Spacer graphic

Boston Public Library

Board of Trustees - Former Trustees

Thomas Gold Appleton

Print of Appleton Spacer graphic

Trustee of the Library, 1852-1856. Born 1812 to a Boston merchant and manufacturer; died 1884 while on a trip to New York. An essayist, amateur artist and poet, as well as a collector and patron of the arts, Thomas Appleton was a celebrated citizen of Boston. After graduating from Harvard University in 1831, Thomas Appleton pursued his interests in art and literature, living in Europe for a time. Even before his return to Boston, he became a trustee of the Boston Public Library as part of a contemporary movement to make art and learning available to everyone. Also a trustee for the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, he made many contributions of money and artwork to both institutions; the Library’s print collection originated from the generous donation of his Tosti collection of engravings in 1869. After his death, a bust in his image was donated by family members to the Library in 1885 and can now be seen in Bates Reading Hall today.

Hughes, Lynn Gordon. “Thomas Appleton”, Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography [online database] at
Wadlin, Horace G. The Public Library of the City of Boston: A History. Boston: Trustees of the Boston Public Library, 1911.

“Thomas G. Appleton”, salt print, 1850’s, from Portrait Collection, Print Dept.