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Rundel Memorial Building Inscriptions

The following phrases have been carved into the north and south exterior walls of the Rundel Memorial Building. John Adams Lowe, director of the Rochester Public Library during construction of the building, either wrote or selected the inscriptions. Lowe wrote the inscriptions for social sciences, science and art. The religion inscription came from the Book of Micah in the Bible. Dr. Charles William Elliot, a former Harvard President and noted inscription writer, wrote the others.

*SCIENCE*
THE MASTER OF
LIGHT AND ENERGY
OF TIME SPACE AND SOUND
FOE OF THE FORCES
THAT ASSAIL LIFE

*LITERATURE*
THE STOREHOUSE OF KNOWLEDGE THE RECORD OF CIVILIZATION
THE FULCRUM FOR THE
LEVEL OF PROGRESS

*ART*
INTERPRETER OF NATURE
SOURCE OF EXULTATION
INEXHAUSTIBLE SPRING
FROM WHICH IMAGINATION
DRAWS ITS LIFE

*SOCIAL SCIENCES*
TOOLS FORGED IN ALTRUISM
TO ACHIEVE
HUMAN BETTERMENT
EMBODIMENT OF MAN'S VISION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE

*HISTORY*
THE STORY OF THE HUMAN RACE IN CONFLICT WITH
NATURE AND WITH ITS OWN
ELEMENTAL PASSIONS
BUT EVER ASPIRING

*RELIGION*
WHAT DOTH THE LORD REQUIRE OF THEE BUT
TO DO JUSTLY AND TO
LOVE MERCY AND TO WALK
HUMBLY WITH THY GOD

*BIOGRAPHY*
THE STORIES OF LIVES THAT
COUNTED IN THEIR TIMES
FOR LOVE OR HATE FOR
MERCY AND WOE OR
WELL-BEING AND JOY

*PHILOSOPHY*
THE THOUGHTS OF MEN ABOUT HUMAN THINKING
REASONING AND IMAGINING
AND THE REAL VALUES
IN HUMAN EXISTENCE

Three other inscriptions appear near the main entrance on South Avenue. Above the door are the following words (shown in the image below):

BOOKS MINISTER TO MAN
IN SEARCH FOR
THE ENLIGHTENMENT THAT
REVEALS THE MEANING OF LIFE

Rundel Exterior

To the left and right of the entrance are the following inscriptions:

EDUCATION IS MORE THAN PREPARATION FOR LIFE
IT IS LIFE ITSELF

THE SHADOWS WILL BE
BEHIND YOU IF YOU
WALK INTO THE LIGHT

The following tribute to the library's benefactor appears on the front of the building above the columns:

ERECTED ANNO DOMINI MCMXXXIV FOR THE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF ALL PEOPLE. MORTON W. RUNDEL
SO CHERISHED THE FINE THINGS OF LIFE THAT HE WAS INSPIRED TO SHARE THEM BY HIS GRACIOUS BEQUEST
TO THE CITY OF ROCHESTER WHERE HE LONG MADE HIS HOME.
~KNOWLEDGE AND BEAUTY ILLUMINE THE WORLD~

The words "Rundel Memorial Building" are carved into the top of the building. A few feet below that the words "Rochester Public Library" are inscribed. The acronyms for these words, RMB and RPL are formed in the grillwork at the sides of the entrance door. As John Adams Lowe, RPL Director, said of the building in 1936, "While it is a library, it represents a gift to the city by Mr. Rundel and as such it stands separately from the Rochester Public Library, and should only be referred to as the Rundel Memorial Building."

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