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November 29, 2016

Namesakes - I. F. Freiberger and Freiberger Library

01983D1 copy.jpg Plans for a new library building were announced as part of Western Reserve University’s 125th anniversary celebration in 1951. Trustees voted to name the new library in honor of Isadore Fred (better known as I. F.) Freiberger in 1953, ground was broken in 1954 and the new building was dedicated 2/5/1956 as the I. F. Freiberger Library Building. The cost of the building was approximately $1.6 million and was designed by Small, Smith and Reeb of Cleveland. Ralph Ellsworth (WRU School of Library Science class of 1931), director of libraries at the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa), was chief consultant on building plans. Its 80,000 square feet was designed for a capacity of over 500,000 volumes and a seating capacity to accommodate 600 students. The three story building plus basement, at the corner of East Boulevard and Bellflower Road, overlooked the Cleveland Museum of Art and Wade Lagoon. The exterior was of limestone to blend with Severance Hall and the Art Museum. Freiberger Library opened for the Spring semester 1956.

Freiberger Library centralized holdings from the university library housed in Thwing Hall and holdings in other campus buildings (Clark Hall, Harkness Chapel basement, Hitchcock Hall, and the Annex). The plan for the library was a modular design. There were few interior walls to allow flexibility in moving partitions and shelves as needed. Study areas were scattered throughout the shelving areas. Director of university libraries, Lyon Richardson said, “The library may be considered as a great browsing room of four floors. We consider the library not as a place for storing books, but as a place for arranging books and facilities to serve educational principles”

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Interior views of Freiberger Library

I. F. Freiberger, known as Izzy to his parents and Fry to his friends, was born 12/12/1879 in New York City, one of 6 children. His parents moved the family to Cleveland when he was 3 years old. Freiberger graduated from Central High School in Cleveland in 1898. He received his Bachelor of Letters degree from Adelbert College 6/13/1901. (A friend and classmate in high school and college was Winfred G. Leutner, president of WRU 1933-1949). As an undergraduate student Freiberger played on the class baseball team, class football team, and class basketball team. He was also a varsity member of the Reserve basketball team. He served as business manager of The Reserve (yearbook) and was class treasurer his senior year.

02973D1 copy.jpgI. F. Freiberger, ca. 1935

He received the LL.B. in 1904 from Cleveland Law School of Baldwin Wallace College while working at Cleveland Trust Company (where he started work as a clerk upon graduation in 1901). He worked his entire career at Cleveland Trust: Third Assistant Trust Officer (1909), Assistant Secretary (1913), Trust Officer (1914), Vice President (1915), Director (1939), and Chairman of the Board (1941). He married Fannie Fertel in 1903 and they had 2 children, Lloyd and Ruth Mae.

Freiberger was a loyal alumnus and served as a trustee on the Board of Cleveland College (1925-1943), Adelbert College (1934-1941), and Western Reserve University (1941-1967). He was named an honorary trustee 10/5/1967. Reserve awarded Freiberger the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1947. He received the first Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Adelbert College Alumni Association in 1968.

Freiberger was also Chairman of Board of The Forest City Publishing Co., director of the Interlake Steamship Co., Richman Bros. Co., Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co., Island Creek Coal Co., and Wyoming Pocahontas Coal & Coke Co as well as other companies. He served on a number of philanthropic and educational boards including Goodrich Social Settlement House, Jewish Community Federation, The Playhouse Foundation and Mount Sinai Hospital. Freiberger received The Eisenman Award on the 50th Anniversary of the Jewish Community Federation, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Cleveland Medal for Public Service, and the Distinguished Service Award of the Cleveland Community Chest. The American Heart Association honored him in 1957 with the Award of Merit for Distinguished Service.

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I. F. Freiberger with Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1968

After he died 4/20/1969 the CWRU Board of Trustees honored him with a memorial resolution which read in part,“His friends remember Fry in part for his success and for his leadership, but they remember him especially for his remarkable personal qualities of humility, humanity, and gentleness. He loved his fellow men and was a true friend to literally thousands of people of all ages and from all walks of life. A part of his humanity and warmth was revealed in his happy family life and his devotion to his wife, Fannie Fertel Freiberger, whose death in 1962 ended a most happy marriage of nearly sixty years.”

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Students playing softball on Freiberger Field

Freiberger Library was razed in 1996 after the Kelvin Smith Library (KSL) was completed. The Freiberger Pavilion on the second floor of KSL and Freiberger Field on the site of the old library were dedicated 11/16/1997 and continue to honor I. F. Freiberger’s memory. The portrait which used to hang in Freiberger Library now hangs in Freiberger Pavilion in Kelvin Smith Library.

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I. F. Freiberger portrait, 1955

Posted by hxy2 at November 29, 2016 07:00 PM

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