Lodwrick M. Cook Rotunda

Murals in the Lodwrick M. Cook Rotunda were done by Dean Cornwell, and depict "four great eras of California history, including discovery, mission building, americanization and the founding of Los Angeles, the beginnings of arts and industry, and conquering of the elements in California. Completed in 1932, their color values were purposely restrained to harmonize with the many-colored mosaic-like dome decorations by Julian E. Garnsey." (From Art in Central Library - LAPL, a handout.)

Several inscriptions are located in the Rotunda and in its vicinity. Some date from the 1920s, others date from the 1980s. Below are text selections:

"The Central Library Building of the Los Angeles Public Library. Erected MDCCCCXXV. Board of Library Directors: Orra Eugene Monnette, Frank Hervey Pettingell, Mrs. Otto Johann Zahn, Mrs. J. Wells Smith, Reverend Francis Joseph Conaty. Everett Robbins Perry Librarian. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue Architect. Carleton Monroe Winslow Associate Architect."

"Rufus B. von KleinSmid Library Commissioner 1936-1964. To the nation a renowned educator and respected champion of international understanding. To the University of Southern California a beloved and astute leader. To the Los Angeles Public Library a wise counselor through long and difficult years of prodigious growth. As a tribute to his high dedication to developing the library's role as an educational institution and in appreciation of the vision and wit which animated his service as a commissioner, this Central Library has been named in his honor the von KleinSmid Library."

"In honor of the pioneer founders of the Los Angeles Public Library. The first board of trustees 1872-1878. John G. Downey-president; H. K. W. Bent; S. B. Caswell; R. H. Dalton; W. B. Lawlor; W. H. Mace; J. R. McConnell; Harris Newmark; A. W. Potts; Ygnacio Sepulveda; George Hugh Smith; George Stoneman; T. W. Temple. 1925. Being Dead They Yet Speak."

"Everett Robbins Perry 1876-1933. Librarian 1911-1933. Here in these halls the petty distractions of the earthly pilgrimage may be laid aside and their place taken by the inspiration and serenity that come from communion with the poet, the prophet, the philosopher, the artist, the scientist, indeed with all those who themselves have caught a glimpse of the things that are not transitory in their natures but have eternal values."

"Orra Eugene Monnette. B.A., L.L.D. 1873-1936. Lawyer, banker, author, genealogist, poet, orator, civil servant. Member of the Board of Library Commissioners 1914-1936; President 1915-1936. A leader of men who served our city in many capacities, giving liberally of his time and energies to promote the development of sound city government and even more generously to advance the position and welfare of our library." "Lodwrick M. Cook Rotunda. Twice in 1986, arson struck Los Angeles' historic central library rendering the building unusable and destroying more than 400,000 books. Replacement of the collection depended on support from the entire community. Lod Cook, a man inspired by a love of reading and dedicated to the free exchange of ideas, volunteered to lead the effort. Under his leadership, supported by the resources of ARCO, individuals, corporations and foundations joined together in an effort unparalleled in library history, raising $10 million for the Save the Books Campaign. In recognition of his many contributions to the Los Angeles Public Library, and with deep appreciation for his leadership, this rotunda is named in honor of Lodwrick M. Cook. June 17, 1993."

"City of Los Angeles, Richard J. Riordan Mayor. Los Angeles Public Library. Since 1872, the Los Angeles Public Library has enriched the Los Angeles community by giving individuals of every race, color and creed free and easy access to a vast array of ideas and information while supporting lifelong learning in a welcoming environment. The Los Angeles Public Library provides services in the City of Los Angeles from the Central Library, more than 60 regional and neighborhood brach libraries, a fleet of bookmobiles, and related support agencies. The members of the Board of Library Commissioners, the Library's governing body, and City Librarians throughout the history of this institution, have been tireless in their efforts to ensure the continuation of the Library as a principal educational and cultural resource of the City of Los Angeles."

City Librarians: John Littlefield 1872-1879; Patrick Connolly 1879-1880; Mary E. Foy 1880-1884; Jessie A. Gavitt 1884-1889; Lydia Prescott 1889-1889; Tessa Kelso 1889-1895; Clara B. Fowler 1895-897; Harriet Child Wadleigh 1897-1900; Mary L. Jones 1900-1905; Charles Fletcher Lummis 1905-1910; Purd B. Wright 1910-1911; Everett Robbins Perry 1911-1933; Althea Warren 1933-1947; Harold L. Hamill 1947-1970; Wyman Jones 1970-1990; Elizabeth Martinez 1990-1994; Susan Goldberg Kent 1995-2004; Fontayne Holmes 2004-

Tom Bradley Wing

The chandeliers in the Bradley Wing atrium are by Therman Statom. The themes explored in these chandeliers are concepts of natural phenomena, man made endeavors, and ethereal ideas, which were designed to echo the elements of the solar system reflected in the Cook Rotunda chandelier. The lanterns in the atrium, located at each escalator landing and entitled "Illumination" are designed by Anne Preston. (From Art in Central Library - LAPL, a handout.)


Back to Public Art in the Los Angeles Public Library and the Maguire Gardens

For comments contact Ruth Wallach, USC Libraries.
7/2010