Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Friedsam Library

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Institution Name: St. Bonaventure University
Original/Historic Place Name: Friedsam Library
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1937original construction Oakley, Chester
1974addition Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick
Roof: terra cotta tile
ca. 1937-present (2007)library

Significance: architecture, history
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Friedsam Library was originally constructed in 1937, in the ornate brick and terra cotta style of the old part of the University campus. With several other buildings, it constitutes a unique grouping. The building and its neighbors were designed by noted Buffalo architect Chester Oakley, and the Florentine architecture creates a link with the University's intellectual roots in the Italy of St. Francis and St. Bonaventure. Architectural features include an ornate entry surmounted by a relief depicting Mary highlighted in gold leaf, a vaulted lobby, and an exceptional reading room.

A substantial addition was made to the library in 1974. This addition faces the newer portion of the campus, and respects the original architecture in dramatic fashion by including originally exterior walls in a three-level stair lobby.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Angelo, Mark V. The History of St. Bonaventure University. St. Bonaventure, NY: Franciscan Institute, 1961.

Beardsley, Irene J. "Friedsam Memorial Library." Typescript. 1992. Archives, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY.

Dedication Program, Friedsam Library. [St. Bonaventure College: St. Bonaventure College], March 7, 1938.

Eaton, Betty. "Chester Oakley: His Work on the St. Bonaventure University Campus." Typescript. Spring 1983. Archives, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY.

"Friedsam Library Blends Beauty With Usefulness." Bona Venture, March 11, 1938. St. Bonaventure University, Bonaventure, NY, 1.

Herscher, Irenaeus, attr. "Jewels in Our Crown: Welcome to the St. Bonaventure University Campus." Archives, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY.

O'Neill, Megan. "Buildings of Saint Bonaventure." Online (2006). St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY.

Sister Rita. "Friedsam Memorial--Florentine Gem." Manuscript. 1964. Archives, St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office

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