Oberlin News Center

Monday, May 1, 2017

Oberlin News Center

The Reading Girl has been a permanent fixture in Oberlin's libraries since 1885. 
Photo By Yvette Chen

A marble statue by American sculptor John Adams Jackson (1825-1879), The Reading Girl has held court in the Oberlin College libraries since 1885. She served as a focal point for the central reading rooms of the old Spear and Carnegie libraries before finding a permanent home in Mudd Center, the main library. The Reading Girl is remembered by generations of Oberlin students who, over the years, have embellished her with various articles of clothing and props (she sports a size 6 sneaker most of the time).

Jackson modeled the sculpture in Florence, Italy, in 1869. It was purchased by Aaron A. Healy of Brooklyn, New York, who later gave it to Oberlin College. At the dedication of Spear Library, Healy’s uncle, Professor A.H. Currier, noted her "singular fitness" for the library of the college that "first opened its doors to young women seeking higher education."