"A fine building, well adapted to the purpose, would be a perpetual invitation to possessors of Art treasures to consider the wisdom of bestowing them on the public." - William Munroe, 1875 letter to the Concord Free Public Library Corporation.
The Concord Free Public Library is home to a unique art collection that emphasizes Concord, Massachusetts's history, people, and culture. From its founding in 1873, art has had a special place within the Library. William Munroe initially intended that the Library expand into hosting an art museum. The Library immediately began taking in the art upon opening the doors with art pieces like David Scott's Ralph Waldo Emerson, Daniel Chester French's bust of Simon Brown, and William James Stillman's The Philosophers' Camp in the Adirondacks. Today, The William Munroe Special Collections holds over 200 pieces of art, including sculptures, paintings, and lithographs, from a wide variety of artists from Concord and beyond. The Collection's focus is works of art associated with the Town of Concord, whether via the subject, donor, or artist. From portraits of Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott to visions of Concord's buildings, byways, and bridges. We invite you to view images of the entire collection HERE.
Below (Left to Right): Church at Annisquam, by Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts; Henry David Thoreau, by Louis Mayer; and Snow in Fairyland, by Charles Hovey Pepper. Art pieces courtesy of the Concord Free Public Library Corporation. Photographic images ©2020 James E. Coutré.