List of libraries in 19th-century Boston

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This list includes libraries located in Boston, Massachusetts, active in the 19th century. Included are reading-rooms, circulating libraries, subscription libraries, public libraries, academic libraries, medical libraries, children's libraries, church libraries, and government libraries.

Conditions of Blakes' circulating library, no.1 Cornhill, 1800
Ad for Suffolk Circulating Library, corner Brattle and Court St., 1822
Ad for Franklin Circulating Library, Court St., 1824
Mercantile Library Association, Merchants Hall, corner Congress and Water St., 1820s-1830s
Ad for S.H. Parker's circulating library, Washington St., 1832
Portrait of Elizabeth Peabody, proprietor of foreign library, West St., 19th century
Boston Public Library, Boylston St., mid-19th century
Boston Public Library, Boylston St., mid-19th century
Boston Athenaeum, Beacon St., 1850s
West Church, Lynde St., West End, mid-19th century
Catalogue of S. Urbino's foreign circulating library, 19th century (American Antiquarian Society)
Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Horticultural Hall, Tremont St., mid-19th century
Library in house of George Ticknor and his daughter Anna Ticknor, Park St., Boston, ca.1890s
"Book railway" used in Boston Public Library, 1895. Made by Lamson Consolidated Store Service Company, of Boston
  • Campbell's Circulating Library[2]
  • Carney Hospital Library[2]
  • Carter's Circulating Library[2][12]
  • Callender's Library, School St.; also known as the Shakespeare Library; Charles Callender, H.G. Callender[3][12][16]
  • Charlestown High School Library[2]
  • Christ Church Library[2]
  • Christian Unity Library[2]
  • Church Home for Orphans Library[2]
  • Church of the Advent Library[2]
  • City Point Circulating Library[2]
  • Clarendon Library, Clarendon St.[6]
  • W.B. Clarke's circulating library[12]
  • Columbian Circulating Library, no.43 Cornhill
  • Columbian Social Library (est.1813), Boylston Hall[17][18]
  • Comer's Commercial College[1]
  • Congregational Library,[2] corner of Beacon and Somerset[1][6]
  • Consumptives' Home Library[2]
  • Deaf Mute Library Association[2]
  • Democratic reading room, corner Congress St. and Congress Sq.[3]
  • Dorchester Athenaeum Library[2]
  • Dramatic Fund Association[1]
  • J.H. Duclos & Bro., no.57 Warren St.[6]
  • East Boston Library Association[1]
  • Ministerial Library of Eliot Church[2]
  • Caroline Fanning[19]
  • Farrer's Circulating Library[2]
  • First Christian Church Library[2]
  • First Universalist Church Library[2]
  • Frederick Fletcher, no.55 Meridian, East Boston[20]
  • Franklin Circulating Library, no.69 Court St.[21]
  • Franklin Typographical Society Library[1][2]
  • Gate of Heaven Church Library[2]
  • Library of the General Court[1]
  • General Theological Library (est.1860);[2][12] no.12 West St.[6]
  • Gill's Circulating Library[2]
  • Good Samaritan Church Library[2]
  • Grand Lodge of Masons Library[2]
  • Grant & Brown, no.873 Washington St.[6]
  • Guild Library of Church of the Advent[2]
  • Halliday's Circulating Library, West St.[2][5]
  • Hancock Library, 42 Hancock; A. Boyden[22]
  • Handel and Haydn Library[1]
  • Harvard Chapel Library[2]
  • Harvard Musical Library[2]
  • Medical College of Harvard University Library[2]
  • C.W. Holbrook's circulating library; no.88 Dover[6]
  • Holy Trinity Church Library[2]
  • Home for Aged Women Library[2]
  • House of Correction Library[2]
  • House of Industry Library[2]
  • House of Reformation Library[2]
  • Jamaica Plain Circulating Library[2]
  • Joy Street Baptist Church Library[2]
  • Keating's Circulating Library;[2] no.1027 Washington St.[6]
  • King's Chapel Library[1]
  • Ladies Circulating Library, Washington St.; N. Nutting, proprietor[19]
  • Lawrence Association Library[2]
  • R.L. Learned's circulating library, Tremont St.[5]
  • Lincoln School Library[2]
  • Lindsay's Circulating Library;[2] George W. Lindsey, Washington St.[20]
  • Liscomb's Circulating Library[2]
  • Loring's Circulating Library;[2] Loring's Select Library, Washington St.;[20] A.K. Loring[12]
  • A.F. Low's circulating library, Meridian St.[5]
  • Lowe's Circulating Library[2]
  • Quinn's Circulating Library[2]
  • Lydia Reed[19]
  • Republican Institution[1]
  • Republican Reading Room, Bromfield St.[20]
  • E.R. Rich & Son; no.477 West Broadway[6]
  • Roxbury Athenaeum Library[2]
  • Roxbury High School Library[2]
  • Sage's Circulating Library;[2] William Sage, no.371 Tremont[6]
  • Sailors Home Library[2]
  • School of Technology Library[2]
  • Second Methodist Church Library[2]
  • W.F. & M.H. Shattuck, no.106 Main[6]
  • Shawmut Avenue Baptist Church Library[2]
  • Shawmut Mission Library[2]
  • Social Law Library[2]
  • Society to Encourage Studies at Home
  • South End Circulating Library[2]
  • Mary Sprague's circulating library, no.9 Milk St.[12][28]
  • St. Francis de Sales Church Library[2]
  • St. Joseph Circulating Library[2]
  • St. Mary's Young Men's Sodality Library[2]
  • St. Stephen's Church Library[2]
  • State Agricultural Library[2]
  • Stoughton Street Church Library[2]
  • Suffolk Circulating Library; corner of Court and Brattle St.; N.S. Simpkins, J. Simpkins[29]
  • Sumner library, no.6 Winthrop block, East Boston[20]


