Who’s on the Butler Frieze?

Despite including Core Curriculum constants like Plato, Dante, Homer and Shakespeare, the names inscribed on Butler Library’s exterior weren’t chosen because of the writers’ and thinkers’ presence in the College’s required reading. University President Nicholas Murray Butler (Class of 1882), for whom the library was renamed in 1946, oversaw the building’s design and chose the 18 names out of personal interest. In fact, Butler Library, which was constructed between 1931 and 1934, predates Literature Humanities, which began in 1937.

The Butler frieze