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Who is our library named after?

The+Marx+Library+was+named+in+honor+of+the+Marx+family+of+Mobile.+
The Marx Library was named in honor of the Marx family of Mobile.

The Marx Library was named in honor of the Marx family of Mobile.

Photo courtesy of USA

Photo courtesy of USA

The Marx Library was named in honor of the Marx family of Mobile.

Krisha Amin, Web Editor

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In the article dated April 24, “If USA buildings were your friends,” The Vanguard received much censure for referring to the University of South Alabama’s main library as the “Karl” Marx Library. Yet, we realized that we weren’t the only people at this university who were oblivious to origins of our library’s arresting name.

In September 2013, the Board of Trustees voted to rename the main library in honor of the Marx family of Mobile. The Marx family has supported USA for several years, even establishing scholarships available in their name, mostly within the Philosophy department. Scholarships include the Pinebrook Scholarship, the Julien and Jean Marx Scholarships, and the Robert Snell Endowed Scholarship.

The library was first constructed in 1968 and underwent a major overhaul in 2003. At the time, the new facilities included additional group study rooms, art galleries, and multimedia and print publications. The construction also gave birth to a millennial institution on the first floor: Starbucks.

A $3 million dollar pledge for the facility was donated by the Julien E. Marx Foundation Trust, with a plan to use $1 million for third floor renovations and to reserve the rest of the funds for maintenance. The third floor construction was completed in 2015.

Linda Marx, a descendant of the Marx family, said the relationship  between USA and the Marx family stems from a desire to preserve Mobile’s history and promote its future.

Due to the Marx’s family’s contribution, USA arranged the move of the McCall collection to the third floor of the library on the south side. The collection constitutes over 1 million documents from the Civil War era, including letters from Jefferson Davis and Henry Clay and presidential land grants signed by both President James Monroe and President James Buchanan. In 2011, the collection was noted to be worth more than $3 million.

Prior to the McCall collection’s move to the main campus, the relics were housed on USA’s Spring Hill campus.

In addition to the generous endowment, USA also inherited the Julius E. Marx Photographic Collection, which depicts more than two decades of Mobile history.

The Marx family donation was one of the most significant contributions made to the USA library, Dr. David Johnson, senior vice president of academic affairs, said in a 2013 press release.

The Marx family continues to lend their support and generosity for the betterment of USA’s future.

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Who is our library named after?