And Now for the Electricals…


Here and there we found reference to an Electrical Engineering Library before 1900. We think we have now found where it was. In The Transit Volume 4, No. 2 (June 1896) is a description of the curriculum in Electrical Engineering. The Physical Laboratory was on the first floor and in the basement of North Building (Old North Hall), which was adjacent to Old Capitol. The description of the curriculum includes this passage:

“In the library of the laboratory the student has access to a number of journals, including the Philosophical Magazine, the Physical Review, Wiedemann’s Annalen and Beiblaetter, the American journal of Science, L’Eclairage Electrique, Elektrotechnische Zeitschrift; the (London) Electrician, the Electrical Engineer, etc. A large number of bound volumes of these journals are available. There is a considerable number of carefully selected treatises and manuals, scientific papers, dictionaries, etc., forming a useful working library.”

The catastrophic fire of 1897 that destroyed most of the General Library, which was on the top floor of Old North Hall, did little damage to physical sciences books. These were elsewhere. They were saved because they were in the lab on the lower levels of Old North Hall which did not burn.

Where the physical sciences books and labs were relocated after the North Hall fire is not known, but by 1906 there was a general Engineering Library in what is now Seamans Center, and both Electrical Engineering labs and a Physics Library were present in Maclean Hall by 1913.