration. It in no 
way abridges or changes the privileges of readers. It requires 
of them no additional labor in borrowing or returning books. 
It will demand of them no more time. There is nothing in the 
Lower Hall to inform them of the change, except a difierence in 


one side of the card, and a stamp made upon it of the date of 
each loan, and of its return. 

As, however, this new system has been misapprehended by some 
who do not appear to know its purport, it may be well to state 
here something of the design of its introduction, of the details of 
its operation, and of its results in securing the safety of the 
books, and theii' just and equal distribution among borrowers. 

From the early days of the Library, the method of recording 
loans was that long practised of ledger accounts, abridged in our 
case by omitting the titles of the books, writing only the shelf 
and order numbers, and rendered more rapid and easy by an 
ingenious decimal arrangement of the accounts. 

When the use of the Library became large, it was found that 
such a system of recording loans lacked the most needful means 
for detecting irregularities and abuses, and that, as an almost 
necessary consequence, such abuses increased, in an alarming 
degree, from year to year. The record furnished no certain and 
reliable proof against delinquents. Books could be lost or mu- 
tilated witli impunity. This, of course, became generally known. 
Books were very often kept beyond the proper time, and thus 
the rights of others who were waiting for them were infringed. 
It was practically impossible to tell what books on any given 
day were improperly detained from the Library, and to give 
notice that they should be returned. When a book was unrea- 
sonably detained, and greatly needed by another reader, it was 
impracticable to ascertain who had the book till the borrower 
chose to return it. It was out of the power of the administration 
to secure, or even to facilitate, an equitable distribution of the 
books. Besides all this, no valuable information could be gleaned 
from the record as to what class of books were most used, or 
how frequently such or such a book had been called for ; thus, 
no assistance could be derived from it for making such a selec- 
tion of books as the public most desired. The numerous ledgers 
were, moreover, cumbrous and unwieldy. 

48 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

Still, in spite of all these imperfections, the acquired facility 
and ra}ndity of working the system such as it was, the incon- 
venience of making any alteration, and the difficulty of deciding 
upon a new system, combined to prevent any change, long after 
it was seen that one was imperatively necessary for the preser- 
vation of the Library from disorder and discredit. 

The new system is, in its main features, one, which, I believe, 
is displacing all others in the great public libraries of Europe 
and of this country. It consists in making the record of loans 
upon separate slips of paper of uniform size, upon each of which 
is stamped the date, after writing with a lead pencil a word or 
two of the title of the book, the shelf-numbers, and the address 
of the borrower. 

In the Bates Hall the name and residence are written by the 
borrower. In the Lower Hall, from which books are often sent 
for by children and servants, the address upon the borrower's 
card is transferred to the slip by the attendant in the Library. 

The date of the loan is also stamped upon the card and upon 
the book lent. These stamps, in the hands of the borrower, serve 
to remind him how long he has had the book, and thus prevent his 
incurring fines, and when the book is returned, they guide the 
attendant to the record slip. 

The slip, as soon as written, is dropped into its proper place 
in a drawer furnished with a compartment for each alcove of the 

From the beginning of the Library, the Rules have allowed a 
book to be kept out for twelve Library days, have exacted a fine 
for every day of subsequent detention, and have required that, 
after six days of such detention, the book should be sent for at 
the expense of the borrower. None of these regulations has 
been changed, but facilities have been provided for carrying them 
into effect. At the close of each day the slips for the day are 
placed together in exact order in a drawer of the distributing 
room, divided so as to furnish twelve compartments for books not 


kept beyond the time allowed, aud six other compartments for the 
slips of books finable. The first day's gathering is placed in 
the first division, the second day's in the second, and so on 
through the twelve. On the thirteenth Library day, the slips 
remaining in the first division are removed to the first division 
for finable books, and their place occupied by the slips of books 
lent the preceding day. When the six divisions of the finable 
books are filled, those remaining in the first of them, must, under 
the Rules, be sent for by a special messenger. It should have 
been stated that on the thirteenth day after the first loans, a 
notice is sent by mail to the address on each of the uncancelled 
slips,. stating that the book has already been retained the full 
time allowed, and is now incurring fines, and that, unless returned 
or renewed within six days from the date of the notice, it must, 
under the Rules, be sent for at the expense of the borrower. 

So well has this part of the system worked, that, during the 
time it has been in operation, not two and a half books a day on 
an average have been detained long enough to be sent for by a 
messenger. The sending for books is rapidly bringing to light 
abuses which have long existed, and it will, as may be hoped, 
soon lead to the detection and removal of most of them, thus 
obviating the apprehended necessity of requiring troublesome 
guarantees for the loans. 

A member of the Soldiers' Messenger Corps has been em- 
ployed for tracing out delinquencies. He has performed the ser- 
vice faithfully and skilfully, with the following results : 

Whole number of delinquents referred to him in thirty-five 

Library daj's 82 

The whole number of books lent to the last of the daj^s 

was 29,352 

From these, — the number of books recovered is . 40 

" " not recovered 42 — 82 

Of the 42 not recovered he has reported — 
Borrowers removed to places unknown .... 13 

50 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

Borrowers who had recorded their names with ^^Tong resi- 
dence, but who were found by the Messenger . . 2 

Borrowers who were said to have removed to other places, 

but who have made no reply to letters sent to them . 3 

Borrowers who promised to call at the Library and explain 

their delinquencies, but have not done so . . . 6 

Borrowers who have removed from the City, and left their 

cards to others 2 

Borrowers not accounted for . . . . . . 16 

One boy sold his father's card for four cents to another boy, 
who lent it to a third, who lost both book and card ; but the 
three boys came to the Library, and united to pay for the book lost. 

