'Chalices of Words and Light' to explore Williams College libraries


Williams now has four freestanding campus structures built to be libraries. Each was designed by an architect of national distinction: Lawrence Hall was designed by Thomas Tefft in 1846; Stetson Hall was designed by Ralph Adams Cram in 1923; the existing Sawyer Library was designed by Ben Weese in 1970; and the new Sawyer library, scheduled to open later this year, was designed by Peter Bohlin of BJC Architects.

Schow Science Library, dedicated in 2000, is part of the Morley Science Laboratory, connecting Thompson's physics, chemistry, and biology labs. Lewis will explain how each successive library differs radically in form and style from its predecessor and illustrates the changing nature of the college over time.

Lewis will talk about each library and the ways it represents a different understanding of books and the nature of reading. The four different buildings show that the idea of a house for books has always been in flux. The talk is based on a lecture Lewis gave for Williams' Art History 101 course last fall.

Lewis has taught American art and architecture at Williams since 1993. He has taught also at Bryn Mawr College; McGill University; and the University of Natal, South Africa. He has published many books, including "Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind" (2001), "The Gothic Revival" (2002), "American Art and Architecture" (2006), and the award-winning "August Reichensperger: The Politics of the German Gothic Revival" (1993). His areas of research include architectural theory, utopian and communal societies, and the nature of creativity. In 2008, Lewis received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support a study of millennial town planning.

The event is sponsored by the art and history departments, the graduate program in art history, Williams College Libraries, and the communications office.


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