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Furness Building Restoration Project
Records, 1885 - 1991

UPG 30 F988

2.5 Cubic ft.
Prepared by Theresa R. Snyder

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.


Master plans and gala material transferred from Jeanette Flamm, University of Pennsylvania Library, 1992. Historical files, correspondence, minutes, photographic prints gift of George Thomas, 1993.



The University of Pennsylvania Trustees called for the building of a new library in 1888 and hired Frank Furness, Philadelphia's most important late nineteenth century architect, to design the building. Constructed of red bricks, sandstone, and terra cotta, the new library was dedicated on February 7, 1891. The end design was a functional one in which reading rooms, staff facilities, and book storage were located on the first floor with additional classroom and Museum space on upper floors. The reading room's height rose to sixty feet, with a glass covered stack area forming the second half of the building. The restoration project began with the establishment of the building as a National Landmark in 1985. The architectural firm of Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown, in association with restoration consultants CLIO Group, Inc., and restoration architect Marianna Thomas, was selected to begin the restoration of the building. The restoration project concluded with a celebration gala in 1991.



The records for the restoration project include feasibility studies, proposals, plans, schedules, correspondence, meeting minutes, historical data and research files, and miscellaneous fundraising ephemera. The bulk of the collection is represented by historical research files as well as photographic prints of both interior and exterior details. The collection documents the successful efforts to restore an architectural treasure.

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