The master plan for the campus of the University of Southern California designated an admirable site for the library. This site, the block between University Avenue and Hoover Boulevard and 36th Street, and 35th Place, known as the Alumni Memorial Park, was approved as a location for the Edward L. Doheny, Jr. Memorial Library which now stands built and fully equipped through the beneficence of the Doheny family. The architects were Cram and Ferguson of Boston and Samuel E. Lunden of Los Angeles.
THE EDWARD L. DOHENY JR. MEMORIAL LIBRARY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
In developing he plant the architects were confronted with two broad problems: the first, to conform the building to the irregular ground plot in such a way as to leave a generous park; the second, to provide for the ways and proper functioning of the inter-related, manifold services of a University library. That they found the right solution to the first problem is evidenced by the spacious grounds before the building.
The park no so skillfully planted and arranged, is the work of A.E. Hanson, landscape architect of Los Angeles.
The second problem was more complex, but a close study of the plan will convince an observer versed in library work that an excellent solution was found. In general the plan of the building is like an H, the right stem of which is taller than the let. This shape follows the ground plot, a trapezoid one end of which is at right angles to the parallel sides. The stacks and delivery halls are in the center. The reading rooms occupy the right wings, the administrative departments the left. Such a plan avoids a fault of many libraries that achieve a monumental character at the expense of efficiency. Readers come and go, the books abide. It seems logical, therefore, that the books should be given the place of importance in the plan. As a matter of fact, the library is concerned not only with the preservation of the book but also with its quick delivery into the hands of the reader and with its safe return. The delivery hall thus becomes as important as the book stack, a fact recognized by the plan of the library which makes the stacks and delivery hall the heart and core of the building.
The main stack, now in seven levels, fully equipped, with revisions for two more extends the height f the building from basement to third floor inclusive. The periodical stack is in four levels with provision for a fifth. This stack extends from the basement trough the first floor where it adjoins the periodical reading room. A bindery connects with it on the ground floor.
The first floor includes the main delivery hall, main reading room, treasure room, periodical reading room and stack, catalogue files, main stack, office of the librarian and staff, administrative departments which include the cataloging and bibliography rooms and the orders and accessions rooms. The main entrance lobby is between the first and ground floors and connects with either by flights of stairs. A broad central flight leading up to the first floor is flanked on either side by a narrower flight going down to the ground into the ground floor.
On the ground floor are the reserve delivery hall, the reserve reading room, art and lecture room, club room, continuations of the main and periodical stacks and the cloister and patio. The second floor is given over to the graduate study, special collection room, social science and educational reading rooms have direct access to that stack. On the third floor are seminars and cubicles. The cubicles, of which there are forty-eight, are small rooms for individual study. The basement includes space for mechanical and electrical equipment, general storage, rest rooms, and the bound newspaper stack. Since newspapers deteriorate rapidly in the light, the basement, which received no daylight, is the best place for their storage.
In the April number of the Southern California Alumni Review, Mr. Lunden states, "The style of the library cannon be tagged with a name for no architectural precedent has been rigidly adhered to. It was the aim of the architects to create an original expression in brick and stone that would harmonize with the other buildings on the campus. Round arches in pairs and triplets, walls of pale Roman brick with a cream colored limestone trim enlivened with colored marbles are suggestive of the Romanesque of Northern Italy, though as a matter of fact, the Romanesque has only been taken as a point of departure.
If the exterior bears little resemblance to an historical style of architecture, the interior owes even less to precedent, with the exception of the special collection room which is done in the Churrigueresque mode of Mexico, and the club rooms which are treated in the American Georgian manner with actual reproductions for furniture; with the exception of these no design or detail of ornament acknowledges more than a remote common ancestry with preceding forms.
Throughout there holds a unity of design, of style-of a style that is individual, reserved, and graceful. Such thought went into the least detail that even the minutiae of the ornament will bear close inspection and closer study. Noting was too small to interest the designer, at the same time the bold, general conception of the whole was never lost sight of. The design is honest, appropriate to the materials through which it speaks, and loyal to the tools of the workman. Many examples might be given, but to state a few many sets the observer searching for others. The east plaster ornament has rounded forms, because shape forms, being easily broken in the casting, are not suitable for plaster. Or again-the joinery is made a point of in the design. The construction is revealed and exhibits the skill of the workman. Wood is treated as wood; stone, as stone.
