bullet Historic Use


My library looks finely, with its dark oaken cases. I take much delight therein, and keep it as a room consecrated to books and musings.
—Henry W. Longfellow's journal, September 18, 1850

Mr. and Mrs. Waterston came out with Ernst Perabo, the young musician; and we had a charming musical evening. He played Beethoven divinely. I never heard such expression given to the music of the great master...
—H.W.Longfellow's journal, April 30, 1868

Last night the Library was gay with screens. As yet we have come across no bronzes, but have found a few silks and splendid bed quilts.
—Henry W. Longfellow to Charles Appleton Longfellow, February 19, 1874, after unpacking boxes sent by Charley from Japan


1759 Floor plan
1759 Floor plan

This room may have been used as a dining room by Major John Vassall who built the house. In Vassall's day, the kitchen was in the left rear room which today is the dining room.

During 1775 and 1776 this room was used as a staff room and writing room for George Washington's aides.

 
  When Andrew Craigie enlarged the library in 1793, he used this grand room for entertaining.  
Alice Longfellow at the piano
Alice Longfellow at the Piano
1870
by Ernest W. Longfellow

The Longfellows used the room for formal and informal family gatherings, musical events, children's programs, parties, and dances.

They added gas lighting to the House in the late 1840s to early 1850s and installed central heating. In 1851 Henry wrote in his journal, "We are driven out of the library by the dry furnace heat which cracks and splits all the furniture; and here we are in the...front room..."

When the Longfellow children formed a trust to preserve the house as a memorial, they requested that the library be changed as little as possible.

Decorative heat register
Decorative heat register on wall

Back to Library
© 2004 Longfellow National Historic Site