The Boca Grande Library should be on everyone’s “to do list” when visiting Boca Grande. While you might think it strange to visit a library while on vacation, you won’t want to miss a visit to The Johann Fust Library.
Boca Grande Library History
The library was founded in 1949 by Roger Amory, a Boston attorney and lover of books, and his wife, Louise. Roger had a magnificent collection of manuscripts and rare first editions and was a passionate devotee of the arts. He and Louise began wintering in Boca Grande in the 1940s and were inspired to build a structure which would not only reflect the island’s unique beauty, but also provide a place to enjoy the pleasures of literature and other cultural refinements.
While the literary collection is impressive, it may not even be the main attraction given the impressive collection of shells, flora that abounds, the courtyard and architectural wonder of the building itself.
The moment you pass through the doors, your first view is the amazing formal gardens. Significant details include mined coral from St. Augustine, hand-carved Japanese panels and local cypress ceiling beams.
Of course there is an actual library, along with a periodical room with newspapers, magazines and other resources. The Reading Room includes artifacts and rare books that includes a page from the The Book of the Dead, written in the first century B.C. and copied onto papyrus during the first century A.D. A leaf from the Gutenburg Bible printed in 1454 is also on display.
Children will enjoy their own library, secret garden and a shell collection donated in memory of Henri Francis du Pont. The collection was gathered between 1920 and 1969 directly from the beaches of Boca Grande, Cayo Costa and Little Gasparilla.
So next time you’re “on island”, looking for “things to do”, don’t forget to visit Boca Grande’s Johann Fust library.