Widener Library, Boston

Widener Library, Boston

Widener Library has a fascinating and inspiring history. Harry Elkins Widener‍ was a 1907 graduate of Harvard College. He tragically died in the 1912 sinking of the Titanic. Despite being only 27 at the time of his death, Widener had been an avid book collector. He sought out first editions of authors he admired, like Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson. Widener's will instructed his mother to donate his extensive personal book collection to Harvard.

Instead of funding an addition to Harvard's Gore Hall library, Eleanor Widener funded an entirely new library, which was dedicated in 1915. This massive library encloses 320,000 square feet. The design could be described as Georgian, Beaux-Arts, Hellenistic, or Imperial. The entrance is dramatic, flanked by an impressive set of stairs and imposing columns.

The library houses over 50 miles of shelves and over three million titles. It also has several rare Gutenberg Bibles‍. It is the only academic library among the world's mega libraries. Students are free to roam the shelves. Classes often meet in the reading rooms.

Widener Library was built to be a living memorial to Harry Elkins Widener, and his love of learning, reading, and books lives on at this impressive library.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Boston. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Widener Library on Map

Sight Name: Widener Library
Sight Location: Boston, USA (See walking tours in Boston)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Boston, Massachusetts

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Create Your Own Walk in Boston

Creating your own self-guided walk in Boston is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
North End Walking Tour

North End Walking Tour

The North End was the city's first neighborhood, and one that has been key to its fortunes, having become a hub of commercial, social and intellectual activity by the 1750s. Later known as Boston's Little Italy, it has been home to Italian immigrants through much of the 20th century, and still retains a certain Mediterranean flavor in its many restaurants, cafés, and specialty shops. In...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Bunker Hill Walking Tour

Bunker Hill Walking Tour

If you're a history buff or simply interested in understanding more of America's past, take our self-guided walk covering some of the places associated with the origins of the USA as an independent nation, as well as lots of maritime history!

On the banks of Boston Harbor and the Mystic River, the towering Bunker Hill Monument can’t be missed: a really nice place to reflect on the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Harvard University Walking Tour

Harvard University Walking Tour

The United States’ oldest institution of higher education (and, of course, among the most prestigious), Harvard was established in 1636. Reverend John Harvard, who bequeathed his entire library and half of his estate, is the University’s namesake. Presidents, billionaires and Rhodes Scholars are only some of the illustrious graduates; in fact, Harvard has more Nobel Prize-winning alumni,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Beacon Hill Historic Houses Tour

Beacon Hill Historic Houses Tour

Boston’s historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill is quite a charm! One can spend hours here, admiring the elegant uniformity and restraint of the architecture; at times, perhaps, imagining people from the past in their horse-drawn carriages. Federal-style and Victorian row houses, narrow streets lit by antique gas lanterns, brick sidewalks and lavender-hued windows adorn the area, which is...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Boston Shopping Areas

Boston Shopping Areas

One of the top shopping destinations in the US northeast, Boston has a strong network of interesting stores, galleries and boutiques to visit along with its many high-class shops, some of which are nestled inside historical buildings. Shopping here in more than one way mirrors the city itself: an amalgamation of classic and vanguard, the handmade and the high-end, and both local and international...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Boston Introduction Walking Tour

Boston Introduction Walking Tour

The capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States which played a key role in the country's struggle for independence. The city was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England and witnessed many events of the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Boston's Marblehead Eateries

Boston's Marblehead Eateries

With such a diverse variety of dining cuisines and styles, the little town of Marblehead has something to satisfy every budget and culinary palate. You won't find any neon here, none is allowed in town and there are no fast food or drive-thrus establishments either. Most are quaint and...