Exeter Deconstructed: The Class of 1945 Library stamp

November 5, 2021

When the history of the Class of 1945 Library is finally written, it can be signed, sealed and delivered with its very own stamp.

Sixteen years ago, the library was included in a commemorative set of U.S. Postal Service stamps titled “Masterworks of Modern Architecture.” Twelve iconic American buildings were featured, including the Guggenheim Museum and the Chrysler Building in New York City and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Louis Kahn’s design has long been a darling of architects. In 1997, the American Institute of Architects presented the library with its Twenty-Five Year Award, given annually to a building of “architectural significance that is still fulfilling its original purpose after 25 years.” That honor came with an inscription: “The massive block of dark red brick reveals surprising delicacy. It is artistically ahead of its time, and will continue to enlighten as a spiritual touchstone of great design for generations of architects.”

Exeter’s inclusion in the stamp set was first proposed by the Postal Service in 2003 to then-Assistant Principal Thomas Hassan, who kept it a secret for almost two years until the final dozen buildings were announced. When the unveiling took place on May 20, 2005, The Exonian wryly noted that no mail was moving at the Academy, as the post office was abandoned. The mailroom staff had slipped out to watch the ceremony.