Boston Public Library
Exhibitions

Chapter 1

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Portrait of Michael T. McGreevey (1867-1943)

The Rembrandt Studio, Boston (active 1895-1903).
ca. 1900, photograph.

 
Portrait of Michael T. McGreevey (1867-1943)Michael T. McGreevey, owner of the Third Base Saloon and Boston’s number one baseball fan, was known as Nuf Ced because he was the final arbiter of all baseball knowledge. If an argument broke out at McGreevey’s Saloon over some arcane baseball fact and threatened to turn violent, McGreevey would slam his hand down on the bar, shout out the final, and irrevocable, answer and say: “Enough said!”
 
 
 
 
 
 

Print Department
 

Boston Royal Rooters Souvenir Card

1903, printed ephemera.

 
Boston Royal Rooters Souvenir CardThe Boston Rooters Souvenir Card also served as an advertisement for McGreevey’s Third Base Saloon, the unofficial headquarters of Boston baseball fans. This card was handed out to Boston fans during the 1903 World Series so that they could regale their team with the unofficial song of the Boston Americans. The lyrics were taken from a song in a popular musical entitled, The Glass Slipper. McGreevey would later adapt the lyrics to a baseball theme. Like “Sweet Caroline” over a century later, “Tessie” was credited with inspiring the Boston team to victory.
 
 
 

Print Department

 

Boston Red Sox American League Season Pass

1916, printed ephemera.

 

Boston Red Sox American League Season Pass [Interior, view 1]
Boston Red Sox American League Season Pass [Interior, view 2]

McGreevey was considered such an important figure in Boston baseball that the Boston Red Sox gave him a pass every year allowing him free admission to all the games. And it certainly looks like McGreevey took advantage of it; all coupons for the 1916 season were used, with the exception of the last two scheduled games. No doubt McGreevey attended the World Series games, won by the Red Sox in five games over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Print Department

 

Take Me Out to the Ball-Game

Albert Von Tilzer, composer (1878-1956); Jack Norworth, lyricist (1879-1959).
1908, musical score.

 
Take Me Out to the Ball-Game  [Front cover]This is believed to be the first published regular edition of the famous baseball classic, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Interestingly, Jack Norworth, the lyricist, is rumored to never have attended a major league baseball game before he wrote the words on a scrap of paper while riding a subway in New York. The original poem resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. This score is part of the Music Department’s extensive collection of popular song sheets.

 
 
 

Music Department
 

Charts & Shapes’ : for bassoon solo I

William Thomas McKinley, composer (1938- ).
1968; holograph, autographed score.

 

Charts & Shapes’ : for bassoon solo I  [Page 1]
Copyright © William Thomas McKinley. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of the composer.

This unusual and beautiful music manuscript is a composition for bassoon in four untitled movements. William Douglas, the musician to whom it was dedicated, performed the composition on April 27, 1968, at its premiere at Yale University.

William McKinley’s score is both visually arresting and musically artistic: the physical shapes of the notes reference the sounds to be executed by the performer. The William Thomas McKinley Collection is one of several composer collections housed in the BPL’s Music Department and this manuscript is exhibited with permission of the composer.

 
Music Department
 
 

Mass of Christmas Eve

15th century, manuscript fragment.

 

Mass of Christmas Eve  [Leaf XXXV recto] Mass of Christmas Eve [Leaf XXXV verso]

This leaf from a 15th-century German or Austrian antiphonary was created for the Mass of Christmas Eve. Antiphonals are pieces of music used during religious services for the singing or chanting of the choirs. They were generally written on large pieces of vellum (animal skin) so that members of the choir could easily see them. They were often bound in large volumes.

This handwritten manuscript includes a beautiful miniature painting of an angel and three shepherds within the letter D. Three or more artists probably worked on this page alone. A scribe copied the Latin text and the musical notes; an illuminator applied the gold to enrich and “illuminate” the page; and an artist painted the beautiful scene of the angel alerting the shepherds of the birth of Jesus Christ as they tended their flock outside the gates of a medieval town. The Boston Public Library is home to several hundred medieval manuscripts.

Rare Books Department
 

Les Pastorales de Longus, ou Daphnis et Chloe

J. Amyot and Paul-Louis Courier, authors; Pierre Bonnard, lithographer (1867-1947); Jacques Anthoine-Legrain, binder (1907–c. 1970).
1902, livre d’artiste.

 
Les Pastorales de Longus, ou Daphnis et ChloeLivre d’artiste (artist books) were developed in France in the early 20th century and illustrated with original prints by well-known artists. This particular volume tells the ancient Greek story of two young lovers, Daphnis and Chloe, who were separated by pirates but ultimately reunited after many trials.

