Cleveland Public Library--page 3 (of three pages): Brett Memorial Hall

Walker and Weeks
1925; Addition, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, 1996

Named for William Howard Brett, the third director of the library (from 1884-1918), this room houses the reference collection and serves as a reading room (now a computer "reading" room as well!). The cruciform-shaped room is 112 feet long and 38 feet wide with groin-vaulted ceilings of 44 feet. This grand space is often compared to Roman baths or Roman basilicas. The wool carpets are new, designed to match the geometric motifs on the ceiling.

Looking north toward the General Reference desk

The painting by William Sommer, entitled The City in 1833, was painted in 1934 as part of the Public Works of Art Project during the Great Depression. Murals also grace the walls on the three others sides, a result of a public competition in 1978.

Looking south toward the entrance, directly opposite from the General Reference desk

The mural above this entrance was a winner in the 1978 competition; by Robert Jergens, it is entitled Public Square.

The east end of the reading room

This mural by Ed Mieczkowski, is entitled Sommer's Sun, taking its title from William Sommer's painting above. The circular painting represents the energy and brilliance of the sun.

The west end of the reading room; monumental doorway with decorative door frame and marble columns; vaulted ceiling

Here the smoke and lights of a night sky in an industrial city are shown; entitled Night Sky: Cleveland 1978, it was painted by Christopher Pekoc.

Leaded glass windows, illuminating the room from the light well


Monumental doorway

Although this structure appears to be carved wood, it is made of cast metal, painted to look like wood. This was a precautionary measure mandated by the Board President to minimize the danger of fire. The architects were instructed not to use any wood in the construction of the library.

Return to page 1.

Work Consulted:
Marc Vincent. Cleveland Public Library: The Art, Architecture, and Collections of the Main Library. Cleveland: Cleveland Public Library, 1999.

Click here to return to index of art historical sites.

Click here to return to index of artists and architects.

Click here to return to chronological index.

Click here to see the home page of Bluffton University.

© 2005 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

Page created by Mary Ann Sullivan