Petitioning Director and CEO Dan L. Monroe

Save The Phillips Library - Salem, Massachusetts


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The Phillips Library houses "400,000 volumes and more than
a linear mile of manuscripts" acquired over two centuries"
including early documents from Salem's founding, items relating to the Witch Trials, a signed first edition of the Scarlet Letter, and a deposited copy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony Charter. These items were acquired by the Peabody Essex Museum in 1992 by the merger of two Salem institutions: The Essex Institute and Peabody Museum. Establishing the largest monopoly of Salem's tangible history.

Less than a prior, Rizvi Architects completed a massive restoration of the Phillips Library. This included climate control and the addition of modern archival storage. In 2011 the Phillips Library was closed again for renovations which were originally slated for completion in 2013. Since then, the collection has moved to Peabody, and as of 2018 will be housed permanently in Rowley. (Forty minutes outside of Salem)

At the December 6, 2017, Historical Commission meeting, the PEM officially announced for the first time that the Phillips Library collections would not be returning to Salem as originally promised.

Instead representatives from the PEM and their architecture firm Schwartz/Silver (hired in 2011) unveiled a plan to convert the previous Phillips Library building into private office space for museum staff. To do so they would remove the book vault extension from the back of the building and the 110 year old connector which unites Plummer Hall with the Daland House. Replacing the connector with a glass enclosure to serve as a modern entrance to match the PEM's new extension.

The community must stand together in demanding that the Peabody Essex Museum return the Phillips Library collections and make them accessible to the public. Plummer Hall and the Daland House, the former home to the Phillips Library must remain intact and properly preserved. 

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Director and CEO
    Dan L. Monroe

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