Public Library

Attleboro Public Library in 2000

The library is one of the most popular locations portrayed in postcards. Many publishers and editions exist and some even use the same base image for their hand coloring. This can lead to a “Wheres Waldo” kind of puzzle in determining if two cards are the same. There are a half dozen or so cards below of the same base image but hand colored by different artists. The difference in the clouds is what I base that on. I particularly like the fourth image where the artist has taken the liberty of placing the building on what appears to be a ridge with a scenic vista. Many postcard images on this site look like I posted duplicates, but either subtle differences exist in the image or the publication details on the back side tell me they were separate editions.

The library opened in November of 1907. Although from its beginnings in 1885, the collections of the “Attleboro Free Public Library Association” had been housed in buildings near the center of the city, there had not been a dedicated library building until J.L. Sweet donated land for one. His only stipulations were that the building be complete within a three year period of time and that it cost at least $25,000. The architectural firm of MacLean and Wright won a design competition for the building, and a local contractor, Grant Brothers, was hired to build it.

The original building was beautiful and ornate in execution but very simple in organization. One entered from front center stairs into a central foyer, which faced a small horseshoe-shaped main desk. The reading room to the left was dedicated to children’s service, the one to the right was for adults. A metal self-supporting book stack that was behind the desk and in the basement beneath it as well, held the main collection. The stone stairs that led from the entrance went to a grand gallery and meeting room on the second floor.