Boston Public Library
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Architect McKim, Mead, and White
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Location Boston, Massachusetts   map
Date 1887 to 1895   timeline
Building Type public library
 Construction System bearing masonry, stone
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Renaissance Revival
Notes Modern addition by Philip Johnson.




Photo, interior, murals, historical


Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing

Section Drawing

Section Drawing

Section Drawing

Aerial perspective sketch, historical

Upper floor plan, historical

Photo, ground floor plan, historical


Perspective Drawing

More drawings available on The GBC CD-ROM.   Contributions appreciated

Discussion Boston Public Library Commentary

"The centerpiece of McKim, Mead & White's architecture, the Boston Public Library, was a major procreating force of the American Renaissance. The library was the first public building that demonstrated the possibilities of collaborative art, and was the first great example of 'civic art.'"

— Richard Guy Wilson. McKim, Mead & White Architects. New York: Rizzoli, 1983. p134.


At Copley Square, across from Trinity Church.

Sources on Boston Public Library

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. diagram, p173.   Updated edition available at

Edward Ford. The Details of Modern Architecture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990. ISBN 0-262-06121-X. interior photo of Bates hall, f3.3, p54.   Highly recommended for serious observers, and available at

Donlyn Lyndon. The City Observed: Boston. New York: Vintage Books, 1982. ISBN 0-394-74894-8. LC 81-40199. NA735.B7L96. exterior, interior, detail photos, discussion, p166-170.

McKim, Mead, & White. The Architecture of McKim, Mead, & White in Photographs, Plans, and Elevations. New York: Dover Publications, 1990. ISBN 0-486-26556-0. LC 90-43684. NA737.M4A4. photo of inner courtyard, plate 103. photo of facade, plate 100.

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, Volume 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. discussion, p270-271, exterior photo, f216, p271. — An excellent survey of American architecture. Reprint Edition available at

Richard Guy Wilson. McKim, Mead and White, Architects. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983. Interior perspective photo of Bates Hall, f189, p143.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Boston Public Library


Web Resources
Links on Boston Public Library

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