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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

This note contained in document ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0006-0011
3. From the context and from frequent similar references to “the Athenaeum” in the following months, this appears to have been a news shop and periodical reading room in the area of what is now Harvard Square. Since CFA often visited it between morning classes and between afternoon classes and prayers (and could hear the Harvard chapel bell as he read), it could not have been the famous Boston Athenaeum, incorporated in 1807 and located at this time in the James Perkins house, 13 Pearl Street, Boston. CFA was later to frequent that institution, both before and after it moved, in 1849, to its present building at 10 1/2 Beacon Street; see Whitehill, Boston: A Topographical History, p. 117–118. Nor could it have been the Cambridge Athenaeum, which was not founded until 1849 and was eventually absorbed by the Cambridge Public Library; see Arthur Gilman, ed., The Cambridge of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-Six, Cambridge, 1896, p. 228. CFA’s “Athenaeum” is probably the same as “the reading room” he so often mentions passing a little time in to see the latest news and magazines. It was clearly not the same as “the Bookstore,” evidently William Hilliard’s (see entry for 14 Sept., and note, below), also in Cambridge but at a little distance from the Yard and the Athenaeum.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.