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Charging Records

Louisa May Alcott

On November 2, 1871, Louisa May Alcott became a member with book borrowing privileges through the Share of Benjamin Willis. The Boston Athenæum began to circulate books in 1827 but only to proprietors who paid an extra five dollar fee on top of their annual assessment. The Library used large ledgers (1827-1872) to record the books members borrowed. The charging books were used before the Library adapted the two card system.

Alcott returned to Boston after traveling abroad in the spring of 1871 and took up residence at 23 Beacon (just across the street from the Athenæum). At this time, Little Men was published in London and Boston and Alcott wrote “Shawl Straps,” an account of her European tour. Come January 1872, Aunt Joe’s Scrap Bag: My Boys was published. Looking at all Alcott  accomplished by the end of 1871 and beginning of 1872, one has to wonder how she had the time to read the nineteen titles she borrowed in less than two months’ time.

Below is a transcription of the book titles that Alcott borrowed, with each individual title linked to the Athena record. Some of the titles are on display on the second floor and you may see them at your leisure next time you are in the building.

Books Borrowed, Volume 25, B.A. 17  1871, page 57.
Transcription by Alexandra Winzeler

Alcott, Louisa M.

Nov. 2
1871
Received Subscription (Share of Benj. Willis)
$1.50
 
Nov. 2
L. 58
 
Nov. 6
Nov. 6.
112.47
 
Nov. 14
Nov. 6
112.36
 
Nov. 14
Nov. 6
112.36
 
 
Nov. 14
179.46
1, 2, 3
Nov. 25
Nov. 14
112.38
 
Nov. 17
Nov. 17
112.26
 
Nov. 25
Nov. 25
R. 76
 
Dec. 4
Dec. 4
112.67
1, 2
Dec. 20
Dec. 4
112.67
 
Dec. 13
Dec. 4
J. 32
 
Dec. 9
Dec. 9
112.211
 
Dec. 15
Dec. 15
J. 53
 
Dec. 20
Dec. 15
112.24
 
Dec. 20
Dec. 20
112.65
 
Dec. 22
Dec. 22
112.12
 
Dec. 23
Dec. 23
C. 67
 
Dec. 28
Dec. 28
V. 84
 
Dec. 30
Dec. 30
P. 63
 
Jan. 1

 

A WORK IN PROGRESS I

George Kendall Warren (d. 1884), [Louisa May Alcott], ca. 1880. Cabinet photograph. Boston Athenaeum. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur H. Brooks, 1996.
Finding Lousia May Alcott's name in a Ticket Holders' volume

A WORK IN PROGRESS II

image from Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
Archibald Henry Grimké (1849-1930) listed as a reader for June 1887

CHARGING RECORDS

Boston Athenaeum Books Borrowed. B. A. 17, Volume 25, 1871.  Photo by: Alexandra Winzeler
Archivist, Carolle R. Morini, examines Boston Athenæum’s  Books Borrowed volumes

FROM THE ARCHIVE

From the Archive: The Athenæum Librarian, the Freed Slave, and "Our Friend A.L."
The Athenæum Librarian, the Freed Slave, and "Our Friend A.L."

FROM THE ARCHIVE

Purnell to Gregory, May 12, 1941
The Boston Athenæum and the London Library business correspondence