Author Gay Walker to Reflect on Creator of Kent Library’s Historic Stained Glass Panels

Kent Library information commonsEvents held in Commemoration of Library’s 75th Anniversary

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 29, 2014 — Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University will host guest speaker Gay Walker for two events on Oct. 8 in celebration of the library’s 75th anniversary.

Walker—the author of “Bonawit, Stained Glass & Yale: G. Owen Bonawit’s Work at Yale University & Elsewhere” — will discuss the interesting history and relevance of the renowned artist’s stained glass panels. Forty-five of his works are held by Kent Library and have recently been remounted in the library for public view. Although the official unveiling of the panels will not occur until Nov. 7, a sneak peak will be offered to all who attend either of the Oct. 8 events.

The 45 panels hold a special place in Kent Library’s history. They were commissioned by the University in 1939 to commemorate the completion of the new library building, which was to be named after long-time librarian Sadie Kent. They illuminated the windows of the Kent Library Reading Room from 1939 to 1967. In 1967, the panes were put into walnut frames and displayed on the mezzanine of the renovated library until 2005, when they were stored for safety during library remodeling.

Thirty-three of the panes are printers’ marks celebrating the history of the printed word. Bonawit also designed two smaller collections: one collection of six windows depicts Missouri’s rich history, while another collection of six focuses on Mark Twain and characters from his novels.

At noon on Oct. 8 in Kent Library’s Sadie’s Place (second floor), Walker will give an informal talk, titled “Tracking Bonawit’s Ghost: Discovering the Man Behind Southeast Missouri State University’s Beautiful Stained Glass Windows” in a colorfully illustrated presentation.

At 6 p.m., the library will host a dinner and lecture by Walker in the University Center Ballroom. The lecture is titled “Bonawit Revealed: A Heavily Illustrated Talk about Southeast Missouri State University’s Stained Glass Windows and their Creator, G. Owen Bonawit.” This lecture will place Bonawit within the wider stained glass field, take a look at his methods, review his work elsewhere and its development over time, identify connections within his glass designs, and then study his work at Southeast.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Those planning to attend the dinner are asked to notify the library by Oct. 3 via phone at (573) 986-7446 or by email to rdunn@semo.edu. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. and the lecture will start at 6:45 p.m.

Walker’s presentations and the remounting of the Bonawit panels are made possible in part with the help of a generous grant from the Missouri Humanities Council. With this grant, 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 more on the stained glass panes in Kent Library, visit http://library.semo.edu/75/index.html#bonawit-collection. Click on the individual pane titles for more information on each one. For Library contact information, visit http://library.semo.edu/75/index.html#contact-us.