The photo below shows a man browsing through the cavernous stacks at Cincinnati, Ohio’s “Old Main” Public Library. “Completed in 1874,” explains the historical site Ohio Memory, “and designed by architect J.W. McLaughlin, the building was considered ‘the most magnificent public library in the country.’ The heads of Shakespeare, Milton and Franklin stood guard over the Main Entrance.” Unfortunately, by the 1950s this structure at 629 Vine Street was terribly overcrowded and was finally torn down in favor of a far less beautiful replacement. You’ll find many more pictures of the library here and here.
READ MORE: “Gallery: American Library” (The Morning News); “The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy,” by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings).