There were four different libraries on campus at the time of the battle. First there was the Pennsylvania College Library, or the Main college Library. In July of 1863, the Pennsylvania College Library was comprised of approximately 5,460 volumes covering a wide variety of subject matter. The Library was housed in the middle section of the second story (what we now call the 3rd floor), directly across from the chapel.

Drawing of Pennsylvania Hall by architect, John C. Trautwine.

New titles were purchased for the library using the Library Fund, and the faculty meeting minutes from the College’s early years provide a detailed description of which books were purchased in the months leading up to the battle.

Resolved, That “Prof. Green’s Reply to Colenzo,” and “Edwards
on the Will” be purchase for the College Library.

Faculty Meeting Minutes, April 14th 1863


The Main College Library

Aside from the Main College Library there was the Phrenakosmian and Philomathaean Libraries –  they had made-up names, but were all too real . . .

The Phrenakosmian and Philomathaean Literary Society Library

The Philomathaean and Phrenakosmian societies were created to intentionally rival one another. This rivalry was meant to “Stimulate the members to mutual intellectual and moral improvement.” (Briedenbaugh, 112). The societies used their libraries to intellectually arm themselves for their debates against each other. This caused the society libraries to grow to the point where they both rivaled the regular College Library in size as well as scope of subject matter.

Pennsylvania Hall 4th floor, 1877

The Society meeting rooms and libraries were located on the fourth floor of the College Edifice. As was the case with all of the rooms in the building, these rooms were quickly turned into makeshift hospital rooms during and after the battle.

The Linnaean Association Association Library

Lastly there was the Linnaean Association Library. The library was not the main part of the collection, it was mostly made up of rocks, minerals, and other artifacts, but was impressive in its depth.