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Smith Libraries Exhibits

Young Science Library

Edward and Anita Young, undated.

 

The current science library is named in honor of the Robert R. Young Foundation, which contributed the funds necessary to complete the library portion of the building. David Wallace, a member of the Smith College Board of Trustees (1982-1992), and the President of the Robert R. Young Foundation at the same time, was instrumental in garnering the funding.

Robert R. Young (1897-1958) and Anita Ten Eyck O’Keeffe (1891-1985) were married in 1916. Anita was a younger sister of artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and was an early supporter of her sister’s unconventional artistic endeavors. Robert R. Young, originally from Texas, was a successful businessman, stockbroker, and corporate financier. Having worked in the treasurer’s departments of the DuPont Corporation and General Motors, Young went on to become Chairman of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, and later of the New York Central Railroad. While a railroad executive in the 1940s, he became nationally-known for promoting faster, more convenient, and more comfortable train travel for commuters. In his quieter moments, Young wrote poetry, and collected books and historical documents, particularly relating to Texas history. 

Sadly, Robert R. Young committed suicide at his Palm Beach, Florida residence in 1958. Some believe it was the result of a cycle of depression that began with the death of the Youngs’ only daughter in a plane crash in 1940. Following her husband’s death, Anita fought tenaciously to preserve their railroad fortune. The charitable foundation that resulted continues to support medical, religious, and educational ventures.

Chemistry Library, Stoddard Hall, Smith College, 1915.

 

"Chemistry Hall,” now Stoddard Hall, housed the chemistry library.  The Information Technology Services administrative office is currently located in the former library space pictured here. 

Sabin-Reed biological library, Burton Hall, Smith College, November 1934.

 

The Sabin-Reed “biological library” was located in Burton Hall until the consolidation.

 

Science at Smith brochure, c1965.

 

Smith promoted its new state-of-the-art science facility as having “adequate research and instructional space . . . for both the graduate and undergraduate levels”.  The science library in Sabin-Reed Hall had space for 70,000 volumes.

McConnell Hall, a photo essay in the Smith Alumane Quarterly, Spring 1966.

 

 

Science Library, Clark Science Center, Smith College, 1965.

 

Bass Hall, finished in 1991, was the next addition to the ever-expanding science center. The significance given to an appropriate space for research materials, books, and journals was evidenced by the inclusion of a new science library in the construction.

The Future of Science at Smith brochure, December 1988.

 

Bass Hall, finished in 1991, was the next addition to the ever-expanding science center. The significance given to an appropriate space for research materials, books, and journals was evidenced by the inclusion of a new science library in the construction.

Invitation to the opening of the Young Science Library, 1991.

 

The library was a point of pride, and was given equal billing when Bass Hall was dedicated in September of 1991. The News from the Libraries newsletter for Spring 1991 proclaimed that the Young library would be a vast improvement over the old one, providing a modern environment, space for consolidation of collections and growth, and adequate computer resources. “The new facility will play an important role in strengthening and nurturing the sciences at Smith College.”