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November 13, 2013

Inscriptions on Campus Buildings

Several of our early twentieth century campus buildings display inscriptions. Three of these, on Mather Memorial, Harkness Chapel, and the original home of the Law School on Adelbert Road, were taken from the Bible. All three buildings shared the same architect, Charles Schweinfurth and were built within 15 years of each other.

The inscription on the Law School building, just below the main cornice, is related to the discipline of law: "And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do." - Exodus 18:20

The Mather Memorial and Harkness Chapel inscriptions honor the women for whom the buildings were named. Flora Stone Mather and Florence Harkness Severance were noted philanthropists. Both buildings were gifts from their families as memorials.

The inscription which encircles the top of the Mather Memorial Building is from Proverbs 31: 10-12, 20, 26-31. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life... She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy....She openeth her mouth with wisdom: and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth no the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excelleth them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates...Glory to be to the father and to the son and to the holy ghost"

The Harkness Chaple inscription, below the stained glass window on the north face, is from Proverbs 31:31. "Her works praise her in the gates."

Posted by jmt3 at November 13, 2013 08:55 PM

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