Crane Library
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Architect Henry Hobson Richardson
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Location Quincy, Massachusetts   map
Date 1880 to 1883   timeline
Building Type library
 Construction System bearing masonry, rough-cut stone
Climate temperate
Context suburban
Style Richardsonian
Notes Eyebrow dormers, round tower with gable roof.


Photo, Reading Room Interior, looking across

Photo, Reading Room Interior, looking lengthwise

Photo, exterior overview, historical


Detail Drawing

Plan Drawing

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Discussion Crane Library Commentary

"Perhaps Richardson's most representative building is the Crane Memorial Library, Quincy, Massachusetts, 1880-83... The general form of the building is simplified to one comprehensive shape with a minimum of elements, each of which articulates a particular interior function: window-wall for reading room to the right, entrance arch, tower for a staircase leading to offices behind the second story gable, and raised windows in the stack room to the left. Horizontal lines and bands of brownstone organize the composition. The ornament, though inspired by French Romanesque and Byzantine sources, is broadly scaled and bold rather than archaeological. The walls are a continuous textured surface of quarry-faced granite and brownstone, creating a visual continuity as do the textured shingles in the houses."

— Leland M. Roth. A Concise History of American Architecture. p167-8.

Sources on Crane Library

Donald Corner and Jenny Young. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD.2260.1012.1842.10. PCD.2260.1012.1842.14.

Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer. Henry Hobson Richardson and His Works. New York: Dover Publications, 1969. ISBN 486-22320-5. LC 68-12915. NA737.R5V3 1969. window in gable perspective drawing, p78. [DP]

Spiro Kostof. A History of Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-19-503472-4. LC 84-25375. NA200.K65 1985. detail photo of dormer vent, f 25.24, p658.   Available at

Jeffery Karl Ochsner. H. H. Richardson, Complete Architectural Works. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1982. plan, p228.   1984 Edition available at

Leland M. Roth. A Concise History of American Architecture. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1979. ISBN 0-06-430086-2. NA705.R67 1979. discussion, p167. photo, p168.

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, Volume 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. exterior photo, f183, p 229. plan drawing, f184, p229.   An excellent survey of American architecture. Reprint Edition available at

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


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