It was the wish of the donors that preference be given to American materials. Their suggestions of the use of American walnut, sycamore, knotty pine, and California redwood were fruitful of beautiful effects in such rooms as the main and periodical reading room, graduate study, and the art and lecture room.
The Library faces University Avenue and the Administration building. The front presents a symmetrical facade. The wings embrace a raised forecourt, which has a formal arrangement and planting. Across the front of the forecourt runs a balustrade of pierced limestone and brick with marble inserts. Steps lead to an impressive entrance, an arched opening within a face of limestone. The archway consists of a pair of ornamented concentric arches, the outer one resting on columns of Alps Green marble with capitals carved of black marble. The soffit of the inner arch contains a band of mosaic in blues and gold representing the zodiac. This accurately plots the stars to the fifth magnitude along the ecliptic and depicts the mythological zodiacal figures in their traditional relation to the stars. In the tympanis a sculptured medallion carved in marble is supported, heraldricly speaking, by two mosaic spandrels. The sculpture pictures a teacher instructing students. He reads from a scroll on which are Alpha and Omega, symbols of all knowledge past and to be. The spandrel on the right represents Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian Knot. On the left Hercules bears the golden fruit of Hesperides. The mosaic spandrels and soffit and the sculpture were designed by Roger Hayward, of Pasadena.
Below the tympanum, the great bronze doors are set in stone jamb. They swing lightly and are prevented from clanging by a rubber strike at the top of each leaf. The doors are the largest yet cast on the Pacific Coast. Each leaf consists of an inner and outer face and each face is of a single casting. They are eleven feet high and together ten feet wide. The design is simple, but effective both from a distance and near to. There are twenty-one panels in each leaf; each panel has a central rosette and a heavily ornamented border.
In niches above and on either side of the doorway statues represent, on the left, Shakespeare, and on the right, Dante. They were designed by Andrew Drucelli of Cambridge, Mass. By night the two bronze candelabra on either side of the entrance cast multiform shadows in the archway and illuminate the forecourt.
The lower art of the building is of limestone with narrow bands of brick between courses. Above this brick is employed with narrow bands of limestone. Spandrels and inserts of marble enrich the upper walls. The arcaded tower with copper louvered openings is decidedly a decorative feature. The windows in general are leaded.
Hoover Boulevard Facade
The Hoover Boulevard elevation is unsymmetrical, the main reading room wing extending farther forward then the administrative wing. The low wall of the cloister which connects the two encloses a patio beyond which rises the stack wall.
There are two entrances, one into the cloister, the other into the end of the reading room wing. The end wall of this wing receives embellishment in a pair of colonettes. These flank the doorway and the windows of the reading room and terminate in flaring caps surrounded by framed plaques of matched marbles.
The more important entrance at the corner of the cloister gives admittance through an archway. A sculptured panel above the arch represents two students, a youth and a girl in scholar's gowns, reading beneath a tree. This is executed in limestone from the design by the Jensens, of Santa Monica. Inscribed on the arch are the words from Proverbs 10:14 "Wise men lay up knowledge." A pair of bronze gates closes the entrance. The small, rectangular openings that pierce the cloister walls have bronze grills.
Besides the Hoover Street entrance with its ver handsome bronze gates, the cloister has two other way of access, one directly from the reserve book reading room, the other from the corridor of the north wing. On the side towards the patio runs a colonnade of alternate brick piers and limestone columns. The column have Romanesque capitals with a medallion carved on each of the four faces. The ceiling of concrete beams is painted in dull blue and red browns enlivened with orange, and is further enriched at the entrance. Her diagonal arched beams, which spring from corbels carved in stone, intersect a decorated panel.
The cloister is paved in a crab orchard flagging laid in a pattern of two tones, and the patio in brick with a flagstone border. In the center of the patio is a fountain with a tiled pool. Planted against the walls are shrubs, and trees are in each corner. The trees are given brick and flagstone curbs.
