Friday, August 9, 2013

47 Federal Street

It’s still there:

The building, looking out over Springfield from the heights of Federal Street, has all the appearance of exactly what it is — an institution for the preservation and diffusion of learning. A fine, simple, gracious, Georgian brick structure, it stands like some university hall or library, surrounded by broad, clipped lawns and shaded by overarching elms. Its very street-number is significant; when the city officials approved plans for the building, they notified the Merriam Company that it might select any odd figure between 31 and 49. The Company chose “47” in allusion to the year 1847, date of publication of the first Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Robert Keith Leavitt, Noah’s Ark, New England Yankees, and the Endless Quest: A Short History of the Original Webster Dictionaries, with Particular Reference to Their First Hundred Years (Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1947).
[The book, borrowed from the library, is the source of the image. The book’s circulation slip begins in 1949. Thanks, library.]

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