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Morgan Library, 1905



“This is not one of our most beautiful buildings, but one of the most constantly used.”

This quotation from the note written by Mabel Loomis Todd on a postcard of Morgan Library could as easily refer to today’s Robert Frost Library. The card was apparently sent to an acquaintance who collected postcards.


Completed in 1853, Morgan Library was the first stone building on the College grounds, made from Pelham gneiss. It served as the College’s library until 1917, when Converse Library was erected. Known simply as the College Library when it was dedicated in 1853, it was renamed for Henry T. Morgan in recognition of a bequest from his estate used to renovate the building between 1882 and 1888.

Mabel Loomis Todd was the first editor of Emily Dickinson’s poems. She was also an accomplished writer, speaker, artist and musician. She was married to Amherst College professor of astronomy, David Peck Todd, Class of 1875. They were active in College and community life, and together they traveled the world to view astronomical events. The Todds were Dickinson family neighbors. Mabel and W. Austin Dickinson, College treasurer (and the poet’s married brother) carried on a long liaison.

The card was acquired on eBay, where many bits of Amherst ephemera appear, purchased with the Phi Psi Fund.