A colonnade or cloister in a modern library recalls an age when such an architectural feature was considered an essential part of the library as a place of learning. Aristotle at the court of Alexander set the pace for ambulatory teaching. The Peripatatics followed his example and like their master sought the colonnade where they walked, discussed and taught. Perhaps the custom was already was already old when Aristotle walked. Strato says in describing that most renowned of libraries in the ancient universities, the Museum of Alexandria, "It has a colonnade, a lecture room, and a vast establishment where men of letters who share the use of the Museum take their meals together." It was not without thought that he named the colonnade first. Hellenistic Pergamon and other typical libraries of that period included a colonnade where scholars walked and taught.
The colonnade persisted through Roman library architecture, often in the form of a quadrangular portico, and it survived into the Middle Ages when it took the form of the cloister which carried on as a place of schooling and study. It was often fitted with carrels, or places for individual study, and it is noteworthy that the books of daily se were kept in presses there.
SOUTH AND NORTH FACADES
The south faade gains dignity throughout simple composition in which the vertical lines of the high central portion are opposed to the horizontal treatment in the wings. Upward thrusting buttresses in the wings are a pleasing foil to the banding of brick and stone.
A pair of double doors set within arches enter directly into the principal corridors of the ground floor. Appropriately, precepts of wisdom are carved in tympani, appropriately, because from ancient times libraries have made use of quotations as motives in design. Proper, too, to the library is the precept and the proverb since the oldest book that has come down to us is a book of precepts. And most appropriate that the words should be set above a door, since in that oldest book the door is a metaphor for knowledge. "The portals of knowledge are closed to no man", said Ptah-Hoep.
The left panel quoting from Proverbs 18:15 reads "The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge".
"Wisdom is better than weapons of war" from Ecclesiastes 9:18 is carved in the right tympanum.
The north elevation is similar to the south faade. A service entrance feeds directly into the receiving room and administrative departments.
The Entrance Lobby and Stair Hall
Past the main entrance a second pair of doors of bronze and glass opens into the main stair hall. Opposite the doors are the stairs, the broad central flight leading up flanked by the narrow flights that go down. Open arches above the stairs afford a glimpse of the main delivery hall. The walls of the stair hall are of Vaurion stone; the ceiling beamed in wood and paneled in acoustical tile is decorated in rich deep colors and gold. The decoration of this and other ceilings in the library is the work of John B. Smeraldi of Pasadena. Handsome bronze lamps designed for the space depend from the ceiling.
Memorial tablets with incised and gilded lettering are set in the wall on each side of the main entrance. These tablets bear the following inscriptions:
Tablet on the right
This building is erected
In memory of
EDWARD L. DOHENY JR.
MR. AND MRS. EDWARD L. DOHENY
Mrs. EDWARD L. DOJENY JR.
Lucy Estelle Doheny
EDWARD L. DOHENY III
WILLIAM HENRY DOHENY
PATRICK ANSON DOHENY
TIMOTHY MICHAEL DOHENY
AND presented to the UNIVERSITY
of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Tablet on the Left
EDWARD L. DOHENY JR.
Born NOVEMBER 6, 1893
Entered the UNIVERISTY of
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA in 1912 and
Received the degree of BACHELOR
of ARTS in 1916
Served in the WORLD WAR with the
Rank of LIEUTENANT in the NAVY
from April 6, 1917 to January 24, 1919
PRESIDENT of the GENERAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION from 1923 to 1925
Member of the BOARD OF TRUSTEES from 1919-1929
Died FEBRUARY 16, 1929
Colored marbles border the doorway and form a lunette above the lintel. The seal of the University of Southern California, in mosaic, is set into the lace pattern. The treads of the main stairs are travertine; the risers, Rojo Alicante marble. The balustrade and newels of Vaurion stone and polished Rojo Alicante marble are particularly handsome.
