Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


McCain Library

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Institution Name: Agnes Scott College
Original/Historic Place Name: Carnegie Library
Location on Campus: "Buttrick Dr."
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1936original construction Edwards & Sayward
2001renovation, expansion Perry Dean Rogers & Thompson Ventulett, Stainback & Associates
2002renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: clay block (original); metal frame (expansion); brick (expansion); limestone (expansion); granite (expansion, facing)
Roof: clay tile; modified bitumen
ca. 1936library
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (writing and speaking centers, instructional technology center)
ca. 2004-present (2007)classrooms
ca. 2004-present (2007)library

Significance: architecture, education, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterSouth Candler Street--Agnes Scott College Historic District (1994)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

For more than six decades the McCain Library has stored the College's "food for the soul." A contribution of $15,000 for books from the Carnegie Corporation made the construction of a library essential. An additional contribution from the corporation made it possible to commission outside librarians and architects as consultants. The building was designed by Edwards and Sayward of Atlanta and built in 1936. Originally named for Andrew Carnegie, the library was renamed for Agnes Scott's second president James Ross McCain upon his retirement in 1951. Smaller renovations occurred through the years, but it wasn't until 2001 that a total renovation was achieved.

The library houses more than 200,000 volumes with capacity for 250,000. The 2001 renovation added features that included wireless internet connectivity throughout the building, a multimedia production facility and classroom, sound-buffered group study rooms, and a speaking and writing center. Central to the academic life on campus, McCain Library also contains the College archives, which include a collection of Robert Frost's poetry and memorabilia from his visits to the College. Robert Frost maintained a 30-year relationship with the Agnes Scott, visiting numerous times during annual pilgrimages to Florida. The McCain Library houses one of the nation's finest Frost collections, including original material and a portrait of the poet.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Dedication of McCain Library, Agnes Scott College. Program brochure. 2001.

McNair, Walter Edward. Lest We Forget: An Account of Agnes Scott College. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1983.

Sayrs, M. Lee, and Christine S. Cozzens. A Full and Rich Measure. Decatur, GA: Agnes Scott College, 1990.

Sharp, Leslie N. South Candler Street--Agnes Scott College Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1994.

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

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Last update: November 2006