Special Collections Hall, looking northwest, 1919 When observers called the Library a “shrine of letters,” they linked spiritual enlightenment (“shrine”) with intellectual achievement (“letters”). If Sargent intended Triumph of Religion to chart a progressive course toward spiritual privacy and subjectivity, a second theme concerned the Library's function as an educational institution. The bookcases Sargent designed for the Special Collections Hall emphasize the “letters,” or educational aspect of the Library.
Special Collections Hall, looking northwest,
with bookcases designed by Sargent, ca. 1919
Boston Public Library
The Triumph of Religion