From Henry S.F. Cooper’s Tour of the Yale Club Library
The remainder of the Library, to the west of the Main Reading Room, is divided into several small reading rooms joined by two corridors, one long and one short.
Starting at the west end of the elevator lobby and running alongside the Main Reading Room for most of the length of the building is the book-lined main corridor. History books are on the left and biographies are on the right.
The corridor ends in the Americana room, which is also the Librarian’s Office. On the east wall is a set of the Library of America, the most definitive texts of many of the best-known American writers. The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, Books in Print, and the Cumulative Book Index are near at hand.
In 2015, the Americana Room was renovated by the House and Library Committees, – reopening the space to members for quiet study and reading. The Librarian has moved into an office (formally the Reference Room) with the Library Assistant, which is much more conducive to collaborative work.
The new Americana Room offers two cozy club chairs and a large work table and, perhaps most important to member reading in the space, improved lighting. Members looking for something to read can still enjoy a selection from the Library of America collection (listed as
LA in the catalog), located to the right of the window. We no longer carry The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, Books in Print, and the Cumulative Book Index but the librarian is happy to assist with research in those areas.
The contents of the main corridor have changed as well – facing the Americana Room American History and Biographies are on the left. Science Fiction, Mysteries, and other genre fiction reside on the right with Large Print selections located near the Clarence Day Room.
The one question that neither of these accounts answers is WHY the room is called the Americana Room. I assume, of course, that at some point the Americana Room actually held the Library’s collection of Americana. There is a plaque on the north wall that dedicates the Library of American Collection to Alan D. Williams ’49, but the name of the room (indicated on a wooden plaque above the doorway) is much older than that dedication. There are no records I have found (yet) that explain what the Americana collection might have contained, or whether the name ever actually ever connected to the contents of the room. Certainly, when the Club opened in 1915, all of the back rooms were used as card rooms; the Main Reading Room held the books. So, I cannot really answer the question here either. But, we are taking steps build our archives and I hope that I’ll one day be able to answer the question better.