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New England Carnegies

A site that honors the libraries that Andrew Carnegie helped to fund

William Allan Neilson Library

Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts

Designed by Lord and Hewlett

Italian Renaissance Revival Style

Smith College Libraries, Northampton MA  01063

Library web site:

A Brief History of the Building

1905:  Andrew Carnegie gave $62,500 to Smith College to build the library.  Carnegie had at first intended to donate that amount for the construction of a biology building.  But tensions were growing between Northampton's Forbes Library and the college.  Originally, Smith students were expected to use the nearby public library resources.  It gradually became obvious that the students needed a library of their own.

1909:  The library was built.

1937:  The building was enlarged.

1946:  The library was named after William Allan Neilson (1869-1946), the college's third president.

1962:  Two wings were added, and the existing interior was renovated as well.

1982:  The library was rededicated after four years of additional expansion and renovation.

1987:  The library acquired its one millionth volume.

2005 photos