The French artist Pierre Bonnard supplied beautiful lithographs to illustrate this story. The magnificent binding is the work of Jacques Anthoine-Legrain, who bound the book in black goatskin decorated with an Art Deco design of wavelike, interlocking partial circles of gold with onlays of orange and gray leather. The geometric pattern is repeated across the spine and onto the rear cover.

Rare Books Department

 

Otello and Desdemona

Alfredo Edel, costume designer (1856-1912).
1887, watercolor.

 

Otello Desdamona

These cards represent one set of costumes for the characters of Otello and Desdemona from Verdi’s opera Otello. These lavish costumes were designed for the premiere of Otello, which took place on February 5, 1887, at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. The BPL’s set of designs for the opera appears to be complete. Some of the designs are unusually detailed for theatrical costumes, even including props and background settings as seen in the Desdemona design. The designs are inscribed “Da[gli] fig[uri]ni di Edel Alfredo” and stamped by Luigi Zamperoni, costumier and G. Ricordi &C., music publisher.

This set of costumes began a new element of collection development for the Boston Public Library and complements the Music Department’s extensive and rich manuscript and published score collection of 19th-century operas.

Rare Books Department

 

Novus Planiglobii Terrestris per Utrumque Polum Conspectus

Gerard Valck (1652-1726), after Joan Blaeu (ca. 1599-1673).
ca. 1672 [ca. 1695], engraving with watercolor.

 
Novus Planiglobii Terrestris per Utrumque Polum ConspectusThis beautiful map is representative of elaborately decorative maps produced by the Dutch during the 17th century. It also displays an unusual perspective of the known world. The map utilizes two circles depicting the northern and southern hemispheres rather than the customary eastern and western hemispheres, and it sets them against an artistic backdrop highlighting the Genesis story of creation.

The Map Center’s holdings of early printed world maps and atlases constitute an excellent sampling of the best 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century European map publications. Geographically, they provide a global perspective for the exploration and settlement of New England.

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
 

Part of Ward 18, City of Boston (Plate 20) from Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper and Roxbury

George W. Bromley and Walter S. Bromley.
1895, lithograph with watercolor.

 
“Part of Ward 18, City of Boston (Plate 20)” from Atlas of the City of Boston, Boston Proper and RoxburyBoston real estate atlases, published by the Bromley firm from 1883 to 1938, provide a very useful resource for researching individual properties throughout the city. This sheet, covering a portion of Roxbury, shows the Boston Baseball Grounds at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Walpole Street. This location was the home of the Boston Braves from 1871-1914.

Maps of Boston, including an impressive collection of large-scale fire insurance and real estate maps dating from the 1860s to the 1960s, constitute a major focus of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center’s collection.

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
 

Programme for the Decorative Treatment of Copley Square

Ralph Adams Cram, architect (1863-1942).
ca. 1893-1896, watercolor on paper.

 
Programme for the Decorative Treatment of Copley SquareBoston-based architect Ralph Adams Cram became the leading proponent of the Gothic Revival in the United States in the 1900s. However his proposed design for Copley Square, Boston, done early in his career, was far more classical in style. The BPL’s McKim Building is prominently featured at the top of this design.

The BPL’s Fine Arts Department holds other designs, most never executed, for Copley Square from the 1890s and early 1900s, as well as the design boards for the 1980s national competition to redesign the square. The Fine Arts Department is also the repository of Cram’s architectural records from his firm, Cram and Ferguson.

Fine Arts Department
 

House for Mrs. Nathaniel Thayer

Peabody and Stearns, architects (active 1870-1917).
ca. 1884-1886, watercolor on paper, with inks and pencil.

 
House for Mrs. Nathaniel Thayer [Front elevation]This Boston Back Bay residence is still extant at 305 Commonwealth Avenue, near Hereford Street. Nathaniel Thayer was a prominent investment banker and philanthropist who died in 1883. After his death, this handsome brick and stone home with a slate and copper mansard roof was built for $75,000 for his widow, Cornelia Van Rensselaer Thayer. Mrs. Thayer lived there from 1886 until her death in 1897.

The Peabody and Stearns Collection in the Fine Arts Department contains over 34,000 drawings from 570 projects, documents the work of one of Boston’s most prominent and successful architectural firms. The existence of this important architectural archive was unknown for decades until it was discovered in the attic of a Boston financial district building and given to the library.

Fine Arts Department
 

Preliminary Sketch, Make Way for Ducklings

Robert McCloskey, illustrator (1914-2003).
ca. 1940, graphite on paper.

 

Preliminary sketch, Make Way for Ducklings
Copyright © Sarah McCloskey and Jane McCloskey. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of the copyright holders.

Robert McCloskey was the writer and illustrator of such classic children’s books as Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in May, and Homer Price. McCloskey twice won the Caldecott Medal, the American Library Association’s annual award of distinction for children’s book illustration. He received his first Caldecott Medal for Make Way for Ducklings (1941), his beloved tale of a mallard duck family’s journey along busy Boston streets in their quest to reach a new home in the Public Garden.

