Created By: North Dakota State University
Between 1886 and 1919 industrialist Andrew Carnegie donated more than $40 million dollars towards the construction of libraries in various communities all across America. This was the way many Americans were first able to gather information and be introduced to the creativity of reading. It is Carnegie who we have to thank for Putnam Hall. The idea to build Putnam Hall was proposed in 1903 with a simple letter. B. F. Spalding, who at the time was a Representative at Large for North Dakota in the U.S. Congress, wrote to Carnegie with a request for funds to build a library and chapel for North Dakota Agricultural College. In his letter, Spalding asked Carnegie for $35,000-$40,000 for the project. He received a response from James Bentram, Carnegie’s private secretary, saying that he currently was not working on projects for colleges, but would keep it in mind for later.
In 1904, NDAC’s President John Worst wrote another letter to Carnegie, this time requesting $50,000 to build a library and chapel that would be able to hold 1,000 students. This letter was met with a positive response. Bentram responded with good news about the library and also asked about various other buildings on campus and the cost of upkeep for the current library and enrollment numbers. He also mentioned the only minimal amount of negative news that NDAC received, being that a chapel would not be constructed. Putnam Hall used to be the central location for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences as well as the Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. They have since moved to Minard, and Putnam Hall is now home to Graduate School and Interdisciplinary Studies.
This point of interest is part of the tour: North Dakota State University Walking Tour