The Yard at Howard University. A sacred place. And it’s crown jewel is Founders Library. Named for the 17 men who signed the charter to signal the creation of Howard University, Founders Library is the most recognizable physical feature of the university. Founders sits atop one of the highest hills in Washington, D.C. and its tower is a prominent figure in the Northwest Washington skyline.
Designed as part of a conceptual plan to expand Howard University, Founders was built with the future in mind. Founders Library was designed by architect Louis E. Fry Sr. who worked under Albert Cassel. Founders would be the last building Cassel oversaw for the university. Read more about the founding here, here and here.
As a student of Howard University I pass Founders Library everyday and I am still fascinated by its architecture and its sheer presence. With an initial appropriation of 1 million dollars from the United States Congress, at the time of its completion Founders was the most expensive building on a college campus in America. Though it took ten years from the original appropriation to the library’s completion in 1939, no expense was spared during construction. We’re talking 1,000 dollar rugs. Soundproof walls accompanied by cork and rubber floors to reduce the sound imprint in the reading rooms. The design team had a wonderful vision for what Founders Library would represent not only then but for future generations. They understood the importance of library to a college and gave Howard Univesity the ability to stake it place as the Mecca of black education. Howard Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior at the time, spoke at the library’s dedication in 1939, “A library is more than a building, it is more than than the volumes that rest upon its shelves… Let us hope that the experience, shall help one of the genuinely creative sectors of our population to achieve the more abundant life.”
The architects had the vision. And for this I will forever have a better photo with Founders in it.
All image (unless noted) were shot on a Minolta X-570.
“worldview through a viewfinder.”