  • Village Church Library[2]
  • Vine Street Congregational Church Library[2]
  • Walker's Circulating Library[2]
  • J.B. Walker, no.1392 Tremont[6]
  • Thomas O. Walker, no.68 Cornhill[3][5][12]
  • Warren Street Chapel Library[2]
  • Washington Circulating Library, no.38 Newbury St.[31]
  • Washington Circulating Library, no.11 School St.[32]
  • Washingtonian Home Library[2]
  • West Boston Library, Cambridge St.[12]
  • West Church Library[2]
  • West Roxbury Free library, Centre St.[6]
  • West Roxbury High School Library[2]
  • Whig reading room, no.144 Washington St.[3]
  • Winkley & Boyd's Central library[20]
  • Workingmen's Reading Room
  • Zion Church Library[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af William Jones Rhees (1859), Manual of public libraries, institutions, and societies, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., OCLC 3991453, OL 6937678M 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw Massachusetts Census: 1875. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Boston Directory ... 1848. 
  4. ^ Boston Directory. 1813
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Boston almanac and business directory: 1878
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Boston Almanac and Directory ... 1876. 
  7. ^ Catalogue of W.P. & L. Blake's circulating library at the Boston Book-Store, no.1, Cornhill (Boston: William P. and Lemuel Blake, 1800)
  8. ^ Also called the "Circulating and Consulting Library for the Officers and Employees of the Boston and Albany Railroad Company;" cf. "Railroad Libraries." Journal of social science: containing the Transactions of the American Association, no.2. 1870
  9. ^ Boston Mirror, Dec. 17, 1808
  10. ^ Boston Patriot, March 31, 1810
  11. ^ a b Boston Directory. 1810
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Charles K. Bolton (Feb 1907). "Circulating Libraries in Boston, 1765-1865". Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. 11. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  13. ^ Boston Directory. 1858
  14. ^ a b c Boston Directory. 1850
  15. ^ Boston Directory. 1805
  16. ^ Boston Directory. 1818
  17. ^ Catalog of Books in the Columbian Social Library. Boston: 1818
  18. ^ Bowen's Picture of Boston, 3rd ed. 1838.
  19. ^ a b c David Kaser (1980), A book for a sixpence, Pittsburgh: Beta Phi Mu, ISBN 0-910230-14-5, OL 4402878M, 0910230145 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i Boston Directory ... 1868. 
  21. ^ Columbian Centinel, Feb. 12, 1823
  22. ^ Boston Almanac. 1847
  23. ^ "Mariner's House, North Square." Dearborn's Reminiscences of Boston. Boston: N. Dearborn, 1851
  24. ^ Goodrich. The family tourist. 1848
  25. ^ ca.1820 advertisement in: American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1
  26. ^ Boston Directory. 1852
  27. ^ Catalogue of the library of Rev. Thomas Prince: former pastor of Old South Church. Presented by him to the Old South Church and Society. Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1846
  28. ^ Independent Chronicle, May 17, 1802; cf. Bolton
  29. ^ Boston Daily Advertiser, July 17, 1822
  30. ^ Boston Daily Advertiser, Aug. 23, 1815
  31. ^ Catalog of the Washington Circulating Library, Boston. 1817
  32. ^ Catalog of the Washington Circulating Library, Boston. 1833

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