Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Sandor Teszler Library

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Institution Name: Wofford College
Original/Historic Place Name: Sandor Teszler Library
Location on Campus: 429 Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303-3663
Date(s) of Construction:
1969original construction Lyles, Bisett, Carlisle & Wolfe
Designer: Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle & Wolfe
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation:
Walls: limestone slabs covering weight-bearing concrete block walls
Roof:
 
Function:
1969-present (2006)museum (art gallery)
1969-present (2006)library (contains special collections, archives, and South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church)
 

Narrative:
The Wofford College library collections are housed in the Sandor Teszler Library, a three-level building with seating accommodation for 385 readers. The library is an outstanding example of how a carefully designed modern building can work in harmony with historic structures. Its cruciform shape and the placement of one of its three levels below ground reflect the architects' intention to avoid competing with the two towers of Main Building for campus skyline dominance.

In service since the fall of 1969 and named as one of the "Outstanding Buildings of the Year" by the South Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the library was dedicated in 1971 and named for Sandor Teszler. Mr. Teszler, who died in the summer of 2000, came to the United States from Hungary, narrowly escaping death in Nazi concentration camps. Retiring after a successful career in textile management, he was an adjunct professor and beloved member of the Wofford community.

The library houses approximately 250,000 items in the collections, including books, bound journals, and microform equivalents. In rare books are some 10,000 volumes, including scholarly materials from the 15th through 20th centuries. Also in the library are the Wofford College Archives and the records and materials of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. The building also includes the College's Writing Center, and a gallery with a changing schedule of exhibitions through the course of each year. The gallery now owns Mr. Teszler's especially fine collection of Hungarian paintings and an interesting collection of 19th century portraits.

Standing in front of the library is a significant Charles Parks sculpture, "Light." It was commissioned for the college by the family of the late William Light Kinney III '91, who died in an automobile accident in July 1989. He represented the fourth generation of his family to attend Wofford. The inscription on the base of the sculpture comes from Psalm 43: "Send out thy light and thy truth, let them lead me."
 

References:

Brabham, William H. Wofford College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1974.

Wallace, David Duncan. The History of Wofford College, 1854-1949. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1951.

 

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Last update: November 2006