The Concord Authors Collection
The Concord Authors Collection, a major research resource of some 6,000 printed volumes, was established in 1873, at the founding of the Concord Free Public Library. In June of that year, the Town Library Committee issued a handbill stating: "It is desirable to have, in the new building, a complete collection of the literary, historical, municipal, religious, educational, and other printed works of Concord men and women, to be placed in one Alcove ... If they could be gathered ... in the the new building, where they would be safe and accessible, they would be an appropriate gift of the present generation to posterity ... "
The collection consists of printed books by, about, and from the libraries of Concord authors from the 17th century on, beginning with the 1646 Gospel-Covenant by the Rev. Peter Bulkeley. It exists to document the full range of authors in Concord, major and minor, in all subject areas. The collection is rich in titles in law, economics, cookery, gardening, and astronomy, for example, as well as in literature and history. Its development is ongoing, with books by present-day Concord authors added as they are published.
Books illuminating the lives and work of Concord's well-known 19th century authors--the Alcotts, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, William Ellery Channing, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Margaret Fuller, and Franklin Benjamin Sanborn--form a major part of the collection. Other past and present authors represented among the holdings include Peter Alden, Jane Austin, Robert Coles, Katherine K. Davis, Kate Flora, Jay Forrester, Allen French, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Richard Goodwin, Edward Jarvis, Harriet M. Lothrop (Margaret Sidney), Gregory Maguire, Robin Moore, Samuel Eliot Morison, Ezra Ripley, Lemuel Shattuck, Thomas Whitney Surette, George Tolman, Barbara Wheaton, Ruth Robinson Wheeler, William Willder Wheildon, and Charles Willie. (This list is by no means complete or indicative of relative importance. It merely suggests the scope of the collection.)
The Library welcomes gifts of books and manuscripts by Concord authors for the Special Collections.
Funding for the retrospective cataloging of the Concord Authors Collection was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Volumes in the collection may be searched through the database of the Minuteman Library Network.
- Alcott Books: Books from the Libraries of Amos Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, and Members of Their Immediate Family, 1824-1887.
- Emerson Books: Books from the Libraries of Ralph Waldo Emerson and of Other Members of the Emerson Family, or Otherwise Associated with the Emersons, 1780-1899.
- Hawthorne Books: Volumes from the Library of Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Hawthorne Family, or Otherwise Associated with the Hawthornes, 1820-1852.
- Thoreau Books: Books from the Libraries of Henry David Thoreau and of Other Members of the Thoreau Family, 1776-1869.