America's Most Beautiful College Libraries
Courtesy of Vassar College
Frederick Ferris Thompson Memorial Library, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
A majestic façade of Germantown stone trimmed in ornately carved Indiana limestone opens into one of Vassar’s most memorable spaces. The massive stained-glass Cornaro Window illuminates the library’s main hall; it portrays Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman ever to receive a doctorate, defending her thesis before the scholars of Padua. Her garb of gray and rose satin, the college’s original colors, symbolizes the rise of women’s higher education at Vassar.