Old Corner Bookstore Building


Portrait by Artist to Come




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Restored in 1960, the Old Corner Bookstore began as an apothecary shop built by Dr. Thomas Crease after the Great Fire of 1711 — on property that once belonged to Puritan dissident Anne Hutchinson.

In 1828 a bookstore and printing shop was opened and flourished through 1903 under various proprietors. Its famous peak, when publisher Ticknor and Fields became America’s leading publisher (1833 – 64) were the years of publications by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., and Louisa May Alcott, as well as Charles Dickens.

Part of the Freedom Trail™.

But Adams did not just read books. He battled them. The casual presumption that there is some kind of rough correlation between the books in the library of any prominent historical figure and the person’s cast of mind would encounter catastrophe with Adams, because he tended to buy and read book with which he profoundly disagreed. Then, as he read, he recorded in the margins and at the bottom of the pages his usually hostile opinions of the arguments and authors.... [T]he Adams marginalia constitute evidence more revealing of his convictions about political theory than any of his official publications.

Joseph J. Ellis
Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams (1993)