Frick Fine Arts Library Reading Room circa 1970-1979

History of the Frick Fine Arts Library

The Frick Fine Arts Library: Early History by Kiana Jones, Fine Arts Librarian

History of the Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Library
by Lydia Andeskie, former student employee and Pitt alumna

As one of the top art libraries in the country, the Frick Fine Arts Library has a long history of supporting scholars and students in their research. Originally on the seventh floor of the Cathedral of Learning, the Frick Fine Arts Library was moved to the Frick Fine Arts building in 1965 upon its construction.1 Although original plans involved a fresco in the library, Helen Clay Frick overturned this idea, and instead requested an inscription devoting the library to her father, Henry Clay Frick, in loving memory.

The reading room is based on classical Italian architecture, keeping with the overall theme of the building. The walls are fruitwood paneling, with gold leaf trim and beautifully high ceilings.  Tall windows provide a peaceful view of the Schenley Fountain and the Cathedral of Learning. Wrought iron balcony railings trace the upper floor of the reading room, which leads to the extensive collection. 

With over 90,000 volumes and journals, the collection continues to grow and reflect new areas of research and practice.  With the exception of the reading room, Frick Fine Arts is a “closed stacks” library. The student pages are happy to help you find exactly what you need from within the stacks, and are accustomed to retrieving numerous volumes for you to browse at one of the tables in the reading room. They can help you search PittCat as well as the many electronic resources. Research consultations with a librarian are available by appointment.

1 Lockard, Ray Anne. “A History of Frick Fine Arts Library at the University of Pittsburgh.” History of The Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Department, The University Art Gallery, The Frick Fine Arts Library at the University of Pittsburgh 1927-1987 (1987). Pages 24.

Contact Us

Frick Fine Arts Library
Frick Fine Arts Building
University of Pittsburgh
650 Schenley Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

We are located on the first floor.