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In 1874, the college's library resources doubled when the facility received a large portion of the library of Franklin's president, Silas Bailey. Benjamin Harrison, then a U.S. Senator, donated government publications, while both the Webster and Periclesian literary societies transferred their collections to the college's library. As a result of these contributions and those of many other groups and individuals, the college's original library located in Stott Hall was in need of replacement. George Anderson was awarded a contract to build the new library in 1903, and the resulting $28,500 building was formally dedicated in 1904. The new library was named Shirk Hall in honor of the generous contributions of the Shirk family of Peru, Indiana. Throughout the years, Shirk Hall underwent a number of improvements. Books were moved to the basement (which at one time served as the college's basketball court) in 1926 during renovations aimed at improving inconvenient conditions and scarce study space. Shirk Hall remained the college's library until 1962, when the B.F. Hamilton Library was constructed. When Hamilton Library was completed, books were boxed in Shirk and each box was handed from person to person in a line until it reached the Hamilton Library, where its contents were placed on shelves. Shirk Hall was used for administrative office space after the opening of Hamilton Library and later housed the Music and Art Departments in the early 1980s. The structure was closed in 1982 until restoration and renovation began in 1987. Journalism classes started there in 1988. The renovation and restoration were made possible by an $862,000 gift from Nina Mason Pulliam, a Franklin College alumna, and a $500,000 challenge grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The Scripps Howard Foundation also provided a $30,000 gift. Shirk Hall is home to the Pulliam School of Journalism and the Indiana High School Press Association. The IHSPA was founded on campus in 1922 by the late William Bridges and Raymond Blackwell, both Franklin students at the time. In 1975, Shirk Hall was designated as a national historical landmark and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Fetterley, Raymond C. Old Library--Franklin College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1975.