Public Library in Springfield, MA (1913)
View Full Image
This lantern slide shows the Public Library in Springfield, Massachusetts. Although the exact date is unknown, the Springfield Library Company existed prior to 1796. The Library Act of 1851 made it legal to raise and spend public funds in order to "establish and maintain libraries for the use of the inhabitants thereof," and four years later, Springfield residents petitioned for a public library. The City Library Association formed in 1857, and although still privately funded, they were given space in City Hall. By 1863, private donations allowed for the construction of a red-brick, Gothic-style building at the corner of State Street and Chestnut Street. The library experienced significant growth, and in 1892, the city built a larger structure on the same site. In 1905, Andrew Carnegie donated $260,000 for a central library and three branch libraries. Construction began four years later. The staff moved all the books into the new library in only eight days, and it opened to the public on January 10, 1912. The second floor Rotunda has Corinthian columns, balustrade, elaborate architectural details, and an amber-tinted glass dome. A frieze of horses and riders inspired by bas-relief ornamentation of the Parthenon enhances the entry. In 1974 the Central Library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. George Storrs Graves (1853-1915), the photographer, was a lifelong resident of Springfield. He worked for the Springfield Union and then the Phelps Company, publishers of the “New England Homestead,” of which he became part owner. When he sold his share of the firm and retired in 1899, Graves transformed his interest in photography into a second career. The “postcard craze” was underway at the time, with a variety of films reproducing colorized pictures. Spurning what he considered their garish offerings, Graves created black and white or sepia tone pictures, many of which he copyrighted. His earliest postcards were of Springfield and Hartford, but in 1908, his focus shifted to Maine. Text on border reads, "Springfield Mass City Library." This was originally digitized in November 2001, but rescanned because the image wasn't colored.
|Graves, George S. (George Storrs), 1853-1915|
|Springfield College Archives and Special Collections|
Graves, George S. (George Storrs), 1853-1915
Italian renaissance revival
Text and images are owned, held, or licensed by Springfield College and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that ownership is properly cited. A credit line is required and should read: Courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections. Any commercial use without written permission from Springfield College is strictly prohibited. Other individuals or entities other than, and in addition to, Springfield College may also own copyrights and other propriety rights. The publishing, exhibiting, or broadcasting party assumes all responsibility for clearing reproduction rights and for any infringement of United States copyright law. Contact host institution for more information.