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The Natural Sciences Library
The library in the new Main Building was THE library on campus until 1977. It was a closed stack library, the students selected their books from the card catalog and stood in line at the circulation desk to submit their requests. A runner would go into the Tower stacks to retrieve the books. The only library that remains in the Main Building is the Life Science Library on the second floor. The grand marble staircase leads up to the entrance to the library. Over the marble doorway is a painted plaster rendering of The University Seal.
The University Seal

The University Seal

The star and wreath of live-oak and olive branches from the arms of the Republic and State of Texas are depicted in the lower portion of the orange and white seal. In the upper section of the seal is an open book which symbolizes an institution of learning. The motto is Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis (Education the safeguard of Democracy). This is an abbreviated Latin version of Mirabeau B. Lamar's famous saying: “A cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy.” This seal set within a blue disk inside a red disk, with the words “Seal of the University of Texas”, was adopted as the University Seal in 1905.

Hall of the Six Coats of Arms

The central loan and catalogue room was called the “Hall of the Six Coats of Arms.” This room is beautifully finished in several different marbles with bronze light fixtures and walnut-carved grills. The walls are decorated with six plaster emblems representing the coat of arms of the six nations whose flags flew over Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederate States of America, and the United States. Each emblem is labeled with a quotation that expresses the essence of that nation.

Central Loan & Catalogues Room
Hall of Noble Words (East Room) Hall of Noble Words (North End)

The hall at the east end of the library was called the “Hall of Noble Words” because of the noble words that are painted on the concrete ceiling beams. Dr. Battle carefully selected these quotes from a variety of sources including the Bible, classical and modern poetry, an inscription on the Temple at Delphi, and famous Texans. The supports for the beams contain the printers marks of famous early printers.

Hall of Noble Words (South End) Hall of Noble Words (East Room)

Wooden Carving of Old Main Building

Memories of Old Main

The wooden carving over the eastern door to the Hall of Noble Words depicts the southern entrance of the original Main Building.

Hall of Texas (West Room)The Hall of Texas (North End)

The hall at the west wing of the library was the Business and Social Science Reading Room, called the Hall of Texas due to the images painted on the cement ceiling beams. Each beam is devoted to representing various periods of Texas history.

On the supports for the beams are symbols for ethnicities that represented the population of Texas in 1937, with the exception of those that are already represented in the library lobby.

The Hall of Texas (South End) The Hall of Texas (West Room)

Stacks Forty Years Ago Behind the Scenes

The Life Science Library stacks look much as they did forty years ago.

Current-Day Stacks
Read not to contradict and confuse; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. -Bacon

Out with the Old Ring Those Bells Once Upon a Time Main The Genius Inside Out In the News

12 May 1999
Send comments to evpp@www.utexas.edu
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