Artifacts

Sculpture

Sleeping Faun

The large statue, “Sleeping Faun” now in the Reading Room is the centerpiece of the library’s treasures. It was given to the Library by the Coolidge family in 1922.  The “Sleeping Faun” is the work of the noted American sculptress, Harriet Hosmer, (1830-1908).  This work was one of a set of eight sculpted at Hosmer’s atelier in Rome.  The first was completed in time to be exhibited at an exhibition in Dublin where it received rave reviews.  Sir Benjamin Guiness, the brewery magnate, offered 1,000 guineas for the piece.   Hosmer reluctantly accepted.  A somewhat smaller version from this set is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  Another of the set was purchased by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII)  Coolidge purchased another around 1869 while he was touring Italy. [27]   Hosmer was an unabashed neo-classicist—a good one.  One contemporary critic wrote,  “If it [the statue] had been discovered in the ruins of Rome or Pompeii, it would have been pronounced the best of Grecian statues.”[28]  But the style adopted by Hosmer for this work was “late Hellenistic rococo” rather than the classic Greek, and, according to a modern critic,  “. . . partakes of the same precious, fussy sensuality” characteristic of late Graeco-Roman art.[29]  But it was a favorite of Hosmer, and  pleased the art critics of its time.  It won special recognition when it was exhibited in Dublin, Paris and Edinburgh.


Narcissus

Mrs. William Hooper in 1943 gave three marble statues in memory of  Mr. Hooper. Two small ones, representations of Psyche and Narcissus are on the window sill of the Reference Room.  A larger statue, for some reason, was later relegated to the crawl space next to the furnace room, where it still rests.  Also in 1943 the Library received a large, stuffed buffalo’s head, which for a while was mounted over the Reference Room’s fireplace.  Thankfully, it has long since disappeared, although it too, might be lurking in one of the crawl spaces..

(According to Doris Connors, at her 95th birthday party, held in the library, she had this bust put in basement because the boys were defacing it.)

Psyche

America Honoring Her Fallen Brave

James Henry Haseltine (1833-1907)
America Honoring Her Fallen Brave, 1865

Marble, 29 1/2 in. high

The brother of the painter William Stanley Haseltine and uncle to the sculptor Herbert Haseltine, James Henry Haseltine studied sculpture in Philadelphia with Joseph A. Bailly. Haseltine went to Italy and France for further study about 1857, but returned in 1861 to serve for two years in the Civil War. After the war he again went abroad and opened a studio in Rome, where he spent the rest of his life.

Haseltine appears to have first modeled the bust version of America Honoring Her Fallen Brave about 1865. Clearly intended as a response to the conclusion of the Civil War, this ideal figure represents Columbia, partially draped and with a star-studded Phrygian or Liberty cap covering her curly tresses. The figure looks down and to her left, her face filled with pathos for the suffering the nation endured during the conflict. The success of this bust prompted the Union League of Philadelphia, which was founded in 1862 and of which Haseltine was a member, to commission a full-length version as a monument to those who had served in the war.

(Source: http://www.hirschlandadler.com/view_3.html?type=EXHIBITION&id=2778&num=21&artist=true)

Crawl space under Reference Room


Tiffany window

  

At the corner of the circulation room, there is a window (now not functional because of the addition of the children’s room) made of stained glass and Mexican onyx.  Designed by McKim and executed by Maitland Armstrong and Louis C. Tiffany & Co. of New York, it was a gift to Mr. Coolidge by the Town and McKim.  It is inscribed with the dedication, “In grateful acknowledgment of the munificence and public spirit of T. Jefferson Coolidge—his fellow Townsmen have set this window, MDCCCLXXXVI”


Sevres Vase

Mrs. T. J. Coolidge Jr. donated the large Sevres vase directly next to the window on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Library’s dedication.  It had been a gift to the elder Coolidge by the French government in recognition of his services as minister to France.


On the walls of what is now the circulation area are seven tablets of Numidian (sometimes called Nubian) marble.  This onyx marble is found in Africa, and generally contains embedded fossils. Six of these tablets bear the names, places and causes of death of the Manchester men who died in the war.  These tablets were provided at the expense of the Town. (No picture available)

The two bronze plaques on the north wall commemorating the dead in earlier wars of America were added in 1895.


Banjo Clock

The banjo clock in the fireplace alcove was a gift of Mrs. Roland C. Lincoln in 1913.  The barometer was a 1963 gift in honor of Catherine Neary, a beloved teacher in the Manchester schools.

barometer. In memory of Catherine Neary, a group of her friends have presented the library with this handsome mahogany barometer. Cricket ed April 5, 1963.