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​Historic Knight Library: Art & Architecture

Guide to the art and architecture of the 1937 historic Knight Library, University of Oregon, Eugene.

BUILDING THE LIBRARY, ETCHINGS BY GILKEY

Artist: Gordon W. Gilkey.

As a graduate student in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, Gordon Gilkey was given permission to make his thesis project the documentation of the building of the new library with a series of etchings.  The thesis was completed in 1936 with the title, “A Series of Etchings Showing Construction Progress of the University of Oregon Library.”  A copy is located in Special Collections and University Archives as are some of the original engraved plates. Rowe Conference Room in the library has some framed prints. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art also holds the print collection. The prints are described below.

First Floor Plan 6 ¾" x 5 ¾"
Excavation 6 ¾" x 5 ¾"
The Diggers 4 ¾" x 6 ¾"
Bed Rock 7' x 9 ¼"
Concrete Mixer 10 ½” x 7"
Forms 5 ½” x 8 ¼"
Pouring the floor 8 ¼" x 6 ¾"
First Floor Up 7 ¾” x 5 ¾ "
Second Floor Construction 8 ¾" x 7 ½" 
Columns and Beams 7 ¼” x 9 ¾"
Fresh Concrete 5 ¾"x 7 ¼"
Stair Construction 6 ¾" x 8 ¾"
Three Floors Up 6 ¼" x 9"
The Mass Begins to Show 9 ¾” x 7 ¼”
Slacking Lime 5 ¾” x 6 ¼”
Skeleton of the Reading 8 ¼” x 10 ¼”
Ready for Plaster 6 ¼” x 8”
Bricklayers 5 ½” x 8 ¼”
The Stack Wing 6 ½” x 8 ½”
The Christ-Cornice Detail 6 ¼” x 9 ¼”
Detail of the Cornice 6 ¼” x 10 ¼ “
The Rear Construction 8” x 7”
The Cresting 5 ¼” x 8 ¼”
Balcony 6” x 8 ¼ “
Stairs 6 ¼” x 8 ¼”
The Front 7 ½” x 6 ½”
Detail-Main Reading Room 5” x 8 ½”
Detail-Hall Memorial Gates 3 ½” x 6 ¾”
In the Stacks 3 ¾” x 6 ¼”
East Main Entrance 5 ¾” x 7 ½”

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Gordon Gilkey Demonstrating a Printmaking Technique (1951).
(Courtesy of OSU Special Collections & Research Center; 
Oregon Digital).

SOURCES

Gilkey, Gordon. "A Series of Etchings Showing Construction Progress of the University of Oregon Library." University of Oregon, 1936.

"New Library Etchings Placed on U of O Shelf."  Oregon Daily Emerald, January 13, 1937. 

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