Mortimer Rare Book Room History

Plans for the 1962 Neilson Addition

Dorothy King’s Plans for the 1962 Rare Book Room

Dorothy King was intimately involved in the planning for the new Rare Book Room in the northwest addition to Neilson Library. Her attention to detail for the new reading room and exhibition area, curator’s office, workroom, and book stacks is revealed in her hand-drawn plan from January 1961. She also cut out models of pieces of furniture—in two scales—in order to properly design the new spaces. Her layout specified glass front wall cases around the reading room perimeter, spacious tables for patrons, a glass-enclosed curator’s office with immediate visual and physical access to the reading room, and a separate work room with large worktables and a sink. The rare book department space was built to her requirements and has stood the test of time, although in the 1990s, new chair upholstery and carpeting were acquired, along with smaller reading room tables, and in 2002, the work room space was renovated.

Plans for the Mortimer Rare Book Room

Dorothy King. “Rare Book Room. Second Floor” from the MRBR office files
[Click on image to enlarge]