Redwood Library

The oldest lending library in America

Redwood Library & Athenaeum, founded in 1747, is

America's oldest lending library. It is also the oldest library that has been in continuous use in the nation. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

If you happen to be on Bellevue Avenue taking in some other Newport RI attractions, you should definitely stop by and explore this historic Grecian-style structure. The library is one block south of the Hotel Viking, at the Northern end of Bellevue Avenue.

redwood library

This institution was established by Abraham Redwood during the 18th Century, while America was still a colony of Great Britain. It was Rhode Island's first library, and famed architect Peter Harrison's first major commission.

Unfortunately, the British used the library as an officer's club during the occupation of Newport during the Revolutionary War. The troops either helped themselves to, or destroyed over half of the library's volumes. Luckily, the building was spared and we can still enjoy it to this day.

redwood library

This place is more than just a library. It is a mini-museum and a treasured part of the history of Newport, Rhode Island and the nation.

In addition to its amazing collections, you'll also see many interesting antique sculptures, paintings, furniture and rare books.

There are also many special events, exhibitions and programs held here throughout the year, such as:

  • Literary Women of Newport
  • Newport's Own: Portraits by Jane Stuart
  • A Tribute to Ralph Carpenter
  • Song and Dance from the Best of Broadway
redwood library


Guided tours daily at 2:00 pm. $5 per person.

redwood library

50 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

If you're looking for things to do in Newport, this is one site you shouldn't miss!

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