History of Carnegie Library, 1908 - 2008

Personal Information
Name: Class Year:


Comments about the exhibit:

back to History of Carnegie Library Exhibit

Memories and Comments

Memories : The original stack area of the Carnegie building was at the time of its construction quite up to day. Azariah Root insisted on the glass floors: fireproof. The elevator "cage" was the sort movies show as wheezing its way up or down. Special Collections, government publications, nd sets of important authors' works were stored on the top floor, which was staff access only. To get to the topmost floor, one took the elevator up to the floor just below; then walked up and unlocked the stairwell door opening into that area. Since Carnegie was not air-conditioned that top floor was by no means the ideal place to store the special collections materials not in the Miller Room. I sometimes marvel that such volumes as those old herbals suffered no greater harm. Carnegie building had a "presence": it was a special place to enter, to work in.

by Elizabeth Rumics, library staff member in Carnegie

Memories : Weekday evenings studying in the "Libe": Our huge "reading room" of long rows of tables, each long table with lamps placed at perfect distance apart for reading. Some best "Libe" memories are with friend (or current boy-friend) in the next chair. A sort of regular understood weekday evening "date"!

That huge wonderful room with many windows on three sides, the precisely and permanently placed lamps on the long study tables. And conversation between two people which could seldom be heard by others on either side of the table or beyond! I believe that huge long room was a real "gift" for us students--specifically designed for student needs--sometimes for studying and sometimes for an intimate tete-a-tete--and created to serve such important purposes forever!

However, since then, we alums--who have sat through numerous reunion dinners with totally unheard and thus unspoken dinner table conversation in that wonderful room of our many memories--can absolutely attest to the magnificent success of the designer of our old college library! To this very day, in that big long library room, no one has ever been known to hear a spoken word heard beyond more than 12 or 14 inches from the speaker! (It was great for a tete-a-tete with a new interest!) But today, for the occasional banquets held there, the unspoken but obvious theme of manners is: "Eat, don't talk. And definitely don't try to get acquainted with the lady or gentleman across the table! The mike will come on for the speaker after dinner!"

When assigned to eat in that room, be sure to bring note pad and pencil--in case of need for exchange of important information. Hope to catch up with a special college friend during dinner? Not a chance there! But, with pad and pencil handy, jot suggestion for lunch together next day, smile and pass to friend. And don't ever try an across the table chat! You will never be heard--at least not correctly!

One more thing about the dear old library: The little third floor seminar rooms. What a great place to write the term paper--alone and undisturbed. But it was also a lovely place to "study"--or have a very long uninterrupted talk with the new love of one's life. Did the college plan for that, too? What a great place to go to school!

by Janet Toohy Ferguson, '49

Memories : I remember the newspapers as being on large newspaper shelves in the old Reading Room. Or do I?

by James Hamilton, '59

Memories : I don't have any stories, but I have an idea about the acoustics that are so VERY BAD in the large reading room: Why not hang all the class banners from the ceiling? This could help and maybe help a lot.

by Mary Beth Hartson McCalla,'43

Memories : As a chem pre-med major at Oberlin in the mid-1940's I spent a lot of time in labs and various science libraries and probably less at the old Carnegie Libe, for both scholastic and social pursuits, than most Obies. However, having grown up a country girl at Portage Lakes (sometimes referred to locally as UCLA Ohio -- that's Upper Canton-lower Akron,) attending consolidated grammar and high schools and accustomed to suburban and county libraries, I was quite impressed by Carnegie's size, holdings, open hours, etc, and of course a few romantic hideaways.

But the thing that stands out in my memory as being truly world class was to see such European newspapers as the London Times and Manchester Guardian, as well as papers from Paris and Berlin, spread out in the Carnegie lobby on handy shoulder-high racks so one could stand and read their recent news just as if it happened in Akron or Canton Ohio! For the first time the world seemed to open up and it occurred to me that one day I might actually visit those European cities.

by Lois Pake McCorkle, '47

Memories : The room I recall most fondly in the old Carnegie Library is the Wager Room. Wager was a seminar room on the third floor was lined with bookshelves with Prof Wager's collection, and a couple of pictures on the wall - undoubtedly him - and a long table around which about 10 or a dozen folk sat with the Professor Roellinger at one end, to learn to write, to absorb the rudiments of lit crit and to practice it on each other. It was a perfect setting, the vibes were good and the seats reasonably comfortable. I would also go there to study when I didn't need material from the reserve book room.

by Thelma Morris, '54

Memories : It was final exam week and the main reading room of the Carnegie Library was packed with both people and a palpable collective tension. Then ripples of laughter worked their way down the room, as Bill McIlrath (class of '54) slowly walked down the aisle between the tables, an old fedora perched on his head, a shirt tucked into his pants at knee level, intently reading a book. As he finished each page, he tore it out, crumpled it, and dropped it on the floor. It was a wonderful parody of the process of studying for exams. It was a wonderful way to relieve the tension of exam week. It was not the first, or the last time that Bill provided such needed relief.

