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Boston Redevelopment Will Claim Historic Sites in Cornhill Vicinity

By Russell B. Roberts

Boston, for all its confessed culture, shows a curious propensity for sitting blandly by while much of its history washes dolefully away. Those interesting landmarks which are not allowed to deteriorate silently for lack of proper care, are scornfully demolished to make way for high-rise concrete and steel.

The construction of the new Government Center, which has already claimed much of storied Scollay Square, will soon level several more victims into the forgotten wastes of eminent domain.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority will begin demolition next week of the historic book shop row along Cornhill between Scollay Square and Fanueil Hall in downtown Boston. The buildings now slated for eventual destruction include the Brattle Book Shop, formerly Closeworthy's, the oldest extant book store in America.

George Gloss, a thickset, scholarly-looking bookseller who owns and runs the Brattle, is waging a desperate final-hour battle to save the archaic Sears Crescent, a cluster of buildings which houses his and other historic book stalls.

The Cornhill has long been one of the favorite browsing grounds of the great literary figures of New England. John Greenleaf Whittier, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and scores of others prowled through the shops there often. Whittier's earliest works were first published in one of the printing shops in the area, as were the first editions of numerous now-famous pieces of American literature.

Thomas Alva Edison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Admiral Richard E. Byrd were at various times regular customers of the book shops. Franklin Roosevelt once attributed the origin of his Hyde Park library, and his interest in collecting books and historiana, to the wise tutelage of Cornhill proprietors.

Anti-Slavery Center

Up through the Civil War, the vicinity was one of the great centers of anti-slavery agitation. The abolitionist tracts of John Quincy Adams and Charles Summer were originally printed here; Uncle Tom's Cabin was first issued by a Cornhill publisher and was allegedly partially written in one of the buildings near-by.

In 1831, Lloyd Garrison published the widely-influential Liberator in another building on the block. Abolitionist meetings were held there often and much of the philosophy of emancipation emanated from the confines of the Cornhill. Tufts College was founded on the street in 1858 and the area remained a seat of education and social reform for some years.

The Brattle Book Shop itself is a cavernous, four-level building which contains some 350,000 second-hand and antiquarian books. Brick catacombs, piled high with dusty volumes including occasional lost rarities, are ranked along the walls of the basement. The windows of the shop are cluttered with newspaper clippings, engravings, pamphlets, and books "which made Cornhill famous." In front of the shop are stacks of dime "bargains" and on the floors and several thousand feet of shelves inside are heaped books and articles of virtually every conceivable category.

"All adventure has gone from the modern book store," the Brattle's Gloss complains. "You might just as well sit home and order by catalogue." The bargain prices which make books available to those who could not otherwise buy the intrigue and the romance of antiquarian shop, Gloss contends, make the second-hand book stall of special consideration.

Mr. Gloss, who has become the historian of the Cornhill, has vanced several proposals for the of the most important in the area. The most ambitions suggested, proposes the removal of main structures to the Fanuell in Dock Square which would constituted an historic reservation to that of Williamsburg, Virgin.

But thus far all appeals to the have been in vain. Gloss is now a letter writing campaign at the Boston Redevelopment in the hopes that a stay of will be rendered.

Although his main store will for several months, Mr. Gloss will clearing his stock of books in annex of his shop today, selling thing for ten cents a volume. Next day he will start giving the books and by the middle of next week, the molition of the Cornhill will have .

On the site of the old Brattle soon rise a new commercial office

Mr. Gloss, who has become the historian of the Cornhill, has vanced several proposals for the of the most important in the area. The most ambitions suggested, proposes the removal of main structures to the Fanuell in Dock Square which would constituted an historic reservation to that of Williamsburg, Virgin.

But thus far all appeals to the have been in vain. Gloss is now a letter writing campaign at the Boston Redevelopment in the hopes that a stay of will be rendered.

Although his main store will for several months, Mr. Gloss will clearing his stock of books in annex of his shop today, selling thing for ten cents a volume. Next day he will start giving the books and by the middle of next week, the molition of the Cornhill will have .

On the site of the old Brattle soon rise a new commercial office

But thus far all appeals to the have been in vain. Gloss is now a letter writing campaign at the Boston Redevelopment in the hopes that a stay of will be rendered.

Although his main store will for several months, Mr. Gloss will clearing his stock of books in annex of his shop today, selling thing for ten cents a volume. Next day he will start giving the books and by the middle of next week, the molition of the Cornhill will have .

On the site of the old Brattle soon rise a new commercial office

Although his main store will for several months, Mr. Gloss will clearing his stock of books in annex of his shop today, selling thing for ten cents a volume. Next day he will start giving the books and by the middle of next week, the molition of the Cornhill will have .

On the site of the old Brattle soon rise a new commercial office

On the site of the old Brattle soon rise a new commercial office

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