Rush Rhees Library: Historical Spaces

 

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 Studies

 

Inscriptions

 

 

About Those Owls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

                                       Francis Welles             Otis Hall Robinson             Charles Brown                

 

 

The Welles-Brown Room


     The Welles-Brown Room has always beckoned readers into its plush interior.  It was envisioned as a browsing library in which students would find themselves irresistibly drawn to good books.  In addition to providing the comfortable club like atmosphere for study, the Welles-Brown Room is a favorite for visiting speakers, receptions and social events.  It contains the following notable features:


•    Inscription above the door:
THIS ROOM HAS BEEN EQUIPPED FOR
THE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF STUDENTS OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER BY THE GENEROSITY
OF FRANCIS R WELLES OF THE CLASS OF 1875
AND CHARLES A BROWN OF THE CLASS OF 1879
BOTH TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY AND LIBERAL
CONTRIBUTORS TO ITS GROWTH

THE WINDOW AT THE WEST END OF THIS ROOM
IS A MEMORIAL TO THE DAUGHTER OF MR BROWN
ERECTED BY HER HUSBAND RALPH F SKELTON
IT IS THE WORK OF MARTIN TRAVERS OF LONDON ENGLAND

•    The Meredith Brown Skelton (1899-1925) Memorial Window
This lovely painted window by Martin Travers is located in an alcove opposite the entrance door to the room.  The window was designed to be a decorative landscape symbolic of life in and beyond the University.

•    Inscription above the fireplace:
IN SECUNDIS VOLUPTAS IN ADVERSIS PERFUGIUM
In English:  In success a joy In adversity a shelter
This was the motto on the bookplate of Charles A. Brown.

•    Portrait of Roger Friedlander above the fireplace:
Trustee Roger Friedlander, Class of 1956, and his wife Carolyn generously funded the refurbishment of the Welles-Brown Room and the Lobby in 1999 in anticipation of the University’s Sesquicentennial.  This powerful portrait was painted by artist Thomas Insalaco.

 

The Roger B. Friedlander Lobby


     The Lobby off the Quadrangle entrance to the building provides an inviting and beautiful introduction to the Library.   It contains eight vertical cases in which a variety of changing exhibits can be seen.  Its ornate chandelier, containing 18 individual lamps, was designed by Caldwell & Company as was the lantern in the entryway.  Both are original to the building.  A large glass panel by local artist Nancy Gong featuring the University’s seal was installed during the renovation of the Lobby in 1999 as were the two large grille doors, featuring owls which were done by Rochester artist Dejan Pejovic.

    
The Hawkins-Carlson Room


     The space now occupied by the Hawkins-Carlson Room was originally the Reserve Reading Room.  Numerous alumni clearly remember spending hours in this space reading coveted texts that were on reserve.  The space served as part of the Reference Dept. and the Interlibrary Loan office. 
     The marble panel featuring the University’s seal was moved from the Library’s entryway to become a focal point of the Hawkins-Carlson Room in 2005.
     Today the Hawkins-Carlson Room is one of the loveliest in the building and is used for visiting speakers, special gatherings and important meetings.  It is named for Chester Carlson, the inventor of Xerography and his mother Ellen Hawkins Carlson, with whom he was particularly close.  The room was dedicated on November 10, 2005.
     The following inscription by Carlson’s biographer is on the interior wall:

Chester F. Carlson

Xerography is unusual among modern inventions as it was conceived by
a single person.  The inventor was Chester Carlson who became his family’s principal provider before entering high school, worked his way through college while supporting his invalid father, and made his discovery in solitude during the Great Depression.  This shy, humble physicist and patent attorney offered his invention to two dozen major corporations; all turned him down.  Carlson’s idea was so unusual that scientists who visited the drafty warehouses in Rochester where the first machines were built sometimes doubted the process was even theoretically feasible.

The invention of the Xerox machine was an epochal event in the history of communication and, therefore, in the history of civilization.  It gave ordinary people an extraordinary means of preserving and sharing information, and it placed the rapid exchange of complicated ideas within the reach of almost everyone, becoming the biggest breakthrough in written communication since Gutenberg.

                                    David Owen
                                    Copies in Seconds

     Portraits of both Chester Carlson (1906-1968) and his mother Ellen Hawkins Carlson (1870-1923) hang at the front of the room.  Both portraits were painted by artist Everett Raymond Kinstler.

 
The Gleason Library


     Described as a library space of the 21st century, the Gleason Library was dedicated November 2, 2007.  Its design is based upon direct input from numerous students and encourages group interaction, as well as providing quiet space.  It includes a small theater as well as several group study areas.  It is a dynamic space where furniture can be rearranged to fit the needs of the study moment.  It was funded by the Gleason Foundation.

The Great Hall


     For many years the Great Hall was the active hub of the library where the circulation desk and card catalog were located.  It provided the only entrance and exit to the stacks.  One could gaze down into the room through the windows in the corridor one floor up.  When the Library was redesigned in the late 1960s, the crucial circulation and reference functions were relocated to the first floor and the space became the Great Hall.  Today it provides a quiet place for study.  Portraits of George Eastman, Rush Rhees and several trustees can be viewed here.  The spacious cases contain exhibits relating to the University’s history.
     The Great Hall was renovated in 2000 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the University through the generosity of the Gleason Foundation.


Great Hall from 1960's

 

      

                                  

The Martin E. Messinger Periodical Reading Room


     From its inception in 1930, this room has always been the main reading room of the Rush Rhees Library and a favorite for student study.  Once housing the reference department, it now contains the most recent issues of hundreds of periodicals.  In agreeable weather the door to the Library’s balcony is opened and visitors can enjoy a birds-eye view of the Quad.  Names and quotations from the world’s great thinkers adorn the warm wooden paneling:

PHILOSOPHY WILL ENCOURAGE US TO OBEY GOD CHEERFULLY AND FORTUNE DEFIANTLY…..SENECA

I HAVE ENDEAVORED NEITHER TO MOCK NOR TO DENOUNCE MEN’S ACTIONS BUT TO UNDERSTAND THEM….SPINOZA

THE WORLD IS A COMEDY TO THOSE THAT THINK – A TRAGEDY TO THOSE THAT FEEL….WALPOLE

LET NOT HIM THAT SEEKETH CEASE UNTIL HE FIND – AND WHEN HE FINDETH HE SHALL WONDER….NEW SAYINGS OF JESUS

IN THE FIELD OF SCIENCE CHANCE FAVORS ONLY THE PREPARED MIND…PASTEUR

SCIENCE AND ART BELONG TO THE WHOLE WORLD AND BEFORE THEM VANISH THE BARRIERS OF NATIONALITY…GOETHE


                                                             Reserve Reading Room


Messinger Graduate Studies


     The newest upgrades to our historic spaces are the Messinger Graduate Studies.  Located off either end of the Messinger Periodical Reading Room, these beautiful rooms have been designed to meet the specific needs of our graduate students.  The studies provide a quiet retreat where they may study and relax. The centerpiece of the North Study is a stained glass window donated by the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries.  The window features the phrase Bibliotheca Docet or “The Library Teaches.”  These beautiful spaces previously housed newspapers, microfilm readers and government documents.
     The Messinger Graduate Studies and Periodical Reading Room were named in recognition of the generosity and continued commitment of Martin E. Messinger, Class of 1949 and were dedicated May 12, 2010.
    

 


 

 

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