Alderman Library’s Historic Mcgregor Room Will Be Restored
To Full Grandeur As A Student Reading-Room
April 4, 2003--
When the University of Virginia’s renowned collection
of rare books and manuscripts moves into a new Special Collections
Library next year, the magnificent wood-paneled reading-room and
exhibit hall that has been one of the splendors of Alderman Library
for more than six decades won’t be abandoned.
historic Tracy W. McGregor Room, which has drawn thousands of visitors
from around the world and hosted lectures by such writers as William
Faulkner and W.H. Auden, will be restored and re-furnished as an
elegant reading room, open to all students, library officials have
announced. A new lecture series in the renovated room is also planned.
to a $200,000 grant from the McGregor Fund, a Detroit-based private
foundation, “we will have the opportunity to restore the McGregor
Room to its former use as a quiet space for reading and reflection,”
said University Librarian Karin Wittenborg. “Students tell
us that, while they greatly appreciate computer labs and coffee
shops, there is a clear need for quiet, comfortable reading spaces.”
one of the most pleasant reading-rooms in any American library,
the restored room will feature “a rare mixture of warmth and
grandeur,” said Karen Marshall, Alderman Library’s director
of humanities and social science services. “We will create
a common room not unlike those of the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge,
where often the most important collaborative work takes place”
among faculty and students. The library intends to put attractive
books in the wall-to-ceiling bookcases, unshutter the large windows,
refinish the floors, and add new carpets, tables, lamps, chairs
and draperies. In addition, a $50,000 portion of the grant will
create a library lecture series named for Tracy and Katherine McGregor.
renovation will probably begin in the fall of 2004. Unshuttering
the high windows will open a view to the University Chapel. “Students
are going to like it,” Marshall said.
the Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History, a cornerstone
of the University’s world-class collections of rare books
and manuscripts, will move to a new special collections facility,
the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, due to
be completed in the fall of 2004.
McGregor, who died in 1936, was one of Detroit’s most influential
civic leaders. A philanthropist and collector of rare books, he
donated his collection of rare and important American materials
to Alderman Library when he died. The gift was a major addition
to the library’s stature. The McGregor Room in the then-new
Alderman Library was furnished with a gift from the foundation.
In the 1990s, the McGregor Fund provided an endowment for new acquisitions
to the collection. “The new grant to restore the reading room
continues the tradition of support, for which we are very grateful,”
Charlotte Morford Scott, (434) 924-4254