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Smith Administration Building

Smith Admin c. 1942
Smith Administration Building, 1942

The Smith Administration Building, which was built in 1942 with the help of Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds, was originally built to serve as a joint library for the town of Clinton and Presbyterian College. Additional funds from the city of Clinton also supplied the insurance, water, lights and fuel for the building. The college supplied the books, furniture, and equipment and staffed the library. William J. Bailey of Clinton donated the furnishings and equipment to the library and a room was outfitted in his honor. Residents of Laurens and Clinton, as well as PC students, could use the library free of charge. Dr. William Plumer Jacobs’ personal library, known as the Founder’s Library, was kept in a special locked room on the first floor. The new library also housed the Smyth and Jones “Caroliniana” collections. These were not allowed to leave the fireproof stack rooms.

The first full-time librarian was PC graduate and former Furman librarian, J. Isaac Copeland. The library remained a joint venture until 1972 and in 1974, PC bought Clinton’s portion of the building for $75,000. The library collection was moved to the newly-constructed James H. Thomason Library, and the old library building was remodeled through a $100,000 gift from the John I. Smith Foundation. Renamed the Smith Administration Building, it currently houses the administrative offices of the college.