Knight Library

Knight Library, April 2015. Photo by Ed Teague

1501 Kincaid Street

Above: Knight Library facade, April 2015.

Find out more about this building's exterior sculpture and ornamention.


  • Original Structure(1937). Architect: Lawrence, Holford, and Allyn.
    By the mid-1920s, the "Old Libe"( now Fenton Hall) had inadequate space to hold library materials even with its 1916 addition. Library collections were stored in several campus locations, including the second floor of Condon Hall. As a consequence of the Depression, Librarian Matthew Douglass with the strong support of Senator Fred Steiwer as able to obtain funding for a new library as a Public Works Administration project. The cost of the library, approximately $460,000, was paid through US gifts and loans and support from alumni and friends -- no state funds were expended for construction. Construction began on September 17, 1935; the new building opened on May 3, 1937. The Library terminated the south axis of Lawrence's plan which originally envisioned a Memorial Auditorium at that site. Significant additions were added in 1950, 1966, and 1993/94 but the exterior integrity, and much of the interior design, remains intact. In the Ellis Lawrence Building Survey, architectural scholar Michael Shellenbarger called the Library "a monument to the depression era PWA and WPA programs which financed it, " and "one of Oregon's best examples of the integrated art and architecture that characterized that last great surge of public building before WWII and the postwar period when such buildings were no longer in favor." The Library's rich interior features work by Fredrick Baker (lighting), Brownell Frasier (interior and textiles), exterior sculpture (Edna Dunberg and Louise Utter); ironwork (O. B. Dawson), landscaping (Fred Cuthbert); and murals (Arthur and Albert Runquist), among many others.
  • Addition (1950). Architect: Lawrence, Tucker and Wallman.
  • Addition (1966) . Architect: Clare K. Hamlin and B. King Martin.
    This addition added 100,000 sq.ft. to the 1937 building.
  • Addition and Renovation (1994). Architect: TBG Architects and Planners (Eugene); Shepley Bulfinch Richardson Abbott (Boston), design consultants.
    The third addition to the 1937 facility added 132,000 square feet. Additions were completed by 1993 and substantial renovations were finished by the summer, 1994. The $27,000,000 award-winning project was enriched by extensive Percent for Art acquisitions. As a priority for the Campaign for Oregon fundraising initiative, a third of the building's cost came through private and corporate gifts. In 1994, the building was named in honor of the family of Philip Knight, President and CEO of Nike, Inc.


National Register Nomination

Papers & Presentations

  • Bonamici, Andrew, et al. "Knight Library: History," University of Oregon Libraries.
  • Teague, Edward H.  Gardens of Delight; Knight Library's Percent for Art Collection. Presentation by Edward H. Teague, 2013.  Scholars Bank,
  • Teague, Edward H. "The Ghosts of Knight."  Recorded lecture by Edward H. Teague, 2012, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the 1937 library.

Books & Parts of Books

  • "The Library," Ellis Lawrence Building Survey. v.2 (Eugene). Compiled by the Historic Preservation Program, School of Architecture and Allied Arts, University of Oregon ; project directors, Michael Shellenbarger, Kimberly Lakin. [Salem, Or.] : State Historic Preservation Office, [1989].

Journal, Magazine Articles (arranged by date):

  • 1950s
    • "Library Addition." Old Oregon 32 no.1 (Oct. 1950): 11, ill. (drawing).
    • "Library Opens Shelves." Old Oregon 32 no.2 (Dec. 1950): 10-11, ill.
    • Richards, Keith. "The Library at 50." Old Oregon (1987): 20-23, ill.

Newspaper Articles (arranged by date)