When a book is regularly returned, the slip and card are 
stamped with the date of the return, and the slip is placed in its 
proper order, according to the shelf-number, among the cancelled 
slips. Thus, the slips representing the same book come together, 
and it is easy to ascertain how many times, when, and in what 
order, each book has been borrowed. Thus, too, the slips for 
each alcove are brought together, and as the books are divided 
in the alcove by subjects, it is easy to ascertain how much each 
class of books has been used. As the books in each day's gath- 
ering are kept in the order of their shelf-numbers, it is not diffi- 
cult to ascertain who has any book which is out, — a matter often 
of considerable importance. 

By means of an ingeniously contrived stamp, each slip is num- 
bered in order from the first to the last, so that it is ascertain- 
able at a glance how many books have been lent since the Li- 
brary year commenced, and at the end of the year the aggregate 
circulation is disclosed without any count. 

The word or two of the title of the book written upon the 
slip, serves as a check upon mistakes which might occur in copy- 
ing the shelf-numbers. 

Rapid as was the working of the old system, borrowers will 
not probably be obliged to wait longer for their books under the 
new system. 


Although the number of operations is increased in the new 
system, yet the facility for the subdivision of labor by the use of 
slips is such, that a much greater number of books can be given 
out by it in a day than by the other system. Indeed, there is 
scarcely any limit to its capabilities 'in this respect. All the 
books in the Lower Hall could be given out and properly 
charged in one day. Under the ledger system, not more than 
two persons could work at a time in receiving and charging 
books without interfering with each other. Under the slip sys- 
tem, as many as could stand by the desk could simultaneously 
receive and deliver books ; and as many as could be accommo- 
dated with stamps and table room could be at one and the same 
time engaged in charging them. 

To all this may be added the greater ease, quietness, and regu- 
larity of the service, where each operation is performed with 
almost mechanical precision, and in a regular order, without the 
necessity of any conversation or conference among the attendants. 
It is unnecessary to go into the details for renewing books, 
transferring them from one account to another, etc. These all 
take care of themselves silently and effectually under the pro- 
visions of the new system. 

It is now three working months since the change was made, 
and I believe that every one who was familiar with the former 
m(!thod, and has been occupied with this, has no longer any 
hesitation in pronouncing in favor of the change. Nor has any 
imperfection been yet developed in its working. It is not 
impossible that modifications may become desirable, or that 
additions may be required, as further safeguards for the loans, 
or to make the record more useful. Improvements should 
always be welcomed. But the motive of the change was the 
greater convenience of the public and the greater protection of 
its property ; its details imply no trouble to borrowers, and its 
results are such as to insure the greater popularity and useful- 
ness of the institution. 

52 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 


The Supplement to the Index for the Bates Hall, including the 
great collection bequeathed by Mr. Parker, has been completed. 
The printing met with many interruptions beyond our control, 
and to the last, all books received were recorded in it, if both 
the main title and the requisite cross references could be inserted ; 
— so that instead of 400 pages, as at first estimated, the work 
contains 718 pages, besides the list of City Documents prepared 
by J. M. Bugbee, Esq., which, by permission, is appended to it. 

The printed Indexes are now as follows : 

1. The Index for the Lower Hall, printed in 1858, of which 
nearly 10,000 copies have been printed, and but few now remain. 

2. Eight Annual Supplements to the same — some of which 
are now out of print. 

3. The Finding List, with very brief titles for the department 
of Fiction, exhibiting its present state. This was prepared and 
printed during the last annual recess. 

4. The large Index for the Bates Hall; published in 1861, of 
which a second edition, now nearly exhausted, was printed in 
1 865. The stereotype plates are in the possession of the Trustees. 

5. The Supplement to the same, of which 1 ,500 copies have 
been printed. 

In a former part of this Report, the condition of the Indexes 
for the Lower Hall has been described at some length in another 
connection, and requires but brief mention here. For the con- 
venience of the public, it was felt to be extremely desirable to 
prepare and publish a new, consolidated, and complete Index for 
this part of the Library. To avoid retaining from circulation 
the whole Library long enough to prepare the work for the 
press, it was proposed to retain one or two alcoves at a time, 
till the Index so far as pertains to them could be prepared; 
and, further, to avoid the necessity of waiting for the Index of 


each alcove, as revised, till the whole could be printed, it was 
proposed to print the briefest possible " Finding List " for each 
alcove, as soon as it could be made ready. These lists would 
serve a temporary purpose for finding books, and, in some sort, 
a permanent purpose as a classed catalogue. As already stated, 
the Finding List of the department of Fiction, embracing about 
seven thousand volumes, has been printed; and that for the 
department of Arts and Sciences has been made nearly ready 
for the press. Here the work has been arrested for want of 

The work already done was accomplished during the recess, 
by employing all of the available regular force of the Library 
and several extra assistants. While the Library is open to the 
public, it is impossible to withdraw from their customary duties 
the assistants in the Library, long enough to do much of this 
kind of labor. 

