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Featured Window

Window of the Month
Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Featured Windows, November 2001

Ladies Library Association Windows

Building: Ladies Library Association

City: Kalamazoo

State: Michigan

Windows inspired by James Fenimore Cooper and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

These two literary windows are among similar transom windows at the historic Ladies Library Association in Kalamazoo.

The painted scenes within leaded glass borders illustrate writings of American authors James Fenimore Cooper and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A quotation from the illustrated work and the name of the writer are above and below each scene.

The upper window, based on Cooper's novel, The Last of the Mohicans, depicts two Indians examining a mill wheel and exclaiming, "The pale-faces are masters of the earth."

The lower window represents a scene from Longfellow's poem, "The Courtship of Miles Standish." John Alden, who loves the maiden Priscilla, has been sent by Captain Standish to ask her to marry the Captain. The quotation reads, "Puritan flowers he said and the type of Puritan Maidens," lines from a passage in which Alden gathers May-flowers and compares them to "modest and simple and sweet" Priscilla. Other transom windows contain additional scenes from American and British literature.

Organized in 1852, the Ladies Library Association was the first women's club in Michigan. Its High Victorian Gothic building, designed by Chicago architect Henry L. Gay, was completed in 1879, the first building in the United States to be erected for and by a women's organization. Its windows were created in 1878 by the Chicago firm of W.H. Wells and Company. To see similar transom windows in the same building, visit the Windows of the Month for March, 2000.

Ladies Library Association of Kalamazoo was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Herman Dykema of Kalamazoo

(MSGC 1996.0013)

Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, November , 2001.