The State Library of Massachusetts was established in 1826. By the 1840s the space in the Massachusetts State House for the library was greatly overcrowded. One solution was to "farm out" duplicate materials to other libraries on the condition that the material could be recalled at a later date. Between 1853 and 1856 an addition to the State House was constructed which provided additional space for the State Library. The pending availability of this additional space prompted the State Library Board of Trustees to recall its loaned material in 1855. The envelope and enclosed letter featured here were sent to the Law Library of Harvard University requesting the return of materials loaned to that library. An additional reason for the return of the books was the preparation of a new catalog for the State Library. The envelope above is a pre-stamped envelope. These envelopes became available from the United States Post Office Department starting in 1853. They were heavily used by libraries. This postal item is the "Library Cover Story" for December on the Library History Buff website.
Knapp School Libraries Project
4 days ago