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Deering Library Construction Photographs

 Collection
Identifier: 75/9/3

  • Staff Only
History:

Ground was broken for the Charles Deering Library at Northwestern University on June 14, 1931, and work began in July. The building's cornerstone was laid on January 12, 1932. The site, located between Memorial Hall and Annie May Swift, had been occupied by Heck Hall, a dormitory for Garrett Biblical Institute students, which burned in 1914.

Deering Library superseded the overcrowded Orrington Lunt Library (built in 1894). Construction of the new library was made possible by a bequest from long time University benefactor Charles Deering, along with additional donations from his widow and their children. University Librarian T.W. Koch was very much involved in the planning process for the new building, working closely with the University architect, James Gamble Rogers, to create a modern library within an inspiring Collegiate Gothic structure.

The new library was dedicated on December 29, 1932, and opened on January 3, 1933, the first day of classes after winter break.

Description of the Series:

The series consists of four binders of black and white photographs documenting the construction process and the newly finished structure of the Charles Deering Library. With two or three exceptions, all photographs were taken by the Chicago Architectural Photographing Company.

Two smaller binders contain 9-1/4 x 7-1/4 photographs dating from July 13, 1931, to May 26, 1932, depicting each stage of the exterior construction process from bare ground to completed, windowless exterior. These photographs are not captioned, but are identified with the date and negative number (as well as the name of the project, the contractor, and the photographic company) on the face of the image. Although there is a rough chronological order in these binders, there is some duplication of images.

The larger binders, intended for presentation, contain wide-margined 9-1/4 x 7-1/4 photos of the finished building, dating from approximately 1932-1933. Images include views of the exterior from various angles and distances, and photographs of the interior—each office, public space, and storage area throughout the building. The interior photographs include close-up views of some of the detailing (stenciled ceilings, sculptures, carved trim) that made the building impressive and the features (card catalogs, delivery desks, stack areas, reading rooms) that made it a modern research library. The binders begin with photographs of the exterior, followed by interior shots. Few of the photographs are captioned on the back, but almost all have negative numbers on the face of the image and the photographic company's stamp on the back. The images in these two binders duplicate each other to some extent.

Dates

  • 1931-1933

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Permission to reproduce photographs must be obtained from the photographic company.

Extent

1.00 Boxes

Abstract

The series consists of four binders of black and white photographs documenting the construction process and the newly finished structure of the Charles Deering Library. With two or three exceptions, all photographs were taken by the Chicago Architectural Photographing Company.
Two smaller binders contain 9-1/4 x 7-1/4 photographs dating from July 13, 1931, to May 26, 1932, depicting each stage of the exterior construction process from bare ground to completed, windowless exterior. These photographs are not captioned, but are identified with the date and negative number (as well as the name of the project, the contractor, and the photographic company) on the face of the image. Although there is a rough chronological order in these binders, there is some duplication of images.

Method of Acquisition

Unknown

Related Materials

See also additional photographs in the University Archives' Photographic Collection.

For more about the construction of Deering Library, see: University Archives General Files The Northwestern Architecture website at http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives/exhibits/architecture/ building.php?bid=6, The T.W. Koch Papers at https://findingaids.library.northwestern.edu/repositories/6/resources/271 and “Deering Library: An Illustrated History” (Northwestern University Press, Spring 2008)

Separated Materials

None.

Processing Information

Janet Olson, Winter 2008
Title
Guide to the Deering Library Construction Photographs
Author
Janet Olson
Date
01/01/2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Contact:
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US
847-491-3354