Kent Library 75th Anniversary Celebration

Twenty-fourteen marks 75th Anniversary of Kent Library on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University. Kent Library was dedicated on November 7, 1939 and named after the influential and long-time university librarian, Sadie Kent. Seventy-five years later, Kent Library is a dynamic, evolving destination with a strong commitment to serving the needs of Southeast Missouri State University.

 With the help of a generous grant from the Missouri Humanities Council, a year-long celebration of Kent Library’s past and future has been planned for the University community and area residents by Roxanne Dunn, Mary Christy, and the Kent Library 75th Anniversary Committee. 

For an official keepsake invitation to the celebration, click on or copy and paste

Sadie Kent served as head librarian at Southeast Missouri State University from 1910 to 1943, when she retired from full-time employment.  During her tenure, she submitted the floor plans that were used (with some modifications by the architect) for the new library building in 1939.  Born in Des Arc, Arkansas in 1873, Kent pursued higher education and a successful career at a time when women were just beginning to emerge as leaders in professional life.

To commemorate the completion of the newly-built library in 1939, the University commissioned 45 stained glass panels by renowned stained glass artisan, G. Owen Bonawit. Bonawit made preliminary sketches of the proposed designs for the Southeast library for long-time librarian Sadie Kent to present to the Board of Regents who approved the sketches and the cost. The Bonawit stained glass panes—illustrating Missouri history, author Mark Twain and his characters, and the history of printing—illuminated the windows of the Kent Library reading room from 1939 to 1968. In 1968, the panes were put into walnut frames and displayed on the mezzanine of the renovated library until 2007, when they were removed for safety during library remodeling. In addition to the 33 illuminated printers’ marks on the windows, Bonawit also designed two smaller collections for the Library. One collection of 6 windows celebrates Missouri’s rich history, while another collection of 6 windows focuses on Mark Twain and characters from his novels.

As part of the 75th Anniversary Celebration, all 33 panes have been remounted in a new location on the 3rd floor of Kent Library. This new location will keep the stained glass safe while allowing all who visit the library to appreciate their unique details up close.

Gay Walker—an expert on the stained glass art of G. Owen Bonawit and author of Bonawit, stained glass & Yale: G. Owen Bonawit's work at Yale University & elsewhere (Wildwood 2000)—will be on campus on October 8. She will give an informal talk at noon in Kent Library’s Sadie’s Place (2nd floor). Kent Library will also sponsor a dinner and presentation by Gay Walker in the University Center Ballroom at 6:00 that evening. Both events are free and open to the public, so please join us! For more information, click or copy and paste 

For more on the stained glass panes in Kent Library, click or copy and paste then click on the individual pane titles for more information on each one. 

Library contact information here:


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