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The Library Inscriptions

Front of the Library Building 1

West Facade

High on the front of the library, to the far left of the entrance, is the inscription

ENLIGHTEN THE PEOPLE...
AND TYRANNY AND OPPRESSIONS
OF BODY AND MIND
WILL VANISH LIKE EVIL SPIRITS
AT THE DAWN OF DAY

These words are from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Count Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, dated April 24, 1816 (paragraph 3, sentence 4). [Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, 1798-1817. Dumas Malone, editor. (Boston, 1930, page 186).]

The first line of the original text reads “Enlighten the people generally... .”

This inscription and the corresponding one on the east facade were carved in the black granite facade panels from the end of a sixty-five foot hydraulic boom lift. The sans serif letter forms are based on the skeleton of the Roman majuscle. The carving was done by sandblasting through rubber stencil material applied to the stone surface and cut, in place, through full-size handdrawn paper layouts of the inscription. The carving of both inscriptions was executed during October, 1992.

The area occupied by each of these facade inscriptions is approximately 20 feet by 7 feet. The letters are 10 inches high.

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