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Hamar Union and Memorial Union Collection

Identifier: LU-RG08-003
This collection is comprised of materials documenting the history of Hamar Union and Memorial Union, Lawrence University's first and second student unions. Hamar Union was used as a student union beginning in 1926 until Memorial Union became the student union when it was completed in 1951. Correspondence, newspaper clippings, programs, and photographs are included in the collection.


  • 1925-2017


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights and copyright reside with Lawrence University. For uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.), please contact the University Archivist.


0.60 Linear Feet (2 Boxes)

Biographical or Historical Information

Hamar Union served as Lawrence's union from 1926-1951. It was named in honor of Olive Hamar, a Lawrence student who died of meningitis following an appendectomy in March 1925. Olive had been an active Lawrence student and had worked to raise funds and attention for Lawrence to have a hospitality house. After her death, Lawrence students continued to raise funds for a student union and in 1926, the house at 606 E. College Avenue became Lawrence's first student union. Hamar Union included a formal entertaining room that had a piano, a Windsor room used as a library, and a Wicker room with a victrola for dancing. After the completion of Memorial Union, Hamar Union was used as faculty apartments until 1960 when it was razed to make room for Plantz Hall. Memorial Union, completed in 1951, was provided by alumni, trustees, and friends of the college as a memorial to alumni who died in World Wars I and II, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War. Talk of building a new union began in 1945 and a cornerstone was laid in 1947 while Lawrence centennial activities were taking place on campus. After this event, due to building codes and rising costs, the idea of a new union was neglected and the cornerstone mellowed in the landscape. When construction began on the union in 1950, the cornerstone was relaid very quietly in the alcove of the new building. The building was constructed of lannon stone and overlooks the Fox River. The Union cost about $200,000 to build, and Richard Phlipp of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the architect. The main rooms of the Union included Riverview Lounge, a general meeting center for the Lawrence community; the Union Grill that provided food and beverages; the Viking Room, the Lawrence bar; and the coffeehouse. An outdoor terrace was located on the Union's lower floor. The hill outside the Union has been a popular sledding spot for students. The Union contained a music listening room, a trophy room, and the Olive Hamar conference room in its early years. Upon the opening of the Warch Campus Center in 2009, Memorial Union became known as Memorial Hall. It is now used for academic and administrative offices.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged alphabetically by subject and type of material, then chronologically at the file level.

Method of Acquisition

Materials on Hamar Union and Memorial Union were collected and placed in the Archives vertical file prior to 2005. The Summary Report of the Memorial Union Program Development Committee, 1989, was accessioned and added to the collection in November, 2010. Renovation plans, 2009-2017, transferred by Lynn Hagee with Accession 2017-09.

Accruals and Additions

Materials on Hamar Union and Memorial Union will continue to be collected and placed in this collection by the University Archivist.

Processing Information

Preliminary processing was done prior to 2005, date and processor unknown. Further processing and finding aid was done by Julia Stringfellow, 2009.


Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 11-21-2023: Revised by Claire Cannell to incorporate Lawrence College Memorial Union Program.

Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
113 South Lawe Street
Appleton WI 54911 US
(920) 832-6753