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Bates Hall—Original Letter

Central Library

Image of Original Envelope

A reproduction of the original letter of donation to the Boston Public Library by Joshua Bates addressed to the Mayor of Boston, Benjamin Seaver, 1 October 1852.

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October 1, 1852

Dear Sir:

I am indebted to you for a copy of the Report of the Trustees of the Public Library for the City of Boston, which I have perused with great interest, being impressed with the importance to rising and future generations of such a Library as is recommended; and while I am sure that, in a liberal and wealthy community like that of Boston, there will be no want of funds to carry out the recommendations of the Trustees, it may accelerate its accomplishment and establish the Library at once, on a scale to do credit to the City, if I am allowed to pay for the books required, which I am quite willing to do,-leaving to the City to provide the building and take care of the expenses.

The only condition that I ask is, that the building shall be such as to be an ornament to the City, that there shall be a room for one hundred to one hundred and fifty persons to sit at reading-tables, that it shall be perfectly free to all, with no other restrictions than may be necessary for the preservation of the books. What the building may cost, I am unable to estimate, but the books, counting additions during my life time, I estimate at $50,000, which I shall gladly contribute, and consider it but a small return for the many acts of confidence and kindness which I have received from my many friends in your City.

Believe me, Dear Sir, very truly yours,

Joshua Bates

Image of the original letter