H. H. (Henry Hobson Richardson) was born on September 29, 1838 and was one of the most prominent American architect of the nineteenth century. Along with Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, Richardson is one of “the recognized trinity of American architecture.”
H.H. Richardson received the contract for building the Malden’s Converse Memorial Library in August 1883, but a contract was not signed until December. The site of the building was not chosen until the following month, when Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted traveled together to Malden for this purpose. Ground was broken the following April and the building was dedicated on October 1, 1885. At a total cost of $125,000, it was reported to be the most expensive public library designed and building by Richardson.
In building the Converse Memorial Building (Malden Public Library) Richardson collaborated with Norcross Brothers of Worcester—the same construction and engineering firm used for Richardson’s Trinity Church in Boston—and 30 other Richardson projects.
Other buildings designed by Richardson include:
- Trinity Church, Boston MA
- Thomas Crane Library, Quincy, MA
- Woburn Public Library, Woburn, MA
- Ames Free Library, North Easton, MA
- Billings Memorial Library, University of Vermont
Richardson died April 27, 1886 at age 47 of Bright’s disease, a kidney disorder. He was buried in Walnut Hills Cemetery in Brookline.
Resources: Henry Hobson Richardson and the Small Public Library in America by Kenneth A. Breisch, MIT Press, 1997.