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Babson Library (RG 116)

A photograph of the building sign of Springfield College's library, Babson Library, taken in 2001. The flowers planted in front of the sign are designed to recreate the Springfield College Seal.

Babson Library

Springfield College’s Babson Library opened in 1971. Until that time Marsh Memorial Building, then called the Marsh Memorial Library, served as the College’s library. The Library is named after Mr. and Mrs. Paul T. Babson who, instead of exchanging gifts, donated $1 million towards construction of the Library on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. Mr. Babson was former chairman of the Board of Standard and Poor’s Corp., New York City. He was also an outstanding leader in the YMCA, holding such positions as the President of the Boston YMCA, Chairman of the International Committee of YMCA’s of the United States and Canada, and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Alliance of YMCA’s in Geneva, Switzerland. He received an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws (LL.D) from Springfield College in 1959, as well as honorary degrees from the University of Nebraska and Boston University. In 1959 the Babson’s also started an endowed scholarship fund at Springfield College that aided many SC students. The library was built with their contribution as well as gifts and contributions from students, alumni, faculty, administrative staff, parents, corporations, foundations and other friends of the college.

At the time, the Babson’s donation was the largest single gift received by Springfield College from a private donor. On September 27, 1969, during the Springfield College Trustee meeting, Mr. Babson said, “It seemed to my wife and me that the college was making a valuable contribution to our nation and to the world. The college provides a distinctive education for young men and women who wish to help other people, young and old, in all condition of life. We want to continue to be part of that sort of education with gift for the new library.”

The Library is situated near the corner of Alden Street and Wilbraham Avenue on the Springfield College campus. The building is a four-floor, glass, brick and concrete structure, containing nearly 70,000 square feet of space covering a site 142 feet along the entry façade and 98 feet on the sides. When it was originally constructed it housed over 225,000 volumes and had study seats for 650 students, as well as 235 carrels.

The building was designed by the architectural firm of Dalton-Dalton-Little of Cleveland, Ohio.  It was built by contractor A.R. Green and Son of Holyoke, Massachusetts at the cost of $2,000,000. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on January 10th, 1970 and the dedication took place on September 18th 1971, during which Mr. and Mrs. Babson were honored. During the dedication ceremony, the then Chairman of the Board Charles H. Schaff said, “Springfield College is a great Institution, which will be made even greater in the years ahead because of your magnificent gift.” The dedication ceremony however was held in the still incomplete building, and the Library formally opened on January 3, 1972. Over 100,000 books, plus periodicals and other materials were moved from the old Marsh Memorial Library. The transition to the new Babson Library, including the move of over 100,000 books, periodicals and other materials from the old Marsh Memorial Library, took place under the librarian, Mrs. Doris Borrner.

Over the years many changes have taken place to the library, including the addition of a ramp coming from the west side of the library to the main entrance to increase handicapped access. The project cost nearly $90,000. The president of the college, Dr. Falcone, at the time said “the ramp has been a much needed and long delayed project, the people of Springfield have been very patient with us. I’m delighted someone could come forth and provide the project for us, it is a great advancement in the handicapped access at Springfield College.” The dedication ceremony for the ramp was held on September 12th 1988. The college’s Admission’s Office also once called Babson Library home, but left for larger quarters in 1994. Today Babson Library continues to house the main library collections as well as advanced computer labs, classrooms, and office spaces for the Information Technologies Services (ITS) department of the college.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This collection documents Babson Library Building from its conception in 1967 to the present day. The collection contains facilities information; dedication materials, including photographs, video, newspaper articles, and letters; a scrapbook with pictures and newspaper articles on the construction and opening of the library; and photographs of the exterior and interior of the building throughout the years.

Of particular importance are copies of the original library building proposals prepared by Dalton, Dalton Associates, Inc. as well as what may be the original blueprints used in the construction of the building in 1970. Other blueprints include the blueprints used for the computer center placed in the lower level of the library in the late ‘90s. Also included are dedication materials, including magnetic Sony video tapes and an audio tape from the original dedication in 1971, and materials from the handicap access ramp dedication in 1988 and the Doris Fletcher Suite Dedication in 1993. There are also pictures of the presentation of the original Architect drawing and sketch of Babson to Paul and Edith Babson in 1969.