Parsing the Origins of Pequot Library with Kenneth Breisch, Architectural Historian

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Parsing the Origins of the Pequot Library: An American Icon of the Late Nineteenth Century

Join us for an illuminating educational lecture by Kenneth Breisch, architectural historian, on the origins of Pequot Library’s historic building.

Zoom Meeting Details
Click the blue button above to join the opening presentation on Zoom or visit and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode.
Meeting ID: 812 7589 6345
Passcode: 519993

Pequot Library, designed by noted architect Robert H. Robertson, represents an iconic example of the small American public library at the end of the nineteenth century. It was established in 1894 by Virginia Marquand Monroe as a memorial to her uncle Frederick Marquand and erected in the then fashionable Romanesque revival style. This style had been popularized by Boston architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, who had earlier designed four similarly scaled public libraries in Massachusetts. Pequot Library’s plan, however, owed a debt to principles of modern library design being promulgated by progressive librarians such as Justin Winsor and William Frederick Poole.

Professor Breisch will place the creation of the Pequot Library within these broader frameworks, briefly examining the invention of the public library in the United States and the role that private philanthropy played in the erection of memorial buildings to house these institutions, as well as the relationship of the Richardson Romanesque to their commemorative functions. The appearance of the modern library professional at the end of the century as well as the emergence of the philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie meant that the original conception of Pequot Library would in many ways mark the end of a grand era in American library history as well the beginning of a new one.

Registration below is appreciated by October 14. Registered participants will receive an email with Zoom meeting details on the day of the event. The Zoom link and details will also be posted here on the day of the event.

This digital program is FREE thanks to the generosity of donors like YOU. Make a donation today and you will be providing the vital funds to support Pequot Library’s free programs and resources: storytimes, author talks, exhibitions, books for patrons, scholarly research, volunteer opportunities, student experiences, Pequot Library’s invaluable Special Collections of rare books, and so much more!

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About Kenneth Breisch
Ken Breisch holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California, where he served as founder and Director of its Programs in Heritage Conservation from 1997 to 2011. Breisch previously taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the University of Delaware and the University of Texas at Austin and served from 1981 until 1986 as Director of Survey and Planning in the Texas State Historic Preservation Office in Austin, Texas.

He writes and lectures on American architectural history, especially in the areas of American library design, vernacular building, and Southern California architecture and landscapes. His books include Henry Hobson Richardson and the Small Public Library in America (MIT, 1997); The Los Angeles Central Library: Building an Architectural Icon, 1872-1933 (J. Paul Getty Trust, 2016); and American Libraries: 1730-1950 (Library of Congress and W. W. Norton, 2017). He is the co-editor with Kim Hoagland of Constructing Image, Identity and Place: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, IX and Building Place: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, X, both published by the University of Tennessee Press.

He is a past President of the Society of Architectural Historians and has served on the boards of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. Breisch was a Santa Monica Planning Commissioner from 1993 to 2000 and served on the Board of the Santa Monica Public Library from 2001 to 2014. He is currently a member of the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission.


October 15, 2020
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT 06890 United States
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