Boston Public Library

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Boston Public Library,

founded in 1848, chiefly through the gift of Joshua Bates, and opened to the public in 1854. It is the oldest free public city library supported by taxation in the world and the first to allow its patrons to borrow books and other materials. Its present building on Copley Square, designed by McKim, Mead, and White, was completed in 1895 and contains noncirculating research and reference materials. The library opened the first room exclusively designated for children in 1895. Its main hall is decorated with murals by Puvis de ChavannesPuvis de Chavannes, Pierre
, 1824–98, French mural painter, b. Lyons. In 1844 he went to Paris, where he studied under Delacroix and Couture. His painting War (Amiens), purchased by the state in 1861, established his reputation.
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. Other rooms have murals by Edwin Austin AbbeyAbbey, Edwin Austin,
1852–1911, American illustrator and painter, b. Philadelphia, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Employed by Harper & Brothers, he was sent to England, where he gathered materials for his illustration of Herrick's poems and other
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 and John Singer SargentSargent, John Singer,
1856–1925, American painter, b. Florence, Italy, of American parents, educated in Italy, France, and Germany. In 1874 he went to Paris, where he studied under Carolus-Duran.
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. The library also maintains more than two dozen neighborhood branches. By the early 21st cent., the Boston Library held more than six million volumes and more than a million rare books and manuscripts; its special collections include maps, musical scores, and prints; Spanish and Portuguese literature; histories of printing, the theater, and the women's rights movement; the libraries of John Adams and Nathaniel Bowditch; and the Wiggin collection of paintings and etchings. The library opened a new wing designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1973; it houses its circulating collections.

Bibliography

See W. M. Whitehill, Boston Public Library: A Centennial History (1956).

References in periodicals archive ?
He collected ancient Near Eastern cylinder seals and tablets, which are now exhibited in the recently restored McKim building [adjacent to the library], and later began to acquire manuscripts from the Islamic period.
Tying the three rooms together is the impressive central rotunda, which was originally the 36th Street entrance to the McKim building.
Since the renovation, the museum has been able to increase the number of objects on display in the McKim building from 29 to more than 300 per year--an addition that would surely make Morgan proud.
The one truly discordant note is the Clare Eddy Thaw gallery, the cubic room lodged between the McKim building and the 1928 annex.
The design calls for the preservation of the library's three building complex which includes the 1906 Charles McKim Building, the 1928 Annex and the 19th Century structure which served as the Morgan family residence--and the addition of a newly constructed, 75,000-square-foot multi-level structure that ties all the components together.
Named the "Palace of the People" for its commitment to bringing arts and literature to the general public, the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library (BPL) first opened in 1895 with a collection second in size y to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.
The Johnson Building served as the circulation library, and the McKim Building as the research library.