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William Munroe Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library

Earliest Art Treasures

During its first twenty-five years, the Concord Free Public Library saw the additions of some of its most unique and special treasures.  David Scott's large scale portrait of Ralph Waldo Emerson came into the library upon opening in 1873.  According to the Library Report in the Town Report in 1873, "of the many perfect reasons which make this an appropriate gift to this institution, the one that Mr. Emerson has been on the library committee of the town for forty years stands out prominently and pleasantly." 

William James Stillman's The Philosopher's Camp in the Adirondacks was a gift of Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, former U.S. Congressman, judge, and Attorney General.  The companion Key to the Philosopher's Camp was drawn by Edward Waldo Emerson, son of the renowned author and Library committee member.  He also contributed his own work, Wreck on Coffin's Beach in 1893.

Art came from many places.  The Trustees of the Concord Free Public Library Corporation commissioned The Hemlocks by Stacy Tolman in 1896.  Alicia M. Keyes, a local artist and art teacher, donated her own work Monadnock in 1893.  A subscription was raised among Concordians to purchase a portrait of Dr. Josiah Bartlett by L.T. Ives.  

Paintings were not the only gifts.  An illuminated document illustrating the bill which gave cannons to Concord to use in the creation of Daniel Chester French's The Minute Man statue was donated by the bill's author, E.R. Hoar.  A lithograph of Gettysburg was donated by Harriet Hanson Robinson of Malden.  Sophia Thoreau gave the library a crayon portrait of her brother Henry David Thoreau by Samuel Worcester Rowse.  

After twenty-five years in Concord, the Library had amassed a small but impressive collection of art, and the gates had been opened for the next wave of acquisitions.

Earliest Art Treasures