Archive Materials



Founding Years




Gracious Living

Broader Diversity

Forward Looking





Student Life

Historical Contexts

Wider World



The Implemented Plan

Collens' Library Designs (Exterior)


Williston Memorial Library. Courtesy of MHC Archives.


Following the Depression, Charles Collens, a principle in the architectural firm of Allen, Collens and Willis of Boston, with a fine reputation, was called in for consultation. Collens was informed of the requirements needed for a successful library expansion plan. They included the need to harmonize the new with the old, to meet unexpected difficulties with the soil under the foundation, and to continue to produce a good building for less money. He proposed a simpler, less costly addition which was dedicated on Founder’s Day, November 8, 1935.

The addition to the library is a beautiful, multifaceted academic building and is representative of Collegiate Gothic style architecture. The extension, an east wing complete with the Gothic tower, changed the library from a “T” to an “H”. The use of brown Longmeadow sandstone harmonizes with its architectural surroundings, confirming its proper place on campus. The exterior features a symmetrical front façade with a pointed arch doorway, reflective of Gothic cathedrals of Europe. The entryway was shifted to an interior focus in accordance with the orientation of the campus. There is stone, lace-like ornamentation along the building and the stonework at the top of the tower emits a feeling of strength and vitality to the surrounding campus.

For Information on the Library Interior, Click Here

Atlas Home Page

Home Page

The History of Gothic Architecture:
Cambridge and Princeton
About Ralph Cram

A Time of Transition:
Bryn Mawr
Mary E. Woolley
Frederick Olmsted Jr.

The Envisioned Plan:
Program for Campus Development
Designs for the Library and Chapel
Shurtleff and Cram Present Their Ideas

The Implemented Plan:
Meetings and Discussions
Collens' Library Designs(Exterior)
Collens' Library Designs (Interior)
Bertha Blakely's Influence
Abbey Memorial Chapel
Charles Collens Dedication Speech and closing comments

Trivial Pursuit Question





This page was created by Ellie Perrier '07 FP in History 283, Spring 2 006