THE MAIN DELIVERY HALL
This lofty room extends the height of three stories. The tone is one of reposeful elegance, an effect which is gained through the poise of line with color. Rich materials speak through simplicity of design, that disarming simplicity which looks so easy to do but is so difficult. Walls of Vaurion stone rise to a twelve foot frieze of matched porta santa marble. Above this is the ceiling of wooden beams on carved corbels with panels of acoustical tile between the beams is decorated in gold and colors that repeat the rich tones of the marbles. Jewel-like lighting fixtures ornamented with pewter and gold hang one from center of the ceiling and four lesser ones from the corners. A Roman travertine floor is patterned boldly in marbles.
On the right and left walls stained glass windows are set in tall arched openings with colonnettes of Unique marble between. The glass is the work of Wilbur Herbert Burnham, of Boston. Medallions in full color are set in a field of grisaille. The field is leaded in a simple pattern. Each window contains three medallions, the upper representing a philosopher important in the development of human thought, the middle containing the seals of an American university and the lower a seal of foreign university.
The panels in the window on the left wall (the spectator faces the delivery desk) read from left to right as follows:Upper row-Socrates, Plato, AristotleOn the right wall, read from left to right, the panels are:
Middle row-- Seals of Harvard, College of William and Mary, and Northwestern University.
Lower row-Seals of University of Paris, University of Dublin, and Oxford.Upper row-Moses Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas, Francis BaconSpacious corridors to the right and left carry on the treatment of walls in Vaurion stone and floors in travertine patterned with marbles. The vaulted, paneled and decorated ceiling is of cast acoustical plaster. Exhibition cases of American walnut with leaded glass doors are built into the walls. The bronze lanterns are of an unusual design.
Middle row-Seals of the University of Heidelberg, the University of California, Leland Stanford, and Princeton.
Lower row-Seals of the University of Heidelberg, the University of Peru, and the University of Mexico.
The door at the end of the right corridor opens into the treasure room. A trim of marble inlay flanks the doorway above which a mural in gold and color symbolizes the passing along of knowledge through the printed word. This, the work of Samuel Armstrong of Santa Barbara, introduces the series of murals by the same artist in the treasure room. The door has a very handsome bronze grill.
THE TREASURE ROOM
Designed to receive the library's collection of rare books and manuscripts, this room is appropriately rich in treatment. In a niche at one end of the room and on a pedestal designed for it, rests a portrait bust of Edward L. Doheny, Jr.
A frieze of murals by Mr. Armstrong authoritatively and beautifully sets forth the history of the printed word. A wainscot of paneling and bookcases of imported English Oak extends to the frieze. The paneling is unique and is an example of the use of a mode of construction is a feature in the design. In other words, the methods of joinery, such as dove-tailing, doweling and tying with keys, become decorative motives. Carving is employed in the panels in the doorhead and in the corbels under the architraves of the windows. The round arched windows are glazed with English Antique glass in lead cames. To be noted are the bronze hinges on the bookcases, and the wooden ventilating grills.
The lighting fixtures of bronze, and the furniture were specially designed for the room. The furniture of English oak is embellished with carving. On the davenports, incised rosettes, on the tables and exhibition cases chip carved strap work. Two chairs of a throne type have carved cresting and are upholstered in leather. The seal of the University is tooled upon the leather backs. In the corner of the room a fireproof vault provides storage for valuable items.
THE MAIN READING ROOM
This is a room of considerable height extending through two stories. It contains the greatest volume of any in the building. A wainscot of bookcase seven feet high encircles the room. Above this tall arched windows reach to a painted frieze. The ceiling, a field of deep coffers with a broad border, is of cast plaster and is highly decorated in gold and colors. The walls and ceiling are of an acoustical plaster of so high a coefficient of absorption that sounds are deadened immediately. To one entering the room the silence is palpable.
The arched entrance embrasure of American walnut is very rich in carved low relief patterns of rosettes and interlaces. Carved panels enrich the jambs. The doorhead is similar in composition to the doorhead in the periodical reading room but is more complicated, the scale of the room demanding a greater complexity. Above the architrave a row of round headed panels with a clock encasement set between. The clock of special design has an ebony face and gilded hands and hour and minute markers.
The chandeliers of bronze and pewter are so placed as to distribute the correct amount of light evenly over the reading tables and at the same time to leave the rest of the room with a much lower intensity of light. They are particularly beautiful yet their general form was determined by purely utilitarian factors of the distribution of light in relation to the tables.
The furniture of American walnut was designed for the room and the tables have tops in matched veneer with simple fluting on the edges. They are supported on two polygonal pedestals with rubber tile bases. The chairs are sturdy, revealing the joinery. The floor is carpeted. The windows are leaded of Antique English glass. They are furnished with venetian blinds.
The unusual decorative feature is the use of printer' marks in a frieze painted round the room. These are the marks of fourteen printers important in the history of book-making.
On the entrance wall occur all but one of the marks. Read from left t right they are the symbols used by Fust and Schaeffer, Juan de Rosenbach, J. Froben, R. Pynson, the St. Albans Printers, Guy Marchant, J. du Pre, William Caxton, J. Treschel, Aldus, Jaun de Colonia and Nicolas Jenson, John Siberch, Bertholt Rimbolt, and again Fust and Schaeffer and Juan de Rosenbach. Above the desk on the side wall the fifth mark is that of John Scolar. Because of William Caxton's importance in English printing, his mark is used but once in the frieze, and that once is in the most prominent place, above the clock.
The mark of Fust and Schaeffer consists of two printer's rules in saltaire on two shields hanging from a stump, the two rules on the right shield forming an angle of 45 degrees. They printed the first book to contain a printer's mark. This was the Psalter issued at Mainz in 1457. This book is noteworthy further as being the third book printed and to first to bear a date.
- Juan de Rosenbach, important in book-making in Spain, printed in Barcelona in 1493-98.
- Joannes Froben, at Basel, printed the works of Erasmus. He employed Hans Holbein to illuminate his texts.
- The unknown printer of St. Albans was the first to use a printers mark in England. This, in the "English Chronicle" printed in 1483, was accompanied [sentence in original manuscript unfinished].
- The Marchant family published in Paris for more than three hundred from 1481 to 1789. The first of the line was Guy Marchant. His mark, a rebus, is based on the words "Sola fides sufficit". The sola is represented by two musical notes, sal and la, and the idea of one faith, by two hands joined.
- The du Pre family are likewise celebrated in the history of printing in France. Their activity extends from 1486-1775. The founders, Joan and Galliot are the most celebrated.
- On Nov. 18, 1477, the history of printing in English began with William Caxton's issuing of the first book printed in English. He did not, however, use a mark until 1489. His mark is a very beautiful one. It first appeared in his second folio edition of the "Ordinale".
- J. Treschel.
- The Aldine family of Venice is important in the history of book-making. The founder, Aldus Manutius, printed from 1494-1515. He first used a mark in 1502 in an edition of "Le Terze Rime di Dante".
- Juan de Colonia, "The impress of whose work is felt even at present", published in conjunction with Nicolas Jenson.
- John Siberch was the first printer at Cambridge.
- Bertholt Rimbolt is perhaps the first printer in France to use a mark. Of the four devices, which he used at different times, the rarest is here reproduced.
- John Scolar, an early Oxford printer, was from 1518 the official printer of the University.
THE PERIODCIAL READING ROOM
This room, though dignified in treatment, achieves an airiness that is in keeping with the ephemeral quality of the reading matter it houses. The wainscot of shelves closely spaced, and the grill along the base, both of American Sycamore, give a lattice-like appearance to the walls. The ceiling of paneled acoustical plaster is decorated in light tones in character with the woodwork.
Attention is drawn to the window enframements and the doorhead. The windows are arched in pairs and enclosed in a rectangle of paneled sycamore. Carved rosettes are set in the paneling above the arches.
The clock, lighting fixtures and furniture were designed for the room. The clock (a skeleton dial) and the lighting fixtures are of bronze. Of the furniture, the tables are of sycamore with lacewood tops. The chairs are mahogany. The three woods are finished to harmonize.
THE CATALOG FILE ROOM
This room, to the left of the main delivery hall, has two entrances from the corridor and two lesser connections with the cataloguing and bibliography rooms. A pleasing decorative effect is gained by the alternating rows of the drawers of files with paneling, both in American walnut. The panels can be removed to make place for more drawers when the expanding needs of the library so require.
THE LIBRARIAN'S OFFICES
These are wainscoted in California redwood done in a curious style of paneling. The floors are carpeted, and the windows have draperies, to harmonize. A warm tone prevails.
THE RESERVE DELIVERY HALL AND RESERVE READING ROOM
The reserve delivery hall and reserve reading room are planned to accommodate the hurried activity of many students coming and going between class. Here they obtain and read those books that are kept on the reserve shelves (a section of the stack) for use for classroom requirements. Four entrances to the building, one of these directly into the reserve reading room, and wide corridors permit a speedy concourse.
The reserve delivery hall which is reached by stairs from the main entrance and corridors from the cloister and 36th St. further communicate with the first floor and is enriched with Vaurion stone arches and trim. The ceiling is beamed and decorated. Acoustical tile is here used again. Opposite the delivery desk is a semi-octagonal seat of polished Vaurion stone. The lighting fixtures are designed for the room. The floor is rubber tile.
The corridors leading to the right and left follow the same decorative theme as walls and ceiling.
The reserve reading room is the largest room in the building. Its seating capacity if four hundred and thirty-six. The decorated ceiling is beamed and paneled in acoustical tile. The Palaccio tile continues in a wainscot round the room and in the parapet across the steps at the far end of the room. These steps lead to a Hoover Street entrance. The parapet has an added decorated in the ornamental tile border. The floor is rubber tile.
On the left wall a little beyond the middle of the room a door opens on the cloister.
THE STAFF CLUB ROOMS
These consist of a club room dining room, and kitchen, and are finished in an American Georgian manner. The club room is of white paneled walls. Windows on one wall of the room overlook the cloister. The dining room wainscoted on one wall of the room overlook the cloister. The dining room wainscoted in Bataan hardwood, is furnished with reproduction of early American furniture.
THE SECOND FLOOR
THE SPECIAL COLLECTION ROOM
It was the wish of the donors that there be a room done in the Churrigueresque style of Mexico. This room was chosen and creates the warmth of color and massiveness of form characteristic of the manner. The walls are wainscoted to the ceiling in selected African Mahogany. Above the chair rail burl intessin work makes use of the mahogany burl bordered with primavera. Below the chair rail panels are laid in a deep coffer pattern. Bookcases are built in; those on the west wall have leaded glass doors, the others are open shelves. The arched window openings have a carved architrave, fringe, and key-block. The chandeliers, are wrought iron, brass and crystal. The furniture of mahogany includes two massive reading tables, a side table, chairs and a globe stand. The tables have inlaid tops. The floor is carpeted.
THE GRADUATE STUDY
Done in a style terse and refined, the graduate study is one of the most beautiful rooms in the library. When knotty pine was chosen, as the wood for the room, good taste demanded simplicity of treatment. The reply could so easily have been something crude, impoverished, or worst of all "antiqued".
A wainscot of bookcases and paneling encircles the room. This and the door and window encasements and the desk are all of knotty pine. The chairs of maple and the tables of maple with sycamore tops, both specially designed, are finished to harmonize with the pine. The windows are furnished with venetian blinds. The floor is covered with rubber tile.
Worthy of special attention are the wooden ventilation grills, the doorhead and the reeded paneling in the soffits of the arched window openings. The grills flavor faintly of certain Moorish wooden grillwork.
Also on this floor are the Von Klein Smid Library of World Affairs, and the educational reading room. They have direct access to the main book stacks. Both are finished in American oak and have linoleum floors. A pleasing feature in the social science reading room is the curve of the inside of the arch in the window openings. This may be the architect's way of "fooling Chindi" as the Navajos would say. On the third floor on of the seminars is furnished with exhibition cases to take a collection of Babylonian clay tablets. The cubicles on the second and third floors are each furnished with book shelves, desk, and chair.
Text from an unpublished manuscript edited by Mrs. Roger Hayward, on the occasion of the opening of the Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library, USC, 1932.