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Queen's University Library

Origin of the name: "Bracken Library"

Dr. Franklin Bracken and his wife Helene.The Bracken Library is named after Dr. Franklin Bracken (1889-1983). His portrait, by Yousuf Karsh, hangs over the stairs in the library.

Dr. Franklin Bracken, a native of Seeley's Bay, graduated with a medical degree from Queen's University in 1911. After seven years of residency at the Knapp Memorial Eye Hospital in New York City and military service during World War 1, Dr. Bracken became associated with Dr. Arnold Knapp in the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University in New York.

For the next twenty years they pioneered in the development and modernization of intracapsular cataract surgery and initiated the "round pupil" operation, the first procedure which successfully preserved the iris with full function. Dr. Bracken continued his practice of ophthalmic surgery in New York for thirty years, retiring in 1970. During his retirement, Dr. Bracken and his wife, Mrs. Helene Bracken, frequently visited Queen's University and the Kingston area.

Dr. Bracken provided a substantial amount of money to facilitate the building of Bracken Library, which was officially designated as the Bracken Library during Homecoming Weekend in 1978. The further generosity of Mrs. Bracken allowed the purchase of comfortable furnishings in the library, as well as the construction of the attractive amphitheatre outside the lounge area downstairs.

In addition to the library facility itself, the ongoing Bracken Endowment sustains the purchase of a number of periodical subscriptions. The Brackens have also funded, in a most significant way, new scholarships in Medicine and Nursing, and the School of Graduate Studies and Research, and two Chairs in Health Sciences. Mrs. Bracken, who passed away in 2000, has bequeathed generously to the library: a number of endowment funds were started which allowed the creation of a continuing librarian appointment in Health Informatics, the purchase of multi-media resources and point-of-care tools as well as to continue to ensure that the library facilities are well appointed.

Image: Dr. Franklin Bracken and his wife Helene.


Last Updated: 24 November 2014