Sterling Memorial Library

Yale University, New Haven, CT



The Sterling Memorial Library on Yale University’s Connecticut campus was designed by James Gamble Rogers, and completed in 1930. Above the doors of the High Street entrance are the bas reliefs works of artist Lee Lawrie and sculptor René Paul Chambellan, bearing two panels that depict a central scholarly figure and the history of the written word, plus ornately carved buttresses.


Nearly a century old, the Gothic Revival ornamentation had cracks, losses and fissures and appeared to be heavily soiled by biological and atmospheric contaminates. Our team first tested the stone for salts, then desalinated and cleaned the entire area. Delaminating stone was pinned, failed joints were raked and repointed, and cracks were filled. Where details had been lost, such as the Mayan and Arabic inscription, our craftspeople fashioned new carvings in composite patching material. Finally, Materials Conservation consolidated and rebuilt all disaggregating and friable stone, bringing this historic entrance back to life.

Sukari Keetin