Online Exhibits@Yale


The site chosen for the new library was already dense with buildings. An indoor baseball cage behind the University Gymnasium on Elm Street filled much of the central portion of the block bounded by Elm, High, Wall, and York Streets. Other properties had to be acquired by the University. A boarding house at 126 High Street was the final purchase; its owner, Mrs. Swezy, held out until July 1928, even as excavations began around it. The library’s cornerstone was laid in October 1928, and the building progressed rapidly.


Aerial view of the campus, looking southwest, 1925.

Aerial view of campus 1925; area bound by Elm St, Wall St, High St & York St, the future site of the library. 

Cornerstone-laying ceremony for Sterling Memorial Library

Cornerstone-laying ceremony, October 11, 1928. Edwin M. Herr, Chairman of the Yale Corporation’s Committee on Buildings and Grounds, laid the cornerstone, assisted by architect James Gamble Rogers.

Excavation for the future site of Sterling Memorial Library.

Excavation, January 1928, visible are the University Gymnasium and the Carnegie Swimming Pool, both demolished in 1932 for Trumbull College.  Mory’s is just visible in the upper right through the bare trees.

Nave under construction, looking west across High Street, October 1929.

Nave under construction October 1929, looking west across High Street.

Nave under construction, looking west across High Street, March 1930.

Nave under construction March 1930, looking west across High Street.