Why the John Stewart Memorial Library?
John Stewart was born in 1839 in Shippensburg, PA. He studied law at Princeton before moving to Chambersburg. In 1862 he was mustered into the Union Army. After the Civil War, Stewart practiced law in the community (his first law partnership was with Col. A.K. McClure, the original owner of Norland Hall). He served as associate justice of the Supreme Court of PA for over 15 years. He also served on Wilson’s Board of Trustees from 1895-1920. Many of those years were spent as Vice President of the Board. Stewart was struck by a trolley on Philadelphia Avenue and killed in 1920.
His brother, George Stewart, served on Wilson’s Board of Trustees from 1879-1931. In 1922, he donated $75,000 for a building on campus in memory of his brother.
The Library’s cornerstone was laid on Oct. 15, 1923 as part of the Founder’s Day celebrations. The building itself was completed on Nov. 6, 1925.
The John Stewart Memorial Library dedication was held on May 9, 1925 at 2:30 pm. The ceremony included hymns and a dedicatory address from PA Senator George Wharton Pepper in Thomson Hall before a procession to the new library and the official presentation of the building to the College.