UVa Library Press Releases 1999 - 2000
GROUNDBREAKING FOR AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE INSTITUTE
AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS LIBRARY TO BE HELD APRIL 29, 2000
Contact: Melissa Norris (804) 924-4254 or e-mail: email@example.com
April 26, 2000 - Reporters and photographers are invited to attend the groundbreaking for the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture and the Albert H. Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia on Saturday, April 29.
University President John T. Casteen III; donors David Harrison,
along with members of his family, and Albert H. Small; and University Librarian
Karin Wittenborg will give remarks. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. in front
of Alderman Library. Please arrive early to set up equipment. The event will take
place under a tent and will be held rain or shine. Reporters are also invited
to attend a reception at 10:00 a.m. in Jefferson Hall on the West Range.
David A. Harrison III of Hopewell, VA pledged $10 million to the University of Virginia Library to establish the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture. Mr. Harrison, who graduated from the University's College of Arts & Sciences in 1939 and from the Law School in 1941, is on the U.Va. capital campaign executive committee and has been one of the campaign's most generous participants.
The Harrison Institute will encompass a spacious exhibition gallery, study areas for visiting scholars, and a seminar room for lectures and classes. It will be housed in a new 70,000-square-foot facility that also will contain the Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, funded in part with a donation by U.Va. alumnus and former Board of Visitors member Albert H. Small of Washington, DC. Mr. Small, who graduated from the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, has also donated to the Library his collection of letters and documents related to the Declaration of Independence.
Located a short distance from the University's Jeffersonian buildings, the institute and its exhibitions are expected to attract many of the tens of thousands of visitors who tour the University each year. It will offer comfortable work areas for the thousands of scholars who annually conduct research in the special collections. The Harrison Institute will display examples from the wealth of Americana in the University Library. These holdings include such rare items as original editions of accounts by early explorers, among them Amerigo Vespucci and Captain John Smith; the first Bible published in the New World, written in Algonquin for the "propagation of the Gospel amongst the Indians in New England"; plantation records of early Virginia families; and one of 25 copies from the first printing of the Declaration of Independence. The University's Tracy McGregor Library is prized for its holdings in American history, and the Clifton Waller Barrett Library is considered the world's preeminent collection of American literature.
To complement the books, documents, and manuscripts on display, the institute will mount exhibitions of artifacts from archaeological excavations in Virginia, including those conducted at Flowerdew Hundred, the historic James River plantation owned by David Harrison.
The donations from Harrison and Small allow the University to go forward with construction of the $26 million library complex, which is being financed with a combination of state support and private contributions. The University will continue to seek philanthropic support for the Harrison Institute's programs and exhibitions and for the continued development of the special collections.
Hartman-Cox Architects designed the building, ornamented with Tuscan columns, arched windows and other neo-classical details to blend with the Jeffersonian style of neighboring structures. It will be built on the site now occupied by Miller Hall, which will be removed. The University's undergraduate admissions office, currently housed in Miller Hall, will move next door to a newly renovated Peabody Hall.