  • 1930s
    • "Million dollar library described by Lawrence," Daily Emerald, 04/10/1924, 1.
    • "Library board moves to seek federal funds,"Modern structure will house all books. $525,000 estimate," Daily Emerald, 05/17/1933, 1.
    • "State Board approves plans for new $350,000 library," Daily Emerald, 09/28/1933, 1.
    • "Library adds new shelves for students," Daily Emerald, 10/17/1933, 3.
    • "Library plans being pushed to completion," Daily Emerald, 11/09/1933, 1.
    • "Hope rises for infirmary and library here, Projects top list," Daily Emerald, 02/24/1934, 1.
    • "Cedar panels for proposed library depict CCC activities," Daily Emerald, 05/01/1934, 1.
    • "Planned library, infirmary receive federal approval," Daily Emerald, 10/04/1934, 1.
    • "Balcony constructed recently for library," Daily Emerald, 10/16/1934, 1.
    • "Roosevelt consents to grant of $350,000 by PWA for new University library building," Daily Emerald, 01/17/1935, 1.
    • "Tentative sketch of the recently allocated library," Daily Emerald, 01/18/1935, 1.
    • "Libe space has favor of officials, Committee unanimously approves location of new building," Daily Emerald, 01/19/1935, 1.
    • "Libe fund sufficient; work will begin soon," Daily Emerald, 01/19/1935, 4.
    • "Board definitely puts library southwest of Warner Art Museum," Daily Emerald, 01/29/1935, 1.
    • "Library group meets, To make plans for new library," Daily Emerald, 01/31/1935, 1.
    • "big new library will have latest aids to readers," Daily Emerald, 02/01/1935, 1.
    • "Library plans on way to architectural firm," Daily Emerald, 02/09/1935, 1.
    • "Location! Boon to library dates, Picture of the location of new library," Daily Emerald, 02/13/1935, 1.
    • "Library group meets, To complete plans for the new building," Daily Emerald, 02/14/1935, 1.
    • "Lawrence says new libe plans need few shifts, Construction work is set to start July 1," Daily Emerald, 02/16/1935, 1.
    • "Plans for new library near final completion," Daily Emerald, 03/01/1935, 1.
    • "Committee picks figures, phrases for new library," Daily Emerald, 05/23/1935, 1.
    • "Hunter sinks shovel at new library site," Daily Emerald, 09/17/1935, 1.
    • "Massive new library to rise at Oregon," Daily Emerald, 09/17/1935, 1.
    • "Artist's sketches show how new library will look," Daily Emerald, 09/17/1935, 1, il..
    • "Building program for Oregon moves forward,"gym, libe, infirmary, work progresses," Daily Emerald, 10/03/1935, 1.
    • "Library installs Ethiopia shelf, Aid for background," Daily Emerald, 10/23/1935, 4.
    • "PWA grants extra $98,000 for library," Daily Emerald, 11/01/1935, 1.
    • "New library takes form, Excavating done; cement being poured," Daily Emerald, 11/09/1935, 1.
    • "New library will have large newspaper room," Daily Emerald, 11/13/1935, 3.
    • "Faculty studies will be feature of new library," Daily Emerald, 11/15/1935, 4.
    • "10 months will see completed libe," Daily Emerald, 11/22/1935, 1.
    • "New libe gets additional grant," Daily Emerald, 11/27/1935, 1.
    • "Concrete work for libe to start," Daily Emerald, 12/04/1935, 1.
    • "Forms ready for concrete," Daily Emerald, 12/06/1935, 4.
    • "Work on new libe ahead of schedule, Second floor forms now ready for cement," Daily Emerald, 01/09/1936, 1.
    • "Cement pouring on libe advances," Daily Emerald, 01/15/1936, 1.
    • "Work on new libe progresses rapidly," Daily Emerald, 01/16/1936, 1.
    • "Late materials delay libe work," Daily Emerald, 01/17/1936, 4.
    • "Libe second floor cementing starts," Daily Emerald, 01/22/1936, 4.
    • "New libe book stacks started," Daily Emerald, 02/08/1936, 1.
    • "Fifteen heads to decorate libe fresco, Models being cast by Edna Dunberg; browsing room plans discussed," Daily Emerald, 02/14/1936, 1.
    • "Sleet interrupts building work," Daily Emerald, 02/18/1936, 1.
    • "Work resumed after cold period," Daily Emerald, 02/21/1936, 1.
    • "Warmer weather permits libe work. Third floor wall poured; digger breaks down; ice causes delay," Daily Emerald, 02/25/1936, 1.
    • "Board inspects new library. Report is "satisfactory"; substitution possible in library frieze," Daily Emerald, 02/27/1936, 1.
    • "Aristotle's head may be redone, sculptured for new library frieze," Daily Emerald, 03/05/1936, 1.
    • "Aristotle's head may be redone, sculptured for new library frieze," Daily Emerald, 03/05/1936, 1.
    • "Library furnishing estimate. Work has begun," Daily Emerald, 04/01/1936, 1.
    • "Construction of buildings speeded up,"Good weather speeds up work on infirmary, library and gym," Daily Emerald, 04/07/1936, 4.
    • "East wing of libe covered with brick. Bricklayers will start work on stack rooms or north side," Daily Emerald, 04/28/1936, 4.
