Constructed in 1890 and dedicated as Library Hall in January 1891, Maxwell Hall was designed by Indianapolis architect George Bunting in the Romanesque Revival style popular at the end of the 19th Century, featuring rounded arches, contrasting stone textures, an asymmetrical exterior, and numerous decorative flourishes throughout.
It was renamed in 1894 in honor of Dr. David H. Maxwell, long-time president of IU's Board of Trustees in the middle of the 19th Century. Maxwell also served several terms in the Indiana State Legislature and as mayor of Bloomington.
As the first dedicated library building on the Bloomington campus, Maxwell Hall was at the heart of campus life, a gathering place for students, the epicenter of faculty scholarship, and an iconic space that definied Indiana University at the turn of the century. Maxwell later became home to IU's Law School and its library.