The work upon the remaining 15,000 volumes will, it is be- 
lieved, be comparatively much less severe than that upon the 
10,000 volumes now nearly completed. 

The volumes in the Library are represented by the printed 
Indexes as follows : 


Index of 1861 containing about . . 55,000 vols. 
Supplement of 1866 about . . . 33,966 " 


Index of 1858 15,000 vols. 

Eight Supplements 8,366 " 

The Finding List contains in it about 7,000 volumes, many of 
them not represented in the above Indexes. 

The remaining books in the Library comprise those received 
too late for insertion in the Indexes, including the Priace Library, 
duplicates of those catalogued, and sale duplicates. 

54 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

The books received too late for the printed Indexes are made 
known, as far as may be, to tlie public, by means of interleaved 
catalogues — a matter of many difficulties, delays, and inconven- 
iences. If the suggestion, made by the Examining Committee, of 
a Monthly Bulletin for making known the receipts of the Library 
month by mouth, should be carried into effect, it will prove of great 
advantage to those who use the Library, and save the necessity 
of frequent Supplements. 

During the year, the internal affairs of the Library have pro- 
ceeded with regularity and harmony. The great amount of un- 
usual labor required has been performed with cheerful alacrity 
by the attendants. The problems to be solved in managing so 
large and so free a circulation are many of them new, difficult, 
and perplexing. We cannot be governed by precedents ; we 
must not be too conservative of old ways ; we must seek after 
improvements. Measures must be framed for our special exigen- 
cies. One pleasant and promising circumstance connected with 
the necessary discussion which has arisen respecting details of 
administration, has been that suggestions of ingenious and origi- 
nal plans for meeting difficulties have been made by persons not 
connected with the Library, but who have used it largely, and 
have understood and appreciated its position, its liberal spirit, 
and its importance as a free public provision for the literary and 
moral culture of the people. Some of these suggestions may 
yet prove of great practical benefit, even though it may not be 
possible to adopt them in full. At any rate, they give cheering 
evidence of the interest felt by thoughtful men in rendering the 
Library to the highest degree popularly useful. A person accus- 
tomed to literary researches among large collections of books 
can find his way under almost any discouragements ; but, for 
those who have little acquaintance with books, extraordinary 
facilities must be provided. It is their necessities which require 
the most patient consideration, which demand ingenious expe- 
dients, which forbid a blind adherence to precedents, and invite 


suggestions, even the boldest of which may contain some hints 
of practical value. 

The usual financial statement for the year is appended to this 
Report, and marked EE. 

Respectfully submitted, 



Public Libraby, Nov. 13, 1866. 


Bates, Joshua, London, 

interest on the fund of 

. $50,000 

Bigelow, Hon. John P., 


Franklin Ckib, 


Lawrence, Hon. Abbott, 

. 10,000 

Phillips, Hon. Jonathan, 

. 30,000 

Townsend, Mary P., 

" " " " 


The interest of these donations, with the exception of that of 
the Townsend Fund (which is invested in a mortgage at six per 
cent), has been paid in gold, at the rate of five per cent per 




Abbott, Ezra, Cambridge, 


Albany Young Men's Association, 


Allen, Joseph H., 


American Baptist Missionary Union, 


American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 



American Education Society, 


American Freedman's Aid Commission, 


American Peace Society, 


American Phonic Association, 



American Tract Society, 


American Unitarian Association, 


Ann Arbor. University of Michigan, 


Anonymous. A Friend, 


Anonymous. A Lawyer, 


Anonymous. 6 papers. 








Atwood, Charles, 


Baker, N. B., Adjutant General, Des Moines, Iowa, 


Balfour, David M., 



Barnard, James M., Esq., 10 engravings. 



Barnes, William, 


Bates, Samuel P., Harrisburg, Pa., 


Bigelow, Hon. John P., 


Bigelow, The Misses, Maiden, 



Black, James, Lancaster, Pa., 2 broadsides. 



Blatchford, E. S., New York, 


Bogart, W. H., Albany, 


Boole, F. I. A., City Inspector, N« Y., 


Boston, City of, 



Boston. The Webster Vase. See Appendix CC. 

Boston Athenaeum, 


Boston Board of Trade, 


Boston Freedman's Aid Society, by J. R. Thayer, 



Boston Gas Light Company, 


Boston Mercantile Library Association, 


Boston Provident Association, 


Bowditch, H. I., M.D., 1 paper. 



Bowditch, J. IngersoU, 


Bowen, Henry, 


Bradlee, Eev. Caleb Davis, 2 papers, 3 broadsides. 



Brinley, George, Hartford, Ct., 


Brooklyn, Long Island. Historical Society, 


Brooklyn Mercantile Library Association, 


Brown, Francis H., M.D., 


Brown, J. Coffin Jones, 



Buffalo Young Men's Association, 


Bugbee, J. M., Esq., 


Bullock, His Excellency A. H., 


Bunker Hill Monument Association, 

Bm-nham, T. 0. H. P., 

Burroughs, Rev. Henry, Jr., 


Butler, Peter, 

California. Department of Public Instruction, 

California, College of, 


Cambridge. Harvard College, 


Capen, John, 


Chaney, Prof. Henry, Detroit, Mich., 


Chapman, Mary Gray, 

Charlestown Public Library, 


Chi-istern, F. W., New York, 



Cincinnati, Ohio, Mechanics' Institute, 



CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 




Cincinnati Young Men's Library Association, 


Clapp, Derastus, 


Clark, Henry, Ponltney, Vt., 


Clincli, Rev. J. H., 


Coolitlo-e, D. H., 


Cornell, \V. M., M.U., Philadelphia, 


Cotting, B. P:., M.D., Roxbury, 


Coxe, Brinton, rhiladelphia. 


