Library History

Founding of the Tufts Library

The Tufts Library was founded in 1879, when the Town of Weymouth received bequests of money and land from Quincy Tufts and his sister Susannah, grandchildren of Weymouth physician, Dr. Cotton Tufts, for the establishment of a public library. Part of the bequest included two wooden buildings at the corner of Washington and Commercial Streets in Weymouth Landing. The lower floor of these buildings was set up as the library.

 

Susannah Tufts Caroline Augusta Blanchard

On March 12, 1879 the Board of Library Trustees met for the first time and elected Zacheriah L Bicknell as president and John J. Loud as clerk and treasurer.

A librarian was hired and books were ordered and prepared for circulation. On January 1, 1880, with Miss Caroline A. Blanchard as the first librarian, the Tufts Library opened its doors to the public. The library had over 2,300 volumes and within a year it had almost as many borrowers as books.

Delivery stations, usually in a store were established in all sections of the town, offering equal privileges to all residents.

By 1890, the library had outgrown its storefront building. In 1891 at a special town meeting it was voted to raise $22,000.00 to build a new public library on the land donated by the Tufts family.

During the construction, the library collection was moved to Commercial Street where the Gem Theater later stood. The new building opened on October 6, 1892. It was a three story brick building trimmed with red sandstone that faced Commercial Street. Two stories could be entered from Washington Street. To get to the library, patrons had to inside the arched doorway on Washington Street and go up a flight of stairs. Patrons were not allowed to browse the shelves for books. In front of the delivery desk were chairs for people to sit in while the librarian searched for the requested materials.

The Reading Room housed the weekly newspapers and children’s magazines. Children were not allowed in the room without permission from the librarian.

This library served the people of Weymouth until 1965, when a new Tufts Library was built on town property at the edge of Weston Park in Weymouth Landing.

Tufts Library has three branches. The first one opened on June 16, 1922 in North Weymouth at the corner of Sea and Pearl Streets, with Mrs. Mary M. Dingwall in charge. The delivery station that was located in H.O. Collyer’s Store on Sea Street was closed.

In 1954 a new library was built on the corner of North and Shaw Streets. It opened on November 15th. Carl Koch & Associates of Cambridge designed the building and won a Citation Award from Progressive Architecture magazine for excellence in the class of public buildings.

On July 28, 1924 a branch library in East Weymouth opened. A room in the new Garey block, opposite the town offices, was rented and equipped for library work.

Thanks to the generosity of Franklin N. Pratt, a Trustee of the Tufts Library for many years and a beloved citizen, a new library building was erected at 1400 Pleasant Street in 1978. It was named the F.N. Pratt Library.

In Columbian Square, South Weymouth, John S. Fogg, a boot and shoe manufacturer and banker, had left money for the erection of a building to be used as a library. The Fogg library was built in 1897 and dedicated in 1898.

From 1898 to 1975, the Fogg Library was maintained as a small private library that served mainly the residents of South Weymouth. In November 1975, the Fogg Library became part of the Tufts Library System.