I have always thought of Bill as the Class Wit, an appellation that speaks to a special genius derived from such qualities as creativity, insight, the power to visualize what others will see, timing, and a keen sense of the emotional climate of those around him...when it is "broken," and how to fix it. This is very different from being a class clown, who, more often than not, feeds on crudities, bad taste, and an enormous ability to do the inappropriate.

by Steven Ostrow,'54

Memories : The library "libe" was a place for knowledge, ie from The Cleveland Plain Dealer I would keep up with the great lakes shipping, the New York Times for news and the Christian Science Monitor for editorials.

It was a spot for social interactions. The famous "libe date" where the freshman women would have a 10:00 "per" when they jotted down library as their destination. We accomplished variable amounts of studying, between notes and hugs, and gossip as to who was with who. There was an attempt to use it as a show place when someone placed shot glasses on a counter and a pitcher of tea to pour into the glasses. The male librarian swept the glasses away with an irritated sweep of his arm with the shouting: "Get out and never come back!"

It was a place where the team mates would gather. George Bent and his buddies would gather at a table at the east end of the reading room to study and to talk.

The frustration where 30 students would vie for reading assignments in only 3 copies of a given reference book. The reference librarian was curiously unhelpful and when asked where the volume was now, she would tell me: "We don't give out that information".

On very cold days the moisture from all of us studying and the wetness of our snow-covered clothes would collect on the windows and freeze, and there were days when we were iced in, so to speak. On spring days the odor of the blossoms on the horse chestnut tree outside would be wafted by the zephyrs of spring and provided an atmosphere of romance, just about the time we were studying for finals.

The library to me was the essence of Oberlin.

by George Shambaugh III, '54

Memories : I studied in the old reading room ONCE for two hours and never went back in four years. I much preferred the Reserve Room. Most "libe dates" were turning pages with one hand and holding hands with some young man with the other. Every day at 2:30 P.M. sleepiness would sink my head to the table for 30 minutes, but sleep never happened. Thirty minutes later, I was good for another two hours. My only bad bicycle fall was a quick turn on ice and snow into the old libe one morning to get a book back to the reserve room on time. I made it!

by Mary Ann Shafer Shearer, '52

Memories : I remember, in the fall of my freshman year, (1949) the horror of leafing through a book with pictures of Auschwitz and other camps. Life Magazine had come out with a photo in 1945, but the whole story had not been revealed yet at that time.

And running out of the library one afternoon to stare up at the sky during my first snowfall. (Maui raised, we would drive up to the 10,000 ft. summit of Haleakala after a rare snowfall which occurred at night.)

Library dates.

by Hannah Bonsey Suthers, '53

Memories : Since I was a Conservatory student, most of my library time was spent in the Music Library, and I used the Main Library rarely. One time, however, was memorable.

My fiancé had come from Chicago to Oberlin to escort me to a dance, and both of us needed to do some studying anyway. Having a male guest in a dorm room was unthinkable in the 1940's so we decided to go to the Library for a while. Studying was not high on our priority list, and we did a bit of very quiet whispering as well. We were warned by the librarian to stop. I didn't think we were bothering anyone, and the other students didn't appear to mind, but we made a real effort to concentrate on those books before us. Naturally the whispering began again, and this time we were told to stop it or we would be asked to leave. Recognizing that studying really was a bad idea we got up and amid many smiles from those around us, we said farewell to the Oberlin College Library.

by June Drum Swartwout, '48

Memories : The old Carnegie Library, it was a place to see and be seen, as well as to study. I usually did my serious study in my own room in the dorm. The most research that I did there was to read the New York Times that was on the first floor right by the entrance. It was always there to give me the latest news and to see the New York ads for fancy clothes. I remember once that an upperclass man convinced me that the lights in the library after midnight were for students studying. Later I found out that they were for cleaning ladies.

by Catherine Mayer Thompson, '41

Memories : Well, first of all, it was the great social center, the great meeting place. Since there were a lot of dining halls, the library was the one place EVERYONE went. It was also ( I'm talking '43---'45) the great passion pit. When the V-12 naval unit was here, the Navy ( I think--or perhaps the college) tried to keep the naval unit apart from the college----or so it seemed to the women. We didn't eat together or have classes together and presumably never met. But the library---that was the one place everyone had legitimate reason to go to. So just outside the library door and all around the building (OUTSIDE) there were scenes of undying love----more than I ever saw on dormitory porches at closing time.

