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The Thomas Crane Memorial Library, also known as the Richardson building, is Quincy's original library building designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and funded by Albert Crane in honor of his father, Thomas Crane.
Considered Richardson's masterpiece in the field of library architecture, the building was ranked 43rd out of 150 works of architecture recently selected as America's Favorite Architecture. The foundation is of Quincy granite, the upper structure of North Easton granite, and the trimming of Longmeadow brownstone.
At the entrance there appears a seal of the City of Quincy, the date in Roman numerals (1881), and a crane in honor of the Crane family. The interior woodwork is of North Carolina pine. Designs for the handcrafted decorations were planned in H. H. Richardson's office and carried out by a Mr. Evans.
Overhead to the left of the fireplace is the grill, which was used to separate the reading room from the closed stacks before the ell was added. Hand-carved native plants and berries form part of the ornamental woodwork of the fireplace.
The "Old Philosopher" stained glass window in the front of the building was done by John La Farge as a memorial to Thomas Crane and is considered a masterpiece of stained glass work. There are seven pieces of glass in the ear alone and a total of about a thousand pieces.
At the left of the fireplace is another La Farge window, "Angel at the Tomb," given in memory of Thomas Crane's son, Benjamin Franklin Crane. The quotation "And his leaf shall not wither" carved in wood was originally under this window. It was shifted to the rear of the ell when the window was moved from its original place adjacent to the front door. The bronze tablet to Mrs. Thomas Crane (Clarissa Starkey Crane) is the work of William Couper.