BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
A HANDBOOK TO THE LIBRARY BUILDING
ITS MURAL DECORATIONS AND ITS
FOURTH EDITION, REVISED BY
FRANK H. CHASE, Pn.D.
"-80STON PUEL1C LIBRARY"
COPYRIGHT 1916, 1920, 1921.
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY EMPLOYEES
Copyright notice: In addition to the general copyright which
covers the text and illustrations, the engravings of the Sargent
paintings on pages 35 to 57 are from "Association Prints,"
copyright 1916, 1919 by the Boston Public Library Employees
Benefit Association, these prints being made from the original
paintings, copyright, 1916, 1919, by the Trustees of the Public
Library of the City of Boston. A price list of the "Association
Prints" and other pictures for sale at the post-card counter in the
Library will be found on the inside of the cover.
THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY.
Founded in 1852, first opened to the public in
1854, the Boston Public Library is the oldest free
municipal library in any American city in fact, in
any city in the world. It received its first large gift from
Joshua Bates, a London banker, born in Weymouth,
Mass., and its first building, in Boylston Street, on the
site now occupied by the Colonial Building, was opened
in 1858, when the Library contained seventy thousand
volumes, aside from pamphlets. In 1895, it was
removed to its present location in Copley Square, and,
in 1 920, it possesses nearly one and a quarter million
volumes, of which about three-fourths are in the Central
Library and one-fourth in the thirty Branch Libraries
and Reading Rooms in various parts of the City. It
annually lends more than two million volumes for use
at home ; its working force consists of nearly five hun-
dred persons ; and its total annual expenditure consider-
ably exceeds a half-million dollars, of which only four
per cent is derived from the income of its trust funds, the
rest being appropriated by the City Government. The
control of the Library is vested in an unpaid board of
five Trustees, appointed by the Mayor.
The Library building, elevated upon a platform on
the west side of Copley Square, is constructed of
granite from Milford, Massachusetts ; it is two hundred
and twenty-five feet long, two hundred and twenty-
seven feet deep, and seventy feet high, from sidewalk
to cornice; an annex on Blagden Street, opened in
1918, adds sixty-eight feet to the depth of the building.
Along the front of the building, at the edge of the
sidewalk, are low granite posts, the larger of which
bear heraldic eagles.
The architects of the Library, designed in the style
of the Italian Renaissance, were McKim, Mead &
White, of New York; most of the actual design is
the work of Mr. Charles Pollen McKim.
A heavy lower story, in effect a high basement,
supports an upper story lighted by lofty arched win-
dows, and completed by a rich cornice, ornamented
with lions' heads and dolphins. The roof, of red tiles,
is finished above by an ornate copper cresting which
softens the sky line. Beneath the great window arches
are tablets inscribed with the world's foremost names.
Immediately above the central entrance are the signifi-
cant words, FREE TO ALL. Each of the three facades
bears a bold inscription, just below the cornice. That
on the front of the building runs: THE PUBLIC LI-
BRARY OF THE CITY OF BOSTON BUILT BY THE
PEOPLE AND DEDICATED TO THE ADVANCEMENT
OF LEARNING. A.D. MDCCCLXXXVIII. The Boyl-
ston Street inscription is: THE COMMONWEALTH RE-
QUIRES THE EDUCATION OF THE PEOPLE AS THE
SAFEGUARD OF ORDER AND LIBERTY. The inscrip-
tion on the Blagden Street side reads: MDCCCLII.
FOUNDED THROUGH THE MUNIFICENCE AND PUB-
LIC SPIRIT OF CITIZENS.
THE EXTERIOR SCULPTURE.
On the platform in front of the Library, set into
massive granite pedestals, are two heroic seated figures
in bronze, the work of the Boston sculptor, Bela L.
"SCIENCE, BEFORE THE MAIN ENTRANCE.
Pratt, that at the left representing Science, that at the
right Art. On the pedestals are carved the names of
the world's most eminent scientists and artists.
The head of Minerva on the keystone of the cen-
tral entrance arch is the work of Augustus St. Gaudens
and Domingo Mora. Above, under the great central
windows, are three carved seals upon backgrounds of
foliage, all of them sculptured by St. Gaudens; from
left to right, the seals are those of the Commonwealth,
of the Library, and of the City of Boston. The seal
of the Library has two nude boys, bearing great
torches, as supporters; the Latin motto above signifies
"The Light of all Citizens." The thirty-three granite
medallions in the spandrels of the window arches on the
three facades contain the picturesque marks or trade
devices of early printers, carved by Mr. Mora.
The vestibule is of unpolished Tennessee marble;
in a niche at the left is a heroic bronze statue of Sir
Harry Vane, Governor of the Massachusetts Bay
Colony in 1 636, the work of Frederick MacMonnies.
The building is entered from the vestibule through three
noble doorways, copied from the entrance of the Erech-
theum at Athens; the double bronze doors which
they enclose were designed by Daniel Chester French.
Each door contains a graceful allegorical figure, in low
relief; above are garlands, enclosing the names of the
figures; below each figure is an appropriate quotation.
On the left-hand doors are the figures of Music and
Poetry; on those in the centre, Knowledge and Wis-
dom; on the right-hand doors, Truth and Romance.
THE ENTRANCE HALL.
This low hall is Roman in design, with vaults and
arches covered with mosaic, and supported by massive
pillars of Iowa sandstone. The mosaic ceiling over
the centre aisle shows a vine-covered trellis; at each
side, in the penetrations of the arches and the pen-
dentives of the small domes, are thirty names which
have given fame to Boston; in the most prominent
positions, at either side of the central aisle, the names
are those of Hawthorne, Peirce (Benjamin Peirce, the
mathematician) , Adams, Franklin, Emerson, and Long-
fellow. The floor, of Georgia marble, is inlaid in
brass with the signs of the zodiac, the seal of the
Library, the great dates in its history, and the names
of eight of its early benefactors.
Corridors open at each side of the Entrance Hall,
leading on the right to the Open Shelf Room, the In-
formation Office, the Government News Service Room,
the Newspaper and Periodical Rooms, and the Interior
Court; and on the left to the Coat Room, the Elevator,
the Public Stenographer's Office, the Catalogue and
Ordering Departments, and again to the Court.
Through the Court are reached the Public Toilet
Rooms, the Patent Room, the files of bound newspa-
pers, and the Statistical Department. Public telephone
booths are near the entrance to the Newspaper Room.
ROOMS AT THE RIGHT OF THE ENTRANCE HALL.
The Information Office is a sort of first-aid station,
prepared to answer all sorts of questions with the least
possible delay. From it open, to the left, the Open
Shelf Room, containing a selected collection of popu-
lar books for circulation ; and to the right, the Govern-
ment News Service Room. This room, opened in the
fall of 1919, is a unique depository of the latest ma-
terial issued by the United States Government, received
by mail from Washington daily; the collection is kept
more completely up to date than that contained in any
other library in the country. On the walls is a series
of twelve original designs for posters, made by their
THE ENTRANCE HALL.
artists as a contribution to the work of the United
States Food Administration during the recent war.
The Newspaper Room contains the current news-
papers, nearly three hundred in number, received by
the Library from all parts of the world, the subscriptions
to which are paid from the income of the fund of fifty
thousand dollars given for the purpose by the late
William C. Todd, of Atkinson, N. H.
In the two rooms devoted to Periodicals will be
found the current numbers of between thirteen and
fourteen hundred periodicals in various languages, and
also some twenty-five thousand bound volumes of maga-
zines, with indexes for aid in their use. In addition
to these, about two hundred and fifty periodicals are
received and filed in other departments of the Library.
ROOMS AT THE LEFT OF THE ENTRANCE HALL.
The rooms at the left are not open to the public,
except the Coat Room, for the care of umbrellas and
wraps during the winter and in stormy weather, and
the office of the Public Stenographer, who may be
employed for copying material in the Library.
The Catalogue Department cares for all details of
placing the books on the shelves and of preparing the
cards for the various card catalogues; it also issues
special catalogues and reading-lists based on the re-
sources of the Library.
The Ordering Department has charge of all matters
connected with the acquisition of books, by purchase,
gift, or exchange.
THE INTERIOR COURT.
Perhaps the finest architectural feature of the Library
is the interior court, with walls of grayish-yellow brick,
and a vaulted arcade of white marble on the ground
floor; this arcade, of graceful proportions, is an almost
exact copy of the famous one in the Palazzo della
Cancelleria in Rome, one of the most perfect creations
of the early Renaissance. About the arcade are set
broad oak benches, much used by readers in warm
weather. The court has a grassplot in the centre,
enclosing a square marble basin lined with mosaic,
and a fountain. In the granite walls of the arcade
are two memorials in bronze: a bust of General
Francis A. Walker, once a Trustee of the Library, by
Richard E. Brooks ; and a medallion portrait of Robert
C. Billings, one of the Library's greatest benefactors,
by Augustus St. Gaudens.
THE MAIN STAIRWAY.
From the Entrance Hall opens the main stairway,
leading to the principal floor of the Library, a structure
of rare beauty and dignity. The walls are of yellow
Siena marble, richly veined, which was specially quar-
ried for the Library ; the steps are of French chaillon
marble, ivory-gray, and full of fossil shells; the floor
of the half-way landing is inlaid with red Numidian
marble. The ceiling is of plaster, richly panelled;
from it depends a spherical chandelier of cut glass.
The door on the landing opens on a balcony affording
an attractive view of the interior court, which is,
however, best seen from the arcade which surrounds it.
The great lions, at the turn of the stairs, carved
from blocks of the precious Siena marble, are the work
of Louis St. Gaudens; each is a memorial to the
officers and men of a Massachusetts regiment in the Civil
War the Second Regiment on the right, the Twenti-
eth on the left, as one mounts the stairs. It will be
noted that these lions are not treated conventionally,
but that each is an individual. The inscriptions on the
pedestals contain lists of the battles in which the two
regiments were engaged.
MAIN STAIRWAY, FROM ENTRANCE HALL.
MAIN STAIRWAY, FROM PRINCIPAL LANDING.
THE PUVIS DE CHAVANNES DECORATIONS.
The upper part of the walls of the staircase and that
of the main corridor of the second floor at its head is
filled with a series of mural
decorations by Pierre Ce-
cile Puvis de Chavannes,
the acknowledged master
of modern French mural
painting. All were painted
in his studio in France and
shipped to this country, to
be affixed to the walls of
a room which the artist
never saw; the work was
done with the help of
architectural models and
samples of marble, and
harmonizes perfectly with
The paintings in the
1 . 1 j I 1 P. PUVIS DE CHAVANNES.
eight arched panels above
the stairway symbolize the important branches of litera-
ture and learning, in compositions of great beauty and
dignity. As one faces the windows, the left-hand wall
(that shown in the illustration opposite) is occupied by
representations of Philosophy, Astronomy, and His-
tory; the right-hand wall by the three great types of
Poetry, Epic, Dramatic, and Pastoral; the rear wall,
beside the windows, by Chemistry on the left, and
Physics on the right.
The panel devoted to Philosophy shows Plato talk-
ing with one of his disciples in a beautiful Athenian
landscape, perhaps the Academy, with a noble Ionic
colonnade at the left, and in the background, above a
grove, the Acropolis, with the gleaming Parthenon;
other students of philosophy are grouped about the
Astronomy is typified by two Chaldean shepherds,
earliest observers of the heavens; a woman looks out
upon them from a tent at the left of the picture.
The third panel on the left shows the Muse of
History standing above the partly buried ruins of a
Doric temple, conjuring it to yield up its secrets ; beside
her is the Genius of Learning, with book and torch.
In the panel at the left of the windows, illustrating
Chemistry, a fairy stands in a rocky niche, watching
three winged spirits as they heat fragments of ore in
In that to the right, devoted to Physics, two female
figures, symbolizing Good and Bad News respectively,
float in the air with their hands upon the wires of the
telegraph, magical carrier of happy and sorrowful
The three panels devoted to Poetry show, at the
left, Virgil in an idyllic landscape, visiting his bee-
hives, while two of the shepherds of his Eclogues idle
at a distance; in the centre, scroll in hand, Aeschylus
seated on a cliff overlooking the sea, with his hero
Prometheus in the background, chained to a great rock,
where the Oceanides circle round to comfort him for
the pain caused by the vulture which tears at his vitals ;
at the right, blind Homer sitting by the roadside, greeted
with gifts of laurel by two dignified female figures typi-
fying his great poems, the martial Iliad with helmet and
spear, the gentler Odyssey with an oar to suggest her
The central composition, on the east wall of the
corridor at the head of the stairs, is entitled 'The
Muses of Inspiration hail the Spirit, the Messenger of
Light" ; it represents the Nine Muses of Greek my-
thology, in a beautiful grove of laurel and olive which
slopes to the sea, rising to meet and welcome the Genius
of Enlightenment, who appears in the centre of the
painting, above the doorway. At each side of the
doorway is a grave, seated figure, that on the left
typifying Study, that on the right Contemplation.
DETAIL FROM THE MUSES.
THE MAIN CORRIDOR.
THE MAIN CORRIDOR.
Across the second floor of the Library, at the head of
the stairs, runs a beautiful corridor, floored with Istrian
marble, with patterns of yellow Verona in which many
large fossil shells may be seen. On one side is a
graceful Corinthian arcade of Siena marble, above
the staircase; on the other, the largest of the Puvis
de Chavannes decorations, and the central entrance
to Bates Hall, the main reading-room, reached through
an exquisite little vestibule of chaillon marble, en-
closed on three sides by ancient wrought iron gates
brought from Italy. At the south end of the Corridor
is the Pompeian Lobby and entrance to the Delivery
Room; at the north end, the Venetian Lobby, with
entrance to the Children's Room.
This noble reading-room, named for the first great
benefactor of the Library, is architecturally the most
important room in the building; it has a rich barrel
vault, with half-domes at the ends, and is two hundred
and eighteen feet long, forty-two and a half feet wide,
and fifty feet high. The sandstone used in the walls is
from Amherst, Ohio ; the floor is of terrazzo, bordered
by yellow Verona marble; the Hall is surrounded by
oak bookcases ; and the panelled vault is of plaster,
elaborately moulded. Around the sides of the Hall
are busts of great authors and eminent Bostonians; in
the frieze are carved the names of the world's most
illustrious thinkers and artists. Above the central
entrance is a richly carved balcony of Indiana lime-
stone. Near each end of the Hall, in the same wall
as the balcony, is a highly ornate doorway of black
Belgian and Alps green serpentine marble, with columns
crowned by bronze Corinthian capitals; in the adjoin-
ing bays are Renaissance mantels, of sandstone and
red Verona marble. The wall is divided into panels
by the great arches of the vault; those on the front
of the building are filled with huge round-topped
Bates Hall is the great study room of the Library.
