Hathorn Hall

The first library (1857-1902)

1855 The Maine State Seminary is founded.
1857 The Maine State Seminary opens with a class of 84 men and 53 women. The first campus buildings, Hathorn Hall and Parker Hall, are almost complete, though the roof of Parker is still unfinished and Hathorn’s 2nd floor is not usable. The 1st and 3rd floors of Hathorn house recitation rooms, offices, a chapel, and a small library.
1858 Jabez Burns of London gives 100 books to the Seminary.
1863 The Maine State Seminary is reincorporated as Bates College. There are 500 volumes in the library. Horace R. Cheney is hired as librarian. He is given a budget of $500.00 for the purchase books for the College library and the libraries of the Eurosophian and Polymnian Literary Societies, all of which are all housed in Hathorn Hall.
1865 Horace Cheney resigns. The library has grown to 2,500 volumes. Professor Jonathan Y. Stanton takes on the responsibilities of the librarian, in addition to teaching. He establishes a system wherein the first scholars in the classes became his assistants, and he keeps the library open “a few hours each day.”
1867 The first class (8 students) graduates from Bates College.
1870 The College library has grown to 3,250 volumes. An additional 2,000 volumes are housed in the Theological library. Another 1,600 volumes are in the libraries of the literary societies. The annual acquisitions budget is $2,000.
1881 A fire, which starts in the belfry of Hathorn Hall, quickly spreads throughout the building. Students living in Parker Hall rescue the College library on the first floor, as well as the libraries of the literary societies located on the third floor.
1883 The Bates College library becomes the first designated government documents depository in the state of Maine.
1884 Frederick B. Stanford (Class 1874), founder of the Bates Student, creates the first card catalogue with an appropriation of $150.00 from the College.
1895 “Uncle Johnny” Stanton retires after serving 30 years as librarian. The collection has grown to 12,000 volumes. Caroline Woodman is hired as the first full-time librarian. The library is open 4 hours each day. There is no Reading Room. Shelves occupy all possible wall space. Books are stored in the belfry, in the basement, and piled under tables.
1898 Dewey classification of books begins. Bates has a graduating class of 42.
1900 Cornerstone of the new library building is laid. The building is named after Joseph A. Coram of Lowell, Massachusetts who contributes $20,000 to the project.


Hathorn | Coram | Ladd