I don't remember being much impressed at the time by the fact that the library was open Saturday and Sunday, but I do remember being shocked in later years when I discovered the other college libraries closed on weekends.

I thought the public library --two small rooms near the front door--- was a pretty sad affair ---not that I had much time to read for pleasure.

I loved being able to wander through the stacks and I remember coming across some amazing and unusual things. I had a special place I often went to study which often proved to be my undoing. There were a number of study desks scattered throughout the stacks (carrels) and one in particular that I liked. Unfortunately, it didn't take me long to discover that that particular section had bound copies of old magazines, and I spent a lot of I-came-to-study hours paging through very old copies ---1890's I think-- of the Ladies Home Journal and a few others.

by Anne Schein Wilcox, '47

Memories : We wish we could recall some amusing incidents but our memories are mostly of daily/nightly studying & of the common Libe Dates. In my senior year I recall finding an upper story northwest room in which I could study by myself - at least I don't recall anything in that room except reference books. The only amusing episode was one that you may also remember. It was exam week during our senior year & one evening a group marched through the reading room singing "When the Saints Go Marching In....". It included Helen Steere, Guppie Gilbert, etc. The library officials, whoever they were, could not stop them while most of us chimed in on the singing.

by Shirley Penty Wolfe, '54 & Arthur Wolfe, '52

Memories : Libe stunts generally occurred during exam week. I recall that one evening one of the large tables in the main reading room walked down the stairs and down the street to Wilder Hall.

But the best from my time -- classic in its simplicity -- was the night during exam week when students in SAGA (food service) jackets announced in the Reserve Reading Room downstairs that cocoa was being served upstairs in the main reading room. Simultaneously, students in SAGA jackets announced in the main reading room that cocoa was being served in the Reserve Reading Room downstairs. Then they just got out of the way, as chaos unfolded on the stairs.

I suspect that if you put out a call for classic libe stunts, or did some interviews during reunion weekend,you would get quite a lot more stories!

by Steven R. Woodbury, '68

Memories : Carnegie Library was indeed central to my time in Oberlin, but not really as a place for research. I was an English Lit. major, so of course had a great deal of reading to do. I could indeed have sat reading in my dorm room. My bed was just right for curling up with my books - but I tended there to either fall asleep or talk with friends. The Carnegie Library suited me far better, day after day, evening after evening. I'd sit at one of the long tables in the big upstairs reading room, sitting square and upright on my chair, usually elbows on the table, book flat in front of me, easy to read. Sometimes I'd look up to smile at friends, but we didn't talk. The high ceiling of the room lifted my thoughts, the light from the windows and the high trees outside pleased my spirit. Occasionally, eyelids drooping, I'd put my head down on my hands, and doze for enough time to revive me. The evening gone, I'd stand up, go slowly down the long staircase, then walk through the quie t campus to my dorm. Peace.

by Anne Marie Carleton Wright, '54

Memories : Torie and I have been searching our memories for experiences and anecdotes.....but we haven't come up with anything very exciting. I'm sure that most of your respondents have recollections of going from dinner for a couple of dances in Rec Hall in the basement of the MB (Men's Building, now Wilder) and then proceeding to Carnegie for a "libe date," to study together until curfew.

Perhaps not so many will recall that the floors in the stacks were of frosted glass, so that the lights from the floor below would help illuminate the bottom shelves. An admirable idea, except that the friction between the glass and the rubber soles of our saddle shoes generated enough static electricity to give an uncomfortable shock upon touching a metal shelf. It didn't take long for us to learn to trail a fingertip along the shelves while walking through the stacks, thus "bleeding off" the charge before it built up to unwelcome levels.

More in the category of a "pet peeve" than an anecdote, I can't forget the drinking fountain at the foot of the stairs leading from the lobby up to the second floor. The essential design was a "catch basin," in the center of which was a porcelain "cup" which overflowed with water when the handle was turned. One drank from the surface of the water in this "cup," much like one might from the surface of a mountain stream. To my knowledge, no epidemic was ever traced to this device, but to me it had all the characteristics of the "ol' family dipper" hanging by the pump.

