100 Years Carnegie

Men of Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie


Carnegie Building




Please Note

The choice of these twelve white men to grace the walls of the Carnegie Building reflects the interests of its builders in 1904. The interests of the History Department a century later are considerably more diverse. To learn more about Bucknell's History Department, visit our website.




to the History Department's 100 Years Carnegie Project

See the results of the Fantasy Carnegie Building Poll!
Whose names would we put on the building now?

About the Project


About the Carnegie Building

Bucknell received a library grant of $30,000 from Andrew Carnegie in 1904. The former library, which was located in Old Main (now Roberts Hall), was overcrowded and outdated. The Carnegie building was designed by the New York architectural firm of Ackerman and Peabody and was built between June 1904 and June 1905, with the cornerstone laid on October 20, 1904. The library was built to accommodate 150,000 volumes and opened for use in September of 1905. The proportions of the Renaissance Revival style building are identical to the Morgan Library in New York City. The original plans included two additional wings to be added as funds became available.

The total number of students attending Bucknell in 1904 was 676, ninety-four of whom were women in the separately administered Female Institute. The yearly comprehensive fee for boarding students was $260 ($240 in the Institute). Plans were also underway at that time to provide the campus with electricity.

This site provides information about this historic building, and also the twelve men (listed on the left) whose names are chiseled on its outside walls, a style borrowed from the Renaissance. Originally, there were fifteen names - Homer, Shakespeare, and Goethe were removed from the building during renovations. We have been unable to determine who chose this list of names.

If you look closely at the interior shot of the library Reading Room (5th row, 2nd column), you can see that the frieze (just below the ceiling), like the outside of the building, was at one time “decorated” with a list of names. In this case the names were chosen by Bucknell’s president John Harris. President Harris chose to include local dignitaries, biblical figures, and theologians in his line-up: Taylor, Malcolm, Loomis, Bliss, Agassiz, Priestley, Galileo, Bacon, Descartes, Demosthenes, Cicero, Webster, Justinian, Grotius, Coke, Marshall, Adam Smith, Herodotus, Eusebus, Moses, Paul, Augustine, Luther, and Williams. The names on the inside frieze were obliterated in 1937 due to a redecoration of the library.

By 1950, books were filling every corner of the library. Ground was broken for the new Ellen Clarke Bertrand library in June of that year, and the new building was opened on September 6, 1951. Mrs. Bertrand contributed $800,000 and a library endowment fund. Books from Carnegie were moved from the upper floors by means of wooden chutes.

In 1951, after Bertrand Library was completed, the Carnegie Building was remodeled to provide space for the Alumni Association offices, the Placement Office, and the Student Bookstore. The University's switchboard was also located here. In 1958, the Counseling Services moved into the building.

In 1960, the second and third floors were renovated at a cost of $72,242.75, creating eight offices and a lounge. The Alumni Office moved to the Administration Building, and Counseling Services moved to the Botany Building. In 1961-62, the Geology and Geography Department moved from the Botany Building into remodeled second-floor classrooms and laboratories.

The Carnegie Building became a source of controversy in 1997-98, when the suggestion was made that it be torn down in order to create an open green between Roberts Hall and Bertrand Library. After completing research into its architectural background, a group of six­teen students in the Art Department wrote to President Adams and published an article in the Bucknellian making a case for saving the building.

The History Department moved into the Carnegie Building in September of 2003, relocating from a cramped set of rooms in Marts Hall. The move allowed the Department to expand its facilities and to provide for greater contact between faculty and students.

Door to Carnegie Blueprint
Exterior in 1915 Original Back of the Carnegie Building
Campus in 1921 Commencement in 1931
Graduation at the Carnegie Building
University Bookstore
Reading Room in 1915
Reading Room in 1915
Book Overflow
Library Interior 1951
Reading Room in 1945 Book Transport
Library Lounge  


  1. Carnegie Libraries of Pennsylvania from the PA Department of Education


This page is part of the 100 Years Carnegie project
commemorating the 100 year anniversary
of the Carnegie Building at Bucknell University.

This page no longer being maintained

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