In the bookcases which line the walls and occupy both
sides of the screens separating the main room from
the apses, are contained some ten thousand volumes
intended for ready reference; they have been selected
from all fields of literature except those of the fine and
industrial arts, and psychology and pedagogy, subjects
which have their home in other departments of the
institution. 1 hese books may be used without for-
mality by all who come to the building. Other books
may be sent to the Hall from all parts of the Library
for the use of readers; call-slips may be obtained at
any of the desks.
The tables accommodate three hundred readers;
often, especially on Sunday afternoons, every seat is
occupied. At the Centre Desk, opposite the main
entrance to the Hall, general information is supplied
and books are charged for home use.
THE PUBLIC CATALOGUE.
In the semi-circular enclosure at the south end of the
Hall is the Public Card Catalogue, containing a list
of all the books in the Library, except fiction for
general circulation and works relating to music. The
cards are arranged in 2743 drawers, in a single alpha-
bet, covering authors, subjects, and titles; from them
are obtained the call-numbers, which are used in send-
ing for books. A pamphlet entitled "How to Find
and Procure a Book" may be had on application at
the Centre Desk ; for assistance in using the catalogue,
inquiry should be made at the desk in the enclosure.
THE DELIVERY ROOM.
The southern door of the Main Corridor leads into
the Delivery Room, where books are lent for home use,
and returned by borrow-
ers. This is a room of
peculiar richness, in the
style of the early Vene-
tian Renaissance. The
walls have a high oak
wainscot, divided into
panels by fluted pilas-
ters ; the heavy beams
of the ceiling bear rich
in glided lead ; the door-
ways have Corinthian
columns of red or green
Levanto marble, with
bases and capitals of
Rouge Antique, and en-
tablatures in which these marbles are combined. The
ornate mantel of polished Rouge Antique bears the
date 1852, that of the founding of the Library. The
lamp brackets, of delicately wrought bronze, are of
In front of the windows is a portion of the ancient
wooden railing before which, in the year 1607, some
of the Pilgrim Fathers stood for trial in the Guild-
hall of Boston, Lincolnshire, England. To the left of
the window is the catalogue of fiction in the English
The entire room was designed by the American
artist, Edwin Austin Abbey, R.A., whose great frieze,
the "Quest of the Holy Grail," occupies the upper part
of the walls. The following description of these paint-
ings, which have made the room world-famous, is based
on that written by the late Henry James:
E. A. ABBEY.
"THE QUEST AND ACHIEVEMENT OF THE
HOLY GRAIL." *
The Holy Grail was fabled to be the sacred vessel
from which our Lord had drunk at the Last Supper,
and into which Joseph of Arimathea had gathered the
precious blood from His wounds. Its existence, its
preservation, its miraculous virtues and properties, were
a cherished popular belief in the early ages of European
Christianity; and in the folk-lore whence the twelfth-
century narrators drew their material, it was represented
as guarded for centuries in the Castle of the Grail,
where it awaited the coming of the perfect knight, who
alone should be worthy to have knowledge of it; this
perfect knight is introduced to us in the romances of
the Arthurian cycle.
Incomparable were the properties of the Grail, the
enjoyment of a revelation of which conveyed, among
other privileges, the ability to live, and to cause others
to live, indefinitely without food ; this revelation was the
proof and recompense of the highest knightly purity,
so that the loftiest conceivable enterprise for the com-
panions of the Round Table was to attain to the vision
of the Holy Grail. The incarnation of this ideal
knighthood in the form of the legend chosen by Mr.
Abbey is that stainless Sir Galahad, with whom Tenny-
son, in more than one great poem, has touched the
imagination of all readers.
It must be noted, however, that Mr. Abbey has
made a new synthesis of the Grail material. There
exist many separate romances devoted to the Quest
of the Grail, in some of which Galahad is the hero,
in a larger number Perceval (German, Parzival), in
still others Gawain or Lancelot. There is no single
* As it has proved impossible to make satisfactory arrangements
with those who hold the copyright of the Abbey paintings (the
only mural decorations in the Library of which the copyright is
not controlled by the Trustees), it is unfortunately necessary to
publish this description without illustrations.
accepted version of the story, no fixed order in which the
incidents occur. Mr. Abbey has taken certain episodes
of the story of Galahad, has added to them others
drawn from the story of Perceval, and has arranged
them somewhat with a view to the requirements of his
space in the Delivery Room. In most versions of the
story, the visit to the Castle of the Maidens precedes
the first visit to the Grail Castle; but the order has
no special significance. The numbers used in the de-
scription below correspond to those beneath the lower
right-hand corner of each panel.
I. THE VISION.
The child Galahad, the descendant through his
mother of Joseph of Arimathea, is visited, among the
nuns who bring him up, by a dove bearing a golden
censer and an angel carrying the Grail, the presence
of which operates as sustenance to the infant.
From the hands of the holy women the predestined
boy passed into those of the subtle Gurnemanz, who
instructed him in the knowledge of the things of the
world, and in the duties and functions of the ideal
knight. But before leaving the nuns he performed his
nightly vigil, watching alone till dawn in the church.
II. THE OATH OF KNIGHTHOOD.
The ordeal of the vigil terminates in his departure.
Clothed in red, he is girt for going forth, while the
nuns bring to him Sir Lancelot really his father,
though unrecognized who fastens on one of his
spurs, and Sir Bors, who attaches the other.
III. THE ROUND TABLE.
The artist here deals with the Arthurian Round
Table and the curious fable of the Seat Perilous
"perilous for good and evil" - in which no man has
yet sat with safety, not even the fashioner himself, but
in which, standing vacant while it awaits a blameless
occupant, the young Sir Galahad, knighted by Arthur,
has sworn a vow to be worthy to take his place. The
Companions of the Order are seated in Arthur's hall,
and every chair, save this one, is occupied. Suddenly
the doors and windows close mysteriously, the hall is
flooded with light, and Sir Galahad, robed in red (the
color emblematic of purity), is led in by Joseph of
Arimathea, an old man clothed in white, who, accord-
ing to the romance, has subsisted for centuries by the
possession of the supreme relic. The hall is filled with
a host of angels, one of whom withdraws the mantle
by which the Seat Perilous has been covered ; above it
becomes visible the legend, "This is the Seat of Gala-
had." King Arthur rises from his canopied throne,
and bows himself in the presence of a mystery; the
knights recognize one purer than themselves, and greet
him by lifting on high the cross-shaped hilts of their
IV. THE DEPARTURE.
The knights are about to go forth on their search
for the Holy Grail, now formally instituted by King
Arthur. They have heard Mass and are receiving the
episcopal benediction, Sir Galahad, as always, in red.
Throughout this series he is the "bright boy-knight" of
Tennyson, though not, as that poet represents him,
"white-armored": his device is a red cross on a white
V. THE CASTLE OF THE GRAIL.*
Amfortas, the "Fisher King" of the legends, to whom
Joseph had entrusted the Grail, has been wounded,
centuries past, in the cause of unlawful love, and now
lies under a spell, with all the inmates of the Castle of
the Grail, into which the artist here introduces us. The
aged King rests on a bier in the centre of a massive
hall, surrounded by his court; all are spiritually dead
and, although the Grail often appears in the midst of
them, they cannot see it. From this strange perpetua-
tion of ineffectual life none of them can be liberated by
death until the most blameless knight shall at last arrive.
* Includes elements drawn from the story of Perceval.
