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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Somerset Hotel photograph

Once located on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston's Back Bay, the famous Somerset luxury hotel was the meeting place for discriminating Bostonians in its heyday.1

On April 29, 1965, the Division celebrated its 75th anniversary celebration as the first state library extension agency in the country. The official birthday dinner was held at the Louis XIV Ballroom of the Somerset Hotel. Governor Volpe, Commissioner Kiernan, and Congressman Conte were among those at the head table, along with professional colleagues - Jean L. Connor, Director of the New York State Division of Library Extension; Mr. John G. Lorenz, Director of the Division of Library Extension, U.S. Office of Education; and Mr. Kenneth R. Shaffer, Director of the School of Library Science at Simmons College.1

Today, the Somerset Hotel has been replaced with luxury condominiums, but the MBLC will find another comparably grand location for its 125th anniversary celebration on October 30, 2015.

What else happened in 1965?

  • Pope Paul IV comes to the Americas. On his day-long visit to New York, the Pope met with President Johnson and celebrated a mass for peace in Yankee Stadium.2
  • Some 30 million people in eight states in the northeastern U.S. and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec were affected by a major blackout in November, stranding and trapping people during rush hour. Power was restored by the next morning.3

1. "Somerset Hotel, Boston, Mass." Digital Commonwealth record. Accessed June 11, 2015 via [link].
2. 75th Annual Report of the Board of Library Commissioners for the Year Ending June 30, 1965.
3. "1965: Year in Review." UPI. Accessed June 11, 2015 via [link].
4. "November 9, 1965: The Great Northeast Blackout." The History Channel. Accessed June 11, 2015 via [link].