History of Raymond Library

Brief History of Raymond Library

Raymond Library

The first Yakima Valley College Library consisted of an informal collection of books which were primarily personal copies donated by faculty members and other individuals within the community, including Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Schroeder and Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Crisler of Wapato. In addition, Chapter P of P.E.O. gave annual gifts of $21.

Several events made it possible to consider establishing an enlarged campus including an excellent library. Two large donations of $4,500 each were made to YVC, one from the Carnegie Foundation–the only such gift to a college library in the northwest, and one from the Yakima Lions Club. Mrs. A. E. Larson and her son, Shirley Parker, donated 10 acres; a grant from A. E. Larson’s will provided $113,000, and a $500 pledge from the Optimist Club laid the groundwork for building the campus at 16th Avenue and Lennox (now Nob Hill Boulevard). A library was established in the round building located in the middle of the campus. It was later named Palmer Hall after the late Frank Palmer. That building was razed in 2017 to make way for the campus’s central plaza.

Slowly the periodical list grew and more books were added. As the collection and student body grew, a large building was needed. On May 8, 1967, Raymond Library was completed and dedicated in memory of the late Mrs. Jean (Fred M.) Raymond.

The new library contained 27,487 square feet and included much more than texts. The Raymond Library windows are often mistaken for an Indian design, but are in fact the “lamps of learning.” They are patterned after the “Betty Lamp” which was an oil lantern used before electricity. The purpose of the design was threefold–to emulate the lamp of education, to provide just enough window space to prevent claustrophobia, and to prevent large amounts of light from falling on manuscripts.

In 2008 the building was totally remodeled and an additional area was added to the front to provide study space, comfortable seating, and an open vista of the campus. At that time the building was rededicated as Raymond Hall and continues to house Raymond Library.

Mrs. Jean (Fred M.) Raymond

Mrs. RaymondMrs. Raymond began as a Trustee on the Board in 1930. The school year, 1930-1931, marks the beginning of the Board of Trustees serving the college as an independent institution, and at this time the college was incorporated as a non-profit institution under the laws of the State of Washington. Mrs. Raymond served as Vice-President of the Board from 1931-1933

She served as President/Chairman of the Board beginning in 1933. The official title was changed to Chairman of the Board in 1941 when the state legislature provided that any junior college complying with certain provisions could receive state funds. The application was made and the college became a public junior college in the state system of higher education. Mrs. Raymond continued to hold the position of Chairman of the Board until her death on April 15, 1947–the same year the college merged with the Yakima School District No. 7 and two years before the college held classes at the new location.

Born in Palmyra, Missouri, Jean Cohn married Fred M. Raymond in Nebraska, and they moved to Yakima. During the train trip west, she contracted polio, which slowed her down only slightly.  In addition to her commitment to Yakima Valley College, she served on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Yakima School Board. She was an advisor for the Adelphian Society and a member of the First Presbyterian Church, P.E.O.Chapter P, and the Women’s Century Club. The Raymonds founded and owned Artificial Ice & Storage Co.