Boston Library Postcards

Why Boston? Simply, there are some very strange advertising post cards using Boston library images as their base. They are odd, and interesting.
Why so many? These are the sort of cards which pop up in quarter boxes at postcard shows and flea markets.
Part of:

Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America

Much history taken from the BPL web site.

Architect: Charles Follen McKim. Built in 1895. Expanded in 1972; the addition is called the Johnson building, and holds the circulating collection. The McKim building houses the research collection.
This seems odd to me, as it would seem that climate control would be easier in a newer building.

Main (Copley Square)

Boston Pioneer Postcard Back of pioneer card

The postcard is known as a 'Pioneer,' and was published in 1895 by the American Souvenir Company of Boston.
It was lithographed by Armstrong & Company, also of Boston.
It also displays an art museum, Trinity Church, and the New Old South Church.

Interior views

Staircase Grand staircase Grand staircase Delivery Room In Boston Bates Hall
Grand staircase Grand staircase Delivery room
BPL Courtyard BPL Courtyard Two views of the courtyard. The older (and cruder) in appearance was published by Valentine & Sons, the more refined card by Detroit Publishing in its 'Phostint' style.

Exterior views

Library, New Old South Church, and City Medal Copley Square, showing Public Library and Copley Plaza Copley Square, Boston, Mass. Copley Square, showing Public Library Phostint view of BPL
Early card shows the library
and a medal.
Early card, mailed in 1904. Metropolitan News Co. card. Early Tichnor Brothers card. Another Phostint view, showing a trolley car.
Artist's drawing of BPL BPL BPL by Teich Colourpicture Copley Square, showing Public Library and Copley Plaza
Artist's rendition of the Library. Card mailed 1906,
with horse cart and trolley.
1933 Curt Teich linen card. 1940s Colourpicture linen card. Newer, linen finish card displays the
entirety of Copley Square.
BPL BPL BPL History from card back:
The Public Library in Copley Square is one of the world's largest. Students, literati and others throng its rooms and corridors to read and study, to see the statues and to hear the public lectures. It contains about one and three-quarters million volumes and has 34 branches in different parts of the city.
Artist's rendition of the Library
on a self-framed card.
Chrome postcard from the 1940s or early 1950s.
Annotated 6-21-62.
Chrome postcard from the 1950s or early 1960s.

Advertising Post Cards

BPL plus ad for McPhail Piano Company BPL plus Muncie, IN shoe ad BPL plus beanpot
Hugh C. Leighton Card advertises the McPhail Piano Company.
Postmark: 1910.
Shoe advertisement for a store in Muncie, IN. This card is one of the originals which feature the beanpot logo of Boston's 1907 Old Home Week. This celebration resembled the Homecoming weeks of universities and small town America.

Branch libraries

The branch system began in 1870. Although the postcard above boasts of 34 branches, the current total is 26.

Dorchester (Codman Square Reading Room)

Codman Square Reading Room

The sign over the door reads 'Boston Public Library Codman Square Reading Room.'
The card's caption reads 'Public Library and Reading Room, Dorchester, Mass.'
The library building appears to be Dutch Revival, but has Tudor and Romanesque touches.

Monochrome German cards are scarce: this was produced for the Rotograph Co. of New York City.

Franklin Park

Franklin Park branch (L) Other postcards call the front section an 'overlook.'
(R) Reighner Bros. card, mailed 1911.
Franklin Park branch

Definitively Italianate building.

Franklin Park itself was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Apparently the Library function ceased before 1988.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park, MA Library

Opened as the Hyde Park Town Library in 1899: incorporated into BPL in 1912, upon annexation.
Renovated and expanded in 1997-2000. Of course, it's still in use.

Card printed in Germany.

Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain branch library

Burned in 1908: replaced in 1911.

This card was mailed in 1906, so may have been a rendering of Curtis Hall.

Jamaica Plain branch library

1911 replacement building: still in use, with a 1936 expansion and a 1963 remodeling.
Despite its timing and appearance, this was not a Carnegie building.

The Curt Teich card was mailed in 1919.


Roslindale, MA Library

Since this postcard was mailed in 1917, it's not entirely clear which building this actually was. Between 1900 and 1918, according to the BPL website, it was located in Old Taft's Tavern Building. In 1918, it moved to a municipal building. It's not impossible that this card was printed in anticipation.

Card by J.S. Potter.