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Student Lens 14: In and Around Williams

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#1 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 27, 2010 @ 9:50 am


Your photos are such a great addition to EB!

Hmmm, I don’t remember seeing those beautiful arches. Is this the backside of an otherwise familiar building? Identification, please?

#2 Comment By ’10 On January 27, 2010 @ 10:16 am

It’s the front of Stetson.

#3 Comment By (d)HTK On January 27, 2010 @ 10:22 am

And when did the “print” button appear on EBitems? Much appreciated by this reader, and perhaps others, who print for later consumption. Thanks to the Bosses of EphBlog.

#4 Comment By Ronit On January 27, 2010 @ 10:28 am

@(d)HTK: you’re welcome! I thought it would be useful for some of the CGCL posts and Prof. Birnbaum’s essay

#5 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 27, 2010 @ 10:30 am


Yup, I have already emailed Prof. Birnbaum’s essay twice. Great new feature. Thanks from me as well!

#6 Comment By David On January 27, 2010 @ 10:39 am

All Hail Taussig for her photos and Ronit for his work behind the scenes!

#7 Comment By frank uible On January 27, 2010 @ 10:57 am

She sure caught the campus on its orange days.

#8 Comment By 1980 On January 27, 2010 @ 11:01 am

Beautiful (once again)! This one is now my background at work.

#9 Comment By Ronit On January 27, 2010 @ 11:02 am

That facade has the names of authors in the “Western Canon” carved into the stone – if you zoom in you can see Aquinas and Virgil, and I also remember Homer and Shakespeare. Not sure how many names there are in total.

The inside of that building is a labyrinth. Freshmen usually get lost in it trying to find their course packets.

What are the plans for that facade with the new library (if it ever gets built)? Will it still be visible?

#10 Comment By frank uible On January 27, 2010 @ 11:43 am

I believe that the plan is to end up with an unobstructed view of the Stetson facade across mostly greensward from Paresky lawn on the west, all framed by the North Academic Building on the north and the South Academic Building on the south. If executed well, it should be terrific – the verdant physical and psychic heart of the academic campus.

#11 Comment By Jr. Mom On January 27, 2010 @ 11:46 am

What is Stetson used for? I have never been inside, and when I looked at it’s location on the campus map, I realized that it has been mostly hidden (at least from my usual route when in W) by construction.

#12 Comment By Ronit On January 27, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

@Jr. Mom: Everything has probably changed because of construction, but a couple of years ago Stetson had offices for many of the humanities departments, including a lot of faculty offices (less fortunate faculty were in Stetson annex, behind Stetson, where offices were no bigger than a small closet). I’m not sure if all or many of them have since moved to the new Academic Buildings. It also had the faculty lounge. The Chapin Rare Books library was on the top floor of Stetson, perhaps still is. There were/are a few classrooms (including a great old wood-paneled one in the basement which may no longer be available due to construction?)

#13 Comment By ’10 On January 27, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

Stetson is not currently used for anything – all offices have been moved elsewhere (mostly NAB and SAB) and the building is completely locked off, pending renovation.

#14 Comment By Ronit On January 27, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

@’10: sad. I hope the Rare Books Library opens again someday soon.

#15 Comment By Ronit On January 27, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

The Preston room is the one I was thinking of. It will apparently be mothballed and dismantled:


It was probably the best classroom on campus.

#16 Comment By Wayne Hammond On January 27, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

Replying to multiple comments:

Stetson was built to hold the College Library, the Chapin Library, and faculty offices, built around a central stack core. In the fifties, the stacks were extended to the east, and in the sixties an annex was added which housed the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. When the College Library moved into the new Sawyer building in 1975, the Chapin Library and the original stacks remained intact but the stacks addition was divided into the small faculty offices Ronit mentions. It was this latter space that was the labyrinth; the original, 1923 building is relatively easy to navigate.

There are two formal facades, the one pictured on the west and another on the south, representing the two Stetson Hall libraries. The south door was the “Chapin Library entrance” as it’s nearest the grand staircase going up to the Chapin on the second floor (not the top: there are two floors more, with faculty offices and classrooms). There are inscribed names on both facades, an eclectic mix chosen by the architect.

Stetson is to be taken back to the 1923 building and generally restored, with a new Sawyer Library attached on the east: more can be read about the plans here. The upper floors will still have faculty offices and classrooms. The faculty lounge will revert to what it was designed to be, a grand reading room. The Preston Room will be dismantled and reconstructed within the new library. The Chapin Library will return to its original splendid rooms, connected to additional spaces in the new building, all shared with College Archives.

As for “opening again someday soon”, the Chapin and College Archives moved to temporary quarters in the old Southworth Schoolhouse (corner of Southworth and School streets) in July 2008 and reopened for business that September.

Wayne Hammond
Chapin Library