Monday, June 25, 2012

Map of Massachusetts Public Libraries, c1914

According to this map, in 1914 all but one of 35 cities and 319 towns in Massachusetts were home to a free public library, a testament to the value assigned higher learning in the Commonwealth. There were 6,291,811 books ready to be read, with over a million volumes in the Boston public library alone.

Studying the pen and ink drawing by artist and educator George Hartnell Bartlett, (1838-1923), one is struck by the respect given each individual edifice, the love of subject mapped in lines, from Orleans to Williams- town, every library rating equal illustrative justice. Outside of the cities, we find simple structures still splendid, bestowed per Bartlett's pen with a level of dignity befitting any treasury of books, home or away, large or small. Additional examples of Bartlett's work and hints at his thought process can be found in his 1903 book, "Pen and Ink Drawing".

Bartlett has decided to draw both the old Springfield library and the new Springfield library into his map, and there is some truth to that image. Before the new city library was built, room had to be made, so the old library was moved back from State Street a distance, and for a short time, Springfield had two libraries at the Quadrangle.

There is a great article about the big move over at Here's a link: And here's a link to an earlier EWM post with photographs of Springfield's State Street, including the old library, prior to 1905:

As always, thanks for stopping by and take care.

Map source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Published by George H. Bartlett, Pleasant St., Arlington, Mass., c1904/1915, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-15909,

More maps on EWM: Trails, Rails & Roads: Western Mass. Maps

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nelsong said...

So how can one go about obtaining a print of this wonderful map?

Mark T. Alamed said...

The image used in this blog post was downloaded for free from the library of congress:

I'm not sure where prints of the map are sold, but may be a good place to start looking.

Mark T. Alamed said... (This link should work)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

nice post