Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Peterborough Library's Interior, An Exceptional Postcard Find



My other interior view postcard.

The Peterborough (NH) Town Library holds a special place in public library history. It is the oldest tax supported free public library in the world. It was founded in 1833 and celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2008. Although I already had a postcard showing the interior of the library, I was attracted by the quality of the interior view of a postcard I came across on eBay. It was the message on the back of the postcard, however, that made it an exceptional find.  The message was written by Ruby Tillinghast who served as the Librarian of the Town Library from 1916 to 1921. The postmark on the postcard shows that it was mailed on October 31, 1916 which was during her first year as Librarian. The postcard was mailed to Miss E. Howe at the Worcester (MA) Public Library.  The transcript of the messages reads: "What are you studying now? What did you get on your Simmons exams? You have a better sta(?) than a library seems to me! This the inside [of the library as shown on the postcard], the lamp & owl had departed before I arrived, revolving book-case on other end, nearer(?) one also missing and desk turned around so I look into the reading room as too busy to write this at present. R. Tillinghast don't work too hard."  I've included above an image of my other Town Library postcard interior view which shows the reading room which Ms. Tillinghast looked into. A current picture of the library's reading room is located HERE. Note that the statue of the builder of the library, J. H. Morison, is still at the library along with portraits of the founders of the library. I would love to know more about the library careers of Ruby Tillinghast and E. Howe.

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