Who was Frank Melville, Jr.?

Frank Melville, Jr.

Frank Melville, Jr.

The main library on the west campus is the Frank Melville, Jr. Memorial Library. But who was Frank Melville, Jr.? Melville and his wife Jennie rose from humble beginnings and founded the Melville Shoe Company in 1892, which evolved into the Melville Corporation. Their 5,000-store shoe chain Thom McAn thrived; later businesses included the CVS Corporation and Marshalls.

The family vacationed each summer in Stony Brook, and in 1919 they commissioned a home in the Three Village area, which they named Sunwood. Photographs of the original Sunwood estate can be viewed here.

The preparation of the Stony Brook campus began in 1959, when SUNY embarked on a $150 million building program on woodlands in Stony Brook donated by Frank’s son, Ward Melville. Ward’s vision shaped the character and landscape of the Three Village communities of Stony Brook, Setauket, and Old Field.

Prior to Stony Brook, classes were held from 1957 to 1961 at William Robertson Coe’s exquisite 350-acre former arboretum-estate, Planting Fields in Oyster Bay. To learn more about university history, visit the website of Special Collections and University Archives-Kristen J. Nyitray, Head, Special Collections and University Archives, University Archivist

Posted in Special Collections & University Archives


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