My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

An Athenaeum -- A great combination of Art, Books, and a Poole's Corner!

About a year ago, somebody told me I should visit the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and Library because it is so beautiful. But, a visit to St. Johnsbury, Vermont would take a little planning because of the distance from Massachusetts, and I wanted to incorporate the visit with a possible trip to Canada. As we all do, I googled for some city information, and saw photos of the inside...the library was beautiful, but oh, I didn't know about all the artwork and their world-famous 10 x 15-foot masterpiece by Albert Bierstadt. Then, I read that my ancestor, William Frederick Poole had a hand in selecting the first books for the library! So, with all those reasons, I knew I had to visit. And visit soon, since the painting, The Domes of the Yosemite, painted 1867, would be moved soon to have conservation work done and would return in the summer, 2018.
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum
1171 Main Street
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

The above large room is the art gallery with art and sculpture displayed everywhere you looked throughout the library. The masterpiece in the center, The Domes of the Yosemiteis by Albert Bierstadt and is moved out from the wall for inspection and a future move from the building to have conservation work done on it. The YouTube short video explains the work that needs to be done (very interesting).

View is from the art gallery looking towards the library.
Below, shows five views of the beautiful architecture. 

All the windows have wooden interior shutters, to block out the sunlight and the walls are black walnut. "The floors are two kinds of wood: black walnut and ash." Per the director.

I was informed that the library catalog was printed in 1875, and about 8,000 books of the books listed were recommended to the first director of the Athenaeum by my 2nd great-grandfather, William Frederick Poole. One of the librarians, Shara, told me the book, Catalogue of the Library of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum was online and allowed me to take a picture of her hard copy. Use the link above to view. Per Wikipedia: "The library’s book collection, originally consisting of 8,000 finely bound volumes selected with the advice of the noted bibliographer W.F. Poole, has been expanded to include nearly 45,000 volumes." 
My husband and I returned to the library a second day, because I had more questions and had to retake a few photos. It was fortunate that we did because I got to meet Bob Joly, the Athenaeum Director. I mentioned my ancestor, and he knew exactly who he was. As a matter of fact, mentioned the Poole corner, just a few feet from where we were standing! I was told the books (see above) are part of the original collection that Mr. Poole recommended to the library. There about 1,000 in storage and all are originals with leather binding. Eventually, they will be brought back into the library. Finding new information about his life is pretty exciting, and is something I can now share with my other Poole cousins.

One of several reading rooms. (Poole's corner on right.)

Portrait of Horace Fairbanks*
I love the old file cabinets, filled with cards from years gone by. 
Entrance to the second floor, non-fiction books are there.

* From Wikipedia: Horace Fairbanks (March 21, 1820 – March 17, 1888) was an American politician and the 36th Governor of Vermont from 1876 to 1878.
In 1871 Fairbanks presented to St. Johnsbury the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, which incorporates a free public library containing 8,000 volumes and an art gallery. He was a trustee of the University of Vermont and Andover Academy.
His brother Franklin was Speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, and their philanthropic activities in St. Johnsbury and throughout Vermont led to creation of the Fairbanks Museum and the endowment of numerous libraries and other institutions.

UPSDATE:  From the Orlando Sentinel, February 21, 2018, see link below.

The Athenaeum is a few blocks from this spot. In a few days, I'll write about other things to see in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The post has been written and is called, "St. Johnsbury, Vermont Sites with Tigers, and Bears, Oh My" as seen on the previous link.