Wisconsin Library Heritage Center

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation promoting understanding and appreciation of the history of libraries and librarianship in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee-Downer College

Posted by Larry Nix
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on Monday, February 02, 2009 in Academic libraries


Milwaukee-Downer College, one of Wisconsin's historic colleges, ceased to exist as a separate institution in 1964 when it became part of Lawrence University. Milwaukee-Downer College was created in 1895 when Milwaukee Female College (founded in 1851) merged with Downer College (founded as Wisconsin Female College in 1855). The former campus of Milwaukee-Downer College along with the Chapman Memorial Library building was sold to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1964.  The Lawrence University webpage for Milwaukee-Downer College is located here.

The former Chapman Memorial Library building of Milwaukee-Downer College is now Chapman Hall on the UW-Milwaukee campus and houses administrative offices. The library was built in 1937 from the bequest of Alice Greenwood Chapman,a graduate of Milwaukee Female College. The Teakwood Room in the library was moved to the Lawrence University campus along with library's rare book collection which is now housed in the Milwaukee-Downer Room of the Seeley G. Mudd Library.

Digital images of Milwaukee-Downer College including the Chapman Memorial Library are included in the Lawrence University Archives which are located here. The postcard image of the Reference Room of Chapman Memorial Library at the top of this page is part of Larry T. Nix's postcard collection. 

pc-wi-downer2-72.jpgThis postcard was mailed in 1907 and shows an interior view of the library building which preceded the Chapman Memorial Library. 


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