BBW1: Boston Public Library

Pictured Above: The Dartmouth Street entrance to the Boston Public Library

Location: 700 Boylston Street

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.

Directions to Next Site: Walk into Copley Square.