The Franklin Library Reference Department is proud to offer tours of the art and architecture of the Library. The tours are free and last about 30 minutes. Join in with your visiting friends and family to share the beauty of Franklin.
You may call the Library for more information or to schedule a free tour of the Franklin Public Library 508.520.4940.
You may also enjoy "A Tour of the Franklin Public Library" produced in honor of the Ray Memorial Library Building's 100th Anniverary.
The Art and Architecture of the Franklin Public Library
The permanent home for the library collection was a gift of Mrs. Lydia Ray Peirce and Mrs. Annie Ray Thayer in memory of their parents.
The Ray family manufactured felt, cotton and wool. They also operated the light and power company in Franklin during
the late 1800s. The Ray family donated the fire station and a school to the town as well as their homes to Dean College.
The Ray Memorial Association was established to provide for and maintain the Ray building. This association was responsible for the building until 1982 when the Franklin Public Library became a department of the town.
The building’s architect, Henry Hammond Gallison, painted several of the works exhibited in the library. Gallison was born in Boston in 1850 and studied in Paris under Bonnefoy. His studio was located in Annisquam, Massachusetts. Gallison was well known as a landscape artist.
In 1901 the Italian artist, Tommaso Juglaris, began work on the murals for the library and completed them in the summer of 1904 at Gallison’s studio. Juglaris also completed decorative work in prominent homes in Massachusetts. His work "Mlle.Yvonne" hangs at Locke-Ober Restaurant in Boston.<
Frank Hector Tompkins of Brookline, Massachusetts completed the Ray portrait hanging in Memorial Hall in 1910.
The Ray Memorial Library, dedicated to the memory of Emily Rockwood and Joseph Gordon Ray by their daughters, was completed in 1904. The building's architect was Henry Hammond Gallison.
Gallison modeled the building after a Greek temple. The pediment and the
Ionic and Doric columns typify this style of architecture (picture, top)
The exterior pink granite, also used for the Boston Public Library, comes from the Stevens Ledge of the Milford Quarry in Milford, New Hampshire.
The five-panel mural by Juglaris is found near the ceiling of Memorial Hall. In accordance with Greek Mythology, the murals depict the Hours of the Day: the Hours of Labor, Morning, Pleasure, Evening, and Sleep. The Hours of Sleep are pictured, center, with bad dreams depicted in black robes holding a snake and a rod of thorns.
Memorial Hall contains the bronze plaque commemorating the dedication of the Library in 1904
An untitled painting by Gallison (pictured, bottom) hangs above the staircase.
The elegant staircase leads to a landing with built-in benches. The ceiling over this area is glass, allowing additional light into the building.
The Delivery Room
Originally used for delivering requested books to patrons, the Delivery Room is richly decorated with mahogany walls and benches, frosted leaded glass in a beehive pattern, and fluted columns with egg and dart capitals.
Along the frieze are four panels by
Gallison depicting "The Deserts of the World" in various perspectives of light. The Arabian Desert in moonlight (pictured, top), the Arabian Desert at twilight, the Mexican Desert at sunset, and the Mexican Desert at noon are presented.
The egg and dart molding design is frequently seen in New England architecture of the early 1900s.
The Reading Gallery
The Reading Gallery is the "place in which the beauty and richness of the entire structure" resides (Irene Sargent, 1905).
The magnificent mural painted by Juglaris is the focal point of the room. The mural depicts the celebration of a Greek festival for the city’s guardian. The citizens are passing in a procession from the city to the temple to honor their special god. Bearers of offerings (pictured, center) are joining the procession with fruit, burning embers and libation.
A procession is depicted in the bas-relief (pictured, bottom) over the fireplace. The trim is made of Spanish mahogany.
According to local folklore, flowing robes were added by Juglaris to some of the subjects on the murals. The nudity offended some of Franklin’s
The First Public Library in the United States, the Franklin Public Library has its origins in the books donated by one of America’s foremost patriots and inventors, Benjamin Franklin.