Cnrtin, Daniel S., 


Curtis, Mrs. C. P., 



Cutter, Charles A., Cambridge, 1 map. 

Cutter, Mrs. Charles A., Cambritlge, 


Dana, Richard H., Jr., 


Dean, John, M.D., 


Dean, J. W., 


Delatield, Gen. Richard, U. S. Engineers, 


Dennett, Wra. H., 


Derby, Haskett, M.D., 


Divoil, Ira, St. Louis, 


Dixon, B. Homer, Toronto, 


Dorr, E. Ritchie, 


Eaton, J. B., Executor of Lydia S. Gale, 



Edinburgh. Royal Society, 



Edwards, Henry, 


Ellis, Charles M., 


Everett, William, 


Fay, Hon. Theodore S., 


Field, Rev. C, 


Fitchburg. Town Library, 


Foley, William J., 



Ford, William E., 


Foster, Wm. H., Andover, 


Francis, James B., 


Garfield, Hon. J. W., 


Goldsmith, Seth, Charlestown, 


Gould, Benjamin A., Cambridge, 


Gray, Miss Isa, 



Great Britain. Commissioners of Patents, 


Great Britain. Royal Observatory, 


Green, S. A., M.D., 


Greenough, W. W., 



Hale, Rev. Edward E., 


Hall, Charles B., 


Hall, W. W., M.D., New York, 


Hartford Young Men's Institute, 







Hill, Hamilton A., 


Humphrey, Henry B., 


Hunt, Richard M., New York, 


Jarves, Deming, 


Jarvis, Edward, M.D., 



Jillson, Prof. William E., 


Keep, N. C, M.D., 


Kempel, Fritz, 


Kimball, H. H., 


Kirk, Rev. E. N., D.D., 


Kreissman, August, 


Langworthy, Rev. I. P., " 



Lawrence, Abbott, 


Lee, Henry, Jr., 


Lewis, Winslow, M.D., 


Lincoln, His Honor F. W., Jr., 


Lincoln, Henry W., 


London. Royal Astronomical Society, 


London. Royal Geographical Society, 


London. Royal Society, 


London. Peace Society, 


London Library, by Robert Harrison, 


Loring, James S., Brooklyn, 



Lowell, City of. 


Lowell City Library, 


McDougali, Hon. William, Ottawa, Canada, 



Maine Gen'l Conference, E. F. Duren, Rec. 



Manchester, N. H., Free Library, 


March, Andrew S., 


Massachusetts, State of. 



Massachusetts State Library, 


Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, 

184 papers. 



Massachusetts Bible Society, 


Massachusetts Historical Society, 


Massachusetts Horticultural Society, 


Massachusetts Temperance Society, by J. S 

. Warren, 


May, Miss Abby W., 15 papers, 8 slips. 



Meigs, M. C, Quarter-Master General U. S 




Meredith, E. A., by H. J. Morgan, 


Merriam, J. W., M.D., 



Merrill, George, 


Middlebury College, Vt., 


Milwaukee Young Men^ A.ssociation, 


Moore, Charles W., 


Morgan, Albert, 



CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

]Moioan, Ilcnry J., Ottawn, Canada, 

jMumfonl, S. R., Detroit, 7 papers. 

Muiisell, Joel, Albany, 

Napoleon 111, Enii)eror of France, 

New Beclfbnl rnblic Library, 

New England Loyal Publication Society, 59 broadsides. 

New Haven. Collegiate and Commercial Institute, 

New Haven, Yale College, 

New York. Chamber of Commerce, J. A. Stevens, Jr., 

New York. Columbia College, 
New York. Loyal Publication Society, - 
New York. Mercantile Librai'y Association, 
New York. Union Theological Seminary, 
New York State Homoeopathic Medical Society, Albany, 
Nichols, Major W., Jr., M.D., Coll. of "Confederate" 

hospital blanks, etc., 
Norton, Charles E., 
Nourse & Rand, 

Ohio, State of, 2 broadsides. 

Owen, Hon. Robert Dale, 
Parker, Henry Tuke, London, England, 
Parker, Nathan H., 
Patterson, Gen. Robert, 
Pease, Rev. Giles, 

Pei'ry, Rev. Wm. S., Litchfield, Conn., 
Phelps, Abner, M.D., portfolio of MS. 

Philadelphia. American Philosophical Society, 
Philadelphia. Entomological Society, 1 paper. 

Philadelphia. Library Company, 
Philadelphia. Mercantile Library Association, 
Phillips, H. J., M.D., New York, 

Pickston, William, Manchester, Eng., by D. L. Webster, 
Pike, J. G. W., M.D., 
Portland, First Parish, 
Providence, City of, 
Providence. Athenaeum, 
Providence. Butler Hospital for the Lisane, 
Punchard, George, 6H papers. 

