AKA: Claremont University Consortium (CUC), Denison Library, Claremont, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Kaufmann, Gordon B., Architect (firm); Wurster Construction Company (firm); Gordon Bernie Kaufmann (architect); C. L. Wurster (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1930-1931

2 stories

1090 North Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711-3905

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Gordon Kaufmann (1888-1949) designed most of the early Spanish Colonial buildings on Scripps's campus between 1928-1932, including the cruciform Denison Library. Scripps College noted of the architect's Denison Library: "The Ella Strong Denison Library building was given to Scripps College in 1930 by Mrs. Ella Strong Denison of Denver and San Diego, and was dedicated on 13 February 1931. Mr. Gordon Kaufmann of Los Angeles was the architect, carrying out Mrs. Denison's wish that the building be cruciform in shape like a Spanish renaissance chapel which she had often visited in Spain. The large stained glass window in the main reading room, around which Mrs. Denison planned the building, is called the Gutenberg window. Designed and executed by Nicola D'Ascenzo of Philadelphia, this window with its Chartres blues, rich golds, and reds, carries as its theme the Evolution of the Book, with John Gutenberg the dominating figure. The twenty-one stained glass windows on the balcony and lower floor of the literature room (north transept) were presented by Mrs. Denison in 1939. Each bears the design of the mark of an early printer." (See "Ella Strong Denison,"Accessed 12/01/2011.) Another college web site stated of the building's central importance on the Scripps Campus: "Denison Library represents the symbolic beginning and completion of a student’s education at Scripps College through two events that traditionally begin at its doors: Matriculation and Commencement." (See "Denison Library Reorganization Offers New Opportunities,"Accessed 12/01/2011.)

From 1931-1971, Scripps College administered Denison Library. This changed in 1971 when the Claremont Colleges centralized administration of libraries on the six campuses. This administrative body, the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) turned over Denison Library to Scripps College in 2010. Scripps will continue to store special collections--rare books, manuscripts and college archives--in Denison, but the circulating collections will be removed to Honnold/Mudd Library. The college has vowed to maintain the Denison Building but will re-purpose it as something other than a book repository. (See "Denison Library Reorganization Offers New Opportunities,"Accessed 12/01/2011.)

Originally, a small grove of olive trees, once growing on the property of Mrs. Hervey Nichols and later transplanted, stood between Denison Library and Clark Hall. This grove was removed when the college erected the Dorothy M. Drake Wing of Denison Library in 1966. Drake (1904-1999) worked in the Claremont Libraries from 1938-1970. The Ellen Browning Scripps Reading Room was added in 2001.

PCAD id: 2572