Doe Centennial 1912-2012
Logo: Heart of the Campus: Doe Library 1912-2012
Exhibit Home
Overview of the Exhibit
Cornerstone Laying and Dedication
Charles Franklin Doe, Benefactor
John Galen Howard, Architect
Joseph C. Rowell, University Librarian
Building Doe Library
Early Collections
Faculty and the Library

Overview of the Exhibit

Today the Charles Franklin Doe Memorial Library is a strong symbol of the entire campus system of over 30 library locations. One hundred years ago, Doe Library was the main campus library. But even before the collections were housed in Doe there were at least two other library locations on campus. 1500 volumes made up the original collection that moved to the new Berkeley campus in 1873 from the former College of California collection. It comprised many general and religious texts of the time. This initial collection was first housed in South Hall (still standing today) at one end of the building, while the chemistry department was the other, reportedly helping to keep the collection sufficiently fumigated to aid in its preservation. Then the collections moved to the new Bacon Library and Art Museum, built in 1881 to house the growing collections, now numbering some 17,000 volumes.

In 1898, Phoebe Apperson Heast sponsored a competition to design a master plan for the growing Berkeley campus. The winning architect was Émile Bénard of Paris. Soon after his arrival, however, Bénard had difficulties working with campus officials and in taking suggestions. Eventually the competition jury decided against Bénard and turned to John Galen Howard, who was already supervising architect on campus. Howard was trained in Paris in the Beaux-Arts school. The Library became a key component in his architectural plan. Indeed many consider Doe Library to be his masterpiece.

Funding for the library came from the estate of Charles Franklin Doe, who died in 1904. Doe and his brother Bartlett manufactured doors and window casings. Doe found further fortune in the lumber business. Leaving his money to build a library was very appealing to Doe.

Ground was broken for the library in 1905, and the cornerstone laid on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1908. Doe Library was finished in 1911 and opened to students in time for summer session that year. The new Charles Franklin Doe Memorial Library was formally dedicated on Charter Day, March 23, 1912.

Looking at the façade of Doe Library and at the tops of the Doric columns you will see open books faced out, symbolic of the emanation of knowledge out from where the knowledge is kept. After 100 years, our students, faculty and library community still depend on the library for their information needs. We look forward to our next century as we celebrate the first.


Cornerstone Laying and Dedication >