Quincy, Miss Eliza S., 
Rand & Avery, 

Randall, Rt. Rev. Bishop G. M., Colorado, 
Rankin, Rev. J. E., Charlestown, 
Rauney, Thomas, Newton, 
Ray, Georgiana A., 






Redpatli, James, 


Reynolds, Edward, M.D., 


Rhode Island, State of, by Hon. J. R. Bartlett, 



Rice, Hon. Alexander H., M.C., 



Richardson. James B., 


Robbins, Rev. Chandler, D.D., 



Rogers, Henry B., 1 circnlar. 


Russell, Hon. C. T., 



Salem. Essex Institute, 



Salter, Richard H., M.D., 



San Francisco Mercantile Lib. Assoc, by D. E. Webb, 


San Francisco Odd Fellows Library Association, 


Sargent, Rev. John T., 3 cuttings. 


Sargent, L. M., 



Savage, Edward H., 


SchaufHer, Ferdinand S., 


Schonler, Adjutant General William, 


Sears, Hon. Philip H., 


Seward, Hon. William H., 


Shaw, Benjamin S., M.D., 


Sherwin, Thomas, 


Shippen, Edward, Exec'r of Mrs. E. B, Gibson, of Phila., 


Siblev, J. Langdon, Cambridge, 


Slack, C. W., 


Smith, Charles C, 


Smith Brothers, 


Smith, F. W., 


Smith, G. P., 


Smith, Samuel, Worcester, City Clerk, 



Smith, W. Dexter, Jr., 22 pages of music. 

Snelling, George H., 


Snow, Edwin M., M.D., Providence, R.L, 



South Danvers. Peabody Institute, 


Spencer, AVilliam V., 


Springfield Library Association, 


Stevens, Benjamin S., 


Stevenson, Miss M. C, Brookline, 


Stimpson, F. H., 


Stone, Rev. A. L., D. D., 


Stone, General Charles, Cambridge, 


Storer, Frank H., 


Storer, H. R., M.D., 


Sullivan, Dennis, 



Sullivan, Richard, 


Sumner, Hon. Charles, 25 papers. 




CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

Suuderland, Dr. La Ro)^, 
Swett, Samuel , 
Tarbox, Rev. I. N., 
Taylor, 8. H., LL.D., Andover, 
Terwilligev, James, Clerk of the Senate, Albany, 
Thayer, Alex. W., Consul at Trieste, 
Ticknor, George, 53 papers. 

Tobey, Hon. E. S., 
Toner, Dr. J. M., Washington, D.C., 
Towusend, S. D., M.D., 39 papers. 

Tracy, Rev. Joseph, 

Twining, T.,Perryn House, Twickenham, Eng., 1 paper. 
United States. Bureau of Military Justice, 
United States. Bureau of Navigation, 
United States. Coast Survey, A. D. Bache, Super- 
intendent, 1 map. 
United States. Congress, 
United States. Department of State, 
United States. Department of the Post-Office, 
United States. Engineer Department, 7 maps. 
United States. Library of Congress, 
United States. Navy Department, 2 lithographs. 
United States. Naval Observatory, 
United States. Surgeon General J. K. Barnes, 
United States Christian Commission, 
United States Sanitary Commission, Historical Bureau, 
J. M. Blatchford, Gen. Sec, 14 papers. 
Upham, Hon. Charles W., Salem, 
Upham, J. Baxter, M.D., 
Venice. Istituto Veneto, 
Vienna Imperial Geological Institute, 
Vinton, Frederic, Washington, 
Vose, George L., 
Walther, G. J., 
Ward, Rev. James W., 
Warner, Edward, 
Warren, Rev. Israel P., 
Warren, J. Mason, M.D., 
W:irren, J. Sullivan, 
AYashburn, Hon. Emery, 
Washington. Smithsonian Institution, 
Weiss, Rev. John, Watertown, 
Wells, Rev. E. M. P., D.D., 
Whipple, Charles K., 
Whitney, Rev. Frederick A., Brighton, 










Whitney, Henry Austin, 

Wiflen, B. B., near Woburn, Bedfordshire, England, 


2 pages and 2 circulars. 
Wiggin, J. K., 



Wightman, Hon. Jos. M., 



Wilder, Burt G., 


Williams, J. D. W., Roxbury, 
Williams, Dr. Lewis, 




Wilson, Hon. Heniy, 

Winthrop, Hon. Robert C, 1 broadside. 




Wood, Rev. Horatio, Lowell, 


Wood, Wm., & Co., 


Worcester. American Antiquarian Society, 
Worcester Free Library, 
Worthingtou & Flanders, 




Wright, Elizur, 


Wyman, Jeffries, M.D., Cambridge, 



Abbott, William 
American Messenger 
Boston Courier 

" Cultivator . 

" Daily Advertiser 

" Daily Journal 

" Evening Traveller 

" Herald 

" Investigator 

" Medical Journal 

" Liberator 
Pilot . 

" Recorder 
Bradford, Geo., Charlestown . 
Bunker Hill Aurora, W. W. Wheildon 
Charlestown Advertiser . 

Christian Era 

" Inquirer, N.Y., 













The File 









The File. 



Christian Register .... 

The File 

and 2 papers 

" ^Vatchnu^n and Retlector . 


'• Witness .... 

2 " 

Commercial Bulletin 

1 " 

Commonwealth .... 


i File 

and 1 paper. 

