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June 29, 2016

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library. - Albert Einstein

In 1828 the first bequest given to Western Reserve College was half of Reverend Nathan B. Derrow's library. For the next nearly-190 years generous donors have supported CWRU’s libraries and generations of students, faculty, and staff have used library collections and services. In 2016 our most recent library, Kelvin Smith Library, celebrates its 20th anniversary. Below is a summary of KSL’s predecessor library buildings.

Henry R. Hatch Library (1896-1943)
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Hatch Library was Western Reserve University's first building constructed and used entirely as a library. Before Hatch libraries occupied parts of multiple campus buildings, including Adelbert Hall, Clark Hall, and Case Main. Hatch was the library of Adelbert College, the undergraduate men’s college, until 1943, when its collection was integrated into the University Library in Thwing Hall. The building, on the southwest corner of Euclid and Adelbert, was razed in 1956. Henry R. Hatch, a trustee, donated the funds for the original building and for two additions in 1898. His generosity is memorialized in the Hatch Reading Room on the second floor of Kelvin Smith Library.


Thwing Hall (1934-1956)
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Western Reserve University president, Charles F. Thwing had stated that if a building was ever named for him, he wanted it to be a library. In 1929 WRU purchased the Excelsior Club for $650,000. In 1934 it was converted to a library and dedicated on President Thwing’s 81st birthday.


Freiberger Library (1956-1996)
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Along with several other buildings, Freiberger’s construction was financed by Western Reserve University’s 125th Anniversary Campaign. Construction was completed in 1956 and the University Library moved from Thwing Hall. Named for I.F. Freiberger, alumnus, trustee, and benefactor, whose generosity is memorialized in the I.F. Freiberger Pavilion on the second floor of Kelvin Smith Library.


Sears Library (1961-1996)
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Constructed in 1960 as the Library-Humanities Building, Sears was Case Institute of Technology’s first library building. Previously, a reading room was housed in the Case Main Building and most academic departments maintained their own libraries. The building was re-dedicated in 1966 as the Lester M. and Ruth P. Sears Library-Humanities Building.

Kelvin Smith Library (1996-)
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Constructed between 1994 and 1996, at a cost of $29.5 million dollars, the 150,000 square-foot Kelvin Smith Library merged the Sears and Freiberger collections and services. The lead gift was made by the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. A. Kelvin Smith, for whom the library is named, was an alumnus, trustee, and friend.

In pursuit of brevity, this summary does not include the Cleveland Health SciencesLibrary and its predecesssors or the Judge Ben C. Green Law Library or the Harris Library of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.

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June 24, 2016

Shakespeare beginnings on campus

To help commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sending a First Folio on a tour of the country. From June 20 through July 30, 2016, the Cleveland Public Library will be the host site in Ohio. To join in this celebration we wanted to touch on Shakespeare in the classroom and on stage at CWRU.

For much of the 19th century the classical curriculum was taught and required of all students. In the late 19th century electives began to be offered.

On 2/29/1892, as reported in the College for Women faculty minutes, a committee was appointed to consider forming a lectureship on Shakespeare. On 5/3 the “Committee on Lectureship on Shakespeare reported that arrangement had been made with Professor Lounsbury to deliver 8 lectures.” A week later, the WRU Board of Trustees Executive Committee approved the appointment of “Professor Thomas R. Lounsbury of Yale Scientific as lecturer on Shakespeare at a salary of $500.” These lectures were given in the Spring 1893 semester.

The first course in Shakespeare at the College for Women was taught in the 1893-1894 academic year. Here is the description from the Catalogue:

“Shakspere. Four plays selected for their illustration of different stages in the development of Shaksperian art, and as a basis for textual criticism. The prescribed work will include the Rolfe edition of the plays, the Shakspere Primer (Dowden), Shakspere’s Versification (Browne), and collateral reading from Shakspere: His Mind and Art (Dowden), and Shakspere as a Dramatic Artist (Moulton).” The class was taught by Mr. C. W. Ayer.

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Lemuel S. Potwin

The first Shakespeare class at Adelbert College was taught in 1895-1896 by Lemuel Potwin. However, according to the 1892-1893 annual report by Potwin, a class was held (1892-1893) studying English poets from Chaucer to Tennyson. During the second half of the year a class of six seniors and juniors “read the whole of Shakespeare, one play being discussed on each day of recitation. Points of discussion were: The characteristics of the different periods of the poet’s work. A comparison with some earlier dramas, and the merits of select passages.” There was also held a class in the Elizabethan Dramatists. A graduate of Yale, Potwin was professor of Latin at Western Reserve College and Adelbert College (1871-1892), professor of English Language and Literature, Adelbert College (1892-1906) and professor emeritus (1906-1907).

In the library’s catalog of 1849 there was a Shakespeare book listed but no title given. It was book 604 on shelf 62. In the 1851 catalog the listing was for Shakspeare William, Dramatic Works.

Coming: Shakespeare performances on campus

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