The Mellon Collection

Mellon Collection

Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the University Archives curated a selection of books and objects for a display inside the Mellon Conference Room in President Jahanian’s Office on the sixth floor of Warner Hall that chronicles the university through expressions of its heritage, voice and impact. No ordinary bookshelf, this handcrafted piece was designed by George Nakashima and commissioned in 1966 as part of a suite of furniture for the President’s Office. The bookshelf has four shelves with titles written by or about university faculty, students, and alumni across a broad spectrum of disciplines based on a framework of four conceptual themes inspired by the university’s Make Possible Campaign — Accelerate technology and humanity; Fuel arts and creative inquiry; Transform foundational science and Foster a stronger CMU experience.

Duration April 17, 2024 08:24 - April 17, 2024 08:24
Duration: Not open to the public
Location: Mellon Conference Room
Curator: Julia Corrin
Art Director: Heidi Wiren Bartlett

Tony Award, piece of CMU Fence, and Godspell
At left, next to a steel bookend, Sada Thompson (CFA 1949) received this Tony Award in 1972 for Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in George Furth’s “Twigs.”

Centered, this cross-section of the original Fence, built in 1923, represents decades of students who participated in the tradition of painting the Fence. When the original fence collapsed under its own weight in 1993 it was considered to be the “most painted object” in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.

At right, “Godspell” was originally written by John-Michael Tebelak (CFA 1971) as his MFA thesis project. The original 1970 CMU production included songs with lyrics taken from the Bible, set to rock music. The show soon transferred to New York, with much of its original CMU cast intact and with the assistance of CMU alumnus Charles Haid – first to La MaMa Off-Off Broadway, and then Off Broadway to Cherry Lane Theater in 1971.
Molecule Man
“Molecule Man” was the 1949 show put on by Scotch‘n’Soda, one of the oldest student theater groups in the country. While Scotch‘n’Soda now produces several shows throughout the year, many of them adaptations of existing works, the club was originally created with the intent of producing original student work. Notable shows included “Molecule Man,” co-written by Bill Putch who would later run the Totem Pole Theater, “Something Personal” and “A New Day,” which won Broadcast Music awards for Outstanding Variety Show, and Stephen Schwartz’s “Pippin, Pippin,” which would later be adapted into the successful Broadway musical, “Pippin,” directed by Bob Fosse.

Herb Simon and Allen Newell logic puzzles
Herb Simon, and his frequent collaborator Allen Newell, used logic puzzles – such as this “Magic Knot” puzzle – to understand how human’s approached problem solving. In turn, they used these problem solving strategies to build computer programs. These computer programs included the “Logic Theorist” and the “General Problem Solver” – among the first (if not the first) AI programs ever created.

Simon’s works have been translated into many languages. These volumes offer a few examples of these translations.
CMU yearbooks
These yearbooks represent over 100 years of CMU’s history. Copies of the yearbooks can also be accessed via the Libraries’ digital collection.

Related Links

A Look at the President’s Bookshelf