Monday, June 6, 2011

1909 Wilde Memorial Library, Acton, Massachusetts

[LIB1901] - Nice two view presentation of the library. The black and white postcard is postmarked August 13, 1908 from South Acton. It is addressed to Miss Mabel Thompson, West Townsend, Massachusetts.

The color postcard is postmarked 1909 and is addressed to Michael J. McNamara, Stoughton, Massachusetts.

Special Collection: Acton Memorial Library Civil War Archives -- In 1889, William Allan Wilde, Acton native son and successful Boston publisher, wanted to give something back to his home town. Following the example of Andrew Carnegie, he offered to build a public library. Wilde declined to have the building bear his name because he wanted it to be a memorial to the men of Acton who had served or died in the Civil War. The Acton Memorial Library was dedicated and opened to the public on May 24, 1890.

The building was designed by Boston architects H.W. Hartwell and William G. Richardson. The arched entryway featured two memorial tablets. One gave the names of Acton men who had served, and the other listed the names of those who had given their lives for the Union cause. The interior consisted of two large rooms and a smaller room for the trustees. An elaborate fireplace was the focus of the reading room. In the other large room, behind a gated screen, were the books to be checked out by the librarian. The structure cost $30,000, an enormous sum at the time.

As the years passed, many veterans and their families donated items from their military life to the library's collection in hope they could be displayed. A permanent exhibit, “Not Afraid to Go: Acton’s Part in the Birth and Preservation of Our Nation” was dedicated on Patriots Day, April 19, 2008. [Website]

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