Located in the heart of the law school, the Gould Reading Room is 180 feet long, 48 feet wide, and 50 feet high. The gothic vaulted ceilings and three-story-high arched windows provide a spacious and inspiring environment for study, research, and collaboration with fellow students. Although there are six additional library floors, both faculty and students perceive the Reading Room as "the library."
Dedicated as the Gould Reading Room on November 4, 1989, honoring Eleanor and Milton S. Gould (A.B. '30, LL.B. '33) in recognition of their extraordinary service and support, its collections and services continuously evolve to address the changing needs of the students and the law school curriculum. Wireless access for laptop computers and networked printers has replaced card catalogs as we provide a modern infrastructure to this eloquent environment. For a great view of the Reading Room, climb the stairs to the Casual Study Room in the northeast corner.
If you look out a window on the north wall of the Gould Reading Room, you can catch a glimpse of the Peace Tower and the stone carvings by the famous sculptor Lee Lowrie. Included are humorous and dramatic carvings of participants in an old English Court: the judge, the scrivener, the pettifogger, and the prisoner. These carvings are part of a larger scheme symbolizing the purpose of the law school as seen by its major benefactor, Myron Taylor:
Peace by law,
National peace by local law, and
World peace by international law.
Around the walls of the Gould Reading Room are many portraits of historical figures, distinguished jurists, graduates of the law school, and former deans. Starting at the Circulation Desk and going counter-clockwise around the room:
Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907) - Associate Judge of the N.Y. Court of Appeals 1880-91; Law School Dean 1891-1903. Artist: J. Colin Forbes.
Cuthbert Winifred Pound (1864-1935) - Law Professor 1895-1904; Chief Judge of the N.Y. Court of Appeals 1925-34; Member of the Board of Trustees of Cornell University 1913-35; delivered the dedicatory address for Myron Taylor Hall. Gift of Alumni and Friends.
Christianus Thomasius (1655-1728) - One of the most interesting portraits overlooks the alcove containing the computer terminals. Christianus Thomasius was a 17th -century philosopher and jurist, and the founder of the University of Halle in Germany. Cornell's first President, Andrew Dickson White, had the portrait copied from the original by the 18th-century painter Sporleder. Before World War II there were two original portraits of Thomasius in Germany; one was destroyed in an air raid and the other disappeared during the Russian occupation. The portrait in the Gould Reading Room is now the only known portrait of Thomasius.
Robert Sproule Stevens (1888-1968) - Dean of the Law School 1937-54. Artist: Peter G. Cook, Kingston, N.J.
Gray Thoron (1916- ) - Dean of the Law School 1956-63. Artist: Peter G. Cook.
Rudolf B. Schlesinger (1909-96) - William Nelson Cromwell Professor of International and Comparative Law 1956-75, Emeritus. Artist: Allard Berté.
Moak Library Plaque - 12,415 volumes. Donated by Mrs. Amanda M. Vincent Boardman, Dean Boardman's widow, and their daughter, Mrs. Ellen D. Williams.
Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948) - Youngest full professor on campus at age 29. Professor of Law 1891-93; N.Y. Governor 1907-10; Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1930-41. Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Taylor. Artist: Frank O. Salisbury.
John Marshall (1755-1835) - Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1801-35. Presented by A. D. White, 1896. Artist: G. K. Knapp.
William Murray, Earl of Mansfield (1705-93) - Lord Chief Justice of England whose decisions struck a fatal blow to human slavery throughout the British dominions. Gift of A. D. White.
Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) - Father of the modern science of international law. Copied from the portrait at Amsterdam and presented by A. D. White.
Leonard Callender Crouch (1866-1953) (Ph.B. 1889) - N.Y. Supreme Court Justice 1913-32; Associate Judge N.Y. Court of Appeals 1932-36; lecturer on appellate practice at the Cornell Law School. Artist: P. Helps; Portrait 1889.
Charles Kellogg Burdick (1883-1940) - Son of Francis M. Burdick, one of the first faculty of the Law School. Dean of the Law School, 1926-36. Gift of Law School Alumni, Friends, and Students of Dean Burdick, 1968. Artist: Margaret Fitzhugh Browne, Boston, Mass., 1940.