Copper Panels

When the Main Library was constructed at Salem Square in 1964, the main entrance doors that greeted visitors were a beautiful artist feature. The copper plated doors were designed by Leslier Segal of New York City, using antique wooden type faces from the collection of the Morgan Press of Hastings-on-Hudson. The copper was meant to contrast with the ruggedness and solidity of the bush-hammered concrete, the building’s major material.

The artist made proofs from over fifty styles of type to create the doors. The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, acquired the Morgan family’s collection of wood type in 1983. The doors were removed and put in storage because the automatic door openers could not support their weight. After many years, donations from generous supporters allowed the copper panels to be refurbished, framed with teak salvaged from the building and hung in the Saxe Room as art. When the library was renovated in 2001, the copper panels were hung on the interior bush-hammered concrete.

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