Storer College, Lewis Anthony Library, Camp Hill, Harpers Ferry, Jefferson County, WV
Significance: Currently recognized by the National Park Service (NPS) as the "Lewis Anthony Building," this two-story stone building was an integral part of Storer College and its evolution as an educational institution during the first half of the twentieth century. In this report, the Lewis Anthony Building will be used generally because, historically, it was used for other purposes. From 1903 to 1929, it housed courses in industrial arts before serving as the campus library from 1929 through Storer College's closure in 1955. Since 1962, the National Park Service has used it as the library for the NPS Harpers Ferry Center. The NPS renovated the library building during the summer of 2010 to remove asbestos and lead paint, and further renovations through 2011 will ready the building for its second century.
The history of the Lewis Anthony Building highlights two different approaches to African American education during the first half of the twentieth century. In its original incarnation as an industrial arts building, it reflected the importance placed on industrial arts education by prominent black educators such as Booker T. Washington. The building's erection in 1903 expanded Storer College's industrial arts facilities and allowed the school to separate these studies based on gender, with women and the domestic arts program remaining in the DeWolf Building and men and trade classes moved into the new building. The Lewis Anthony Building's renovation into the main campus library in 1929 signifies the school's shift in focus to a more academically rigorous curriculum in line with a four-year liberal arts college. The rise of liberal arts programs and the decline of industrial arts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is indicative of the changing academic choices being made by African American students across the country in the years just prior to World War II. As new generations of black students entered into secondary and post-secondary institutions, the focus on higher learning over industrial labor helped influence the modern Civil Rights movement by encouraging graduates to challenge inequalities found at the intersection of labor and education. The 1953 addition to what by that time was the "Lewis Anthony Library" speaks to the school's desire to expand and further strengthen its academic programs.
The transfer in the building's use from trade school classrooms to library also illustrates the practical pressures that HBCUs faced when trying to meet accreditation requirements with limited financial budgets. In 1929, following the destruction of Anthony Hall and the school's original library, Storer College was unable to comply with regional accreditation standards that stipulated schools must have a functional library on their campuses. The conversion of the Lewis Anthony Building into a library solved the problem of where to house a book collection, but it displaced the trade school program to an unused stable on campus, an event that would help contribute to the decline of industrial arts classes at Storer College.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N1589
Survey number: HABS WV-277-C
Building/structure dates: 1903 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1953 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 2010 Subsequent Work