Sullivan Collection Represents

A tellers wicket in cast bronze from the National Farmers Bank from 1907.

A baluster in cast bronze from the Schlesinger and Mayer store from 1899.

Throughout Lovejoy Library are treasures from America’s architectural past. Louis Sullivan became the founder of what is now called the Chicago school of architecture.

Born in 1856, Sullivan and architect partner Dankmar Adler became known for the multistory buildings they created. They also became recognized as developers of the skyscraper form.

The architectural ornamentation found in Lovejoy Library became a trademark of Sullivan’s work. Much of his work is inspired from nature. Examples of Sullivan’s work include the Wainwright Building in St Louis, MO, and the Chicago Stock Exchange Building.

“A lot of the Wainwright building is still in the original form, although much of the interior and exterior first floor has been stripped of the ornamentations during previous renovations,” Barnett offered. “The Wainwright family was so impressed with Sullivan’s work that they also commissioned him to design the family tomb in Bellefountaine” Barnett stated.

Richard Nickel was an architectural photographer in Chicago. During his travels, Nickel spent years collecting pieces from different Sullivan buildings that were in the process of being demolished. Nickel had hundreds of pieces in his garage and was looking for a place that would give them the care and prominence that the work deserved.

A facade detail in glazed terra cotta from the Henry Babson Residence from 1908.

SIUE purchased the collection from Richard Nickel in 1965. SIUE has also taken the opportunity over the years to loan pieces of the collection out to other universities. Other pieces of the collection are housed in the basement of Alumni Hall. There are large pieces on display between Peck hall and Lovejoy Library also.

Nickel added to  the collection for  a few more years until his death in 1972. He died when the Chicago Stock Exchange, a building that he was working to recover more artifacts from, collapsed under mysterious circumstances. The reinstallation of the collection in Lovejoy was completed in 2008, but “SIUE is still working to add to the collection” Barnett added.

Many of the items on display in Lovejoy Library have been catalogued as part of an access grant. SIUE and Roosevelt University received the grant from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, known as CARLI. The grant allowed for the digital archiving of the collection. Items catalogued from the collection are available online for educational use.

The revel lunette is another example of Sullivan's design that is prominently displayed between Peck Hall and Lovejoy Library.

Sullivan's designs took everything into account. Including this item (a balcony soffit in plaster from the Schiller (Garrick) Building, 1891) which is formed to look like a rectangle from the ground.

Recreation of Ornamental Lunette in gold leaf that Sullivan liked. He had it carved in limestone and installed above the front door of the Albert Sullivan house. This is how it appeared on the Transportation Building at the Columbian Exposition in 1892.

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