Literary References

The A. D. White Library is so memorable an architectural space, it has appeared as a not-so-fictional setting in Cornell-focused literature.

In 1942, the eminent Cornell historian Morris Bishop (1893-1973, Class of 1913) penned a murder mystery, The Widening Stain, under the pseudonym W. Bolingbroke Johnson. The comedic story features Cornell’s White Library as the “Wilmerding Library,” the appropriately dramatic setting for the central drama, with “metal-scrolled wall brackets,” “railed galleries,” and “wrought iron, coiled and twisted,” where “books line the walls from floor to ceiling.”

In 1988, Matt Ruff, a notable Cornell alum, published his first novel, The Fool on the Hill. This comic fantasy takes place in Ithaca and at Cornell University in particular. In addition to cameos from notable Cornell figures such as Ezra Cornell and Andrew D. White, the A. D. White Library is wrapped up in the chaos and whimsy of Ruff's plot. While the A. D. White Library is generally a quiet study space, this ambiance is disturbed by fairy-tale like creatures. "Loud noises are always startling in a library, ordinarily a storehouse of soft whispers, and when the crash came, it was startling indeed" (pg. 278).

On the incident that occurs in the library display cases, we have no comment.