Friedsam Memorial Library 

turns 75!

Please share your memories of Friedsam Library by clicking one of the links below.

Click here to share your stories in text!

Click here, or on the widget at the top of the page, to share your stories by voice!

Anniversary Events:

March 7, 2013--

June 8, 2013--
Alumni Weekend

 Other pages of interest:

Friedsam People

Irenaeus Herscher, O.F.M.

Albert O'Brien, O.F.M.

Friedsam History

Holy Name Library Rare Books Addition

Archives Home







Father Albert O’Brien, O.F.M., took his shovel and dug into the sod not far from the “Father ‘Joe’” statue on May 21, 1937.  Friedsam Memorial Library was under construction.  Less than a year later, March 7, 1938, the brand new building was dedicated.  Nearly 75 years have gone by since that auspicious day. 2013 will see a year long celebration recognizing the role of the library in the life of St. Bonaventure University.


Alumni Hall housed the campus library for 50 years but was no longer big enough to do the job.   Fr. Albert, the librarian, provided the inspiration for the construction of the library and Fr. Thomas Plassmann, O.F.M., the president, found the funding.  Colonel Michael Friedsam, a successful New York City businessman, had left much of his large fortune “for the care and education of the young and the care and comfort of the aged.”  The foundation established to carry this out had no difficulty in supporting the construction of the library now bearing his name. 

Alumni Hall library

Construction proceeded without incident over the following nine months until moving day arrived on Feb. 17, 1938.  The St. Bona Venture reported that “modern scientific methods” were employed to shift the collection between its Alumni Hall location and its new home.  A “bucket brigade” was set up by students and staff, Fr. Tom led the way carrying one of the large Bibles and the campus population shifted the books, handing them from one to the next past De La Roche Hall and into Friedsam Library.  Fr. Claude Kean, O.F.M., the music director, played marches on the organ to encourage the laborers in their work.  The move was so successful that the new library was open for business the next day.

Book Brigade

When the day of dedication arrived a few weeks later Fr. Albert was not there to share in the fruits of his inspiration.  He had died as a result of injuries suffered in an accident not long after the groundbreaking.  Nonetheless, his name needs to be attached very firmly to the history of the library.  His successor, Fr. Irenaeus Herscher, O.F.M., took the role of the first director of the new library and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1970.  John Macik (1971-1993) followed him, and now Paul Spaeth is only the third to hold that position.

The reading room

The anniversary celebration will include a rededication ceremony on March 7, 2013.  Alumni are invited to share their reminiscences of Friedsam Library at  You will be able to leave both text and voice records of your memories of life in the library.  Other events will include a series of displays, open houses and tours of the rare books collections of the Holy Name Library for the Franciscan Institute.  An Open House will be held for Alumni during Alumni Weekend. 

For a more complete history of Friedsam Library follow this link.

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Click here to share your stories in text!

Click here to share your stories by voice! 

Links of Interest:
Irenaeus Herscher, O.F.M. Albert O'Brien, O.F.M.
Builders of the Library Collection Joachim Guerrini, O.F.M.
Holy Name Library for the Franciscan Institute Philotheus Boehner, O.F.M.
Alumni Hall Archives Home Page