Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


John Stewart Memorial Library

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Institution Name: Wilson College
Original/Historic Place Name: John Stewart Memorial Library
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1925original construction Furness, Evans & Co.
Designer: Furness, Evans & Co.
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: unknown
Walls: limestone
Roof: slate
1925-present (2006)library

George and John H. Stewart were both long-serving trustees of the college. George Stewart lived in Shippensburg and was president of the Valley National Bank. His younger brother, John, had been a state senator and served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In November 1921 Justice Stewart died in an accident and a year later his brother made a gift to Wilson College as a memorial to Justice Stewart. The college chose to use the money to build a library.

The library was designed by Furness, Evans & Company of Philadelphia in the Collegiate Gothic style. It was built of natural limestone, one of the few provisions specified in Mr. Stewart's gift. The cornerstone was laid in October of 1923. The building is seven bays wide with a projecting central entrance pavilion with a gabled top and flanking crenellated turrets. Window bays are separated by stone buttresses. The upper story windows are topped with Tudor arches. The main entrance has a similar arch above it, as well as a large window in the upper level of the entrance pavilion.

An addition two stories high was constructed onto the rear of the building in 1962. It is of limestone and is flat-roofed. It is attached to the main building by a narrow stair and elevator tower, so the physical and visual impact to the main library is minimal.


Klingerman, Ethel. The Wilson College Library, 1870-1950. Philadelphia, PA: Drexel Institute of Technology School of Library Sciences, 1951.

Longacre, Judith. The History of Wilson College, 1868-1970. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997.

Proffen, Elisabeth. "The John Stewart Memorial Library." Typescript. 1998. Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA.

Reed, Paula S. Wilson College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1995.

Wilson College Bulletin. [n.d.].


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Last update: November 2006