EXTENT: .83 linear ft. (2 containers)
ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT: Five series: I. Early documents (formation of Social Library), 1820-1821; II. Record book, 1821-1851; III. Standing Committee reports, 1822-1851; IV. Financial, 1821-1851, (a. Proprietor’s shares, 1821-1851, alphabetically by proprietor; b. Treasurer’s reports, 1823-1850, chronologically; c. Bills, accounts, receipts, 1821-1842, chronologically); V. Volumes from the Social Library, 1830.
HISTORY: Proprietary library (that is, a library owned jointly and used by shareholders) in Concord, Mass. Formed in 1821, absorbing the membership and the collection of the earlier Charitable Library Society. Proprietors over the years included Nathan Barrett, Josiah Bartlett, Nathan Brooks, Reuben Brown (Sr. and Jr.), Ralph Waldo Emerson, Barzillai Frost, Hersey B. Goodwin, Francis Gourgas, Abiel Heywood, Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, Samuel Hoar (Jr.), Nathan S. Hosmer, Phineas How, Isaac Hurd, Edward Jarvis, Francis Jarvis (Sr. and Jr.), Tilly Merrick, Abel Moore, William Munroe, Moses Prichard, Reuben N. Rice, Ezra Ripley, Daniel Shattuck, Lemuel Stattuck, Albert Stacy, John Stacy, Cyrus Stow, John White, and William Whiting. Ralph Waldo Emerson served one term as president. Bookseller John Stacy served as librarian for most of the library’s existence; his son Albert succeeded him during its final two years. The library was housed in the Stacy store in Concord’s Mill Dam business district. Many volumes in the collection were purchased through John Stacy. At a meeting held by the Concord Social Library on October 11, 1851, it was voted “To give the Library to the town on condition they shall establish a public library on the plan contemplated by the Act passed May 24, 1851, entitled ‘An Act to authorise cities and towns to establish and maintain public libraries’.” At a town meeting on November 10, 1851, it was voted to accept the Concord Town Library, and to house it in the Court House.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Records, 1820-1851, include: documents relating to the formation of the Social Library, 1820-1821; record book (bound), 1821-1851, containing constitution and bylaws, lists of proprietors and committee members, reports (Standing Committee and Treasurer), minutes, and financial records; unbound Standing Committee records, 1822-1851; unbound financial records (proprietors’ shares, 1821-1851; Treasurer’s reports, 1823-1850; bills, accounts, receipts, 1821-1842); and one four-volume set from the Social Library collection (Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1830). The financial records include much evidence of the library’s purchase of books from John Stacy and from several Boston booksellers as well. Some records are in Emerson’s hand. The volumes of Jefferson’s writings were expurgated (as the records show, at the urging of Moses Prichard; see Robert Gross, “Books and Libraries in Thoreau’s Concord”).
PROVENANCE AND SOURCE OF ACQUISITION: Transferred to the Concord Town Library by the Concord Social Library (1851); incorporated from the Town Library collection into the Concord Free Public Library collection (1873).
SECONDARY SOURCE BASED ON USE OF RECORDS: Gross, Robert A. “Books and Libraries in Thoreau’s Concord: Two Essays.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 97 (1988).
PROCESSED BY: LPW; finding aid prepared 9/15/96. Prepared for the Internet by Peter K. Steinberg, 10/27/2005
SERIES I. EARLY DOCUMENTS (FORMATION OF SOCIAL LIBRARY), 1820-1821:
Box 1, Folder 1:
Committee resolution, dated 1820 July 13
Reports and bylaws, dated Feb. 8, Feb. 9, and Feb. 12, 1821.
Certificate of oath for Abiel Heywood, Feb. 22, 1821
Minutes, Mar. 7, 1821
SERIES II. RECORD BOOK, 1821-1851:
Box 1, Folder 2:
One bound volume.
Box 1, Folder 3:
SERIES III. STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS, 1822-1851:
1822-1832 (final report in folder dated 1833 Jan. 7)
Box 1, Folder 4:
1833-1851 (first report in folder dated 1834 Jan. 6)
SERIES IV. FINANCIAL, 1821-1851:
Box 1, Folder 5:
(a) Proprietors’ shares (certificates, receipts, etc.), 1821-1851 (alphabetically by proprietor)
Box 1, Folder 6:
(b) Treasurer’s reports, 1823-1850 (chronologically)
Box 1, Folder 7:
(c) Bills, accounts, receipts, 1821-1842 (chronologically)
SERIES V. VOLUMES FROM THE SOCIAL LIBRARY, 1830:
Box 2, Unfoldered:
Jefferson, Thomas. Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Edition. Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1830. (4 volumes)
c2005 Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Mass. Not to be reproduced without permission from the library.
Back to the Selected Finding Aids page
Back to the Special Collections homepage
Mounted 29th October 2005. rcwh.