The Library of Arts and Sciences of Salem, MA 1804
I've had in my collection of librariana for some time a receipt for the payment of an annual assessment for the Library of Arts and Sciences which is dated March 18, 1804. There is no indication on the receipt of the location of the library, and it has only been recently that I have been able to determine that location. It turns out to be Salem, Massachusetts. The receipt was issued to Joshua Ward, Senior. Ward was a prominent merchant in Salem who built the appropriately named Joshua Ward House which is said to be haunted. The receipt was signed by the librarian whose name I'm not sure of. John Pennel? John Fennel? It was the website of the Salem Athenaeum that helped me identify the location of the Library of Arts and Sciences. According to the website, at the time the Salem Athenaeum was founded in 1810 there were more libraries in Salem than Boston. It mentions the Library of Arts and Sciences among several others. This is the second oldest piece of librariana in my collection. The oldest being a similar receipt for the New York Society Library which was dated March 1, 1793.