Amherst College: The Campus Guide

In honor of its 2021 Bicentennial, Amherst College has commissioned three keepsake books. The first, available for purchase now, is Amherst College: The Campus Guide, by Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Blair Kamin ’79.

The beautifully photographed guide tells the stories of nearly 100 campus buildings, landscapes, sculpture and interiors. Organized as a series of six walks, it accompanies the reader on a richly engaging tour through time and space, history and culture. The last chapter covers three notable off-campus buildings: the Five College Library Depository, better known as The Bunker; Amherst House at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, built in 1932 to resemble an Amherst fraternity house; and the architecturally distinguished Folger Shakespeare Library, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, that illuminates the life, work and times of the great playwright.

Throughout Amherst College: The Campus Guide, Blair Kamin ’79 interweaves in-depth analyses of the College’s architecture and landscape architecture with campus lore. Readers will learn, for example, of the townspeople who gathered to construct Amherst’s first building, South College, in 1820 and how the poet Emily Dickinson’s grandfather secured a donation from a farmer in nearby Pelham to fund the iconic Johnson Chapel. A specially commissioned hand-drawn map locates buildings and highlights historic and contemporary architecture elements throughout the Amherst campus.

Full of wonderful and surprising information...A must-read for anyone who cares about the school (and for every entering student.—Cullen Murphy, '74, editor at large, The Atlantic, and former Amherst board of trustees chair

A book with the title Amherst College: An Architectural Tour and a photo of Johnson Chapel
Amherst College: The Campus Guide

By Blair Kamin ’79
Forward by Biddy Martin
Photographs by Ralph Lieberman

Princeton Architectural Press, 2020
256 pages, 120 color and black-and-white photographs
$37.50 paperback with flaps and a campus map

For sale through Amazon

About the Authors

  • Blair Kamin ’79 is the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Biddy Martin is the president of Amherst College.
  • Ralph Lieberman is an architectural historian and photographer.