We don’t know exactly when this photo was taken, but the landscape offers some clues. The Hay stands proud to the right of the Van Wickle Gates, telling us that this snowy scene was captured some time after 1910, when Brown’s first dedicated library was built. But the Rock, which started construction in 1962, does not yet occupy the corner to the left. Then there’s that dashing trilby worn by the figure passing through the left side gate, and the absence of cars (unless, of course, they’re buried in snow). Whatever the mid-20th-century date, the scene recalls the Cicero inscription carved into the stone tablet on one side of the Gates: “These studies fortify one’s youth, delight one’s old age; amid success they are an ornament, in failure they are a refuge and a comfort.”
Amid snow they are an ornament.
By Pippa Jack / January–March 2023
March 17th, 2023