History of Sullivant Hall

Sullivant Hall. The Ohio State University Archives.

The building at the northwest corner of North High Street and 15th Avenue was built as the Ohio Historical Society’s museum and library. Its lower level is an English basement with large windows above grade and there are two upper stories. Construction is a steel frame and limestone exterior. The cornerstone was laid at the opening of the 1912-1913 academic year, and work on the building was completed in December 1913. It was dedicated on May 30, 1914.

In November 1921, the Trustees authorized the University Architect to prepare plans for an addition. Contracts were let in 1923, and the north wing was dedicated on April 6, 1926. Further additions were added in 1929 and 1948, and the building now consists of four sections, its final addition having been dedicated on April 14, 1950. The interior of the building has been modified several times since, most notably in 1973-1975. The building has 104,851 assignable square feet.

The structure was officially named Joseph Sullivant Hall by the Ohio State University Board of Trustees on December 4, 1970. When The Ohio State University was established, Joseph Sullivant campaigned to have the University located in Columbus. He served as a member of the first Board of Trustees (1870-1878), and was largely responsible for planning the first curriculum. Sullivant was also responsible for creating the first university seal in 1871. The building has variously been known as the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Building, the Museum Building, the Archaeological Museum, and the Undergraduate Library. Over the years it also housed the Fine Arts Library, the Zoology Museum, Continuing Education, and the Hoyt Sherman Art Gallery.

Sullivant Hall underwent an extensive renovation that included moving the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a special collection of the University Libraries, from the Wexner Center into the building in 2013.