In the 1960s, Robert McCloskey presented the BPL with four sketchbooks containing preliminary drawings for Make Way for Ducklings. With the artist’s permission, selected drawings have been taken from the sketchbooks and matted.

Print Department

 

On the Beach

Charles H. Woodbury, artist (1864-1940).
ca. 1920-1925, oil on canvas.

 

Image under copyright. All rights reserved.

By the mid-1880s, Charles Woodbury had established himself as a notable artist and teacher. His writings on art and the schools he founded in Boston and in Ogunquit, Maine, inspired many of the next generation of American artists. Woodbury sketched and painted outdoors, recording his observations of nature, seasons, and life along the New England coast. Based on the seascape and the costumes of the figures, it is likely that Woodbury painted On the Beach in the area around Ogunquit during the period between 1920 and 1925.

In 1944 the executors of Charles Woodbury’s estate gave a complete set of Woodbury’s prints as well as a number of his drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings to the BPL’s Print Department.

Print Department

 

Green Line

Sidney Hurwitz, artist (b. 1932).
1999, print, aquatint and watercolor.

 

Green Line
Copyright © Sidney Hurwitz. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of the artist.

Sidney Hurwitz has been an important member of the printmaking community in Boston for over 30 years. Hurwitz draws his subjects from abandoned urban industrial sites in the United States and Europe. Working from photographs, he uses his skills as an artist and a printmaker to focus attention on the beauty of these manmade structures and the light that plays across their surfaces. After pulling the plate and paper through the press, Hurwitz painstakingly hand-colors his images with watercolor.

The BPL’s Print Department has acquired a number of prints by Sidney Hurwitz as part of its collection of works on paper by living artists with ties to Boston.

Print Department

 

Eight Bells

Winslow Homer, artist (1836-1910).
1887, etching.

 
Eight BellsWinslow Homer was trained as an apprentice in the Boston lithographic firm of J.H. Bufford. He then moved to New York where he established his reputation as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. After a trip to England in 1881-1882, Homer settled in Prout’s Neck, Maine, and produced a series of sea paintings between 1884 and 1886 which he then published as etchings.

Eight Bells was printed from one of the eight plates Homer etched between 1884 and 1889 and represents the mature phase of his artistic career. The BPL’s Print Department has major holdings of prints and drawings by American artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Print Department

 

I Want You for U.S. Army

James Montgomery Flagg, artist (1877 – 1960).
1917, color lithograph.

 
I Want You for U.S. ArmyThis famous poster was created in 1917 to encourage recruitment in the United States Army during World War I. It depicts Uncle Sam pointing with the caption, “I Want YOU for U. S. Army.” Over four million copies of the poster were printed during World War I, and the design was revived for World War II.

Flagg used his own face for that of Uncle Sam, merely adding age and the white goatee; he later claimed that it was simply to avoid the trouble of arranging for a model. The BPL’s Print Department is home to over 500 posters from the two world wars.

Print Department
 
 

How to Make Applesauce at MIT

Harold “Doc” Edgerton, photographer (1903-1990).
1964, photograph.

 

How to Make Applesauce at MIT
Copyright © Harold & Esther Edgerton Foundation, 2009, courtesy Palm Press, Inc. All rights reserved. Digital reproduction courtesy of Palm Press, Inc.

Doctor Harold Edgerton, a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a pioneer in stroboscopic photography. In his experiments, Edgerton used strobe lights to capture and “freeze” motion on film, allowing the human eye to see in photographs what was invisible in the physical world. Doc Edgerton, who considered himself more of a scientist than photographer, crafted experiments in photography that revealed the hidden world of motion and action that surrounds us. Gift of Roger F. Urban.

Print Department

 

Winston Churchill

Yousuf Karsh, photographer (1908-2002).
1941, photograph.

 

Winston Churchill
Copyright © The Estate of Yousuf Karsh. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of The Estate of Yousuf Karsh.

Describing the portrait that propelled the photographer to worldwide fame, Yousuf Karsh wrote: “My portrait of Winston Churchill changed my life. I knew after I had taken it that it was an important picture, but I could hardly have dreamed that it would become one of the most widely reproduced images in the history of photography…Churchill’s cigar was ever present. I held out an ashtray but he would not dispose of it. I went back to my camera and made sure that everything was all right technically. I waited; he continued to chomp vigorously at his cigar… Then I stepped toward him and, without premeditation, but ever so respectfully, I said, ‘Forgive me, sir,’ and plucked the cigar out of his mouth. By the time I got back to my camera, he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me. It was at that instant that I took the photograph…”

In 2005, the Estate of Yousuf Karsh presented the Boston Public Library with a collection of 57 Karsh portraits of literary figures.

Print Department


Chapter 1


Chapter 2


Chapter 3

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