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This library now contains about 50,000 bound volumes, including 1500 or 1600 volumes of pamphlets. It possesses also 20,000 or more of unbound pamphlets, between 400 and 500 volumes of engravings, and the most valuable collection of coins in this part of the country. Three fourths of the income of the Bromfield fund, which amounts to $25,000, are devoted to the purchase of books, the remaining one fourth is added to the principal. The Athenæum is also in possession of another fund of $25,000 for the support of the institution. For an American library, it is rich in certain departments, e. g. in the Reports and Transactions of learned scientific Societies, in periodical publications in the English language, in the current English literature, works in Natural Sciences, etc. It has the Transactions complete of the Royal Society of London, of the French Academies and Institute, of the Royal Societies of Berlin, Copenhagen, Göttingen, Lisbon, Madrid, Stockholm, St. Petersburgh, Turin, etc., Encyclopédie Raissonné, 35 vols. folio; the Encyclop die Methodique, 258 vols. 4to., including 37 of plates; Buffon's Histoire Naturelle, by C. S. Sonnini, 127 vols. 8vo.; publications of the Archæological Society of London; the Moniteur Universelle in 65 volumes, from 1790 to 1816; the Gentleman's Magazine from the beginning in 1732; the Monthly Review from its beginning in 1749 to 1825, in 189 vols., The London Monthly Magazine, from 1796 to 1825, in 59 vols., Dodsley's Annual Register from 1758 to the present time, etc.
In July, 1849, this library was removed to its new home in Beacon Street. The building is an ornament to the city, and its internal arrangements are admirable. The material is of free stone, of the same kind as that used in the construction of Trinity Church in New York. The front is in the Palladian style of architecture, about 100 feet in length by 60 in height. In the basement are to be rooms for packing books, for a bindery, etc. The first floor is for the reading rooms, a room for the trustees, and a sculpture gallery. The library occupies the second story, which is divided into three rooms, one on each side of the staircase, and one large hall, 109 feet in length by 40 in breadth. The western division of the hall is filled with encyclopædias, scientific transactions, magazines, etc. The larger portion is fitted to correspond, and is divided into twenty-six alcoves. The shelving is carried to the height of 18 or 20 feet, and the upper shelves are made accessible by means of a light iron gallery running round the walls of the room and into the alcoves. There are five graceful spiral staircases leading to the gallery. This room contains about 40,000 volumes. The two ante-rooms will accommo
Massachusetts State Library.
date 25,000 volumes more. The picture gallery occupies the upper story and is nearly finished. It is divided into six apartments, each of which is lighted by a sky-light, and promises to be all which an exhibition room needs. From $75,000 to $100,000 are needed to complete the building and to put the establishment in all respects into a proper state. It is understood that a large portion of this sum is already subscribed. The institution is an honor to Boston and New England. It is to be hoped that its usefulness to the great body of the population will be much enlarged. Charles Folsom, librarian.
MASSACHUSETTS STATE Library.
This Library was originated by an Act of the Legislature passed March 3, 1826, requiring that "all the books, and manuscripts belonging to the Commonwealth, and now in any of the apartments of the State House, shall be collected, deposited and arranged, in proper cases, in the room in said State House usually called the Land Office." The library is under the direction of a joint standing committee of the legislature, annually appointed, "whose duty it shall be to superintend the Library." It is for the use of the General Court and officers of the government. An annual appropriation of $300, is made by the Legislature " to procure such books, manuscripts, and charts, works of science and the arts, as tend to illustrate the resources and means of improvement of this Commonwealth or of the United States." Additions are also made annually of the Statutes, Legislative Journals and Documents, and Law Reports of the United States, and of the several States of the Union, received in exchange through the Secretary's Department. Of such works it probably contains a more complete collection than any other library. One thousand and eighty duplicate volumes of Laws, Public Documents, and Reports have been deposited in the Law Library of Harvard University by a Resolve of the Legislature.
The Library contains Mr. Audubon's collection of American Birds, in 4 large folio volumes, at an original cost of about six hundred dollars. An addition was recently made of 440 volumes of French, German and Swedish Books of Science, Arts, History and Statistics, some of which are of great value, by international exchanges, through M. Vattemare. Among them are the following works, presented by the Chamber of Deputies:- Collection of Etruscan, Greek, and Roman Antiquities, from the Cabinet of Hon. Wm. Hamilton, Naples, 1766; four large folio volumes, with English and French text, and 520 plates. Presented by the Minister of the Interior: - Monuments of Nineveh, published by order of
