The Detroit Public Library: An American Classic (Painted Turtle)

October 30, 2020
The Detroit Public Library: An American Classic (Painted Turtle)

For the last century, the Detroit Public Library has ranked asone of the most beautiful buildings in Detroit — an importantlandmark as well as a significant monument serving generations ofDetroiters.The Detroit Public Library: An American Classic wasborn out of "Discover the Wonders," an art and architectural tourof the main library that began in December 2013. Since the tour'sinception, around seven thousand people have visited thisstructural gem. The Detroit Public Library was the resultof numerous requests for a book that showcases the library's manyartistic and architectural wonders.As the photographs in this book reveal, the Detroit PublicLibrary stands as an enduring symbol of the public library, one ofthe most democratic institutions in America. The design of theDetroit Public Library was Cass Gilbert's vision for Detroit'sEarly Italian Renaissance-style library. This book honors his workwith a chronological and photographic timeline of the conceptionand building of the 1921 Woodward Avenue Library, the 1963 CassAvenue addition, and the library as it is today. The book goesthrough the library's transformative years, documenting thecontributions of local and national artists such as Mary ChasePerry Stratton, Gari Melchers, and John Stephens Coppin, andincludes photographs of the rooms they have decorated with murals,mosaics, painted windows, bronze works, architectural elements, andornamentation.In preparing The Detroit Public Library, the authorshad two fundamental desires, as they note in their preface. Thefirst was to celebrate the main library's design using bothhistoric and contemporary images, the latter contributed by anumber of photographers presently working in Detroit. The secondwas "to share with the world the beauty and elegance of a grandbuilding in a great city that, even through the most difficulttimes, has sustained one of the most magnificent neo-classicalbuildings in the country." The Detroit Public Libraryunites the interests of history buffs, art enthusiasts, librarylovers, and Detroit-area locals with a tribute to one of the city'smost impressive structures.This book will appeal to those looking to learn about thebuilders, the history, and the stories that brought the DetroitPublic Library to fruition.