Charitable Library Society Records, 1795-1821
Vault A60, Unit A2
EXTENT: .21 linear feet
HISTORY: The Society was formed on 25 May 1795, in Concord, Mass. Established under the name Charitable Society in Concord, by 1801 it was referred to in the records as the Charitable Library Society in Concord. It was a subscription library (that is, a private collection supported by membership fees, supplemented by voluntary donations), but with an added, constitutionally-stated benevolent function. The Society provided books from its collection to non-member citizens of Concord as well as to members. The Reverend Ezra Ripley served repeatedly as an officer of the Society; the constitution and some of the records are in his hand. The membership also included Jonathan Fay, Isaac Hurd, John White, Joseph Hunt, Reuben Brown (Sr. and Jr.), Jonas Minot, Ephraim Wood, Tilly Merrick, Francis Jarvis, Abiel Heywood, Samuel Hoar, Jr., and Moses Prichard, among others. Although not listed as members, women are recorded as donating books to and borrowing them from the Society. In 1821, the membership and book collection of the Charitable Library Society were absorbed into the newly-established Concord Social Library.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Records, 1795-1821, include: bound volume, 1795-1821, containing constitution, membership list, minutes of meetings, lists of officers and Standing Committee members, records of donations (an entry for 13 January 1801, recording a gift by John Thoreau, father of Henry, of Hannah More’s Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education; other Thoreau family donations recorded later); bound volume, 1795-1819, containing records of book purchases and donations, records of expenditures for books and supplies, and Standing Committee meeting minutes; one volume (1795-1801) in paper wrapper, containing “An account of Books lent by the Charitable Society . . .”; printed catalog (“A Catalogue of Books in the Charitable Library, Concord, 1804”), with manuscript additions; and a manuscript list of pledged member donations for 1816.
SOURCE OF ACQUISITION: Two bound volumes: transferred by C.E. Brown in May 1894.
ASSOCIATED MATERIALS: Concord Social Library Records, 1820-1851; Concord Town Library Records, 1851-1873; Concord Free Public Library Records, 1869-[ongoing].
NOTES/COMMENTS: 1804 printed catalog: transferred from Letter File 4, C4, March 1995.
PROCESSED BY: LPW, 1996; finding aid prepared for the web, C. Manoli-Skocay, March 2007.
Bound record volume, 1795-1821 (constitution, membership list, minutes of meetings, lists of officers and Standing Committee members, records of donations)
Folder 2: Bound record volume, 1795-1819 (records of book purchases and donations, records of expenditures for books and supplies, and minutes of Standing Committee meetings)
Volume (in paper wrapper), 1795-1801, containing “An account of Books lent by the Charitable Society . . .”
Printed “A Catalogue of Books in the Charitable Library, Concord, 1804”
Manuscript list of pledged member donations for 1816
c2007 Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Mass.
Not to be reproduced in any form without permission of the Curator of Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library.
Mounted 27th March 2007. rcwh.