Inner fire

Published: March 2004

Completed in 1928, Boston College’s Bapst Library is one of a set of dramatic buildings on the main campus that exemplify the English Collegiate Gothic style of architecture. Gargan Hall, the library’s main reading room, is a soaring, vaulted space, whose 14 alcoves feature stained glass panels developed by Earl Edward Sanborn (1890-1937), a prominent glass designer of his time, on themes suggested by Boston College’s early liberal arts curriculum.

For his work on Gargan Hall, Sanborn chose some subject matter—Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves, for example—rarely depicted in stained glass. His windows range in color from deep blues and reds to blank glazed panes and monochromatic line drawings. They vary widely in tone, as well: reverent in some places, in others mysterious or whimsical.

The slideshow offers a sampling of views of Gargan Hall’s windows drawn from photographs taken by University Photographer Gary Wayne Gilbert for a book on stained glass at Boston College. That volume, titled Inner Fire: The Stained Glass Windows of Boston College, is in preparation under the editorial direction of Boston College Magazine editor Ben Birnbaum, and includes historical and critical essays by Boston College art historian Jeffery Howe and stained-glass expert Virginia Raguin, as well as photographs of windows in Gasson and St. Mary’s halls and Bapst and Burns libraries. If you would like to receive an e-mail notifying you of the book’s release, e-mail, with “stained glass” in the subject line.

This feature was posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 and is filed under Slideshows.
Writer: Nicole Estvanik
Photos: Gary Wayne Gilbert
Producer: Noah Kuhn