Charles Addams mural, global news resources move to Paterno Library

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “An Addams Family Holiday,” a 1952 mural by American cartoonist Charles Addams, has been relocated in the newly renovated and renamed MacKinnon’s Lounge, on the first floor of Paterno Library on Penn State’s University Park campus, just in time for fans to mark the 30th anniversary of Addams’ passing. 

strong horizontal image of black and white mural depicting famous American ghoulish cartoon Addams family standing, fishing on beach shoreline and scared swimmers racing to get out of water

Charles Addams’ 1952 mural, now known as “An Addams Family Holiday,” has been hung in Pattee Library since the early 1990s. It was moved from its original location, the Dune Deck Hotel in Westhampton Beach, New York, and donated to Penn State by Walter and Doris Goldstein. Its location as of September 2018 is on the first floor of Paterno Library. Click on the image to view the full mural. 

Image: Penn State University Libraries

Addams died Sept. 29, 1988, with his obituary headline in The New York Times noting that he “found humor in the macabre.” The fictional family who came to bear his surname in the 1960s are depicted in the mural enjoying time on a beach. Father Gomez is fishing for some unseen sea creature hooked on and straining the line, while other, concerned beachgoers and swimmers are actively running and paddling away from the ocean. 

The nearly 14-foot-wide mural gained media attention in July 2018 from a brief article in The New Yorker magazine, where Addams was a longtime cartoonist. Its interactive online article highlights aspects of the mural as the reader scrolls down the page.  

Originally painted for the Dune Deck hotel in Westhampton Beach, New York, the mural was donated to Penn State by Walter and Doris Goldstein, whose generosity also benefited Pattee Library’s Walter and Doris Goldstein Music and Media Center. Walter Goldstein was a 1947 civil engineering graduate. The Addams mural has provided educational value and artistic appreciation to generations of Penn State faculty, staff, students and visitors since the University Libraries acquired it 25 years ago.

MacKinnon's Lounge, first floor Paterno Library, showing tables, chairs and displays of print newspapers from Pennsylvania and around the world

MacKinnon’s Lounge, 128 Paterno Library, is directly adjacent to the library’s new Starbucks café. The space houses daily printed copies of local and global newspapers — six local papers from Pennsylvania, 12 major U.S. metropolitan titles, four financial newspapers, four African-American newspapers and 25 non-U.S. newspapers in 11 languages. It also offers 25 news magazines from nine countries and in six languages. 

Image: Penn State University Libraries

The Addams mural’s new location in Paterno Library also houses Pattee Library and Paterno Library’s global news resources in print. Repositioned from the former News and Microforms Library, current editions of newspapers and news magazines from around the world are also now in MacKinnon’s Lounge, 128 Paterno Library, open 24/5 during Pattee Library and Paterno Library’s normal operating hours and directly adjacent to a new, University-operated Starbucks café.

Microforms resources have moved to the 2nd floor of Paterno Library, now organized as Microforms and Government Information.  

Paterno Library Starbucks Mural

 A 40-foot literary arts-inspired mural by Penn State alumnus Brian Kappel, commissioned by Starbucks, includes a quote from Herman Melville’s novel “Moby-Dick” with imagery of the infamous whale, whose tail also can be interpreted as an open book. On its left side is a mythical maritime siren, which inspired the company’s logo. A character from Melville’s book, Starbuck, informed the name of the company, which is headquartered in the port city of Seattle.    

Image: Penn State

First floor Paterno Library now has two art murals featuring famous fictional characters. During the planning of the café, which opened Aug. 20, Starbucks officials commissioned a 40-foot literary-arts-inspired mural by Penn State School of Visual Arts 1998 alumnus Brian Kappel.

Last Updated September 11, 2018