Cougregationalist .... 

42 papers 

Daily Evening Voice 

5 " 

Evening Commercial 

The File 

Freemason's Monthly Magazine 

The File 

Hawthorne, S. T 

7 papers 

Herald of Health .... 

The File 

Jillson, Prof. Wm. E. 

6 papers. 

Masonic Monthly .... 

The File 

Massachusetts Plowman . 

10 papers 

Mobile Daily Times 

File in part. 

Musical Times .... 

The File. 

Nation, N. Y 

The File. 

Nation, Boston .... 

1 paper. 

New England Farmer 

54 papers. 

New York Social Science Review 

1 number. 

Palmer, F. H., Supt. Merchants' Ex. New 

s Room 

172 papers 

Satmxlay Evening Express 

The Fil 

e and 1 paper. 

Saturday Evening Gazette 

4 papers. 

Student and Schoolmate, Jos. H. Allen 

The File 

Sunday Times ..... 

The File 

Tract Journal 

1 paper. 

Universalist ..... 

2 papers. 

Waverley Magazine, Moses A. Dow 

2 journals 

Wide World 

5 papers. 

Woonsocket Patriot 

2 " 

World's Crisis 

2 " 

Ziou's Herald ..... 

8 " 



This agreement, made and entered into on the 11th day of 
July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and 
sixty-six, by and between the City of Boston, party of the first 
part, and the Deacons of the Old South Church in said Boston, 
for themselves and their successors in office, party of the second 
part, witnesseth, that it is understood and agreed by and between 
said party of the first part and said party of the second part as 
follows, namely: 

1. The said Deacons will deposit in the Public Library of 
said City, all the books, pamphlets, maps, printed papers, and 
manuscripts now in their possession, which were bequeathed to 
said Old South Church by Rev. Thomas Prince, by will dated 
October 2, 1758, and proved Nov. 3, 1758; the same being 
known as the Prince Library. 

2. Said Prince Library shall be kept by the said party of the 
first part, in the Public Library building of said City, by itself, 
and no book or paper belonging to it shall be permitted to be 
taken from said building, except for the purpose of being bound 
or otherwise repaii-ed. 

3. Said party of the first part shall, through the Trustees of 
said Public Library, put said Prince Library in good order, and 


66 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

keep it so ; and sliall cause a separate catalogue of said Prince 
Library to be prepared and printed, keeping an account of the 
expenses that may be incurred in putting said Library in order 
and keeping it so, and in preparing and printing said cata- 

4. So long as said Prince Library shall remain in said build- 
ing, it shall be accessible for reference and use in the same 
way with the other books of said Public Library which are 
excluded from circulation, and from use, except in the rooms of 
the Library building. 

5. Clergymen and literary men residing out of Boston, 
known to the Superintendent of said Public Library, or bringing 
a note of introduction from a pastor or deacon of the Old South 
Church, shall be permitted to consult said Prince Library, and 
use the same, in the Public Library building, under the super- 
vision of said Superintendent. 

6. Said party of the fiist part shall return and restore said 
Prince Library to said party of the second part, whenever duly 
demanded by said deacons or their successors, acting under the 
direction of said Old South Church, said deacons or their suc- 
cessors first paying to said City the expenses to be incurred on 
account of said Library, as in Article 3, before written. But 
such expenses shall in no case exceed the sum of two thousand 
dollars. And said deacons shall not be required to pay interest 
upon the amount of such expenses. 

7. Said City shall, by the Trustees of said Public Library, 
acknowledge to said deacons, in writing, the receipt of said 
Prince Library, when the same shall have been deposited in the 
Public Library building. 

In witness whereof, the said City of Boston, by Frederic W. 
Lincoln, Jr., its Mayor, who is duly authorized to execute these 
presents by the City Council of said City, and the said Deacons 



of the Old South Church, have hereto set their hands the day and 
year first above written. 


^ United States 

I Government j LORING LOTHROP, 

^ Stamp. <jr AVERY PLUMER, 


of the 

Old South Church. 


By F. W. LINCOLN, Jr., Mayor. 


Geo. Ticknor, 
C. C. Jewett. 

I approve and assent to the above agreement, 


Attorney General of Massachusetts. 


Boston, 16th March, 1865. 

To F. W. Lincoln, Jr., Esq., 

Mayor of the City of Boston : 

Sm: In the year 1835, a silver vase was presented to Mr. 
Webster by the citizens of Boston, who were desirous to offer 
that great statesman some enduring testimonial of their grati- 
tude for his public services, and especially for the unsurpassed 
combination of logic and eloquence with which he had recently 
defended the Constitution against the assaults of nullification. 

The value of the offering was enhanced by the fact that it was 
procured by a subscription limited to one dollar from each 
person subscribing. It was an expression of the heartfelt 
gratitude of the people to the great statesman who had so 
clearly and powerfully expounded the Constitution, and educed 
from it those principles of government which, by strengthening 
the bands of the Union, gave a new impulse to the growth and 
prosperity of the country. 

The vase — a beautiful work of art, reflectmg the highest 
credit upon the taste of the designer and the skill of the manu- 
facturer — bears on its front this inscription : 








OCTOBER 12, 1835. 


