The Boston Public Library opened its doors in 1852, becoming the first major free municipal library in the United States. Today's building on Copley Square was built in 1895. The building, designed by Charles Follen McKim, boasts the majestic 218-foot Bates Hall, named for the wealthy financier, Joshua Bates, who long dreamed of creating a grand reading room open free to the public.
More than a depository of books, the library's magnificent architecture is decorated with artwork by artists such as Edwin Austin Abbey, John Singer Sargent and Puvis de Chavannes. Among those who studied and wrote here were the Alcott family, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier, Lucy Larcom, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Sarah Orne Jewett, John Boyle O'Reilly and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Today, the Boston Public Library remains a treasured gem, serving Bostonians, as well as residents of the entire Commonwealth.
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02119
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 9:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.; Friday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.. Also open Sundays, 1:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. October - May.
The Literary Trail guided tour stops here.