For the Common Good Series

Mark Twain’s The Gilded Age: A Story of Today satirized an era of serious social problems and enormous income and opportunity gaps that rival those of today. He responded to events in a rapidly changing world with characteristically American wit and humor.

Millionaire Robert Treat Paine, an exact contemporary of Mark Twain, chose a very different strategy to confront the timeless social and environmental issues he witnessed in his lifetime.  Descended from a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Paine's sense of obligation to the common good was central to his life's work and earned him recognition as "one of Boston's most liberal men and philanthropists." Robert Treat Paine and his entire family personally tackled issues as wide ranging as human rights, decent housing, labour relations, public libraries, education, environmental justice, and world peace.

Throughout 2017, enjoy short historical pieces that focus on aspects of the Paines' philanthropy, showcase items from the collection, and connect to national celebrations. By the end of the year, the series will offer a sense of the breadth the Paine family's efforts, demonstrating what private citizens can accomplish when dedicating their lives to a better world.