A brief history of Deering

    Nestled in the fluorescent concrete maze that is the Main library, Deering is a haven of relative calm and beauty. It’s hard to believe that it once stood alone. T.W. Koch, Northwestern’s chief librarian at the time, was determined that the library be as welcoming and functional as possible, despite a tight budget. He wanted to create a living memorial for the late Charles Deering, one of Northwestern’s principal benefactors.

    Koch approved a Gothic design for the library, even though it was more expensive than other architectural styles. Architect James Gamble Rogers, who also designed the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale. Deering Library’s open feeling is partly due to its budget-conscious design: Fewer separate rooms meant lower costs for construction and maintenance.

    After the library opened in 1933, Koch was constantly frustrated as books disappeared. One of the more notable thefts occurred in 1962, when an eighty-pound Shakespeare bust went missing. Four years later the bust reappeared.

    See also: College clashes


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