Prov Athenaeum Opens Visitors’ Center

I suspect that the Edgar Allan Poe postcard will be popular; I grabbed two immediately. The new visitors’ center on the main floor of the Providence Athenaeum opened quietly last month in what had previously been the director’s office. In addition to used books, the center sells totes, mugs, a Lego model of the library, tea towels, T-shirts, and even bookplates.

The Providence Athenaeum is a member-supported circulating library, open to the public on the main level and down the stairs in the lower-level reading room. Only members can sign out books and such.

Go here to learn more about Poe’s connection to the library.

During 1848 Edgar Allan Poe was briefly engaged to Providence native Sarah Helen Whitman, and the two courted in the stacks of the Providence Athenæum . . .  While the time Poe spent in Providence as well as his courtship with Whitman were brief, the two explored the literary collections together at the Athenæum, and Poe checked out at least one book.

Hours: Sundays, 11am to 5pm/Tuesday – Saturday, 10am to 6pm. Closed Mondays.

Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street, 401.421.6970, (directions)


The visitors’ center is tucked into the northwest corner on the main floor.

The T-shirt is made of a nice light, drapey cotton.

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