James Blackstone Memorial Library 1896 – 2021

We are looking forward to celebrating our 125th anniversary in the spring and we have created this web page where we can share interesting facts and photographs about the library. We will post a new item every week throughout 2021 and all of the posts will appear on this page.
Blackstone Library 125th Anniversary

The first head librarian at the library was Arthur Wellington Tyler, who served in that role from June 1896 to April 1898. He lectured at the library in the years following his time as library director. He was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1842, attended Amherst College and was a journalist and newspaper editor before becoming assistant and then second librarian at the Astor Library in New York City. He was head librarian at the Indianapolis Library and worked at libraries in Kansas and New Jersey. He was dean of the faculty at Teachers College in New York City, then worked in Illinois, at Columbia University and in Delaware. After his time in Branford, he traveled extensively in Europe and was then assistant librarian of the public library in Washington, D.C. He died in March 1906. (From The Tyler Genealogy, by Willard I. Tyler Brigham)

Blackstone's 125th Anniversary

When the library opened in 1896, the bronze light fixtures were “arranged for both gas and electric light.”


Blackstone Library 1896-2021
The library was dedicated on June 17, 1896 and opened the next day, after three years of construction. You can read the architect’s description of the building and the bronze doors and the artist’s description of the paintings in the dome.