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Tour the Renovated Library
The once compartmentalized interior of the
Schlesinger Library has been replaced by an
elegant, airy, altogether inviting space. More
than a year after packing up the library’s contents
and moving to temporary quarters, Schlesinger
staff members are proudly showing off the
dramatic results of the renovation. And they
have plenty to crow about, since many of the
library’s previously hidden treasures are now
on display. (See “Treasures of the Schlesinger”
on page 3.)
Not only are many of the library’s riches
more visible, they’re also more secure. An upgraded security system and improved climate
controls will ensure that the library’s increasingly
valuable holdings are protected for generations.
In short, the Schlesinger’s world-renowned
collections in women’s history now have a
home to match the collections’ splendor.
Facade and entrance
From afar, the new Schlesinger Library looks
much like the old, but new details dot the
exterior. A wheelchair ramp winds an upsidedown question mark to the front door, at the
left of the front steps.
Walking through the new green doors,
one immediately notices the familiar stairwell,
which reveals the wrought-iron scrollwork of
the banisters and the natural lighting that spills
in through the stairwell’s many windows.
An entryway at right yields the reception
desk, where a receptionist directs visitors to
the coat racks and cubbyhole lockers straight
ahead. Here, researchers can stow outerwear,
umbrellas, purses, backpacks, and other verboten items like food or drink. They may then
move unencumbered through the building’s
public spaces, including the new gallery area
just around the bend and in front of the
Radcliffe College Room.
The Radcliffe College Room
The 50th reunion gift of the Class of 1954 has
made possible a space in the library called the
Radcliffe College Room, where seminars and
meetings can be held. In memory of deceased
classmates, the class’s gift also funded restoration of the stained-glass windows designed by
prolific Boston artist Sarah Wyman Whitman.
The windows, titled Courage, Love, and Patience,
bring a solemn light to the room.
The Carol K. Pforzheimer ’31 Reading Room
The showcase room in the new library is the
large, light-filled reading room. The doubleheight windows overlook Radcliffe Yard
and Brattle Street, offering interesting views
on even the dreariest days. Each long table,
which seats up to four people, is equipped
with a pull-out computer tray, a long reading
light, and Internet connections (the library
offers wireless connectivity). Even the chairs
are exquisite, each one custom-made by
Pennsylvania cabinetmaker Paul Downs in
Schlesinger Library
A view of the Radcliffe College Room from the reception desk
continued on page 2

News from the Schlesinger Library [2005], Spring - 1/8