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Johnson, Dwight A. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 51, Number 1 (Oct. 1949)

How the Badgers got a library . . . and other buildings,   pp. 4-6


Page 4


Long after we have gone
and our work is forgotten,
a memorial will stand
to this
our Centennial year.
   -President E. B. Fred
MEMORIAL LIBRARY: Capacity, 2000 students.
How the Badgers
Got A Librar,
HURSDAY, Aug. 4, 1949, the
    governor of Wisconsin signed a
    bill which gives the University
a library it has needed for 25 years.
He signed it with a pen once owned
by fifth President John Bascom.
  September   1, State  Architect
Roger Kirchhoff finished the first
detailed sketch of the new 5-story,
$5,940,000 building (see picture).
  About the middle of December the
ground will probably be broken.
  In two and a half years the L-
shaped memorial to the Badgers of
World War II should be ready for
books and students.
  But the dramatic chapters of the
library story came before G o v.
Rennebohni took the pen in hand.
By the end of June the Library ideal
had lost its unpredictable balance
between "yes" and "no" and began
to lean off the wrong side of the
legislative fence. Newspaper head-
lines read:
   Hopes for New UW Library
   Fade With Senate's Action
The new   threat was a proposed
amendment to postpone all build-
ing except that needed by welfare
institutions.
  THAT SET OFF an explosion. The
  explosion was President Fred; to him
  "hope was not gone," as the Daily
  Cardinal reported.
  4
  "He set himself up as a vigorous
one-man lobby. He phoned many
legislators at night, visited the
others during the day. In a forth-
right statement, President Fred hit
at pressure groups which were at-
tempting to thwart the library be-
cause of selfish interests.
  "A University of Wisconsin presi-
dent had not struck with such vigor
-and with such success-for many
years. When a Cardinal reporter
was at the capitol . . . a senator
told him, 'You ought to thank Dr.
Fred. He put over your new library
almost single-handed. Last week it
was a dead duck.'"
  What kind of a rejuvenated dead
duck is this library?
  Most important, it will house 2,-
000 readers at one time; the present
library couldn't even hold 400. Next,
it will shelve 1,200,000 books; pres-
ent  capacity  is  about  600,000.
Third, it will free 40 per cent of
the present building's space for his-
torical society use.
  Partly located on the lower cam-
  pus parking area and facing the
  Historical library, this memorial
building will be in modern architec-
tural style with "no columns or ap-
plied carved ornaments." It will be
severe and simple in design.
  No longer will the University be
  "in the position of a farmer trying to
  operate an 80-cow farm with a 20-
  cow barn," as President Fred put it.
* Built since the war-
     Slichter hall
     Nuclear physics lab (at-
       tached to Sterling hall)
     WARF headquarters, lab
     Faculty housing site
     Barley and Malt lab
     Short course dorms
     Enzyme institute
* Going up in '49 and '50
     Memorial library
     Wisconsin Center
     Babcock dairy bldg.
     Engineering bldg.
     Hospital additions
     Indoor practice gym
 " Delayed for lack of money-
     Home Ec addition
     Milwaukee extension unit
     Interns, Residents dorm
         WVISCONSIN ALUMNUS


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