    • "Wrought-iron gates on libe to honor late Dr. Arnold Bennett Hall," Daily Emerald, 10/28/1936, 1.
    • "Seamen's strike may delay work on new library, Summary of work to be completed," Daily Emerald, 10/28/1936, 1.
    • "15 stone heads now hang high on new library," Daily Emerald, 11/04/1936, 4.
    • "Local wood carver to make panels for libe," Daily Emerald, 11/05/1936, 3.
    • "Old libe soon to end thirty-year service," Daily Emerald, 11/07/1936, 1.
    • "Lighting system connected in libe. Gates, display cabinets and wood carvings are up.," Daily Emerald, 11/11/1936, 1.
    • "Libe has $400 for landscaping," Daily Emerald, 11/25/1936, 1.
    • "New library to be finished by January 15. Will not be occupied before spring term," Daily Emerald, 12/11/1936, 5.
    • "New library balconies may form rendezvous, some of plans discussed," Daily Emerald, 01/30/1937, 4.
    • "New Library due to open April 1. Expect $65, 000 heating addition to be complete May 1," Daily Emerald, 02/02/1937, 1.
    • "New library won't be open until summer. Strike, contract trouble," Daily Emerald, 02/17/1937, 1.
    • "Spacious beuty of libe is praised by wandering reporter; will open soon," Daily Emerald, 04/16/1937, 4.
    • "Informal dance is scheduled for library opening," Daily Emerald, 04/21/1937, 4.
    • "New library to open Monday; preview is scheduled for Friday," Daily Emerald, 04/28/1937, 1.
    • "New library to be open on May 3. Reserve sections moved later," Daily Emerald, 05/01/1937, 1.
    • "Visiting crowds tour new libe," Daily Emerald, 05/04/1937, 1.
    • "Murals being prepared for grand staircases of new library building," Daily Emerald, 05/12/1937, 1.
    • "Art work in new library product of delicate work by grads and professors," Daily Emerald, 05/19/1937, 1.
    • "Individual study rooms one of many innovations of modern new library," Daily Emerald, 05/22/1937, 1.
    • "Brothers explain new libe murals," Daily Emerald, 10/22/1937, 4.
    • "Concrete driveway to new libe doors," Daily Emerald, 10/28/1937, 1.
    • "Work to begin on library driveways," Daily Emerald, 10/30/1937, 1.
    • "Libe gates designed by medieval methods, (Arnold Bennett Hall Memorial Gates)," Daily Emerald, 11/02/1937, 1.
    • "Seating capacity enlarged at Library," Daily Emerald, 01/20/1938, 1.
    • "Library landscaping allotment granted," Daily Emerald, 03/31/1938, 1.
    • "Landscape crews return to projects," Daily Emerald, 04/20/1938, 7.
    • "Libe terrace popular place spring nights," Daily Emerald, 04/21/1938, 2.
    • "New evergreens planted by door of new libe," Daily Emerald, 05/14/1938, 7.
    • "Libe temperature to be regulated at students' will," Daily Emerald, 10/28/1938, 4.
    • "Library adds new facilities to accommodate grads,"Libe equips, opens third floor room for graduate work," Daily Emerald, 01/06/1939, 8.
    • "Typists to use library, (Room 221 a typing room)," Daily Emerald, 10/17/1939, 3.
    • "New ceiling in libe, (In two Braille studies)," Daily Emerald, 10/27/1939, 1.
  • 1940s
    • "Plans approved for new lights in University of Oregon library," Daily Emerald, 02/05/1948, 1.
    • "Go ahead given on Libe Addition,"Board asks bid on $735,000 job," Daily Emerald, 12/01/1948, 1.
    • "New Libe addition approved," Daily Emerald, 12/03/1948, 3.
    • "State Board awards contracts for library, (addition)," Daily Emerald, 01/27/1949, 1.
    • "Libe extension contracts signed by State Board," Daily Emerald, 02/25/1949, 2.
    • "Libe addition parallels new autos," Daily Emerald, 04/09/1949, 8.
  • 1950s
    • "New modular Library planned for use in August," Daily Emerald, 02/06/1950, 3.
    • "Walls of Libe addition offer something new--they carry no weight," Daily Emerald, 04/17/1950, 7.
    • "Libe addition usage delayed," Daily Emerald, 09/25/1950, 8.
    • "Addition to open Thursday," Daily Emerald, 10/10/1950, 1.
    • "$750,000 university library addition opens today; stacks now accessible," Daily Emerald, 10/12/1950, 1.
    • "Fifteen sentinels guard library entrances," Daily Emerald, 10/03/1951, 8.
    • "UO Library temperature recorded; students complain of excessive heat," Daily Emerald, 11/20/1952, 1.
    • "Heat reason given," Daily Emerald, 11/21/1952, 1.
    • "University Library temperatures show drop of ten degrees in second check," Daily Emerald, 12/11/1952, II: 4.
  • 1960s
    • "Remodeling scheduled for University Library," Daily Emerald, 09/22/1964, 1.
    • "Bids for library addition fall 10% below estimates," Daily Emerald, 10/12/1964, 1.
    • "Library in mud stage," Daily Emerald, 01/15/1965, 9.
  • 1970s
    • "Library's obstacles hamper handicapped," Daily Emerald, 03/30/1978, A: 7.

Page author:  Edward H. Teague,  Updated: Dec. 2, 2014.