Robert Frost Library, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Robert Frost Library on Amherst College’s campus is one of the few modernist structures among a largely more staid collection. It encloses one end of the West, or First Year, Quad.


The architects were O’Connor and Kilham of New York, a firm well-known for their mid-century collegiate libraries and one of which we’ve covered before. Although modern, the design of the library still uses brick and stone as its primary facade materials in an effort to harmonize, something that this firm’s buildings don’t always do.

IMG_7253Dating from 1963-65, one of the building’s most notable facts is that President John F. Kennedy spoke at the groundbreaking in October 1963, one of his last public appearances. Two anonymous donors gave the money in 1962 for it to be built and requested that it to be named after Frost, who had taught at Amherst.

IMG_7256Although interesting as a mid-century building, the library sits on the site of a much more grand and storied Victorian structure, Walker Hall. The previous building is even referenced both by name and construction date in the cornerstone of Robert Frost Library, tying together the old to the new.


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