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Wait, the statue in the fountain isn’t of Tom Sawyer?

Often at the Reference Desk we get patrons asking us if the statue in the fountain is of Tom Sawyer. He may resemble the Mark Twain character, but this boy is actually The Barefoot Boy from the poem of the same name by Haverhill’s most famous poet, John Greenleaf Whittier!


The Barefoot Boy

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,—
I was once a barefoot boy!
Prince thou art,—the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million-dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy
In the reach of ear and eye,—
Outward sunshine, inward joy:
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
…Continued here
The statue was donated to the library in 1995 by Leewood and Irene Carter, Haverhill High School sweethearts, class of 1939. Mr. Carter’s wish was for the statue to be dedicated to the members of the class of 1939 who served in, died in, WWII

“They will always be remembered as the boys they were in Haverhill before that war”

Learn more about the life of John Greenleaf Whittier at his birthplace on Whittier Road in Haverhill



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