The most striking room in AMC’s longtime Boston office spanned the fourth floor of 4 Joy Street, the middle of three connected rowhouses the organization occupied in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood until September. Exposed brick walls, massive wood beams supporting a chandelier, a fireplace, and a view of the Charles River conveyed the feel of a grand estate’s private library—fitting, as the room housed AMC’s Library & Archives for 42 years.
AMC bought 5 Joy Street in 1922 then expanded into 3 and 4 Joy Street in 1975, at which time the organization’s publications and artifacts were collected in the room atop 4 Joy. More than a century of history lined shelves, sat stacked in flat files, and filled acid-free boxes. The collection includes the first copy of Appalachia from 1876; glass lantern slides holding decades’ worth of images of AMC members in the mountains; countless maps, reports, magazines, books, pamphlets; and even a few vintage wooden packboards from AMC’s huts. Each item tells a piece of the organization’s 140-plus-year story.
For 12 years, AMC Outdoors has celebrated items from the Library & Archives on this page. The first “Flashback” appeared in the April 2006 issue and featured a black-and-white photo of a 1924 AMC trail crew in New Hampshire’s Flume Gorge. Since then we have spotlighted a summit register from the 1800s, a beloved album of hut cat photos, and our archivist’s 2014 hut-to-hut trek in early-20th-century garb. While the collection, and the rest of AMC’s Boston office, recently relocated to nearby Charlestown, that history remains intact. Check out this page in our March/April issue for more on the next chapter.