(click on any of the subjects on the left to browse through the respective photographs)

Copley Square is considered one of the ten most significant urban sites in the United States. When the Back Bay was created in the mid 19th century with landfill from Needham, the elite of Bostons cultural institutions planned a square that would become the "Acropolis" of Americas most progressive city. By the 1880s Copley Square was the site of two prestigious churches, Trinity and Old South, and two great institutions, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Public Library. The most respected architects, sculptors, and painters were involved. The Librarys dedications reflect the ethos of all of this construction. Its cornice inscription reads: The Public Library of the City of Boston, Built by the People and Dedicated to the Advancement of Learning. The entrance is graced by the head of Minerva (Roman Goddess of Wisdom) and Seal of the Library proclaims Omnium Lux Civium (The Light of All Citizens) and Free to All. This was an era that saw religion, learning, and the arts all linked and all of vital importance for the strength of a nation.

The images include exterior and interior of buildings with their sculpture, murals, and stained glass. Most of the images are also available as slides in the Holy Cross Slide Library. Contact Eleanor Binnall, Slide Librarian, for details of borrowing privileges.

copyright: Virginia C Raguin: Professor of Art History, College of the Holy Cross, 1999 
technical support: Bob Henry: Information Technology Services, College of the Holy Cross 
All photographs are by Virginia C Raguin, unless otherwise indicated.  Accompanying text was written by Christine Bernacki, Mary Hooper, Kristen Marottoli, and Tina Wojtkielo, students in a tutorial in Art History. Portions of the text were written by Raguin and the whole was edited by Tina Wojtkielo, 1996-97.  Much of the web-page editting was done by Kimberly Karam, a student working at ITS. We are grateful to the cooperation extended by the staff of the Boston Public Library and by the staff and parishoners of Trinity Church and Old South Church. Special thanks is given to Oliver Radford and to Sonya Ann Abbott for the use of images. Glossary illustrations are from John Henry Parker, An Introduction to the Study of Gothic Architecture, London, 1913 (17th edition).