Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

From the Archives: The Central Staircase

April 8th, 2018

In this photograph, we see an important part of campus that has moved many times during its existence, housed in a building that is still standing today.  Can you identify this space and where it was located?  When was this image captured?  What details stand out to you?  Share your ideas in the comments and we will reveal the story behind the image on Friday.


University Hall was built in the center of campus in 1877, and in the center of University Hall stood the library. In this image, captured on October 21, 1899, we see the library with its grand central staircase, busts and artwork on the walls, banners celebrating class victories during Field Day each year, the librarian’s desk in the middle of the room, display cabinets for artifacts, and bookshelves on the second floor.  The library eventually outgrew this space and moved in 1913 to its own building, which is now part of Stewart Center.

The image below shows an art exhibit in the University Hall Library in 1896.

Art exhibit, 1896

Please join us again on Monday, April 23, for our next From the Archives mystery photo.