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History of Green Library (1904-1999)

1900-1903 – The Thomas Welton Stanford Library was filled to capacity.

1904 – Construction began of a new library building, east of the Oval, in front of the Main Quad.

1905 – Library building completed but not open due to pending modifications.

1906 – The earthquake completely destroyed the new library.

1917 – Excavation began for a new library to be built with the latest seismic standards.

1919 – Cecil H. Green Library opened. Green Library was designed by Arthur Brown Jr. and John Bakewell Jr., incorporating the latest developments in library design, including monumental well-lit reading rooms and smaller seminar spaces, as well as state-of-the-art seismic standards intended to protect collections and inhabitants from physical harm in the event of a major earthquake. The building was constructed of steel frame, with reinforced concrete for the main floors and roof slabs, walls of hollow clay tiles, and marble, wood and brass for the interior. Brown, a renowned Bay Area architect who designed San Francisco's City Hall, included in the Romanesque-style exterior such features as an entrance façade of San Jose sandstone with relief figures depicting Art, Philosophy and Science carved over the portals. The library's site adjacent to the Main Quad is consistent with Frederick Law Olmsted's overall design plan for the Stanford campus.

1966 – J. Henry Meyer Memorial Library, the undergraduate library, opened.

1980 – The East Wing of the Cecil H. Green Library opened, adjoining the old Main Library, which was renamed as Green Library West.

1988 – The West Stacks were modernized with the installation of bracing and temperature and humidity controls.

October 17, 1989 – The Loma Prieta earthquake. The quake hit with a force strong enough to shift interior columns, open giant cracks -- some 20 to 30 feet long -- in the walls and rotunda dome, topple bookshelves and spill hundreds of thousands of volumes onto the floor. Following the 6.9 earthquake, all volumes were removed and the upper floors abandoned. Green Library West was closed because it was structurally unsafe; staff was moved to Green Library East and Meyer Library. 

October 12, 1999 – Green Library West reopened 10 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake and was rededicated as the Bing Wing, Cecil H. Green Library, thanks to a generous gift from Peter and Helen Bing. Architecture for the renovation was overseen by Fields & Devereaux Associates of Los Angeles, with interiors by Brayton & Hughes of San Francisco.