Julia Rogers Building

Designed by Moore and Hutchins
Completed 1952

Robertson Hall 1968 by Moore and Hutchins
Renovations 1986 by Cho, Wilks and Benn

Until the spring of 2009 this building served as home to the Julia Rogers Library. With the completion of the Athenaeum, the library moved to its new location in the middle of campus. The building received major renovations that were completed in 2013 to transform it into academic space. Now called the Academic Center at Julia Rogers, the facility features advanced-technology classrooms and laboratories, an international commons, the Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, the Academic Center for Excellence, and 77 faculty offices. To show the evolution of the Goucher College Library, which occupied Julia Rogers for 57 years, the history of the library as an institution is given here, though focusing on the construction of and the library's residence in the Julia Rogers Building.

The Goucher College Library, first known as the College Reading Room, was established in 1890. Housed in the rotunda of Goucher Hall, the original building on the Baltimore City campus, the library started with only 12 journals and about $60 dollars worth of books. The faculty elected Dean Van Meter to serve as the first librarian. The library soon outgrew its space in the rotunda, moving to Room 28 on the second floor of Goucher Hall by 1904. The library continued to grow, and during the early years of President Guth's administration, it was moved to the first two floors of Alfheim Hall, which had previously been the first dormitory. In 1919, Miss Eleanor Falley, who was to stay for the next 29 years, became the college librarian. Under her direction, the library was greatly expanded and received national recognition. In fall 1934, the library, which had once again outgrown its location, moved to Glitner Hall. Formerly a dormitory, Glitner was remodeled to accommodate the needs of the library, which occupied all four floors of the building.

  • Glitner Hall Library. Photograph courtesy of the Goucher College Archival Photograph Collection, 5.14.003.

President Robertson maintained that the library is central to academic life at a college, and, therefore, he chose the library as the one building to be designed in detail for the 1938 architectural competition to design the new Towson campus. Although the library was the original building designed for the new campus, Robertson and the Board of Trustees decided to first build a residence hall, Mary Fisher Hall, completed in 1942.

Because of World War II, all building was put on hold until 1947. During this time, the Faculty Planning Committee, along with Miss Falley, compiled a detailed list of requirements for the library, which were sent to the librarians of some of the most prestigious colleges in the country, among them, Harvard University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Library. These experts helped Goucher refine its library plans. Until the new library could be built on the Towson campus, the Mary Fisher Library was created as a branch of the main college library in the city to serve the students who were living and taking classes in Towson.

  • The Baltimore Sun announces Julia Rogers' bequest to Goucher College. Courtesy of The Baltimore Sun, December 28, 1944.

Goucher received a major surprise when Miss Julia Rogers, a friend of President and Mrs. Robertson and supporter of Goucher, left the college her estate upon her death in December 1944. The bulk of her estate, which totaled almost $950,000, was the largest single gift the college had ever received and came at a very critical time. President Robertson, who referred to Miss Rogers as Goucher's fairy godmother, decided the best way to honor her, a self-educated woman and lover of books, would be to use her unrestricted gift to build the library on the Towson campus and name it in her honor. In 1946, at Robertson's request, Moore and Hutchins drafted blueprints, and by 1948, there were detailed plans for construction. The library was one of Robertson's favorite projects, and though construction did not occur during his presidency, a cornerstone laying ceremony for the library was held at Commencement in 1948, the year Robertson retired.

Robertson's successor, Dr. Otto Kraushaar, who became president in 1948, felt that construction of the library was premature. He postponed building the library, giving priority to Residence Hall #3, Froelicher Hall, to accommodate all residential students at the Towson campus. Preceding the construction of the library, Kraushaar asked individuals to form an official group to support the library. In 1949, Virginia Alcock Williamson, daughter of John Alcock, treasurer of the Goucher College Board of Trustees, acted on Kraushaar’s initiative, and, along with six others, founded the Friends of the Library. This group helped promote the coming library and has remained active in developing the library, increasing the inventory and publicity.

  • The entrance to the Julia Rogers Library, 1952.  Photograph courtesy of the Goucher College Archival Photograph Collection, 3.3.028.

Following the completion of Froelicher Hall in 1950, the library became the next project in line. Moore and Hutchins was asked to create more economical plans than its 1948 designs, and by December of 1950, construction on the Julia Rogers Library had begun. Moore and Hutchins' design prominently featured the elements characteristic of the campus, creating a building of elegant simplicity. The design also could be easily expanded in three directions if an addition was later needed. Constructed by the Harry Hudgins Company, the Julia Rogers Library, at a cost of about $750,000, was completed and opened for use in fall 1952.

The Julia Rogers Library was the first building in Goucher's history to be built specifically for the purpose of housing the library. The new library, under the direction of a new librarian, Sarah Dowlin Jones, who served as librarian from 1952 to 1981, was truly a modern and advanced library. The building focused on users' comfort with plenty of light and space and increased access to books. The formal dedication of the Julia Rogers Library was held on April 10 and 11, 1953, and featured a conference titled "The College Library in a Changing World." Distinguished librarians from colleges around the country attended, and President Emeritus Robertson spoke about Julia Rogers, the benefactor of the library.


  • The card catalog, ca. 1952.  Photograph courtesy of the Goucher College Archival Photograph Collection, 4.3.121.

In 1967, a new wing, designed by Moore and Hutchins, was built to increase the library’s space. The new wing, named Robertson Hall, in honor of President Robertson, who had always been an advocate of the library, gave the Julia Rogers Library the capacity to house 225,000 volumes. In 1986, Cho, Wilks and Benn renovated the library, reconfiguring the space and improving the usability of the library. Goucher received an Outstanding Achievement Award for Design from the American School and University Magazine for these renovations. Since then, only minor alterations to the building were made, namely the addition of computers and other technology.

Reaching maximum capacity yet again, planning to expand the library began in 1997. In 2002, under the guidance of the new president, Sanford Ungar, the direction changed, and the Goucher Athenaeum emerged as an alternative to renovations and additions of the Julia Rogers Building. Over summer vacation in 2009 the library moved from its original home on the Towson campus to its new quarters in the Athenaeum. The new library greatly increased the space for technology, special collections and archives, and individual and group study areas. In addition to the library, a café, art gallery, performance space, and exercise loft were included in the Athenaeum. Portions of the Julia Rogers Building were being used as faculty offices until the entire building was renovated into additional classrooms and academic space.

Historical Photographs of the Julia Rogers Building
Exterior Photographs
Interior Photographs

Julia Rebecca Rogers
David Allan Robertson
Summerfield Baldwin
Jessie DuPont Religious, Charitable, and Educational Fund
Sidney and Jean Flah Silber
Katharine Parker Scholl
Grace Parker Soper
Nancy Goldstein Unobskey
Eleanor Kratz Denoon
Virginia and Alonzo Decker Jr.