It will not be sufficient, however, that he simply pene-
trate into the castle; to the operation of the remedy is
attached that condition which recurs so often in primitive
romance, the asking of a question on which everything
depends. Sir Galahad has reached his goal, but his
single slight taint of imperfection, begotten of the too
worldly teachings of Gurnemanz, defeats his beneficent
action. As the procession of the Grail passes before
the visitor, he tries to fathom its meaning. He sees the
bearer of the Grail, the damsel with the head in a
golden dish (the prototype of whom was, perhaps,
Salome bearing the head of John the Baptist on a
charger), the two knights with seven-branched candle-
sticks and the knight holding aloft the Bleeding Spear,
with which Longinus had pierced the side of Christ.
The duty resting upon Galahad is to ask what these
things denote, but, with the presumption of one who
supposes himself to have imbibed all knowledge, he
refrains, considering that he is competent to guess. But
he pays for his silence, inasmuch as it forfeits for him
the glory of redeeming from this paralysis of centuries
the old monarch and his hollow-eyed Court, forever
dying, yet never dead, whom he leaves folded in their
dreadful doom. On his second visit, many years later,
he is better inspired. (See XI, below.)
VI. THE LOATHLY DAMSEL.*
It is the morning after his visit to the Castle of the
Grail. Awakening in the chamber to which he had
been led the previous night, Sir Galahad found the
castle deserted. Issuing forth, he saw his horse saddled
and the drawbridge down. Thinking to find in the
forest the inmates of the castle, he rode forth, but the
drawbridge closed suddenly behind him, a wail of
despair moaned across it, and voices mocked him for
having failed to ask the effectual Question.
He fares forward and presently meets three damsels ;
the first, the Loathly Damsel, is riding upon a pale
* From the story of Perceval.
mule with a golden bridle. This lady, once beautiful,
is now noble still in form, but hideous in feature; she
wears a red cloak, and a hood about her head, for she
is bald; in her arms is the head of a dead king, en-
circled with a golden crown. The second lady is riding
in the manner of an esquire. The third is on her feet,
dressed as a stripling, and in her hand is a scourge with
which she drives the two animals. These damsels
are under the spell of the Castle of the Grail. They
assail Sir Galahad with curses for having failed on the
previous day to ask the Question, which would not only
have delivered them and the inmates of the castle, but
would have restored peace and plenty to the land.
Instead, he must endure many sorrows and adventures
and many years must pass before he shall return to the
Castle of the Grail, where, having through all ordeals
remained sinless, he will finally ask the Question which
shall redeem the sin-stricken land.
VII. THE SEVEN SINS.
Sir Galahad is here seen at the gate of the Castle of
the Maidens, where the seven Knights of Darkness, the
seven Deadly Sins, have imprisoned a great company of
maidens, the Virtues, in order to keep them from all
contact with man. It is Sir Galahad's mission to
overcome Sin and redeem the world by setting free
the Virtues, and he accordingly fights the seven knights
till he overcomes them.
VIII. THE KEY TO THE CASTLE.
Having passed the outer gate, Sir Galahad en-
counters a monk, who blesses him and delivers up to
him the great key of the Castle.
IX. THE CASTLE OF THE MAIDENS.
Sir Galahad's entry into the Castle is here shown.
The imprisoned maidens have long been expecting him,
for it had been prophesied that the perfect knight would
come to deliver them. They welcome him with shy
delight, putting out their hands to be kissed; behind
him lies his white shield bearing the red cross painted
with his own blood by Josephes, son of Joseph of
Arimathea. Having accomplished this mission, Sir
Galahad passed on to other deeds.
In the course of his journeyings, Galahad met his
old teacher Gurnemanz, now dying. Gurnemanz bade
him wed his early love Blanchefleur as a step toward
the achievement of the Grail. On their wedding morn-
ing, however, a vision warned him that he must remain
a virgin knight, and we see him here bidding farewell
to Blanchefleur that he may continue the Quest of the
Holy Grail. A new-born knowledge has unsealed Sir
Galahad's eyes, but with this knowledge is begotten the
strength to overcome, and to renounce every human
XI. THE DEATH OF AMFORTAS.*
Having passed through many adventures, Sir Gala-
had at last returned to the Castle of the Grail. The
procession once more passed before him, and this time,
grown wise by experience and suffering, he asked the
Question and thereby healed Amfortas, cleansing him
from sin, and allowing the old king to die. As he
gratefully breathes his last in the arms of Galahad, an
Angel bears away the Grail from the castle, not to be
seen again until the day when Sir Galahad achieves it
at Sarras, the Saracen city to which Joseph had first
carried the precious vessel.
XII. GALAHAD THE DELIVERER.!
Sir Galahad, having now accomplished his great
task, is guided by the spirit of the Grail toward the goal
which shall end his labors. Borne upon a white
charger and followed by the blessings of the people,
whom he has freed from the spell, he is seen passing
from the land of Amfortas, where peace and plenty
once more reign.
* Includes elements of the Perceval story, f From the story of
xin. SOLOMON'S SHIP.
Sir Galahad is here in Solomon's Ship, which he has
found waiting to carry him across the seas to Sarras.
The Grail, borne by an angel, guides the ship. Sir
Bors and Sir Percival accompany him. Having sinned
once, they can never see the Grail themselves, yet,
having persevered faithfully in the Quest, they have
acquired the right to follow Sir Galahad and witness
his achievement. Resting upon a cushion in the stern
of the ship are three spindles made from the "Tree of
Life" one snow-white, one green, one blood-red.
According to an old legend, Eve, when driven from
the Garden of Eden, carried with her the branch
which she had plucked from the "Tree of Life." The
branch, when planted, grew to be a tree, with branches
and leaves white, in token that Eve was a virgin when
she planted it. When Cain was begotten, the tree
turned green; and afterward, when Cain slew Abel,
the tree turned red.
XIV. THE CITY OF SARRAS.
The city of Sarras, with the red-cross shield of Gala-
had, its king, and the sword which he had drawn from
a block of marble, soon after arriving at Arthur's court.
XV. THE GOLDEN TREE.
Upon a hill at Sarras Sir Galahad made a Sacred
Place and built a Golden Tree. Morning and evening
he repaired thither, and from day to day he beautified
the tree. Finally it is complete, and Joseph of Arima-
thea, with a company of red-winged seraphs, appears
with the Grail, now at last uncovered. As Sir Gala-
had gazes upon it, crown, sceptre, and royal robe fall
from him; he no longer needs them. Having beheld
the source of all life and knowledge and power, the
spirit of Galahad had achieved its end in life, and won
release from the narrow confines of his body. The
Grail itself was borne heavenward, never again to be
seen on earth.
REGISTRATION DEPARTMENT AND TUBE ROOM.
Opening from the west side of the Delivery Room are
the Registration Department, where borrowers' cards
are issued and an index of the standing of card-holders
is kept, and the Tube Room, with pneumatic tubes
leading to all the book-stacks. Books are obtained for
home use by the presentation of call-slips at the window
in the wall of the Delivery Room, opposite the marble
mantel; at another window, books are presented for
return. The books are brought from the shelves
by small cars, running on to automatic elevators which
deliver them to the Tube Room from the six stories of
LIBRARIAN'S OFFICE AND TRUSTEES' ROOM.
The corridor past the Registration Desk leads to
the Librarian's Office, through a lobby in which is kept
a portion of the Library's collection of manuscripts.
Above the Registration Department, and reached
through the Librarian's Office, is the Trustees' Room,
with rich panelling and furniture of the Empire period,
and a delicately carved Renaissance mantel, all brought
from France. In this room hang Copley's great paint-
ing, "Charles the First demanding the Surrender of the
Five Members in the House of Commons," which was
presented to the Library by a group of citizens in
1859; and a number of portraits, including two of
Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the most illustrious native
of Boston. One of these is attributed to Jean Baptiste
Greuze; the other, the work of Joseph Sifrede Du-
plessis, is generally regarded as the most satisfactory
portrait of the great American.
