Featured Windows, March 2000
Ladies Library Association Windows
Building: Ladies Library Association
Windows based on literature.
These two windows and several similar transom windows at the historic Ladies Library Association depict scenes based upon American and British literature.
The painted glass illustrations, together with the authors' names and quotations from their writings, are framed by colorful leaded glass borders.
The upper window represents a scene from a poem entitled "Mabel Martin," by the poet John Greenleaf Whittier. The inscription reads, "Small leisure have the poor for grief."
The lower window is based upon Nathaniel Hawthorne's book, The Marble Faun. Inscribed above the scene of "Hilda feeding the doves" are the words, "The other doves know her for a sister." Other literary windows in the building feature scenes from the writings of Bryant, Browning, Irving, Cooper, Dickens, Goldsmith, Tennyson, Burns, Shakespeare and Milton. All of the windows were made by the Chicago firm of W. H. Wells and Company.
The Ladies Library Association, organized in 1852, was the first women's club in Michigan. Lucinda Hinsdale Stone, known as the "Mother of Women's Clubs" in Michigan, was one of the founders. Its goals, reflected in the theme of the windows, were to establish and maintain a circulating library and to promote learning and culture. The Association's High Victorian Gothic building, designed by Chicago architect Henry L. Gay and completed in 1879, was the first building in the United States erected for and by a women's organization. Still active today, the Association celebrated the country's Bicentennial and its building's centennial in the 1970s by completely restoring the building, which is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Historic Sites.
Ladies Library Association of Kalamazoo was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Herman Dykema of Kalamazoo.
Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, March , 2000.