I did indeed use Carnegie Library occasionally for special reading or research. One year I was taking a Complete Shakespeare course, which meant a tremendous amount of reading. I found that Carnegie Library had fine summaries, analyses of Shakespeare's plays and poetry, to fill out my overwhelmed understanding. One semester toward the end of my Oberlin years, I took a course on Opera. The day before the final exam, the professor recommended a certain article in a book. I rushed to Carnegie Library, intensely read the article - and it turned out that the professor had that article as the center of his exam. I got an A+ on the exam! Of course that grade was ridiculous, but it still makes me grin.

by Keith R. Young, '44

Memories : When I was exiled to Ohio from New York City in 1951, I found great solace, as an Oberlin College freshman, in the Carnegie Library -- both in the Root Reading room on the second floor and the public library on the first floor off the lobby. I loved the expansiveness of that great reading room with the huge windows and the mammoth wooden tables (comparable to me to some of the open spaces in my own beloved New York Public Library). And once a week I would sink into a comfortable chair in the Oberlin Public Library and immerse myself in The New Yorker to find out what foreign film I was missing on the screen at the Thalia theater.

I left Oberlin at the end of my junior year and moved to the nearest big city -- Cleveland,-- to earn money for my final semesters. But I found an editorial job I loved and in fact didn't return to Oberlin to complete my degree until more than 22 years later.

One of my delights when I returned to campus as a senior in Spring 1977 was to discover the Oberlin Public Library still in its same location -- even though Mudd library had taken the place of Carnegie Library for Oberlin College students several years earlier. As I browsed through those familiar stacks, I found that one book still had the last borrower's name on the card in the back pocket -- it was mine, dated 1954!

But I was even more delighted to find another familiar sight in the Allen Memorial Art Museum library. There were those big tables from Carnegie's second floor, living a new lifein another library.

The Oberlin I had loved was still there, for yet another generation of freshmen!

by Elizabeth Aldrich, '55 (really '77)

Memories : When I moved to Kendal in 2004, I was delighted to find that my first volunteer job with League of Women Voters registering OC students in the old Carnegie Lobby, which looked much the same.

by Elizabeth Aldrich, '55 (really '77)

Memories : In 1936 to 37, when I was a student at Oberlin, I helped Bob Lang, the assistant director, put up displays throughout the library. He would get the material together, and I would make signs and arrange the displays in various glass cases. I remember the National Youth Act paid my wages, which was 30 cents an hour.

by Paul Arnold, '40

Memories : I have a very specific memory of freshman year (’49-’50) in the old Carnegie main reading room (now The Root Room).

I used to go to study there my freshman year because my dorm (May) 3rd floor was so noisy and the desk and chair in our room so uncomfortable that I had to get out and go somewhere else, particularly after dinner. John Culbertson, class of ’51 and then a junior, always was studying in the main reading room – usually with Liz Kirker, who became his wife several years later. He wore heavy dark rimmed glasses that made him look both erudite (which he was) and studious. I wanted to excel so looking that way might help, I deduced. I didn’t wear glasses but I went out and bought a pair of heavy tortoise rims like his, had plain glass put in them, and wore them when I sat down to study there, whether he was there or not. Maybe it helped. I was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa my junior year! I never told John or Liz about this. They are both deceased but I’m sure everyone remembers them both.

by Jeanne Pagnucco Atkinson, '53

Memories : During the exam period, perhaps in the spring of 1952 when I graduated or maybe during the same time a year later when Helen graduated, students were frantically catching up on assigned reading in one or more of the reserve books in the Carnegie Library and waiting for one which they were looking for to become available. One student attracted much attention. While leaning on a column in full view of others he held a copy of an unidentified reference book . As he finished apparently reading each page, he tore it from the binding and let it drop on the floor. Gradually he attracted the attention of many who were waiting for just such a book which they needed to become free. Some wondered whether he was destroying the very volume for which they were waiting.

Helen and I have told this story to each other and to others so many times that I am not sure when this happened and which of us observed it. I suspect Helen of being the witness as she was by far the most diligent student but the story is famous between us.

by Helen Dickinson Baldwin, '53

Memories : I have to say that my favorite spot was sitting at one of the carrels next to the windows while studying. It was there that I witnessed the most beautiful essence of Carnegie--the glass floors lit by the mysterious lights below. Just listening to the soft touch of a patron walking above was delightful. I'm so lucky to be able to revisit Carnegie since we have so many requests for Art Library books stored there.

