Who's That Girl?

August 22, 2016

Communications Staff

The Reading Girl statue is wearing a Converse sneaker and a bright purple necklace.
The Reading Girl, a marble sculpture on the main floor of Mudd Center library.
Photo credit: 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."

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