Wessell Library, 1965-1996


The Wessell Library building was built in 1965, as the main Arts, Sciences, and Engineering library at Tufts University. From 1908-1965, the library was known as the Eaton Library and in 1996, the library was renamed Tisch Library after a generous donation from the Tisch family.

History of Wessell Library

The Wessell Library (1860-present) was built in 1965, as the main Arts, Sciences, and Engineering library at Tufts University. From 1908-1965, the library was known as the Eaton Library and in 1996, the library was renamed Tisch Library after a generous donation from the Tisch family.

Prior to the 1860-1861 school year, the library began as personal collection of President Hosea Ballou's texts and manuscripts. In 1860, that collection was moved to Ballou Hall as a permanent library space for students to have easier access to the material. In 1886, the library moved to Middle Hall (later called Packard Hall) (Light on the Hill, 74). In 1906, Andrew Carnegie donated $100,000 to build the Eaton Library, in its own space. The Eaton Library, built in 1908, was named after Crane Theological School graduate Rev. Charles H. Eaton, who was the Carnegie family pastor and who graduated in 1874 (Light on the Hill, 201). The now-named Eaton Library opened in 1908 (Light on the Hill, 548).

In 1965, the entire collection of the Eaton Library moved into a brand-new building-the Wessell Library, named for Tufts University President Nils Y. Wessell. The collection comprised of the Crane Theological School temporarily moved into the Wessell Library in the mid-1960's , but the materials were transferred to the Harvard Divinity School in 1973 after the Crane Theological School closed (1968).

The Wessell Library, which then became the main library for Arts, Sciences and Engineering (the latter department moved its collection to Wessell Library in 1990 from the Lufkin Engineering Library). In 1996, the name of the library was changed to the Tisch Library after a donation from the Tisch family (Jonathan Tisch is an alumnus and is on the Board of Trustees). The library currently houses the collection for the Arts, Sciences and Engineering departments.

List of head librarians for Eaton/Wessell/Tisch Library:

  • President Hosea Ballou (prior to 1861-1862 academic year)
  • John Barry, 1861-1862
  • A.A. Keen, 1862-1866
  • William R. Shipman, 1865-1904
  • Helen L. Mellen, Assistant Librarian, 1904-1907, and 1869-1904 as Assistant Librarian
  • Ethel Hayes, 1907-1928, and 1928-1943 as Reference Librarian
  • Raymond L. Walkley, 1928-1955
  • Dorothy Markle Union, 1955-1956, (Interim Librarian)
  • Joseph S. Komidar, 1956-1981
  • Murray S. Martin, 1981-1989
  • John E. Austin, 1989
  • David McDonald, 1989-1991
  • Jo-Ann Michalak, 1991-2011
  • Laura Wood
Collections
  • Tufts Libraries
  • Arts and Sciences Library(Wessell/Tisch), records
Relationships
Part of: Preceded by: Followed by: Associated with:
  • Wessell, Nils Yngve (1965-1996)