Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Ralph Gibson McGill Memorial Library

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Institution Name: Westminster College (PA)
Original/Historic Place Name: Ralph Gibson McGill Memorial Library
Location on Campus: 319 S. Market St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1938original construction Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: local sandstone
Roof: tile
1938-present (2007)library

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

Ralph McGill Memorial Library, with its many resources for study and research, is a central part of the educational opportunities provided by Westminster College. Its name has a special significance. Ralph McGill was graduated from Westminster in 1902 and went on to a distinguished career as a missionary and professor at Cairo University in Egypt. In 1926 he drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to rescue some children. In the mid-1930s, when funds were being raised for a new library building, a major donor was John Sephus Mack, who had been a boyhood friend of McGill, and it was Mack who suggested naming the new library building for his friend. McGill was in the second generation of a family that has been associated with the college for four generations. After the opening of the Hoyt Science Resources Center in 1974, science books were transferred to the new facility. This branch library was named the J.S. Mack Science Library in memory of the man who had funded and named McGill Library, thus bringing together the names of the boyhood friends. Together these libraries house more than 245,000 volumes and subscribe to 933 periodicals and newspapers.

I. Bibliographic sources:
II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Unknown
—details: Archives, McGill Library, Westminster College (PA).

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Last update: November 2006