Built in the 1930s, Founder’s Library is one of the most notable buildings on Howard University’s historic campus and serves as the iconic symbol of the school. A monumental accomplishment for the University and named a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the building was constructed by African American architect and Howard Professor Albert I. Cassell and is named in honor of the 17 men who founded the University. The library overlooks the nation’s capital, serving as a central meeting place for higher learning and social activism for over 75 years.
Howard University is a private, historically Black research institution (HBCU), founded in 1867 by missionaries with the intention of teaching black clergy, but soon broadened its primary emphasis during its early years to include educators and other learned professions. General Oliver O. Howard, the Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau who would later go on to serve as one of the university's first presidents, was honored with the school's name. Howard educated many of the men and women who became educators of freed slaves during the Reconstruction era, and it has established itself as one of the nation's leading HBCUs, granting more Ph.D.s than any of its contemporaries.
The tower featured at the top of Founder’s Library is inspired by Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, since it was dedicated to liberty.