Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts


You want to write something.

Does it have a chance of being better written if you compose it at a desk in a beautiful room?

I just walked around my kitchen with a turkey sandwich in hand working on those opening sentences. I am still changing them.

Twenty-four hours ago, however, I was sitting in a beautiful room. Everything I had read about the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts, was proving true. The photographs I had seen of it in books on the most beautiful libraries in the United States had not misled me. There was a reason I had held on so long to the goal of seeing this place for myself.


My hand kept going up cautiously and quietly with my iPhone camera. I tried to make some of my own images of these spaces that architect H.H. Richardson had created for readers and writers.

I always thought there must be life like this somewhere. Somewhere there should be a space as ambitious as this in acknowledging what happens when some people write and other people read.

I just had not expected it to be a mere forty-minute drive away.


I had to read something here as well, though. I wanted to respond to one particular corner where I leaned against red leather.

A volume containing poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins emerged from my book bag. I opened to lines from The Wreck of the Deutschland, composed in 1875-1876 – seven years before this library was opened:.

“I kiss my hands/To the stars…”

4 comments:

Harry The Librarian said...

Donald your pictures are wonderful - did you really make them with your phone? I'd like to post this on Facebook to "pass it along" with library and personal friends, and on my "Harry the Librarian" blog as well, but won't do so without your permission. I've been telling everyone how fortunate I am since coming to "TCPL" 18 months ago. You have given proof to my claim. Thank you! Harry R. Williams III, Library Director at Thomas Crane Public Library.

Donald said...

Be my guest, Harry!

And thank you for your tribute to my iPhone 4S. We go places and do things together.

Kimberly said...

This is grand...just grand...and it makes me remember sitting in another library reading room with a friend and writing together... Yes, such places exist--and await those who seek them...to allow them space to think and sigh and "kiss hands to the stars..." Thank you for this homage to the quiet elegance of architecture at the service of mind and spirit...

Ur-spo said...

What a gorgeous place.
I love this; no more prosaic and banausic buildings !