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Charles Wendell David Library Fund

Charles Wendell David

From 1945 to 1955, Charles Wendell David (Honorary '55) served as Director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania Library. The fund was created in 1984 in his memory.

Dr. David grew up on a farm in Illinois, attending Grand Prairie Seminary. From there he went on to earn a scholarships to Northwestern University, Oxford University where he received his bachelor's degree, the University of Wisconsin, and finally Harvard, where he completed his doctorate in history in 1918.

A renowned medieival scholar, Dr. David taught history at Bryn Mawr College for a quarter century before becoming Director of Libraries at Penn.

One of the most signficant changes he pioneered was open access. During his Directorship, the stacks were opened first to juniors and seniors, then to all students. He was convinced that the reader should not be separated from the records of man's work and thoughts. "A Library should be a center of education...must give free access."

On the occasion of his 80th birthday, friends and scholars compiled a book in his honor: Charles Wendell David: Scholar, Teacher, Librarian. It can be found in the open stacks in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center.

Over the years, bequests and planned gifts of all sizes have played an important role in the growth and success of the Library. As a main source of endowment support, they help ensure that the Library will be financially sound for generations to come. This fund, without restriction to discipline or medium, is a wonderful tribute to Dr. David.