The lobby of the Trustees' Room contains the valu-
able collection of autographs bequeathed to the Library
by Mellen Chamberlain, Librarian from 1 878 to 1 890.
POMPEIAN AND VENETIAN LOBBIES.
Outside the entrance to the Delivery Room, at the
end of the Main Corridor, is the Pompeian Lobby,
decorated by Mr. Elmer E. Garnsey, of New York.
The gay decoration, of Roman type, is painted directly
on the plaster. In this Lobby is a shell-shaped drinking
fountain of chaillon marble; beside it is a counter at
which photographs, post-cards and handbooks of the
Library may be purchased.
At the opposite end of the Main Corridor is the
Venetian Lobby, with painted decorations by Mr. Jo-
seph Lindon Smith, of Boston. Over the door of the
Children's Room is a sculptured block brought from
Venice, displaying the Lion of St. Mark supporting an
open book with the motto of that city. At either side
of this slab, which dates from the sixteenth century,
are the figures of two nude boys upholding heavy gar-
lands. In the recess, above the window, is a painting
representing the allegorical marriage of Venice, a young
woman, and the Adriatic, typified by a youth with a
trident at his feet. Behind, blessing the union, kneels
St. Theodore, the first patron of Venice, with the
crocodile which he is said to have slain. In the niches
are two lists of names those of the most illustrious
doges of Venice, and those of her greatest painters.
In the pendentives of the dome over the central portion
of the Lobby are the names of eleven Italian cities,
once subject to Venice ; while in the dome at the right,
over the staircase landing, are the names of the eastern
possessions of the Queen of the Adriatic. The peacock
above symbolizes immortality. This Lobby, like the
Pompeian Lobby described above, is lighted by an
elaborate lantern of gilded bronze.
The decorations of these two lobbies are the only
examples of true mural painting in the Library. All
the other decorations were painted on canvas, and ap-
plied to the walls and ceilings after completion.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, BY DUPLESSIS.
THE CHILDREN S ROOM.
At the north end of the Main Corridor opens the
Children's Room, which is surrounded by low cases con-
taining books for little folks. On the side walls hang
the original paintings by Howard Pyle, used as illus-
trations to Woodrow Wilson's "George Washington."
On the entrance wall is a remarkable series of framed
autographs, drawn from the Chamberlain Collection;
these include facsimile copies of the Address to ihe
King by the Continental Congress of 1 774, the Decla-
ration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation,
and the Constitution of the United States, all followed
by the actual signatures, cut from letters and business
papers, of the men who signed these historic documents.
Below are other framed autographs of great interest,
including the signatures of hundreds of men famous in
the annals of the country, and a number of unique
documents concerning the Boston Massacre, among
them Paul Revere's plan of the scene, used at the
trial of the British soldiers.
THE TEACHERS' REFERENCE ROOM.
Off the Children's Room, to the left, is a room
beautifully finished in dark oak, containing reference
books for the use of teachers and school-children. In
the upper part of the cases, protected by chains, is an
impressive collection of old books, the library of Presi-
dent John Adams, bequeathed by him in 1 826 to the
town of Quincy, and now deposited here in trust.
On the ceiling is a decoration, 'The Triumph of
Time," by John Elliott, placed here in 1901.
'THE TRIUMPH OF TIME."
The painting contains thirteen winged figures. The
twelve female figures represent Hours, and the one
male figure, Time. The Christian Centuries are typi-
fied by twenty horses, arranged in five rows, of four
each; in each row the two centre horses are side by
side, and between these and the outer horses are two
of the winged figures representing Hours. On either
side of the car in which is the figure of Time are the
Hours of Life and Death. Seen from before the door
of the Children's Room, the design begins in the neigh-
borhood of the nearer left-hand corner, and describes
a semi-circle, with a downward sweep over a ground-
work of clouds, back to the left again, to a point about
two-thirds across the canvas; it culminates in a disk,
the sun, before which are the leading horse and the
figure typifying the present Hour. In the nearer right-
hand comer is a crescent moon with the full disk faintly
showing. The shades of gray in which the decoration
is painted lend to it something of the dignity of sculp-
ture. One can trace in the horses the artist's conception
of the spirit of successive centuries; note especially the
eighteenth, with its nervous forward spring.
To the rear of the Teachers' Reference Room is the
Lecture Hall, which is reached by a separate entrance
from Boylston Street; it is used for courses of free
lectures held on Sunday afternoons and Thursday
evenings, and for various other meetings and classes,
all open to the public. The Hall seats about three
hundred persons, and has a commodious stage, at the
rear of which hangs Robert Salmon's interesting paint-
ing of Boston in 1 829, as seen from Pemberton Hill,
where the Suffolk County Court House now stands.
Over the entrance door of the Hall hangs a painting
by D. Fernandez y Gonzalez, a Spanish artist, repre-
senting St. Justa and St. Rufina, patron saints of
Seville, in the prison where they suffered martyrdom
in the year 287.
Turning to the left on going out of the Children's
Room, one ascends to the upper floor of the Library by
an enclosed stairway of
gray sandstone, adorned
only by handrails of
Alps green marble on
either side. From the
landing half-way up, a
door opens on the bal-
cony overlooking Bates
The corridor of the
upper, or Special Libra-
ries Floor, is popularly
called Sargent Hall,
from the eminent Ameri-
can painter, John Singer
Sargent, R.A., who has
so unstintingly devoted
his genius to its decoration. It is eighty-four feet long,
twenty-three feet wide, and twenty-six feet high, with
a vaulted ceiling, lighted from above. In the middle
of the west side steps lead up to the Allen A. Brown
This long, narrow room, its height greater than its
width, has been made glorious by the mural decora-
ations of Mr. Sargent, who received the commission
for this work in 1 890 ; it represents thirty years of
thought and labor, and is not yet quite completed.
Few such records of the progressive development of an
artist, engaged upon a single theme, exist anywhere in
ihe world ; this room is the expression of the life-work
of one of the greatest painters of modern times. The
following description of Mr. Sargent's work is based on
that written by Mr. Sylvester Baxter for the earlier
editions of this Handbook.
JOHN S. SARGENT.
"THE TRIUMPH OF RELIGION."
The subject chosen by the artist is conceived as the
development of religious thought from paganism through
Judaism to Christianity. The work as it stands has been
placed in position in four instalments: the paintings at
the North end of the Hall in 1 895, the South end wall
in 1 903, the niches and vaulting at the South end and
the lunettes along the side walls in 1916, and the two
panels over the staircase in 1919.
Not only the paintings, but all the decorations of the
Hall, are the work of Mr. Sargent. He modelled the
relief of dolphins* above the door of the Music Li-
brary ; the great frames over the stairs are his work ;
even the electric fixtures were designed by him. All
the splendid plastic decoration of the vaulting is the
product of his hand and brain ; he personally modelled
the symbolic reliefs which are the chief ornaments of the
ceiling ; he selected all the mouldings and other elements
which make up the gorgeous whole, and on which
depend so largely the unity and architectural beauty
of the room. Even more significant is the manner in
which Mr. Sargent has worked out the color harmony
of the Hall; each element in the great composition
subtly contributes its part to the large effect, so that
the eye finds satisfaction wherever it falls. The gold of
the vaulting binds the whole into a unity, and fuses the
work of thirty years into a single act; this unity is
further aided by the grayish-blue used as a ground
color, which is constantly introduced for relief in con-
junction with the gold of the architectural decoration.