The ceremony of presentation took place at the Odeon, in tlie 
presence of more than three thousand persons. The late Mr. 
Francis Galley Gray, a man held in honored remembrance by 
his friends for his remarkable abilities and his still more remark- 
able attainments, on the behalf of the subscribers addressed Mr. 
Webster in a speech worthy of the occasion ; and Mr. Webster's 
reply is one of the happiest and most characteristic efforts of 
one who was generally more at home on the field of debate than 
upon the rhetorical parade ground. 


has become the property of the subscribers, who beg leave to 
present it to the City of Boston, with a request that it may be 
kept in the Hall of the Public Library — a place of deposit 
combining security with the largest opportunity for inspection. 
We wish that it may forever remain in some spot where it may 
be freely seen by such of the subscribers to its purchase as are 
still living, and by the children and grandchildren of those who, 
like Mr. Webster himself, have passed away from earth. Our 
satisfaction in making this disposition of the vase would be in- 
creased if we could believe that the sight of this 


would lead the young men who have come into active life since 
Mr. Webster's death to a more careful study of his immortal 
writings, and inspire them with a more earnest purpose to imi- 
tate his generous and comprehensive patriotism. 

We have only to add that this disposition of the vase is in 
conformity with the wishes of the late Col. Fletcher Webster, 
and of his son, Mr. Ashburton Webster, a young gentleman now 
in the Naval Academy at Newport, upon whom, in default of 


CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

such disposition, tlic vase would have devolved by the provisions 
of his grandfather's will. 

George W. Lyman, 
Nathaniel Thayer, 
Albert Fearing, 
Franliliu Haven, 
Josiah Caldwell, 
Francis Bacon, 
William W. Greenough, 
William Thomas, 
F. M. Weld, 
Henry J. Gardner, 
Frederick O. Prince, 
Leverett Saltonstall, 
Thomas W. Pierce, 

Francis Skinner, 
Isaac Thacher, 
J. P. Healey, 
William Gray, 
G. S. Hillard, 
Josiah Bardwell, 
Edmund F. Cutter, 
George Eaton, 
H. K. Horton, 
George B. Hyde, 
Samuel Appleton, 
H. W. Paine, 
Peter Harvey, 

Joseph S. Fay, 
S. T. Dana, 
George Gardner, 
Benjamin E. Bates, 
George W. Pratt, 
W. Amory, 
E. D. Jordan, 
Theophilus W. Walker, 
George Bond Jones, 
H. D. Parker, 
A. Tucker, 
P. Adams Ames, 
Peter Butler. 


George Ticknor, Esq., 

Chairman of the Examining Committee. 

Dear Sir: I deemed it right to make a short statement in the 
Daily Advertiser of my views upon the subject of keeping the 
periodicals of the Reading Room, each in an assigned place, 
accessible to the public only on due application. I learn that 
the Examining Committee may have the subject before them, and 
should^ like to restate my views, for such consideration as the 
Committee may choose to bestow on them. 

My strongest wish in this matter is to secure the public good, 
but this makes no demand inconsistent with the good of the 
Library. Quiet demeanor should be claimed from all visitors, in 
a public reading-room, and its papers and periodicals should be 
always at hand, in good condition. Here I rest my conviction 
in favor of the present arrangement of periodicals. Spreading 
the periodicals upon the tables, I say with emphasis, was the 
cause of much disquiet. An alphabetical arrangement was 
attempted, but every new comer broke into this, and of necessity, 
any one in quest of a particular paper walked up and down the 
room to find it. If it was barricaded by readers, he must disturb 
them ; if hidden, stolen, mutilated in any essential part, or not 
received, his noisy search, no less his time misspent, he must 
leave the room dissatisfied, perhaps in ill humor. 

On the present system, in silence, he writes the number of the 
paper, receives it without delay if in, or information concerning it 
if it is not in, and quietly seats himself to read, or selects other 

72 CITY DOCUMENT. -No. 110. 

numbers, until all his wishes are met. Moreover, a file of back 
numbers, forming an incomplete volume, is equally accessible, a 
clear gain in favor of the present system, for he is saved an 
annoying, and perhaps fruitless delay, while the attendant leaves 
the room to find it. Spreading the periodicals on the tables in- 
vited from the delivery room a floating crowd, having anything 
but a quiet bearing, many of whom the rules fairly excluded from 
the room ; and this caused no less annoyance in the circulating 
department, for the parties thus trespassing were neglecting the 
business for which they came, heedless of the repeated calls of 
the attendant, and subjecting the Library to the chance of losing 
a book, which, under such circumstances, could easily be appro- 
priated by others. Thus, I hold, the old system subjected the 
reader to various inconveniences, such as disquiet, disorder in 
the arrangements, 'annoying and fruitless search, delay, &c., 
which the present system entirely obviates, and the question 
presented for consideration is simply one of administration, and 
the present method is shown to accord with the fitness of things. 

In addition to this, stealing, mutilating, unnecessary wear and 
tear, rendering current volumes of periodicals unfit to bind, were 
almost exclusively incidental to the system abandoned, and give 
force to the argument in favor of the new ; but if the facts above 
stated were difierent, if the old system secured quiet demeanor 
and good arrangement, I would not abandon it merely on account 
of incidental defects, from whatever cause, in the periodicals, 
and, for this reason, I do not dwell upon the subject of theft, 
mutilation, and defect, even though it be of grave moment. 

