Friday, May 18, 2012

What is in a name? The Story of the George Fingold Library

The State Library of Massachusetts has been in the State House since 1826, and in its present locations in Rooms 341 and 442 since 1895. The Special Collections Department is housed in Room 55 in the west wing of the capitol.

It was not until 1960, however, that the agency was given its current name: The George Fingold Library.

Who was this man and how did the library acquire his name? Sadly, Fingold, who was the Attorney General at the time (he served in that role from 1953 until his death), died in August of 1958 while in the midst of his campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor. He had been a prominent Republican for many years and began his career in Massachusetts politics when he was just twenty one, serving as a member of the Malden City Council.

The Library owns a collection of photos about his life with emphasis on his career in politics.

                                                                 Fingold second from the left

In the years following Fingold’s death, the legislature enacted two laws, one in 1958 giving financial support to his widow, the other, Chapter 380 of 1960, honoring his memory by renaming the State Library.

When one arrives at the entrance to Room 341 of the library, the tablet honoring him is omnipresent. It was dedicated on December 22nd, 1960.

Pamela W. Schofield
Reference Department