1 Lit. World, Aug. 11, 1849.
the government; Descriptions by P. E. Botta; Designs by E. Flandin; the first 10 numbers, to be continued. Presented by the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce :- Statistics of France, comprising Territory, Population, External Commerce, etc. from 1837 to 1843; nine large folio volumes. Presented by the National Library of France:- The New Theatre of the World, containing Maps, Tables, Descriptions, etc. of all the Regions of the Globe, 1639; 3 large folio volumes. This, considering its date, is a magnificent work; the Holy Evangelists, in Arabic and Latin: Printed at Rome, in the Typographia of Lorenzo de Medici, 1591, large folio; the works of Euclid, in Arabic: Printed at Rome, in the 16th century: folio; Acta Historica Ecclesiastica Nostri Temporis: Printed at Weimar, 1741 to 1774, extremely rare, 43 volumes. Presented by the King of Sweden: — History of the Kingdom of the Moors until their expulsion in 1726, in Arabic and Latin: Edited by Prof. Tornberg, 2 volumes in one; Ancient Sweden, etc. with 3 volumes of Plates of its Provinces, Cities, Buildings, etc., in oblong quarto. The choicest volumes in the State Library to a descendant and admirer of the Puritans, and indeed to any true son of New England, are the ancient General Court Records of Massachusetts. They are copies, in manuscript, of original papers in the archives of the Secretary of State, and make 34 large folio volumes. The Records commence with 1629 and extend to October, 1777, and contain the entire legislative and much of the religious history of Massachusetts between those periods. Each volume has a copious index at its close, containing the names of persons and places, also a list of subjects spoken of, in separate columns, which facilitates reference, and greatly increases the value of these treasures of our Colonial history. No books in the library are consulted more frequently or with more interest. Since the first volume was transcribed, several pages have been inserted at the beginning containing records of a still earlier date. The first is a letter to Gov. Endicott, and concludes, "The God of Heaven and earth preserve and keepe you from all foreign and inland enimies and bless and prosper his plantation to the enlarging of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, to whose merciful protection I commend you and your associates, here knowne or unknowne. And soe tyll my next, which shall be, God willinge by our shipps, whoe I make account will be readie to sett sayle from here about ye 20th of this next moneth of March, I end and rest. Your loving friend and cussen,
From my house in Swithin's
Lane neere London stone, this
16th of February, 1628, stilo.
The State Library now contains, including duplicate volumes of Laws and Public Documents, etc. deposited in the Law Library of Harvard
Historical and Boston Libraries.
University subject to be recalled by the Legislature, about 7000 bound volumes. Included in this number are 13 bound volumes of pamphlets. Rev. Samuel C. Jackson, librarian.
Among the most valuable treasures belonging to this Society are the MSS. of the historian Hubbard; of the first Gov. Winthrop, 11 vols.; of Gov. Hutchinson; of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut, 28 vols.; the MS. of Washington's Farewell Address to the officers of the American Army. The Society has also 98 folio vols. of Commercial Statistics of the United States, embracing the years from 1816 to 1842 inclusive, drawn up with care and very complete. There is a copy of Eliot's Indian Bible in the library. Thirty volumes of Collections have been printed, in three series of ten vols. each; the last vol. of each series contains a full index of all the vols. in the series. The portraits of about seventy persons, mostly New England worthies, adorn one of the rooms. Some of these are of special value, e. g. the portraits of Rev. Increase Mather, and of Rev. John Wilson. The Society possesses no funds, not even for the support of a librarian. The current expenses are met by annual assessments on the members. The number of members is limited
by the act of incorporation to 60. The library is kept in rooms above the Savings Bank in Tremont Street. Rev. Joseph B. Felt is librarian.
The Boston Library was incorporated in 1794. It is a proprietors' library, and the books are lent only to proprietors, the number of whom is now about 170. The value of a share is from $12 to $15. The number of volumes is 12,000, of which 1,500 are in French, and the remainder in the English language. The books are almost exclusively of a popular or miscellaneous character, embracing works in history, biography, voyages, travels, fiction. The number of volumes added annually is about 250. An assessment is laid on each proprietor of $3 annually. The price of a share is so reasonable, that the library is more popularly useful than any other in Boston. It is kept in rooms over the Arch in Franklin Street.
LIBRARY OF THE MERCANTILE ASSOCIATION.
The whole number of books belonging to this Association April 18, 1849, was 5819. By subsequent additions it now amounts to about 7000. The number of vols. added in the year 1848-9 was 579. This library is, also, of a popular and miscellaneous character, embracing works suited to the tastes and wants of merchants and merchants' clerks, in the field of general literature. It has a reading room, where 89 newspapers are received and 21 magazines and reviews. The number of members is now 1145. An annual course of lectures is delivered by distinguished gentlemen. The members participate in exercises of debate, declamation and composition. The whole number of tickets for the lectures in 1848-9 was 1300. The invested funds of the Society amount to $16,100, and one share in the Boston Athenæum. A catalogue of the works in the library was printed in 1848.
LIBRARY OF NATURAL HISTORY.
The Boston Society of Natural History have laid the foundation of a valuable library in the sciences to which their studies are directed. It is expected that the choice library of the late Dr. Amos Binney, formerly president of the Society, will be incorporated with that of the Society. Both will form a fine collection of the most important works in Natural History in the English and French languages.
THE PRINCE LIBRARY.
The Old South Church (Congregational) in Boston possesses a valuable collection of books and MSS. bequeathed to the church by Rev. Thomas Prince, one of its former pastors. Mr. Prince, while in college, in 1703, began a collection of books, and public and private papers relating to the civil and religious history of New England, to which he continued to make valuable additions for more than fifty years. It is a precious collection, containing many standard works in church history and biblical literature and theology, the works of the early divines of New England, and valuable pamphlets and MSS. See Dr. B. B. Wisner's History of Old South Church, p. 23.