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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Catalogers in the Widener Library, Harvard University

Catalogers in the Widener Library, Harvard University1

In 1953: "A fire of undetermined origin destroyed the Boxborough Public Library on January 9 during a storm. Firemen were unable to save either the building, a former Universalist church, or most of the 6500 volumes. According to Miss Pauline Steels, Librarian, only a pewter communion service and some old histories of the town were saved."2

TODAY: The Massachusetts Public Library Construction Program offers grants for towns that suffer the catastrophic loss of a library building.

What else happened in 1953?

  • Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June at a coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey in London. “An estimated three million people lined the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the new monarch as she made her way to and from Buckingham Palace in the golden state coach.” 3 The Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy obtained the loan of a television set so that library patrons could watch the festivities on TV.4
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy became chairman of the Senate permanent investigations subcommittee (Government Operations Committee). “Through widely publicized hearings, the use of unidentified informers, and reckless accusation, McCarthy doggedly pursued those whom he classified as Communists and subversives. Careers were ruined on the flimsiest evidence, and his methods came under increasing attack by the press and his colleagues.”5

1. Image from Harvard University Archives [link].
2. Division of Library Extension newsletter, Winter 1953.
3. [link].
4. Division of Library Extension newsletter, June 1953.
5. [link].