Stanford White pp 221-226 | Cite as

The University of Virginia, New York University and Columbia College

  • Charles C. Baldwin


The earliest college buildings in America—at Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale—were in the same vein of barren simplicity as the early churches. Essentially they were barracks, justifying, in spite of the pleasant texture of their brickwork, the scornful later comment of Jefferson: “But that they have roofs, they might be mistaken for brick kilns.” It was not until after the Revolution— when Jefferson himself supplied the plans—that the function of collegiate architecture came to be understood.


Brick Kiln Mural Painter Democratic School Barren Simplicity Early Church 
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  1. 1.
    According to the Illustrated American of that year, “the most successful and sought after mural painter in America.”Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    “I disagree with you,” says Lawrence Grant White. “I think the Columbia Library is, to choose its counterpart, better than the Library at New York University. It is on a grander scale, more imposing, even though the reading room is perhaps a little overpowering in its austerity.” But I object to the grandeur and austerity of Columbia. After all, Einstein—to name but one of the fine scholars of the day—is a simple, and not an awe-inspiring, person. And we need Einsteins if we are to make this world habitable for unpretentious men and women. We have had enough and too much of grandeur and austerity.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Montgomery Schuyler was the ablest critic of architecture of his day and generation, and usually an admirer of McKim and all McKim’s work.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    “For the third time,” says Larry White, “I must interrupt. I think the Columbia Library gains immensely from its setting and by contrast with the lesser buildings. Their brick serves as a foil for the culminating mass of the Library. However, you are right: it is interesting to compare the two universities and to see how the two partners solved two very similar problems. As you know, in front of the Columbia Library there is an inscription to McKim; and the bronze doors on the Library at New York University arc a memorial to my father.”Google Scholar

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© Charles C. Baldwin 1931

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  • Charles C. Baldwin

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