Celebrate Sarah Shannon Stevenson Day, Tuesday, Sept. 18

How the Sarah Shannon Stevenson Science & Engineering Library Came To Be


According to memos and files in Special Collections, the Science & Engineering Library developed in the following manner.


Sept. 1964

Chemistry, geology, and physics departmental libraries were merged to form a Science Library, located on the 7th floor of the “Chemistry Building.”


July, 1969

Newly acquired engineering materials were sent Science instead of Central.  The old collection remained in Central.  (The  memos about managing card sets…amazing…)


April, 1972

The Science Library moved to new quarters in the Stevenson Center.


April, 1972

The Biology departmental library moved to new quarters in Stevenson.


August, 1972

The math collection was moved from Central to Science.


July, 1972 – Jan, 1974

The legacy engineering collection was moved from Central to Science.


The Stevenson Center was dedicated on Friday, May 5, 1972, with remarks by Wendall Holladay and Alexander Heard.  The dedication ceremony was held in the breezeway, with chairs set up facing the lucite sculpture.  Mr. Eldon Stevenson and Mrs. Sarah Shannon Stevenson were guests of honor.  Mr. Stevenson was a member of the Board of Trust, and he led the fund-raising effort that resulted in the building of the Stevenson Center.


According to a library memo, the library was officially named the Sarah Shannon Stevenson Science Library in September, 1976 (no specific date identified).  The “engineering” addition to the name came later.  Little is known about Mrs. Stevenson, but what we do know is tantalizing.  She enjoyed a game of poker, along with a glass of whiskey.  She was known for her joie de vivre and sassy remarks.    She enjoyed her beach summer home in North Carolina.  She was a two-time President of the Junior League.  All the photographs of her in Special Collections show that she favored crisp suits and white gloves.    Her portrait, painted by Hungarian-American artist Sandor Bodo, shows her snappily dressed, replete with a gold lamé shawl.  In short, we in the Science & Engineering Library are quite fond of Sarah Shannon Stevenson.


To honor Mrs. Stevenson and the naming of the library for her in September, 1976, we are holding Sarah  Shannon Stevenson Day on September 18.  Join us in the Science & Engineering Library for some popcorn, a trivia contest, and a drawing for a special “Sarah Shannon Stevenson Day” t-shirt.

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