Clark Administration Building/Library

Alice McManus Clark was born in Virginia City, Nevada. After she married William A. Clark Jr., the son of a former U.S. Senator who made a fortune in mining and railroad interests (and for whom Clark County, Nevada was named), she established an annual scholarship at the University of Nevada. She died in 1918 at the age of 35, and in 1921 her widower, a Los Angeles philanthropist, wrote to President Walter E. Clark (no relation): “It is my wish to build a memorial to Mrs. Clark at the University of Nevada, and I shall be glad to receive any suggestions from you, which I shall consider.”

President Clark knew exactly what to suggest. The University needed a new library but lacked the means to build one. When the small building now known as the Jones Center was built in 1914, it was intended to serve as a temporary library until funds could be raised for an adequate facility. Continued appeals to the State Legislature for a library had been unsuccessful, so the $250,000 gift from William Clark for a new building and furnishings was a windfall.

The donor selected the well-known architect Robert David Farquhar to design the new structure. The Alice McManus Clark Library, near the entrance to campus, opened in 1927 with ample reading rooms for the student body of 1500 and shelf space for 110,000 books. The librarian reported that “its comfort and convenience are greatly appreciated by all." The Clark Library served as the University's main research center for a third of a century.

By 1960, the needs and growth of the campus exceeded what the building could accommodate, and several branch libraries were already being housed by departments around campus. In 1962, the main collection was moved to the new and much larger Noble H. Getchell library, which was replaced in 2008 by the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center. Today, the building is known as the Clark Administration Building and houses the offices of the University President, the Provost, and various other administrators. As part of the University of Nevada's historic Quad, the Clark Building has served as a set for several Hollywood movies filmed on campus.

Images

Under construction, 1927

Under construction, 1927

A view of Clark Memorial Library overlooking Manzanita Lake, just before the building's completion, in April 1927. Photo by Samuel B. Doten, Stanley Palmer. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Donor William A. Clark Jr.

Donor William A. Clark Jr.

William A. Clark Jr., attorney and donor of the funds to build the Alice McManus Clark Library in memory of his wife. Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Campus, ca. 1936

Campus, ca. 1936

Students gather on the steps of the building in the 1930s. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

"Apartment for Peggy," 1948

"Apartment for Peggy," 1948

Edmund Gwenn in the 1948 movie "Apartment For Peggy" standing beneath a portrait inside the library. The portrait plaque reads "Henry Clayton Barnes, PH.D ED LLD, 1875-", the name of the character Gwenn portrays in the movie. Photo by Reno News Service. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Studious scholars, ca. 1948

Studious scholars, ca. 1948

Students study at heavy wooden tables in the main reading room of the library around 1948. Photo by Samuel B. Doten, Stanley Palmer. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

"Mr. Belvedere," 1949

"Mr. Belvedere," 1949

Shirley Temple and Tom Drake in the 1949 movie "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College." The Clark Building is visible through the doorway. Photo by Reno News Service. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

More "Mr. Belvedere," 1949

More "Mr. Belvedere," 1949

Bob Patten and Alan Young in the 1949 movie "Mr Belvedere Goes to College" examining a statue in front of the Clark Building. The Latin inscription "Lux Mentis Lux Orbis" translates to "Light of the mind, Light of the world." Photo by Reno News Service. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

"Mother is a Freshman," 1949

"Mother is a Freshman," 1949

Betty Lynn and Loretta Young in the 1949 movie "Mother is a Freshman" walk past the stairs of the former Stewart Hall. The Clark building is just behind them. Photo by Reno News Service. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Reading room, ca. 1960

Reading room, ca. 1960

Portraits and bookshelves fill the walls of the library's interior reading room around 1960. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

First flagstaff

First flagstaff

The University of Nevada's original flagpole outside the Clark Administration Building. The plaque reads "This wooden Pole is a remnant of the University of Nevada, Reno's first Flagstaff that was donated to the University by the citizens of Reno 1898. Originally 90 feet tall, it loomed high above the campus as a symbol of community support and national patriotism. It was placed, originally, in front of the University's second building, Stewart Hall, where it stood until 1959. Later, it was located between Morrill Hall and Clark Administration. It was moved to this area in 1998." Photo by Theresa Danna-Douglas, 2010. Image courtesy of University Archives, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries View File Details Page

Audio

"That was a wonderful place." (Dr. James Hulse)

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Video

Alice McManus Clark Library

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Cite this Page:

Amanda Buell and Reno Historical Team, “Clark Administration Building/Library,” Reno Historical, accessed April 24, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/65.
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