Friedsam Memorial Library (1937)
Merton Tour Stop #1
Thomas Mertonís original experience of the St. Bonaventure campus was with
Robert Lax. Lax, a fellow
Ground was broken for the construction of Friedsam Library on May 21, 1937.
Father Albert O'Brien, O.F.M., the Librarian at the time, was instrumental in promoting the funding of a new building to take the place of the Alumni Hall library facilities. Those funds came from the Friedsam Foundation, created on the death of Colonel Michael Friedsam. Colonel Friedsam left his fortune for "the care and education of the young, and the care and comfort of the aged." Father Albert also worked with architect Chester Oakley in designing the facility. Unfortunately, Father Albert died in an accident shortly after the building began and never saw the end result of his efforts. The cornerstone of the new library was laid the same day as his funeral as a further memorial.
Building proceeded quickly and, on February 17, 1938, led by the President of the College, The Rev. Thomas Plassman, O.F.M., the student body formed a book brigade to move the 40,000 volumes of the library collection to their new home.
Father Irenaeus Herscher, O.F.M., who joined the library in 1934, became director on the death of Father Albert and continued to build the collection, which includes many rare items along with the more mundane materials which are generally more useful to the students who frequent the building. Father Irenaeus presided over a doubling in size of the library stack area with an addition to the building in 1963.
Another major addition was made to the facility in 1973-74.
Dedication, Friedsam Library, St. Bonaventure College, St. Bonaventure, N.Y., 7 March 1938.
"More Fame for St. Bonaventure." Olean Times Herald. 28 Sept. 1974, p. 16.
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For more information about this building, visit
the St. Bonaventure University Archives in Friedsam Library.
Last updated: 11/03/06