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THE BOSTON ATHENAEUM had its origin in the Anthology Club, which was founded in 1804. Reading-Rooms were established in Joy’s Building, Congress Street, January 1, 1807; and in the following month the Anthology trustees were incorporated by an Act of the Legislature, as a body politic under the name of the Proprietors of the Boston Athenaeum. In June, 1822, the books and other property of the Institution were removed to the former mansion of James Perkins, Esq., on Pearl Street, and there remained for about twenty years. At the close of that period the locality had become almost wholly occupied by mercantile buildings, and a strong sentiment developed in favor of removal. In 1845 a lot on Tremont Street was purchased. This was soon after sold, and on December 1 of the same year the Proprietors bought of Edward B. Phillips, Esq., the former pasture lot of his grandfather, Lieutenant-Governor William Phillips, together with four brick dwelling-houses standing thereon. The lot has a frontage of one hundred and twenty-four feet on Beacon Street, and is bounded by the Granary Burial-Ground in the rear. The Corner-Stone of the present edifice was laid April 27, 1847, and the books and art treasures were removed thereto in July, 1849. Among the more precious acquisitions of the Athenaeum are many volumes formerly in the possession of George Washington. These were procured through the generosity of seventy gentlemen of Boston and Salem, who contributed fifty dollars apiece for that object. 1

1 Barrett Wendell, Litt.D., The Athenaeum Centennial.

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