Pictured Above: The Dartmouth Street entrance to the Boston Public Library
The "BPL" as it is commonly known, has served as an intellectual and educational center for Boston women, from reformers to newly-arrived immigrants, since it opened in 1854. Housed in the elegant McKim building since 1895 and the addition designed by Philip Johnson and opened in 1972, the library was called a "noble treasure house of learning" by Russian immigrant, Mary Antin (1881-1949). She wrote, to be "in the midst of all the books that ever were written was a miracle as great as any on record". Many Boston women have worked as library professionals including Louise Imogen Guiney (1861-1920), who later became a respected poet and writer and filled a role as an ambassador between the Irish Catholic community and the Boston Brahmins. Women pioneered children's services at the library. Alice M. Jordan (1870-1960) was the first Supervisor of Work with Children, serving from 1900 to 1940. In 1906, she founded the New England Round Table of Children's Librarians to provide a meeting ground for this emerging profession. Since 1960, the Round Table and the Massachusetts Library Association have sponsored the Jordan-Miller Storytelling Program in recognition of Jordan's commitment to storytelling. Beryl Robinson (1906-89), an African American, introduced story-telling to children in the BPL branches all over the city in the 1940s and 1950s. Her stories came from many cultures. In 1958-59, she produced and told stories on public television, extending her audience to children throughout eastern Massachusetts.