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United States Military Academy Library

Jefferson Hall Tour Guide

Points of Interest

Library Exhibit Space

A flex-use area in the northwest portion of the second floor can accommodate exhibits and, when not in use for such a display, is equipped with furniture that cadets can arrange to fit their study and collaboration needs.


Examples of past exhibits hosted here include:

  • African Americans and the Arts at USMA
  • Foundations: Black Experiences of West Point  (view the digital exhibit)
  • Magnificent Miniatures- An annual Tiny Art exhibit of original cadet works, which have been featured at the Calabrio Night of the Arts (view the digital exhibit)
  • Forbidden Art- A collection of twenty artworks created by concentration/death camp inmates in commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz (January 27, 1945)
  • Fly Me to the Moon: The Military in Space (art quilts)
  • Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation's Armed Forces (loaned from Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian)


In addition to the digital exhibits mentioned above, the Library has an ever-expanding collection of digital exhibits. You can explore them here.


Class of 1986 USMA Class Ring Case


The United States Military Academy Class Ring display is located on the northwest portion of the second floor. Given by members of the Class of 1986 on their tenth reunion, this case displays a ring from most of our graduating classes since the tradition of class rings began in 1835.


Included in this collection are the rings of Generals Douglas MacArthur (Class of 1903), Dwight D. Eisenhower (Class of 1915), and Omar Bradley (Class of 1915).


The tradition of class rings began at the United States Military Academy with the Class of 1835, which designed rings for graduates in their final year of study. There were no class rings in 1836, but the following year the practice was resumed and has continued since. In 1881, the rings began to show some uniformity of design. Prior to 1897, the stone was an engraved seal or signet with the class motto, although occasionally personal initials were also used. 1897 saw the change from an engraved seal to a purely ornamental stone. After 1898 only the Academy motto "Duty, Honor, Country" was engraved on the rings. By 1917 it had become customary to have the class crest on one side and the Academy crest on the other; a standard die design was instituted for each class so that individual preference was then limited to the stone which the owner selected.


Current policy states that the USMA Library will accept one class ring per class for classes graduating prior to the admission of women, and a ring from both a male and female graduate from each class for classes graduating after the admission of women.


Class of 1962 Ring Case for President John F. Kennedy's Honorary Class Ring


This honorary class ring was a gift to President Kennedy (1917-1962) from the class of 1962. President Kennedy was presented the ring and certificate designating him as an Honorary Member of the Class of 1962 immediately following his graduation address to the class. Cadet Kirschenbauer, President of the Class of 1962, presented the ring on behalf of the Class of 1962. The ring was reacquired by the Class of 1962 and presented to the USMA Library to display alongside the official USMA Class Ring collection.


The Library has also developed a digital exhibit that includes more information on the Class Rings and the donors of the rings. You can explore it here.



Mounger Writing Center


Located on the northeast portion of the first floor, the Mounger West Point Writing Center offers regular individual one-on-one consultations and periodic group workshops for cadets working on writing tasks for all academic courses. All sessions are led by Cadet Writing Fellows, who have been selected for participation based on their writing and teaching abilities.


The Mounger Writing Center is part of the West Point Writing Program, whose offices are located on the first floor of Jefferson Hall.



Next, head down the stairs or take the elevator to the 1st floor to complete the tour and go to the 1st Floor tab of this guide.

When descending the stairs to the first floor, several of Thomas Jefferson's quotations concerning military power and conflict are visible to the left while climbing. The Jefferson statue, crest, and quotations are gifts of the Class of 1968 - "No Task Too Great" - in memory of classmates who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

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