This is not the place in which to attempt an estimate
of the beauty or the artistic importance of the Sargent
paintings. Their harmony and variety of color, their
boldness and power of design, their combination of
subtle intellectual quality with unfailing artistic propri-
* The repeated use of the dolphin in the decoration of the Li-
brary is symbolic of the intimate relation of Boston to the sea.
ety, are obvious to any beholder; no one can visit this
room and not know that he is in the presence of the
product of genius, handling a great subject greatly.
It is more to the point to draw the visitor's attention
to the unusual
by the artist to
produce his ef-
to the constant
is nowhere more
striking than in
the majestic fig-
ure of Moses,
movable in high
relief in the
centre of the
Frieze of the
use of sculpture
here gives to the
figure a monu-
as the repre-
sentative of the
Hebrew religion at the moment when it took on its
essential character. In the portion of the vaulting
devoted to the pagan divinities, the employment of
modelling merely serves to give weight and emphasis to
the design, and to enrich the decorative quality of the
work ; its effect is especially marked in the great serpent
about the neck of the Goddess Neith.
At the south end of the Hall, the plastic art was
used to good purpose in the modelling of the faces of the
three Persons of the Trinity, which are all cast from a
single mould. The great Crucifix here corresponds as
a salient feature to the Moses of the opposite end, gain-
ing a similar emphasis and power from its high relief.
Modelling is elsewhere used with fine decorative
effect; perhaps this is nowhere more marked than in
the candlesticks of Our Lady of Sorrows, where an
actual perspective is obtained by the use of relief. It
is interesting to note that the relief is always employed
for a purpose, and never except where the end justifies
it; in the Fall of Gog and Magog, for example, the
sword is painted, not modelled; had it been modelled,
it might have appeared to be falling out of the picture.
The sequence of paintings begins at the north end
of the hall the end farthest from the head of the
stairs. Its content may be analyzed as follows:
At the North End of the Hall.
Celling: Pagan religions of countries surrounding Palestine.
Lunette: Children of Israel, oppressed by pagan neighbors, ex-
pressing their dependence on the True God.
Frieze : The Hebrew Prophets, typifying the progress of the
Jews in religious thought, with final expectation of the Messiah.
In the Eastern Lunettes.
Left : The downfall of paganism, as preached by Hebrew prophets.
Centre : The Hebrew ideal the chosen people protected by
Jehovah, through its observance of the Law.
Right: The Messianic era, foretold by Hebrew prophets.
At the South End of the Hall
Lunette: Doctrine of the Trinity.
Frieze and Crucifix: Doctrine of the Redemption.
Ceiling and Niches: Doctrine of the Incarnation.
In the Western Lunettes.
Left: Heaven. Centre: The Judgment. Right: Hell.
THE MEDIAEVAL CONTRAST.
On the East Wall.
Left panel: The Synagogue. Right panel: The Church.
THE NORTH END.
The decoration of the north end comprises three sec-
tions, the narrow strip of vaulting in the last bay of the
hall, the lunette on the end wall, and the frieze below
both lunette and vault.
The lunette represents the Children of Israel beneath
the yoke of their oppressors, on the left the Egyptian
Pharaoh, on the right the King of Assyria, their arms
uplifted to strike with sword and scourge. The Isra-
elites are typified by twelve nude figures ; some crouch,
despairing, under the yoke of Assyria; the hand of
Pharaoh grasps the hair of those in the centre; but
already a number raise their hands in supplication to
Jehovah, and in the background can be seen the flames
of the sacrifice rising to the True God. Above, the
wings of the Seraphim screen the face of the All Holy,
upon which no man may look; only his mighty arms
may be seen, stretched forth to stay the oppressors.
Prostrate victims beneath the feet of both Assyrian and
Egyptian represent the other nations that were con-
quered by them, while behind each are figures sym-
bolizing the national deities. Upon the gold ground
of the rib which separates the lunette from the ceiling
are inscribed the following passages from Psalm 106:
'They forgat God their saviour, which had done great
things in Egypt, and they served idols, which were a
snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and
their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood,
even the blood of their sons and their daughters, unto
the idols of Canaan. Therefore was the wrath of the
Lord kindled against his people, and he gave them
into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them
ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them,
and they were brought into subjection under their hand.
Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard
their cry, and he remembered for them his covenant."
These passages constitute a link between the paintings
of the vaulting and those of
the lunettes, and are a com-
mentary upon them.
On the vaulting are re-
presented the pagan divini-
ties, the strange gods whom
the Children of Israel went
after when they turned from
Jehovah. Underlying all,
her feet touching the cornice
upon one side, her hands
upon the other, is the gi-
gantic shadowy form of the
Egyptian goddess Neith,
mother of the Universe.
Her body is the Firmament,
whose stars shine on her
swarthy breast. Her col-
lar is a golden zodiac, its
gem the disk of the sun,
whose rays end in hands
opened to shed bounty upon
the earth. About her neck
she wears the serpent of
the sun-myth, with its sym-
bolism of the eternal con-
flict between summer and
winter : on one side Adonis,
typifying the warmth of
spring, is discharging an
arrow into the throat of the
defiant serpent; on the
other the serpent crushes
him in its folds, which con-
ceal the zodiacal signs of
the six winter months.
The central figure on the
left of the arch is Moloch,
god of material things, a
hideous monster with the
sun between the horns of
his bull's head, and out-
stretched hands clutching
his infant victims. Below
him stand the sombre figures of the Egyptian trinity
Osiris (in the centre), Isis and Horus. At their feet
the hawk of the soul hovers over an Egyptian mummy;
just above the cornice is the symbol of the winged sun.
On the right, opposite, is the soulless figure of As-
tarte, the Phoenician goddess of sensuality. Veiled
in blue, she stands upon the crescent moon, between
slender columns; behind her is the tree of life, whose
pine cones project on either side. Within her veil six
enticing female figures wave their arms in rhythmic
dance, while two of her victims are gnawed by mon-
The third division of this portion of the work is the
Frieze of the Prophets, with Moses as the central figure
holding the tablets brought down from Sinai; thus
is symbolized the foundation of the religion of Israel
upon the structure of the Law. The prophets in their
FALL OF GOG AND MAGOG.
order from left to right are: Zephaniah, Joel, Oba-
diah, Hosea, Amos, Nahum, Ezekiel, Daniel, Elijah,
Moses, Joshua, Jeremiah, Jonah, Isaiah, Habakkuk,
Micah, Haggai, Malachi, Zechariah; the last three
have outstretched arms, and faces expectant of the
The portion of the decoration in corresponding posi-
tion at the oppo-
site end of the
hall sets forth
the Dogma of
and to this lead
up the three Ju-
daic lunettes on
the east wall, above the staircase. Of these the
subjects are: in the centre, "The Law"; on the left,
'The Fall of Gog and Magog" ; and on the right,
'The Messianic Era". The three lunettes on the
west wall, opposite, set forth the development of the
Christian concepts of 'The Judgment," in the centre,
with "Hell" on the right, and on the left, 'The
Passing of Souls
In their turbu-
lent, terrible, and
both the "Hell"
and the "Gog
agree in spirit with the work in the adjacent Old-
Testament end dealing with primitive beliefs grounded
in fear. In the other four paintings beauty and con-
cord dominate. In "The Law," Israel is seen under
the mantle of Jehovah, fulfilling the mission of his race
in giving himself up to the study of the divine law laid
down for the guidance of the Chosen People. In-
scribed in Hebrew below the arch are the words of the
THE MESSIANIC ERA.
