Beinecke Reading Room

Reading room in Beinecke Library, looking onto the sculpture gardenBeinecke Reading Room underground from the Claes Oldenberg “Lipstick on Caterpillar Tracks”.

Gordon Bunshaft’s almost brand new Beinecke was a jewel box lit from within glowing through the Vermont marble facade housing stacks of beautiful bindings in a multi-story bronze and glass vitrine. Blonde wood and neutral carpet. Wearing light cotton gloves so as to not get perspiration on the fragile works and endless treasures. Holding a newspaper from pre-revolutionary Philadelphia reporting the comings and goings of ships and cargoes in harbor, the type crisply embossed into the newsprint. Falling into box after box of Paul Strand’s platinum prints their nearly infinite gray scale. A tiny Louis XV child’s chair from Gertrude Stein’s apartment, with a Picasso design needlepoint-covered seat, embroidered by Alice B. Toklas. Regret that I didn’t spend more of my time at Yale there.

Joshua Shapiro

Beinecke Rare Book Library

Inside the Beinecke Rare Book Library, on the second floor mezzanine, with the glowing stacks and the translucent marble wall panelsMy favorite place at Yale has always been the Beinecke Rare Book Library. Especially impressive are the translucent marble walls as seen from the interior: both functional and beautiful. Also the massive glass-encased column of books, and the rotating exhibits, with “Birds of America” and 1 or 2 Gutenberg bibles almost always present.

Beinecke typifies much of what is great about Yale: world-class collections, spectacular architecture, generous alumni support, and openness to the larger community without oppressive security. Whenever I had visitors–parents, friends, other guests–it would be our first stop.

– John Apruzese