If I am right, it would seem very strange if, in numbers to 
attract notice, the public ceased to be drawn to the Reading 
Room. But I assure you, sir, this is not the case. Attendance 
in the Reading Room varies with seasons of the year and hours 
of the day. Allow me to select these, and I will agree to make 
out a stronger statement against the administration than any yet 
presented in the public prints. On such manifestly unjust selec- 


tion only can their criticism be sustained. It is not in conform- 
ity with the fact. Day by day, periodical with periodical, the 
Reading Room was never more than now a popular place of 
resort by those who appreciate its treasures and make a good 
and noble use of them ; for the idler, the lounger, and the man 
without a purpose, it may have been. So far as my observation 
goes, men do not deny themselves a great good and great enjoy- 
ment from unwillingness to take the trouble of asking for it. 

I may properly add that the expense of administering the 
Reading Room on the present system is the same as under 
the old. One attendant only is required day and night ; while 
the gain incidental to safe keeping and preservation is quite 

Moreover, I am strengthened in my position by inquiries made 
of persons of good judgment, who constantly resort to the Room 
for the benefit it confers. The uniform answer is in favor of 
the present method. They regard it as a public convenience, 
and are earnest in their wish to have it retained. 

With much respect, 

Your obedient servant, 


Public Library Reading Room, 
Boston, Oct. 15th, 1866. 
Mr. Custodian: 

You only ask if I will note down my views as to the new 
arrangement here. I do so cheerfully; and they will be my 
views, I having read or heard no other. 

Upon my experience in occasional visits here for a somewhat 
wide though special research, both before and since the change, 
I can say, that now I quickly find what I want, or else why it 

74 CITY DOCUMENT. — ISO. 110. 

oaniiut be hud, whether us uot yet urrived Irum the publishers, 
or uheady in the hauds of another reader. In order to do this, 
one need not, as heretofore, expeditionizc about the room and 
tables, to the annoyance of many readers and one's self, besides 
being, after all, perhaps, left in doubt. But now one, upon 
entering, finds everyw^here the full lists and directions, with 
pencils and slips of paper always ready; he on a slip notes 
from among the hundreds of various periodicals named in the 
lists, simply the list number opposite the one he wants, with the 
briefest hint of the particular issue that he wants, by its number 
or date, marks his own name, street and number, then pushes 
forward upon the counter the so inscribed paper, without saying 
a word (unless, as in case of a much called for work, he chooses, 
before writing merely his " name and residence," to whisper, for 
example, the ^^ Atlantic for October "), when forthwith is given to 
him either the exact thing he wants, or the exact reason why it 
cannot be had. This is done by the ever ready attendant dis- 
pensing from within what I may call the cornucopia beneath the 
sublime presence of Columbus discovering a new world. 

Since each borrower, by leaving his name, is so inspii-ed with 
a responsible care in using the periodicals, I have not found, as 
I before did repeatedly, that they were badly soiled, defaced, or 
torn, and sometimes actually spoilt or wholly missing. And I 
think this better condition of the whole is owing to the better 
usage, and not to less perusal; the attendance of readers 
(my observation occurring mostly of evenings) being, if I mistake 
not, larger than before the change, and more entirely a studious 
company. Whether this latter is due to there being now less 
methods for mere idlers, or to the fact of a central directory 
quickly and quietly informing and doing for all comers every- 
thing but the reading itself, others can judge; but to me it 
appears that both idling and mischief have, in far the largest 
proportion, or, indeed, I might almost say entirely, disappeared 
upon the change, in addition to the important fact that now. 


instead of all being obliged to ramble and rummage, none 

I also think that under the new arrangement, these numerous 
works, containing, as they do, a current history of the age in its 
freshly recorded thought and discoveries in all principal depart- 
ments, even after the full perusal in the Reading Room, are still 
in good condition for binding and preservation in the Library 
for future reference and coming times. 

I might add, without discommending any, that among the long 
established and best reading rooms in Boston to which I have 
had access, containing like works illustrating the progress of 
science, etc., I usually prefer this of the city, as the best lighted, 
most spacious and conveniently ordered, and abounding in 
books of reference at hand ; and I think I may now fairly add, 
as quiet as any, although by very far the most numerously 

Upon the whole, so far as I know and am able to judge, 
the present arrangement and rules go far towards securing 
the best of management, on all hands, for a truly public and 
free reading room, in reference not only to safety, but to 
the utmost practicable usefulness, harmony, and convenience 
for all concerned. 

Very respectfully, etc., 


Mr. Capen: 

My Dear Sir, — I concur with Mr. Plympton in every opinion 
expressed in his letter. And I will add that I had become so 
dissatisfied with the soiled, mutilated, and ^'he-scribhled'' state of 
the magazines, for more than a year preceding the change, that I 

76 CITY DOCUMENT. — No. 110. 

veiy seldom visited the room, but I now regard the use of it as 
a privilege and pleasure to be enjoyed as often as possible. 

I can only express my surprise at hearing that any reader has 
found fault with the change. 

Yours, with true esteem, 

October 15, 186G. 



From October 1, 1865, to September 30, 1866. 

Expense . 

Gas . 

Printing . 
Salaries . 











• 1,546 












214 41 

$44,205 12 


3 9999 06314 626 8 

NOV 23 1878 

ft 4