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University at Buffalo Libraries

University Archives

Charles D. Abbott Hall

Former Names: Lockwood Memorial Library (1933-1977), Charles D. Abbott Library (1977-1985)

Abbott Hall currently houses the Health Sciences Library and the Architecture & Planning Library It was known as the Lockwood Memorial Library until 1977 when it was renamed the Charles D. Abbott Library and the name "Lockwood Memorial Library" was transferred to a new library building on UB's North Campus.

In his introductory remarks at the dedication ceremony, Chancellor Samuel Capen remarked upon the importance of a library to the University:

"Books do not become less imporant as universities open up new intellectual territory and devise new ways of probing the mysteries of nature and of human life. They become ever more important… And the library itself remains, the repository of learning, the tool without which every student young or old is impotent, the veritable cornerstone upon which the whole intellectual structure of the university rests."

Later in his address, Capen touched upon the exceptional collections of rare books and manuscripts Thomas Brown Lockwood donated to the new library:

"A collection of useful books, of standard books, of books easily obtained -- however sumptiously housed -- does not make a university library of the first order. To merit this distinction a university library must preserve… the recorded writings of the centuries. It must offer the scholar the inspiration and surety of the original source. It must be able to fire the imagination of the neophyte by bringing him into the physcial presence of hte great momuments of letters… The University of Buffalo today becomes the possessor… of an extraordinary collection of literary treasures assembled with the insight and purpose of rare discrimination, representing an unbroken chain of the masterpieces of five centuries. The Library of the University of Buffalo today takes rank among the leading university libraries of the United States."


Charles David Abbott (1900-1961) was the director of the University Libraries from 1934 to 1960. An authority on modern poetry, he was a prolific book collector and the founder the University's Twentieth-Century Poetry in English Collection.

Thomas Brown Lockwood (1873-1947), Buffalo attorney, financier, literary enthusiast, and member of the UB Council (1919-1947), donated his collection of rare books and manuscripts. Thomas Bell and Marion Birge Lockwood gave $500,000 for a library building to be known as the Lockwood Memorial Library in memory of Daniel N. Lockwood and George K. Birge.

Since the money was given for the building to be named after both sets of parents, perhaps it should have been called "The Lockwood and Birge Memorial Library," although officially it has always been "The Lockwood Memorial Library." Lockwood also gave the University an additional $100,000 as an endowment for the new library.

History and Chronology

  • 1933 -- (September) Construction started on the new Lockwood Memorial Library.
  • 1935 -- (April 4) Building opened
  • 1935 -- (May 15) Dedication ceremony. Keynote speaker was popular novelist and an editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, Christopher Morley.
  • 1955 -- The Polish Room is dedicated as a space to house the Library's donated Polish Collection of books and manuscripts.
  • 1977 -- (January 26) Lockwood Memorial Library was renamed the Charles D. Abbott Library by the SUNY Board of Trustees.
  • 1979 -- (April 19) The new Lockwood Memorial Library was dedicated on the North Campus.
  • 1983 -- (March) Renovation of Abbott Library to house the Health Sciences Library is begun.
  • 1984 -- (April 4) Groundbreaking ceremony for building renovation.
  • 1985 -- (April 7) The Health Sciences Library collection begins its move from the Stockton Kimball Tower to the newly completed Abbott Hall.
  • 1985 -- (October 1) Opening of the Health Sciences Library in Abbott Hall.
  • 1986 -- (August 19) Dedication of the new Health Sciences Library.
  • 2011 -- Architecture & Planning Library relocates to Abbott Hall.

Original Contruction (1933-1935)

Architects: Edward B. Green & Son
Contractors: John W. Cowper Co.
Cost: $500,000

Renovation (1983-1985)

Architects: Scaffidi & Moore
Contractors: Frank L. Ciminelli Co.
Cost: $5.5 million

Renovations including doubling the size of the facility, retrofitting the mechanical infrastructure, moving the entrance, and reconfiguring the space to accommodate an increasingly electronic information center.