The New York Herald
1885: March 18

"Huckleberry Finn" in Concord

The sage censors of the Concord public library have unanimously reached the conclusion that "Huckleberry Finn" is not the sort of reading matter for the knowledge seekers of a town which boasts the only "summer school of philosophy" in the universe. They have accordingly banished it from the shelves of that institution.

The reasons which moved them to this action are weighty and to the point. One of the Library Committee, while not prepared to hazard the opinion that the book is "absolutely immoral in its tone," does not hesitate to declare that to him "it seems to contain but very little humor." Another committeeman perused the volume with great care and discovered that it was "couched in the language of a rough, ignorant dialect" and that "all through its pages there is a systematic use of bad grammar and an employment of inelegant expressions." The third member voted the book "flippant" and "trash of the veriest sort." They all united in the verdict that "it deals with a series of experiences that are certainly not elevating," and voted that it could not be tolerated in the public library.

The committee very considerately explain the mystery of how this unworthy production happened to find its way into the collection under their charge. "Knowing the author's reputation," and presumably being familiar with the philosophic pages of "The Innocents Abroad," "Roughing It," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "The Jumping Frog," &c., they deemed it "totally unnecessary to make a very careful examination of 'Huckleberry Finn' before sending it to Concord." But the learned librarian, probably seizing upon it on its arrival to peruse it with eager zest, "was not particularly pleased with it." He promptly communicated his feelings to the committee, who at once proceeded to enter upon a critical reading of the suspected volume, with the results that are now laid before the public.