A New Library
In 1918 John William Sterling, a wealthy Yale alumnus, bequeathed $17 million to the University, stipulating only that Yale build “at least one enduring, useful, and architecturally beautiful edifice, which will constitute a fitting memorial of my gratitude to and affection for my alma Mater.” Yale determined that the principal memorial should be a new library building. University Librarian Andrew Keogh worked closely with the architect James Gamble Rogers on the edifice that would be the centerpiece of a new Collegiate Gothic campus, many of its buildings funded by Sterling’s bequest.
John William Sterling, Yale B.A. 1864.
Andrew Keogh came to Yale as a graduate student in 1899, earning an M.A. in 1904. He served as Linonia & Brothers Librarian (1899–1900), Reference Librarian (1900–1916), and Acting Librarian (1916) before being appointed University Librarian, a position he held from 1916 until 1938.
James Gamble Rogers, Yale B.A. 1889, assumed responsibility for the design of the library in 1924 after the death of Bertram G. Goodhue, the architect selected by the trustees of Sterling’s estate. Rogers, whose first Yale commission was the Memorial Quadrangle (1917–21), had been the University’s consulting architect since 1920. He served as Architect for the General Plan of the University from 1924 to 1931.
James Gamble Rogers, rendering of the High Street facade of Sterling Memorial Library.
A first-floor plan for Sterling Memorial Library, 1928.