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Ricker Library Centennial Lecture

Please join us for our Centennial Lecture: “Nathan Clifford Ricker: Establishing Architecture at the University of Illinois” by Professor Emeritus of Architectural History, Paul Kruty on Tuesday, November 7 at 5:30pm, reception begins at 5pm. The reception will be held in Blicharski Atrium, Temple Hoyne Buell Hall and the lecture will be in the Lawrence J. Plym Auditorium, Temple Hoyne Buell Hall (611 Lorado Taft Dr, Champaign, IL 61820).

Nathan C. Ricker was the first person in the United States to receive a degree in Architecture in 1873, he went on to become a faculty member, the Dean of the College of Engineering (which included Architecture at the time), the Head of the School of Architecture, and campus architect—designing Altgeld Hall, known at the time as Library Hall. He was a prominent figure in the formation of architecture education in the United States, even expanding the Dewey Decimal Classification for architecture. As the first student to earn a degree and one of the first faculty members at Illinois, Ricker was instrumental in building the early library collection, including his original translated volumes of important French and German treatises on architecture. These texts, along with lantern slides, photographs, and other reference materials allowed students in the Midwest to study famous examples of architecture. Upon Ricker’s retirement in 1917, the university honored him by naming the library: Ricker Library of Architecture. Art was later added to the library’s name when the Architecture program was moved to the School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1927. However, the focus on the polytechnic tradition of architecture remains central to the curriculum at Illinois and the materials originally collected by Ricker remain a vital part of the library’s collection.