About Those Owls



History of Rush Rhees Library


Historical Spaces


The Welles Brown Room

The Roger B. Friedlander Lobby
The Hawkins Carlson Room

The Gleason Library

The Great Hall

The Martin E. Messinger Periodical Reading Room

The Messinger Graduate Study North





About Those Owls












About Those Owls





Designed in the 1920s and opened in 1930, the Rush Rhees Library building has stone owls perched around the tower and above the cornice.  It also includes owls here and there in other architectural details, like the handles of the Friedlander Lobby doors.


Owl symbols are a tradition for many libraries because of their longstanding association with wisdom.  Sources on myth and magic explain that birds which could “see” in the dark were thought to have mysterious powers, later identified with prophecy, “nocturnal sciences,” and, in a broader sense, wisdom.


At River Campus Libraries, we wish you the full enjoyment of mysterious powers.




















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