One of my favorite Carnegie Storage stories revolves around the wooden tables [in the reading room]. During one of the Commencement Reunions, one of my husband's classmates saw one of the tables and immediately sat down in one of the wooden chairs, put his elbows down on the table top, then put his head down on his arms and pretended to fall asleep as he had done many times years ago. Then a group of us lay down underneath the table and discovered that there was a ton of hardened gum wads stuck to the bottom of the table top.

When I first started working in the Art Library, we had six of the long wooden tables running east/west at the east side of the library, Over the years, we needed more stack space, so the tables had to be moved out of the Art Library in order to accommodate more books.

I have this admiration for Carnegie and I hope it will continue to be a part of the College for a long time.

by Paula Bernstein Baymiller, '75

Memories : It was spring of 1951. Finals loomed before us. Night after night the library was full - the upstairs Reading room (now called the Root Room), the main floor Reserve Room (now the Admissions Offices), the main floor classroom, the upstairs seminar rooms. Everyone was reviewing and cramming for finals. You could hear a pin drop.

About 10 PM the stony silence was shattered. A student, Rex Tucker, climbed up on the first table in the upstairs Reading Room. In a loud voice, Rex informed us that the police were parked outside. Anyone riding a bicycle with no lights front and back, was being given a ticket. So, Rex said, when we left, we should walk our bikes home. The monitors in the room, two stern disciplinarians were shocked. their sacred silence had been violated. Students looked up from their books in stunned disbelief. Then a cheer went up as the tension only focused study creates was released.

Rex quietly retreated and fled into the safety of the darkness of the night. We were saved. Nobody but NOBODY had lights on the front and the back of their bikes. Front, maybe, but not front and back. Rex, Rex was our savior.

by George R. Bent II, '52

Memories : I inquired about [Cousin Ruth Catton's] OC Library memories. She particularly recalled the library's fall, 1948, lobby display of Truman & Dewey items. If I've got it straight, it seems that the Chicago Tribune had a major article about it & the OC administration was not pleased with how that article was written. In fact, Ruth recalls their canceling the OC Library's subscription to that newspaper. Perhaps this could be verified.

Ruth graduated in 1949 & later had a long career as a Congregational medical missionary in a village in northeast India.

Thanks to Shirley Penty Wolfe,'54

by Ruth Willard Catton, '49

Memories : We remember the reputation of one of our classmates who dramatically disrupted the sacred silence during final exams over and over, but unhappily we were never present! I was Oberlin's first Greek major for more the 20 years, a record that has never again been repeated, and all my classes were in a vacant room next to the classics library on the same floor as the main reading room. I do have a few salacious/semi humorous memories of events in that room, but you may be pursuing a higher level of input. Do let me know.

by David Clark, '55

Memories : Aside from much reading and study there are only two incidents in my college life that I associate with the old Carnegie library. One night sitting up in the stacks, I fainted and fell over in my chair on the glass floor causing considerable consternation with the loud crash the chair and I made. No injury. The second incident took place one evening in the first floor reading room in the fall of '47. I'd complained of some discomfort that afternoon during soccer scrimmage, but did nothing further about it until later when I was in the reading room where, in excruciating pain, I doubled up on the table. Several hours later at 1 AM, Jim Stephens took out my very "hot" appendix at Allen Hospital.

by Ernest (Ernie) D. Eddy, '49

Memories : I lost my identity in Carnegie Library. This is how it happened....In the year I enrolled, 1949, freshmen were not allowed to enter the stacks. Instead, if we wanted a book, or worse, several books, we had to make a request in writing at the circulation desk in the Main Reading Room, where the librarian would scowl - the greater number of books, the fiercer the scowl - and give the request to a student courier, who would eventually return with the requested volume or volumes. The waiting time was unpredictable, and always felt endless. This was an intolerably demeaning arrangement. Why could not I, most assuredly a scholar in the making, browse the stacks as I was accustomed to doing in the Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois?f

Fortunately, a friend from that very high school passed on to me the secret for gaining entry through the barricades. Jack Noble was a sophomore, and he explained that I could use his name any time he himself was not planning to venture into the sacred precincts of the stacks. You can imagine how my knees trembled when I first approached the Cerberus-like creature who kept guard at the gates of what to me was not Hades, but Paradise itself. "Name?" she asked, hardly looking up from her desk, where stood a large wooden card file . With as firm and confident a voice as I could muster, I replied "John Noble." And without a word, she flipped a card upright in the box.

A few steps further, and there I was, standing on those mystical glass floors. Looking up I could see the clear shape of the footwear of the student walking between the stacks on the next level, though, of course, as every new entrant immediately discovered, the footwear was all that could be clearly seen from below.

I first ventured, as again was typical of initiates to the stacks, to see if there truly was a locked cage where, it was rumored, erotic literature of the most salacious kind was shelved, out of the hands and filthy minds of students.

Presumably only faculty and senior library staff were mature enough to make proper use of these materials. After finding the caged area and surveying the enclosure, I concluded, to my great regret, that without a very powerful bolt cutter, I would never get in. Then I went and found the book I needed.

This first venture was so successful that I then approached a couple of other upperclassmen I knew, including Dick Cressey, who had been my near neighbor, my mentor, indeed my hero, growing up in Syracuse, New York. So whenever Jack Noble told me he might be using the stacks himself that evening, I would contact Dick or another of my growing circle of sophomore friends and get permission to use a different name. Another sophomore from Syracuse was a very sophisticated woman whom I actually dared date once, but even though the beast guarding the stacks hardly looked at the students giving her their names, I thought calling myself in my best falsetto, "Shirley Lehmann" might be too risky.

All went well for several weeks. I got the books I wanted, checked them out, and sometimes even read part of them before they came due. Then came the fatal night of my lost identity. As I entered the stacks, I gave a name, the card bearing that name was flipped up, and I entered and explored to my heart and mind's content, floor by floor, through all the digits of the Dewey Decimal System. Then an alarm bell rang - the warning signal that the stacks would be closed in 15 minutes.

And at that instant, an alarm bell also rang in my head. "Who am I? What is my name? Am I Jack, or Dick, or Dave?" But in another instant the way out came to me. I could delay my exit to the very last second. There would be just one card still flipped up in the box. I would not have to give any name! There was a 5-minute alarm bell, and when it stopped clanging, I counted off the minutes, then hurried, with a pretense of breathlessness, toward the door, its fearsome guardian, and the dreaded file box, where, to my dismay and utter terror, I saw two - yes, two - cards still stood upright.

"Name?" the monster growled. "I don't know," I howled, and ran full speed down those tiled steps, never to return again to the Carnegie Library stacks until my sophomore year.

by John D. Elder, '53

Memories : ....remembers Dorothy Daub, a Librarian in the Public Library, when it was on the first floor of Carnegie, who seemed to know all the students. She lived in a house next to Wilder Hall, and drove a blue convertible with an air dale perched next to her. She talked loudly....

It was so hard to hear someone speak across the table in the big reading room back then: the acoustics were awful. They still are.

.....Carnegie Library and the churches were almost the only places where town and gown would come together.

by Leslie Condor Farquhar, '50

Memories : .....remembers that when he was on the swimming team, he would go from swim practice to the libe (everyone called it the "libe") to study in all kinds of weather. Including winter. "I can remember combing my frozen hair in the lobby of the library, scattering frosty, icy specks everywhere." "I'm sure," adds Bill, "that there was a sundial just before you entered the front doors, though it seems to appear only in one picture I have."

The stones in the lobby floor formed a mosaic pattern. Once "a chem student, no doubt, scattered tiny, almost invisible kernels of potassium permanganate and sulpher, I think it was, on the stones. "Our shoes had only leather soles back then, and when students stepped on the kernels, a tremendous snap and bang resonated through the room and echoed off the walls."

"Gordon MacConnachie was our class president and captain of the basketball and soccer teams, as well as being a studious guy. He carried a brief case with him everywhere. Unknown to him, some wag planted an alarm clock in the brief case, set to go off at 8 PM when the big reading room, now the Root Room, was filled. There was much confusion and laughter from many readers at the tables."

"The Root Room had newspapers in the west end, including papers from France and Germany. The German paper, Illustrirte Zeitung, was full of photos, and I was fascinated to see what was depicted there during the years before World War II."

There was a librarian, Miss Venn, who sat at a check out desk near the entrance to the stacks, not far from the card catalog, "She had an imposing presence as she surveyed her domain and kept order with her ruler and a sharp look and sometimes a sharper word."

Many people, including Bill, commented on the popularity of the carrels in the stacks for "serious study."

"I remember the classrooms on the first floor: I took a course in bibliography with Julian Fowler there." Bill added "It was a good way to make an easy grade."

by William Farquhar, '43