Tucker Hall

From Special Collections Research Center Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tucker Hall, also known as the Old Library, is an academic building located along the north side of the Sunken Garden and is kiddy-corner to the Wren Building at the College of William and Mary. It currently houses the college's English Department and the Charles Center.

A small structure was built on Tucker's current location in 1908 to house 12,000 volumes. In 1922, the College received $25,000 from the Carnegie Endowment Corporation to build an addition to the library. The renovation doubled the size of the library and improved the stack capacity to 150,000 volumes by adding a 3-story stack tower. In early 1928, the main reading room underwent renovations. Later that same year, plans were drawn up to enlarge the library once again. The design called for a 20-foot extension of the library on all sides (the building is in the shape of an H). Two 120 foot reading rooms were constructed to hold 450 students, the volume capacity was expanded to 350,000 volumes and the basement was rendered fireproof and waterproof. The project was completed in time for the spring semester in 1930 at a cost of $100,000. In 1941, a student lounge was added to the basement at a cost of $12,000. In 1958, due to increased enrollment, the Virginia General Assembly appropriated $1 million for construction of a new library (Swem Library). In 1966, the building underwent renovations to prepare it for its newest tenent: the Law School. In 1968, the building was christianed Marshall-Wythe Hall. In 1980, as the law school moved out and the English department moved in, the College changed the name to Tucker Hall in honor of former law professor and Revolutionary War veteran St. George Tucker. In 1987, the College opened a writing center in Tucker Hall.

Detailed History

  • 1908: Cornerstone laid April 13
  • 1909: Dedicated May 13, open to public May 14
  • 1923: Addition to the building--back wing making the building H-shaped. New stack room three floors high, shelf capacity of 50,000 books, provision for rearrangement for 150,000. Old Stack room converted to reading room for 30 readers, offices for librarian. Above offices is balcony leading into fire-proof vault.
  • 1929: Three-story addition: Marble staircase erected in center of former front reading room. Busts of G. Washington and R.E. Lee placed in nitches on sides of this stairway which leads to reading room on 2nd floor. Addition consists of 3-story structure between former reading room and stack room. Back part of old building to be used entirely as stack room.
  • 1930: Seating capacity 500, 3 new reading rooms, shelving capacity 400,000 volumes (contains 70,000). Third floor to be used for law students, law library.
  • 1931: Law library on 3rd floor
  • 1941: New women's and men's lounges under main floor opened, may have been used as smoking rooms, cost $12,000
  • 1942: Ivy removed from walls by E.G. Swem, causing dampness
  • 1943: Airplane spotting station moved into library tower
  • 1967: Renovation, conversion to law school. First floor offices for deans and secretaries, faculty-student lounge in front part. Across back of 1st floor in old main reading room is library room with offices for librarian and tax specialists. Second floor housed faculty offices, two main classrooms, and Law Review Office. Third floor housed the Wythe Society.
  • 1968: Renamed Marshall-Wythe Hall.
  • 1969: Moot Courtroom (on the first floor) opens during law weekend, April 25-26
  • 1980: Over the summer, the Law School moved out, the English Deparment moved in (vacating spaces in Wren, Brafferton Hall and Kitchen, and Chancellor's basement. The building is renamed St. George Tucker Hall.


  • University Archives Buildings File (2007). Tucker Hall. Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia