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ceiling design What is now the suite of rooms referred to as the Office of the President on the fourth floor originally served as a rare book library and reading room. The central area was an Exhibition Room for rare books. The walls consist of painted plaster and several shades of green marble. The high ceiling is a plaster vault with relief decorations in the classical style.


president's office President’s Office

The room that now serves as the President’s office at the west end of the fourth floor was a study room for students. Over the entrance is the inscription: A man will turn over half a library to make one book — Samuel Johnson. The woodwork is of oak and the metal work is of aluminum. Rare books that needed special care were kept in this room along with the George A. Aitken Collection.


wrenn library Wrenn Library

The room south of the Exhibition Room once housed the Wrenn Library, a collection of six thousand rare books. This room was first installed in the old library building (Battle Hall) and later the entire room and the books were transferred to the fourth floor of the new Main Building. The woodwork is walnut; the metal work of wrought iron and the light bowls are of alabaster. The woodcarving above the door was carved by Peter Mansbendel, a prominent Swiss woodcarver that lived in Austin. The wood ceiling is painted with three groups of designs illustrating the development of printing, the history of dress, and the coat of arms of famous universities. The stained glass windows depict the coat of arms of English Colleges.

Stark Library and Conference Room

Stark Library

At the east end of the Exhibition Room is the Stark Library, currently used as the President's conference room. The woodwork in this room is of walnut, and the metal-work is wrought iron. The furniture is from Mrs. Miriam Lutcher Stark's residence. The Stark library contains seven thousand five hundred books primarily by nineteenth century English poets and novelists. A stairway leads to additional storage space under the flooring.


outdoor terrace

Outdoor Gardens

There are outdoor terraces at the east and west ends of the fourth floor, joined by a walkway. These roof gardens are planted with grass, flowers, and shrubs and inhabited by turtles. They were originally designed as outdoor study areas. In the east garden there are a few works of art including a well-head carved with cherubs by an Italian sculptor and a small bronze of a reclining figure by the renowned sculptor Charles Umlauf who taught at UT Austin for 40 years.


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

12 May 1999
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