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Hoose Library of Philosophy: Collections, History, Art & Architecture and Digital Humanities Projects and Resources: ART & ARCHITECTURE

A brief guide to the USC James Harmon Hoose Library of Philosophy and its rare book and manuscript special collections, history, and art and architecture. USC Libraries news, events, projects and services.

Ralph Carlin Flewelling - Architect


The Mudd Memorial Hall of Philosophy (1929) is perhaps the most elegant of the many Romanesque Revival-style buildings on campus, and won a gold medal for design from the Los Angeles Art Association in 1931. It was designed by Ralph Carlin Flewelling, whose father was a longtime professor of philosophy at USC, and its design recalls a medieval monastery, with courtyard cloister, tower, and elaborate carvings in the Romanesque tradition. The interior of Mudd Hall features wood, colorful tile, terra cotta, and painted plaster ceilings. The second-floor Hoose Library of Philosophy occupies a dramatic double-height room. The building underwent extensive structural and decorative restoration in 2003, earning a 2004 Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award.

Source: LA Conservancy, University of Southern California non-modern buildings


Brick and Mortar by Erin Mankin, February 18, 2004, USC News

Retrofit of Hoose Library of Philosophy after the Northridge earthquake

Flewelling & Moody, Inc. Architecture Firm

The Flewelling & Moody, Inc. Architecture, Planning, Interiors firm is still in business today. 

From their website under their company history it states the following, "Flewelling and Moody, Inc. is a California Corporation founded by Ralph Carlin Flewelling in 1928 in Los Angeles. Some of Flewelling’s most noteworthy designs include the Beverly Hills Post Office, USC’s Seeley W. Mudd Memorial Hall of Philosophy, and Caltech’s Millikan Memorial Library."


USC Art and Architecture - Mudd Hall of Philosophy & Hoose Library of Philosophy

Source: Art and Architecture, USC created by Public Art and Campus Design Committee, June 2011,

"Self-guided Tour: Welcome to the USC Art and Architecture selfguided tour. From the Romanesque architecture of Doheny Memorial Library to the Zen-like abstraction of Woods Davy’s stone-and-steel sculpture, from gargoyles representing Greek philosophers to the politically charged work of contemporary artists Jenny Holzer and Judy Baca, USC invites you to engage with its enduring legacy of public art and architecture. This guide will introduce you to the buildings, sculptures, fountains, murals, galleries and architectural details that have shaped the University’s unique physical and cultural growth since its inception. The tour enables you to walk at your own pace while taking in the beauty of the University Park campus. We hope you find this tour a memorable and thought-provoking part of your visit to USC." (pg. 2)

Public Art in Los Angeles website created by Ruth Wallach

First and foremost we must give proper credit to the creator of the Public Art in Los Angeles website, our very own Ruth Wallach. As noted on the homepage of Ruth's website the following acknowledgements:

"Many people and agencies provided me with information for this Web site. I would like to particularly mention The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. I am also indebted to the files and publications given to me by Michael Several, and to the information provided in "Spine" by Jud Fine, "Downtown Los Angeles; A Walking Guide" by Robert Herman, and "Street Gallery" by Robin Dunitz. I also want to thank Curtis Roseman, professor of Geography at USC, who led me and others on several walking tours of the downtown area, allowing me to photograph many of the works included in this web site. The University of Southern California Libraries provided me with the financial support to develop this site. 

Additional information about the city may be found through The City of Los Angeles Government Page and Los Angeles Downtown News sites. For information regarding this page, contact Ruth Wallach, USC Libraries. (This page last updated 4/2010)."

Ruth Wallach

The hyperlinks below link to photographs of each subject. 

General Description

The Main Reading Room's impressive design features include a very high cathedral ceiling with massive crossbeams; walls covered with decorative painting and twenty-two recessed plaques depicting great philosophers. Bright, clear windows soar on either side of the room. Tall, graceful columns supporting Moorish arches parallel the windows and delineate study alcoves formed by the book shelves below the windows, accent the length of the room and lead the eye to colorful stained glass windows in the apse. At the end opposite the apse is the great stone fireplace; and down the center of the room, unifying the whole, are five sets of refectory-style tables and chairs. In addition, the entry-way arch displays a wood carving of a scholar and students.

Design Specifics

  • Main Reading Room dimensions: 115 feet long by 22 feet wide by 38 feet high 
  • Decorative wall painting designer: Julian Ellsworth Garnsey 
  • Stained-glass windows creator: Judson Stained-Glass Studios, Los Angeles
  • Mosaics (22): Subject matter and inscriptions were supplied by Dr. Ralph Tyler Flewelling, Director of the School of Philosophy; design of all but two was by the architect, Ralph Carlin Flewelling. The aim of the mosaics was to depict the succession of philosophical ideas from Greeks through the nineteenth century. Buddha and Confucius are included "as important in the philosophical ideas of a great portion of the human race."

    Each mosaic depicts the philosopher in a background scene representative of some portion of his life with an inscription from his works. The philosophers and inscriptions are:

    South Wall Mosaics

    • Buddha: To the man who does me wrong I will return the protection of my most ungrudging love.
    • Confucius: He who knoweth the truth is not as good as he who loveth it: and he who loveth it is not as good as he who delighteth in it.
    • Thales: It is difficult to know thyself, it is easy to advise others.
    • Heraclitus: For the most tpart the things divine escape us because of our unbelief.
    • Anaxagoras: Mind is infinite and self-ruled.
    • Democritus: The fatherland of the wise and the good is the whole world.
    • Protagoras: Man is the measure of the universe.
    • Socrates: No evil can befall a good man either here or hereafter.
    • Plato: The first and best victory is to conquer self.
    • Aristotle: Dear is Plato, dearer still is truth.
    • Epicurus: If you live according to nature you will never be poor.
    • Augustine: Thou hast made us for thyself and our hearts are restless till they rest in thee.

    North Wall Mosaics

    • Albertus Magnus: The creation in time is a revelation of the eternal acting of God.
    • Descartes: Cogito ergo sum [I think therefore I am]
    • Spinoza: To perfect the understanding is nothing else but to understand God.
    • Leibniz: It is God who is the final reason of things.
    • Newton: I have been like a boy playing on the seashore whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
    • Locke: Thinking is the action and not the essence of the soul.
    • Berkeley: Westward the course of empire takes its way, time's noblest offspring is the last.
    • Kant: Mind is supreme and the universe is but the reflected thought of God.
    • Hegel: A nation which has no metaphysics is like a temple possessing no holy of holies.
    • Emerson: Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force.


Henley, W. Ballentine and Arther E. Neeley, eds.  Cardinal and Gold; A Pictoral and Factual Record of the Highlights of Sixty Years of Progress on the Southern California Campus with Views and News of Some of the 70,000 Students who Played Their Part in the Growth of a Great University, 1880-1940. Los Angeles: The General Alumni Association, 1939.

Reynolds, John H.  The Trojan Gallery; A Pictorial History of the University of Southern California, 1880/1980. Los Angeles: University of Southern California, 1980. The index to this book of photographs is located on the Trojan Gallery web site.

"Marking Time; A stroll around campus turns into a trek through Trojan History." USC Trojan Family Magazine, Autumn 1999, pp. 35-36, 45-47.

USC Digital Library - Mudd Hall of Philosophy

These images are examples from the USC Digital Library


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