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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Wollaston branch in Quincy, Massachusetts - circa 1923 postcard

Wollaston branch library, Quincy1

1923 was an impressive year for new library construction in the Commonwealth. The following towns received a new main building or branch:

  • Chester
  • Dennis (West)
  • Dover
  • Dracut
  • Lynnfield, South
  • Quincy (Wollaston Branch)
  • Richmond
  • Truro (North Branch
  • Wakefield
  • Wales2

Meanwhile, just like today, many library conferences took place around New England, focusing on timeless topics like professional development and increasing outreach to underserved patron groups.

The year's Southern New England Library Conference in Providence discussed the expansion of special libraries devoted to disciplines such as law, education, natural science, and the fine arts. In March of 1923, the annual library institute at Simmons College took place over the course of four days, touching on topics ranging from work with foreign-born citizens, cataloging and classification, public relations-style outreach, and children's literature.3

What else happened in 1923?

  • The Washington Elm, a 210-year-old tree on Cambridge Common, died. Allegedly the site of George Washington's appointment as commander of the American Army, the tree was cut up into around a thousand pieces and distributed to state legislatures throughout the country.4
  • Harry Frazee sold the Boston Red Sox to Ohioan Bob Quinn for $1,150,000.5
  • President Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack on August 2; he was succeeded by sitting Vice President Calvin Coolidge.6

1. Digital Commonwealth [link].
2. Annual Report of the Board of Library Commissioners for the Year Ending November 30, 1923.
3. Massachusetts Library Club Bulletin, 1923-1924.
4. [link].
5. [link].
6. 1923 - Wikipedia entry [link].