Jewish ritual spoken before the recitation of the Com-
mandments, a portion of which appears upon the scroll
of the Law.
The lunette on the left, "The Fall of Gog and Ma-
gog," pictures the final moment when all things earthly
shall perish and the universe shall come to an end.
Altar, temple, chariot and horses, victor's palm and
bloody sword fall
space, along with
Saturn and a
the two figures
In contrast with this, at the other end of the wall,
we see dawning 'The Messianic Era." The race,
purified and perfected of soul, under the leadership of
a lad, the Son of Man, enters into a new paradise, the
gates of which are swung open by beautiful youths.
Upon the scroll is lettered in Hebrew the prophecy
of Isaiah, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a
son is given ; and
the government ^T^SIO'l!H |f ' 1 * t
shall be upon his
shoulders ; and
his name shall be
God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Other prophecies of Isaiah are indicated by the wolf
and the lamb, the child and the lion, the pomegranate,
the fig and the vine.
At the south end of the hall is set forth the Dogma
of the Redemption, with the related theme of the In-
carnation. Just as the figure of Moses, with the Law
as the central fact of the religion of the Jews, forms
THE SOUTH END.
the focal point in the first decoration, so here the
Crucifix, bearing the figure of the Redeemer who
satisfied the Law and brought a new dispensation,
takes a similar central position.
In the lunette above, seated in state upon a mag-
nificent throne, are three colossal figures, the Persons
of the Trinity. That the three are one is made mani-
fest by the exact similarity of the faces and by the
fact that one vast garment envelops and unites them.
This cope of red has an orphrey of gold which runs
through the picture like a ribbon, winding about the
persons of the Trinity and inscribed with the word
Sanctus, meaning Holy, continually repeated. The
heads of the Trinity wear each a different form of
crown, while each figure raises the right hand in bene-
diction in the Eastern manner ; the central Person bears
in his left hand the orb of dominion.
On the cross is the figure of the dying Christ, with
Adam and Eve, typifying humanity, kneeling on either
side. They are bound closely to the body of Christ,
since all are of one flesh, and each holds a chalice to
receive the Precious Blood. About the feet of Adam
is entangled the Serpent of Temptation. Above the
cross there is inscribed in Latin, "The sins of the world
have been forgiven." At the foot of the cross the
Saviour is symbolized by the pelican feeding its young
with its own blood, while around the lunette doves
typify the Seven Gifts of
the Holy Ghost.
On the cornice that sepa-
rates the frieze from the
lunette is a Latin inscrip-
tion,* which may be ren-
dered, "I, God in the flesh,
man's maker and redeemer,
myself made man, redeem
both body and soul."
In the frieze of the An-
gels which flanks the Cruci-
fix on both sides, we have a
balance for the frieze of the
Prophets opposite. These
angels, whose faces are of
singular beauty, bear the in-
struments of the Passion:
the sponge, the reed, the
nails, the spear, the hammer
and pincers, the pillar, the
scourge, the crown of
thorns, the ladder. The
two angels upholding the
cross bear, wrought on their garments, the convention-
alized symbols of the Eucharist, wheat and wine.
In the niche on the east wall is portrayed the Hand-
maid of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary with her Di-
vine Child. The Virgin is just rising from her throne ;
* Following, with the substitution of redimo for judico, an inscrip-
tion in the Cathedral of Cefalu, Sicily (A.D. 1 148).
THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD.
the Child in her arms raises his hand in benediction. Two
angels above uphold a crown bearing the Dove; about
them winds a scroll upon which in Latin are inscribed
the traditional titles: Vessel of the Spirit, Chosen Ves-
sel, Inclosed Garden, Tower of David, Tower of Ivory.
Opposite, on the west wall, Our Lady of Sorrows is
represented as a statue above an altar behind a screen
of lighted candles. The figure, which has an elaborate
silver crown and
halo, and is vested
in a cope, stiff with
upon the crescent
moon. The seven
swords thrust into
the heart of the Vir-
gin typify the Seven
Upon the vault
between these two
niches are repre-
sented the events in
the life of Christ
and of the Blessed
called the Fifteen
tion upon which is
practised in the re-
cital of the Rosary.
The Mysteries are divided into three groups: the
Joyful Mysteries, centering about the birth of Christ;
the Sorrowful Mysteries, centered in His death; and
the Glorious Mysteries, including the Resurrection, the
Ascension, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.
Above the Madonna and Child are the five Joyful
Mysteries. The first in the group, "The Annunciation,"
fills the central rectangular panel. The Angel Gabriel
appears to the Virgin who, kneeling before God's mes-
THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES.
OUR LADY OF SORROWS.
THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES.
senger, receives in humility the marvelous tidings. Upon
a decorative scroll appear the words of the angelic salu-
tation, "Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord
is with thee: blessed art thou among women," and the
reply, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto
me according to thy word." The Virgin appears to
have been reading Isaiah's prophecy of the birth of
Christ. In the oblong panel to the left we have
'The Visitation," the meeting of Mary and her cousin
Elizabeth. The panel below depicts "The Nativity" ;
Mary and John the Baptist adore the new-born Infant,
flanked by two angels
bearing the crown of
thorns and the nails. In
the small panel above is &
depicted 'The Presen-
tation," at the moment
when Simeon takes the
Child in his arms. In
the panel on the right is
represented "The Find-
ing of Our Lord in the
Opposite, on the west
side of the arch, are depicted the five Sorrowful Mys-
teries. In the small panel at the top is the first of the
series, "The Agony in the Garden." In the panel on
the right is shown 'The Scourging," while that on
the left presents "The Crowning with Thorns." The
small panel below is occupied by "The Carrying of the
Cross." These four compositions lead up to the central
subject, "The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord."
In the centre of the arch are the medallion and
surrounding reliefs which represent the five Glorious
Mysteries. To the left of the medallion, below, is
shown 'The Resurrection," and to the right, above,
'The Ascension;" in the remaining quarters are shown
'The Descent of the Holy Ghost" (lower right-hand) ,
and 'The Assumption of the Virgin" (upper left-
THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES.
hand). The great circle of the medallion is filled by
the relief depicting 'The Coronation of the Virgin,"
the interpretation of the inscription within the rim being,
"Hail, Queen of Heaven! Come, my chosen one, and
I will set thee on my throne."
In the spaces outside the panels are subordinate figures
and designs. Surrounding the central relief are the em-
blems of the Evangelists, Matthew and Luke at the left,
John and Mark at the right. Above the Madonna and
Child are Eve, and the Mother of God ; in similar po-
sitions above Our Lady of Sorrows are Adam, and the
Good Shepherd. In the
little circular frames di-
rectly over the Madon-
nas are the head of John
the Baptist at the left,
and the handkerchief of
Veronica at the right.
On the vaulting be-
tween the two long walls
appear in relief various
conventional symbols, in
two series. Beginning
PEACOCKS OF IMMORTALITY. ^ ^ northeast ^^
of the vaulting, above "The Fall of Gog and Magog,"
and going from left to right around the hall, the first
series, at the junctions of the vaulting ribs with the
frames of the skylights, consists of the Scroll of the
Law and the Seven-Branched Candlestick, the Head of
Burnt Offering, the Instruments of Music, the Taber-
nacle of the Eucharist, the Victor's Crown and Palms,
and the Eucharistic Chalice. The second series, the
medallions in the penetrations of the intersecting vaults,
comprises the Head of the Scape-goat with the Instru-
ments of the Sacrifice, the Ark of the Covenant, the
Seven-Branched Candlestick, the Peacocks of Immor-
tality, the Petrine Tiara and Keys, and the Monogram
of Salvation. The symbols on the east are Jewish,
those on the west Christian, in origin.
