The Quest for the Last Glass Philosopher


It was (perhaps) a dark and stormy night, back in the 1950s, when the multi-colored glass panels depicting 24 philosophers were removed from the dome atop Normal Hall at Indiana State University, many broken in the process. No photographs of the dome have been found, and no definitive list of the 24 philosophers is in existence. Now ISU is hoping to restore the dome. But who were the philosophers?

A general description from the Normal Hall dedication program in 1910 contained clues about its design and a few of the names emblazoned on the stained-glass panels.

“It has been (a mystery),” Exline said, standing beside the dome’s arches in the stuffy Normal Hall attic on a recent morning. “But now, we’re closing in on it.”

Some investigative work, detailed in an article here, has revealed the identity of 23 of the philosophers. That just leaves one. Who is the last glass philosopher? And what will happen when the philosophers are all reunited atop the dome of Normal Hall? “Normal Hall?” Anything but.

(Update: this may or may not be the prequel to Raiders of the Lost Death Mask.)

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