exhibit containing Mini Nature Boy, an older, small-scale version of the one
scaling the wall of Holland Library. (Photo by Linda Weiford, WSU News)
Nature Boy in 2010. (Photo by Robert
Hubner, WSU Photo Services)
“People have already started calling him Mini Nature Boy,” said Anna Wheatley, interim director of development for WSU libraries, who drove to Spokane in November to retrieve the tinier, yet older, version of Nature Boy.
‘Tall, rangy farm boys’
1949 alumni magazine cover. (Courtesy of WSU Manuscripts,
Archives and Special Collections)
“They made this choice because it was the simplest possible expression of the meaning of a library,” he said.
In 1949, Pratt chipped, hacked and pounded away at 60 tons of Indiana limestone to create the statue for WSU, which, back then, was called State College of Washington. Two decades earlier, construction workers had used the same kind of limestone to build the 102-story Empire State Building. Once completed, Pratt’s statue was transported by freight car from Indiana to Pullman, his letter explains.
After Mini Nature Boy completes his appearance in the exhibit, he’ll become a permanent fixture in the library, probably inside Terrell’s Quiet Study Lounge, said Wheatley.
Named after popular song
Officially designated as “The Reader,” students started calling him Nature Boy after Nat King Cole’s hit song by the same name. The statue is featured on the November 1949 cover of the university’s alumni magazine with a caption explaining: “Students have dubbed the….ornament, ‘Nature boy.’”
“All these years later, the name Nature Boy stuck. Now we have the mini version with us as well,” said Wheatley.