The Student The Scientist The Planner The Preacher The Reaper Franklin and Marshall The Metaphysician Research

The Library Mural

In 1937, Franklin and Marshall College commissioned artist and illustrator John Charles Wonsetler (1900-1979) to paint an inspirational mural for the lobby of Fackenthal Library. Wonsetler was paid $1,000 for the massive 11' by 20' piece entitled: Research. Practical and Philosophical, Looks to the Past and Future in Generations of Men.

On May 31st, 1938 the library was formally dedicated. Upon entering the lobby, patrons immediately faced the mural, which was hung behind the circulation desk. The mural remained there for 45 years until the lobby was redesigned in 1983. Then it was relocated to the Reference Room.

The mural's symbols were explained in a booklet handed out during the dedication ceremonies. Click on the symbols in the picture above, or continue reading below for close-ups and excerpts from the booklet. The complete text can be found here.


One face, the Face of Age and Wisdom, turns to the Past with it many types of cultures, while the Face of Youth and Experiment looks to the Future.

The Metaphysician

Dominating this passage is the head of the Metaphysician, symbolizing the thought and writing which binds cultures together.

The Craftsman

Plying his bellows, typifying the innovator who works to the Future at whose forge of genius Research receives the divine spark of truth.

Benjamin Franklin
and John Marshall

They symbolize the College and the great example, the great effort and the great accomplishment of all seekers after the truth.

The Reaper

The Reaper and the Plowman typify effort and accomplishment.

The Student

The Preacher

Symbolizing the origin of the College and the influence on modern civilization of the Christian Church.

The Scientist

Dominating this passage are the Scientist and the Planner, who symbolize the growing tendency to control the mass effort (as typified by the Line of Labor)...

The Planner

...and of the products of that effort, as against the free and haphazard growth of isolated thoughts and practices in past ages.

The Line of Labor