In the central lunette on the west wall, 'The
Judgment" balances "The Law" opposite, the angel
holding before him the great scales in which are
weighed the souls of the dead, called forth from the
opening graves by the sound of the trumpet. From the
scales the condemned are thrust down by demons into
hell-fire, while the souls of just men made perfect are
received into the arms of angels. This conception of
the weighing of souls is of Egyptian origin, and figures
also in Greek religious thought.
The two companion lunettes on this wall continue
the central composition. In the "Hell" is seen a Sa-
tanic monster swimming in a sea of flame and devour-
ing the multitude of lost souls. The handling suggests
interminability, tempestuous with evil a unity of dis-
cordance. No painting in the entire series shows
greater power or technical mastery than this.
In contrast, the composition on the left expresses
the divine harmony which attends the entrance of the
blessed into the heavenly kingdom. The movement
begun in the central lunette is here continued. The
celestial choir is symbolized by the three groups of sing-
ing angels with their harps ; around them, weaving itself
in and out, winds the endless chain of the redeemed.
The latest additions to Mr. Sargent's work are the
two panels in the architectural frames over the stair-
case, put in place in the autumn of 1919. These are
mediaeval in their point of view, and are entitled re-
spectively "Church" and "Synagogue."
As will be seen from the analysis on page 44, the
sequence of paintings shows the steady progress in the
development of religious thought from pagan through
Jewish and Christian channels, well into the Middle
Ages ; there is careful balance between the Hebraic and
Christian conceptions, point by point, as far as possible.
The new panels continue this balance, from the
standpoint of mediaeval Christianity. The Hebrew
faith, which Mr. Sargent has sympathetically shown as
the great forerunner of Christianity, was regarded by
mediaeval churchmen as having forfeited its high place
through its failure to recognize the claim of Christ as the
expected Messiah, and was accordingly represented as
blind and dethroned; the Church itself was naturally
depicted as having succeeded to both the vision and
the leadership lost by the Jewish religion. This view
in the art of the
by the opposi-
tion of two fig-
ures, the Syna-
and fallen ; the
looking and tri-
phase of reli-
his balance, has
It is interest-
ing to note that
art, the figure
of the Church
is commonly at
the left, the Synagogue at the right; the positions are
here transposed, in order to bring the Synagogue at the
Hebrew end, and the Church at the Christian end of
Following out these conceptions, and preserving a
wonderful color-harmony between the two panels and
the other work at the related ends of the Hall, Mr.
Sargent has represented the Synagogue as a gray-haired
woman of massive frame, seated in an attitude of
despair upon the worn and broken step of a temple,
above a mosaic pavement; her eyes are blindfolded,
the crown is falling from her head, her powerful arms
clutch to her breast a broken sceptre and the Tables of
the Law. About her, filling much of the frame, are the
folds of a great curtain, the decoration of which consists
the face of Je-
hovah in the
lunette at the
north end of
the Hall. The
the loss of dig-
nity and of
loss of vision,
which was the
of the fate of
the Jewish re-
Church, as con-
ceived by herself. Upon a great throne sits a powerful
female figure, stiff, solid, statuesque, with mystic gaze
fixed on space ; her dress is that of a nun. The elbows
of the figure rest on the arms of the throne; in the
right hand is the chalice of the Eucharist, in the left, the
Host in a monstrance ; across the arms lies a humeral
veil. Between the knees of the Church, with arms
resting limply upon them, is the figure of the dead
Christ, with wounds in hands and feet, and wearing
the crown of thorns; the figure is largely covered by
the folds of the Church's robe. On the sides of the
throne, typifying the foundation of the Christian faith
upon Hebrew prophecy, are inscribed the names Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel; while about the head
of the Church are grouped the symbols of the four
Evangelists: Mark, Matthew, John, and Luke.
The central panel above the stairway remains the
sole portion of the Hall which Mr. Sargent has not
THE MUSIC LIBRARY.
From Sargent Hall open three doors, of which the
one in the centre, at the head of a short flight of steps,
leads to the Allen A. Brown Music Library. This
room, of beautiful proportions, contains the valuable
collection of works of music and allied subjects given
to the Library in 1 894 by the man whose name it
bears. At the south end of the room is a finely sculp-
tured mantel of white Siena marble, over which hangs
a life-size photographic portrait of Mr. Brown. In
this room is preserved an interesting old piano, made
by Benjamin Crehore, of Milton, about the year 1 800.
From the north end of Sargent Hall one enters
the Barton -Ticknor Library, in which are preserved the
rarest treasures of the institution. These consist largely
of special collections given to the Library from time
to time, each representative of the tastes of its donor.
Among these collections should be mentioned the Bar-
ton Library of Shakespeareana and other Elizabethan
books ; the collection of Spanish and Portuguese books
made by the late George Ticknor, a Trustee of the
Library, in writing his History of Spanish Literature;
the Brown Dramatic Collection, consisting of books on
the history of the theatre given by the late Allen A.
Brown, donor of the Music Collection; trie Galatea
Collection of books by and about women, the gift of the
late Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson; the Prince
Library, bequeathed to the Old South Church by its
pastor in 1758, and deposited here for safe-keeping;
and other collections. In this portion of the building
is also kept the Library's great collection of maps.
Among the objects in the Barton -Ticknor Room are
the silver vase given to Daniel Webster by citizens of
Boston ; a chair made from the wood of the Old Elm
on Boston Common ; and the desk of George Ticknor.
From the opposite end of Sargent Hall one enters
a series of rooms occupied by the Divisions of Fine
Arts and Technology. The first of these, the Exhibi-
tion Room, is used for the display of books and pictures
from the collections of the Library. The exhibitions,
which are frequently changed, usually illustrate some
topic of current interest. In this room are also a num-
ber of marble statues, including W. W. Story's Ar-
cadian Shepherd, a replica of the bust of Powers's
Greek Slave, and copies of the Venus de Medici and
Canova's Venus. In the corners of the room, on stand-
ards, are lithographic copies of famous paintings, pub-
lished by the Arundel Society of London ; on the south
wall hangs a large lithograph of the Cathedral of St.
FINE ARTS DEPARTMENT.
Beyond the Exhibition Room is a corridor occupied
by the Library's collection of photographs, contained
in cases. Through this are reached the reading rooms
devoted respectively to technological books and to those
in the field of the Fine Arts. The Fine Arts Reading
Room, across the rear of the building, is a well-lighted
gallery of fine proportions, specially suited to the use of
students of art.
At the rear of this floor, in the Annex recently built
on Blagden Street, are situated the Printing and Bind-
ing Departments of the Library; in these departments
are done all the printing needed by the institution, and
the binding of about 40,000 volumes annually.
Other rooms in the building, of no special interest
to the sightseer, are the Statistical Department, in the
rear of the second floor, devoted to works in the fields
of economics, finance, and statistics, and to Government
Documents of all sorts; the Branch Department, in
which the interchange of books between the Central
Library and its branches is carried on; the rooms de-
voted to newspaper files and patents; and the book-
stacks, occupying six floors on the south and west
sides of the court, and containing more than eight
hundred thousand volumes.
Further facts about the Library and its operation
will be found in the leaflet entitled "The Boston Public
Library; a Condensed Guide," which may be obtained
without charge at the Information Office, first floor, and
at the Centre Desk in Bates Hall.