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The Founders Library Building: Pictorial History
See also:     Albert I Cassell and The Founders Library: A Brief History
  The Founders Renaissance Initiatives

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Front Entrance Inscription
 
   
In 1929, Congress appropriated over one million dollars for the construction of a new library at Howard University. The cornerstone was laid on June 10, 1937, and the building opened for service on January 3, 1939. The building is named The Founders Library in honor of the 17 men who founded the institution and to whom the charter for Howard University was issued. Founders, as the library is often called, is located on the site of the historic Main Building in which the general library collection was housed from the late 1800s until the first library building was erected by Andrew Carnegie.
 
Front View
 
 
Secretary of Interior Harold L. Ickes presents key to Dr. Jesse Moorland
with president Mordecai W. Johnson (center)
at opening ceremony, 1939
 
  Founders received national attention when it was completed. Newspaper reporters compared it to "Aladdin's Palace" and a "fairyland." Much was said about the $1,000 gold spire and the giant clock with $10,000 in chimes that stroked every half hour. But as Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, said on the occasion of the Library's dedication in 1939, "A library is more than a building, it is more than the volumes that rest upon its shelves... Let us hope that the library, by ever remaining an inexhaustible well of human wisdon and experience, shall help one of the genuinely creative sectors of our population to achieve the more abundant life."
  Albert I. Cassell, FAIA, is the architect of The Founders Library and several major buildings on the Howard University main campus. He lived for 74 years during a period of American history when professional opportunities in architectural design and construction were severely limited for African Americans. Nevertheless, with native talent, unique drive, and incurable optimism, he was able to surmount the obstacles of poverty and rigid racial prejudice.

 

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