Columbia University Libraries Formally Open The George and Jesse Siegel Reading Room in Butler Library

June 25, 2002 - The George and Jesse Siegel Reading Room in the Butler Library at Columbia University has been formally opened. Mr. Jesse Siegel (CC '49) and his wife Wilma visited the Siegel Reading Room on June 24. The suite spans the west side of the fourth floor of the newly renovated Butler Library, and houses a significant portion of the undergraduate collection, seating for students, and the latest technology and Internet connectivity.


Ree DeDonato, Director of the History & Humanities Division said, "During the school year, no matter what time of day or night you might be in Butler, the numbers of students using the Siegel reading rooms clearly show that they are among the most popular places for undergraduates to meet and study in the Libraries." University Librarian James Neal applauded Jesse Siegel for his "remarkable support of the Libraries and Columbia students."

Jesse Siegel was born in New York City in 1928 and received his B.A. from Columbia College in 1949. Immediately after graduation, he joined Henry I. Siegel Co., the clothes manufacturing company founded by his father in 1923. He eventually assumed the title of chief executive officer with the company.

Over the years, Jesse Siegel has established through generous gifts the Jesse and George Siegel Scholarship in the Humanities at Columbia College, the Jesse and George Siegel Professorship in the Humanities, currently held by Michael Seidel (Department of English and Comparative Literature), and the George and Jesse Siegel Reading Room at Butler Library.

The majority of his philanthropy has been made in both his own name and that of his late brother, George Siegel, a 1943 graduate of Columbia College who pursued an academic career at Harvard and the University of Massachusetts.

The George and Jesse Siegel Reading Room is located on the fourth floor of the Philip L. Milstein Family College Library. The Milstein Library houses the interdisciplinary undergraduate collection in newly renovated reading rooms on the second, third and fourth floors of Butler Library. The reading rooms incorporate access to the print collection, individual and group study space, and connectivity all in a 24-hour study environment geared to undergraduate students. With approximately 100,000 volumes, the collection is based on the merger of the former College and Burgess-Carpenter collections. It is especially strong in history, literature, and the social sciences supporting the undergraduate curriculums in Columbia College and General Studies. The Milstein Library webpage is at:

written: 06/25/02 KRS
image added: 07/10/02