From L to R: Charlie Sutton, Mrs. Kathy Epperson, Jerry Epperson, Shelba Cornelison, Barton Bienenstock, Russell Bienenstock, Barbara Bienenstock.
The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library named the “Epperson Tower” in honor of Jerry Epperson, who is a long time board member and supporter of the library. The construction and certification will be complete in time for visitors to the October High Point market.
Charlie Sutton, President of the Board of Directors of the library said in his announcement: “It is our intention to make this Library accessible to anyone who has an interest in design.” Epperson quipped, “I am extremely flattered. The only thing named after me is my son, and I am proud of him.” Sutton rejoined “New York has Trump Tower, now High Point has Epperson Tower!” He jested to an editor "at my weight, I am just glad that they didn't call it the twin towers. It is a great, very unexpected honor. A brick in front of the Plaza building, and now an elevator... I am leaving my mark on High Point," Epperson said.
Regarded as an iconic figure in the furniture industry, Epperson is best known for his analysis and prescient prognostications. He kicks off most markets with his semi annual review of “The Outlook for the US Furniture Industry” which is well attended by the industry elite. This highly respected demographer and financial analyst can be seen dashing through High Point on his blue scooter. Those who have known him for a long time remember him as a writer for the erstwhile “Furniture South” Magazine. Coincidentally, the only copies known in existence reside at the Furniture Library and were on display at the ribbon cutting.
His deep commitment to community service extends beyond his involvement to several nonprofit boards including WithIt and the Furniture Library. He is also an inducted member in the American Furniture Hall of Fame and a beloved teacher and mentor to retailers, manufacturers, and industry experts alike.
Located conveniently on Main Street, the library was originally the home of Sandy and Bernice Bienenstock. Called the Grayson House, it was built in 1923 and purchased as the Library headquarters in 1968. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Interiors have been renovated with classic architectural fixtures for modern beauty and function.
The building was converted in 1970, and each year improvements have been made to make it more accessible and useful as a library. The elevator tower was designed by Freeman Kennett Architects to be consistent with period granite brick architecture. Spruce Builders executed the construction. The elevator is only one of the improvements. Over the past year all of the books have been re-cataloged and a comprehensive database of its offerings is now available online.
About Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library:
The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library—a worldwide center for research, design, and collaboration—holds the world's largest collection of rare and significant books on the history and design of furniture. Founded in 1970 and endowed by the Bienenstock family, the Library is devoted the advancement of knowledge about design, furniture, interiors, architecture, textiles, finishes, and constructions.
The library was recently renovated to include a new meeting room named The Vuncannon Room, after Carl Vuncannon, Library Curator from 1985-2010. This meeting space is available for classes, professional meetings, seminars, conferences, lectures and art events. It encourages colleges and universities to utilize this space for class instruction and research. Industry related organizations are also invited to take advantage of the room for meetings and conferences. The room is 40’ x 16’ and seats up to 35 comfortably.
The rare book collection contains volumes published since 1640. With the exception of Yale, it is the only library in America that houses the original works of 18th century furniture masters Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, as well as a complete set of Diderot's Encyclopedia. (26 volumes published in the 18th Century.) Unlike Yale, the Bienenstock Furniture Library is open to the public. A special climate and humidity controlled room houses these rare volumes. An appointment with the curator is required to examine these books, and you must wear white gloves, but they are available to the public. The library also contains rare drawings and furniture details. It is a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone interested in design.
The Library operates a specialty bookstore selling significant contemporary works, out-of-print, and hard-to-find volumes. Most Library services are free. Bienenstock Furniture Library, located in High Point NC, is open to the public and welcomes professionals and scholars for research, collaboration, meetings, seminars, lectures, and events. Visit www.furniturelibrary.com
. The easiest way to stay up to date on the developments of the library is to “like” its Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/BienenstockFurnitureLibrary
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