“The infant periods of most nations are buried in silence, or veiled in fable, and perhaps the world has lost little it should regret. But the origins of the American Republic contain lessons of which posterity ought not to be deprived.” —James Madison
I’ve used the Boston Public Library to illustrate this post because I spent untold hours in this room. Actually, I found my greatest treasure in the basement of this building. I was researching Tempest at Dawn and discovered Christopher Collier’s doctoral thesis on Roger Sherman. Collier is the coauthor of Decision in Philadelphia, among other books. I was able to speak to him on the phone, and he had no idea that his thesis had been preserved on microfiche or that it was retained by the Boston Public Library. Since information on Sherman was relatively rare, it was fortuitous to find this academic profile about the architect of the Great Compromise at the Constitutional Convention.
Since I’m writing about my time in Massachusetts, there were two other libraries that had an impact on my writing— the Concord Free Public Library and the Boston Athenæum. One is public and home to great literary traditions and the other is one of the oldest private libraries and cultural institutions in the country. I suggest Sarah Park do a third gallery of libraries dedicated to unique institutions in the United States.