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The CCDL (Claremont Colleges Digital Library) provides access to many materials from Library Special Collections that depict the history of Honnold/Mudd Library.

Honnold/Mudd Library: A Brief History

In January 1946, there were three libraries on the campuses of The Claremont Colleges. At that time, Librarian Willis Kerr presented a plan to have one central library, advocating the advantages of "centralized completeness and service." Later that spring, Mr. and Mrs. William Lincoln Honnold announced their intent to donate a central library building to The Claremont Colleges. From these two events Honnold Library was born.

Embracing Willis Kerr's plan, The Colleges came to an agreement, land was acquired contiguous to the existing four colleges, plans were drawn up, orange groves were uprooted, and construction was begun. Honnold Library was dedicated at 10 a.m., October 23, 1952, in the presence of Mrs. Honnold. Mr. Honnold had died May 6, 1950 and did not see the building that bears his name. Harvey S. Mudd, Chairman of the Board of Fellows, said at the ceremony that the library was as Mr. Honnold would have wished, "a simple building...designed for enduring use, and to promote sound scholarship...." Dr. David W. Davies, Honnold's first Head Librarian, stated, "I am probably the only librarian in the United States who has been given all the equipment and the kind of equipment he has asked for."

When Honnold opened its doors, there were 297,000 volumes in the library. In 1965, a $5 million Ford Foundation grant greatly increased the collection, and by 1971, inventory in the four libraries of The Claremont Colleges stood at 727,000 volumes. In 1979, the libraries' first computer system was activated, in time for the one-millionth volume to be added via computerized cataloging the following year. It only took six more years to reach one and a half million volumes. In 1990 a new computer system, including Blais, the online catalog, named for James Blaisdell, was brought online. Today the collection includes approximately 2 million volumes, access to articles in more than 60,000 periodicals, more than 30,000 reels of microfilm, and over 1 million microfiche and microcards.

The building itself has been expanded three times. First, a South Wing was added to the original Honnold building in 1956. Seeley W. Mudd Library, joined to Honnold by a pedestrian bridge, was dedicated in September 1970, increasing the stacks area and study space. Most recently, in 1987, the New Library addition was constructed between the Honnold and the Mudd buildings, and a seven-level Multi-Tier Stack was added inside the Mudd building. These additions created the current Honnold/Mudd Library of The Claremont Colleges, a 353 foot long complex joining old and new.

Students who used Honnold Library in 1952 would find many changes in the 21st-Century Honnold/Mudd Library. The massive card catalog is gone; instead there is a web-based online catalog accessible worldwide any time, from computers on all the floors of the library, and from outside via the Internet. Photocopiers? Not in 1952. In place of the 1952 brown linoleum, there is quiet carpeting. But beyond the changes wrought by technology and expansion, the present library is still in many ways the same place it was almost fifty years ago. It is a place to study, a place to learn, a place to find research help, and a place to absorb the scholarship of the centuries, whether on a computer screen, in a new paperback, or in the pages of a well-worn leather-bound edition, as important to students and faculty today as it was in 1952.

The Architects:

  • Honnold: Gordon Kaufman, Los Angeles, who also designed much of Scripps College.
  • Seeley W. Mudd: Flewelling and Moody, Los Angeles.
  • New Library: Maris Peika for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, Los Angeles.
The Library Directors:
  • David W. Davies, 1947-1967. B.A, Univ.of California, Los Angeles; M.A., Univ. of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., Univ. of Chicago.
  • Walter E. Niilus, Acting Librarian, 1967. Magister Philosophiae, Univ. of Tartu, Estonia.
  • Richard D. Johnson, 1968-1973. B.A.,Yale; M.A., Univ. of Chicago; M.A., Graduate Library School, Univ. of Chicago.
  • George M. Bailey, Acting Director, 1973-74. B.A., Franklin and Marshall College; M.A., University of Pennsylvania; M.L.S., University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  • Patrick Barkey, 1974-1988. B.A., Pomona College; M.A.L.S., Univ. of Michigan.
  • Eleanor A. Montague, Acting Director, 1988-1990. B.A., M.A., Univ. of Chicago; M.A., Claremont Graduate School; M.B.A., Univ. of Santa Clara.
  • Bonnie J. Clemens, 1990-2008. B.S., Louisiana Tech Univ.; M.L.S., Louisiana State Univ.; Ph.D., Florida State Univ.
  • John McDonald, 2008-2011. B.A., Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; M.L.I.S., Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
  • Jason Price, Interim Library Director, 2012-2013. Dual B.A., Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Ph.D,Indiana University Bloomington; M.L.S, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Kevin Mulroy, A.J. McFadden Dean of the Library, 2013 - present. B.A.(Hons) Manchester Polytechnic, England; M.A. Keele University, England; Ph.D. Keele University, England; M.L.S. Rutgers University
For more information on the history of The Claremont Colleges Library, consult An Unfinished Dream, by Robert J. Bernard (HON LD1015 C42 B4X), and Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library.

Last updated: 9/25/2017 8:55:00 AM