The Woburn Public Library in Woburn, MA is housed in one of the most architecturally distinctive buildings in the United States. It was designed by the noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886) for whom the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style is named. The building opened in 1879. The engraved card shown above is from my collection. Richardson designed six libraries during his career. Many libraries and hundreds of other buildings, built mostly in the 1880s and 1890s, reflect the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Judy Aulik's library postcard website shows many of the libraries designed in this style.
As I have indicated before I appreciate library postcards which have been sent with a message that relates to the library shown on the postcard. The postcard above was sent by Paul V. Beard while he was an Aviation Cadet in training during World War II at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Wesleyan University was host to the Navy Flight Preparatory School (U.S.N.F.P.S.) from January, 1943 to August, 1944. The message on the postcard says, "Hi Mom, Here's a picture of the Library. Please put in scrap book. Send more pictures later. Paul". As a member of the Armed Forces Paul was able to send the postcard free. The Olin Memorial Library which is shown on the postcard was completed in 1927 and dedicated in 1928. I wonder if Cadet Beard completed his training in time to see actual combat during World War II.
The next two books the Book Club will be discussing are:
“Whatever Makes You Happy: A Novel,” by William Sutcliffe. We will meet on March 1st at noon in room 209 of the Gleeson Library. Since there are no copies in the Gleeson Library, you may request it from Link+ or get it at SFPL.
Gillian, Helen, and Carol are three suburban mothers who have known each other since their respective sons were babies, and have met in a regular coffee group for years. These days, their sons are a bunch of thirty-four-year-old layabouts: they have no wives and no children, never call, and seem unlikely to outgrow their Gillian, Helen, and Carol are three suburban mothers who have known each other since their respective sons were babies, and have met in a regular coffee group for years. These days, their sons are a bunch of thirty-four-year-old layabouts: they have no wives and no children, never call, and seem unlikely to outgrow their post-adolescent lifestyles anytime soon. After yet another fruitless Mother’s Day, Carol has an outlandish but irresistible idea: each woman will go drop in on her son for an unexpected weeklong visit and find out what’s really keeping him from responsible adult life. (Publisher summary)
“The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel,” by Tea Obreht. We will meet on April 5th at noon in room 209 of the Gleeson Library. A confirmation of the room number will be sent in March. If there are no copies available in the Gleeson Library, you may request it from Link+ or get it at the SFPL.
In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself. But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel. Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weeklytrips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for. (Publisher summary)
Freemasonry is a worldwide fraternal organization with a membership of approximately four million men including two million in the United States. I have several items in my collection related to Masonic libraries. The most recent addition is the postcard shown above which proclaims "Greetings from a Unique Library". The unique library is the Masonic Library of Iowa which is located in Cedar Rapids, IA and is part of the Grand Lodge of Iowa. The postcard also indicates that the library is "The Only Masonic Library Building in the World". That building was built in 1884 and is also depicted on the envelope displayed above. The envelope was mailed in 1886. The 1884 building was replaced in 1955 by a modern building which is displayed below. The library is actually a library and museum and is open to visitors on week days. The Iowa library may have been the only Masonic library building in the world in 1884, but there are many Masonic libraries and museums today. They even have a Masonic Library and Museum Association. The diversity of America's libraries is amazing.