Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


M. Carey Thomas Library

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Bryn Mawr College
Original/Historic Place Name: The Library
Location on Campus: 212 N. Merion Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1901-1907addition of interior details to great hall Forest, Lockwood de
1901-1907original construction Cope & Stewardson
1936-1940addition of Quita Woodward wing Thomas & Martin
1994-1997addition of Rhys Carpenter Library Myerberg, Henry
Designer: Cope & Stewardson; Lockwood de Forest; Thomas & Martin; Henry Myerberg
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: schist
Walls: schist, limestone
Roof: slate
ca. 1907faculty offices
ca. 1907classrooms
ca. 1907-1970library
ca. 1970-presentclassrooms (lecture hall)
ca. 1997-presentlibrary (in Rhys Carpenter addition)
presentfaculty offices

The M. Carey Thomas Library retains its most significant historic fabric, including the Great Hall, the original reading room for the library, and much of the fabric associated with original construction and early alterations, including woodwork throughout. It is generally in good condition, and has sustained no major alterations, but has been added to sympathetically twice: the Quita Woodward wing was designed and built by Thomas & Martin in 1936-1940, and the Rhys Carpenter Library was designed and built by Henry Myerberg in 1994-1997.

Thomas has been a National Historic Landmark since 1991, and is nationally significant for its association with the achievements of M. Carey Thomas (1857-1935), "who broke new ground in women's education by establishing at Bryn Mawr academic opportunities for women that paralleled the highest standards in male higher education. As President of Bryn Mawr, Thomas was instrumental in making her college a pioneer among women's colleges in all aspects of higher education. (NHL Nom.)" Thomas Library is also significant as the culminating achievement of the Collegiate Gothic building campaign with which Thomas established the predominant character and spaces of the Bryn Mawr campus, and as the final work of the Cope & Stewardson firm, and of Lockwood de Forest.


Andropogon Associates, and Emily Cooperman. Bryn Mawr College Campus Heritage Initiative, Funded by the J. Paul Getty Initiative. Report. Philadelphia, PA: Andropogon Associates, Ltd., 2004.

Horowitz, Helen Lefkowitz. Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women's Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s. New York: Knopf, 1984.

Miller, Page Putnam. M. Carey Thomas Library [Bryn Mawr College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1989.

Webb, Leslie A. Bryn Mawr College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1984.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006