The origin of the Rudolph Matas Library dates from the founding of the Medical College of Louisiana (now Tulane University School of Medicine) in 1834. In 1895, Rudolph Matas began his ongoing efforts to support the library, devoting much of his energy and fortune to the expansion of its collections and services. The library was named in his honor in 1937. Today, the library is the primary resource library of the Tulane School of Medicine, the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TRNPC).
The bronze doors on permanent display in the library are the original doors from the old, main entrance to the medical school's Hutchinson Memorial Building on Tulane Avenue. The pair are extremely ornate, weighing more 300 pounds each. They were designed in 1929 by Douglass Vincent Freret (1903-1973) of Favrot and Livaudais, Architects, for the main entrance to the Hutchinson Memorial Building on Tulane Avenue. The doors were installed in 1930 during the tenure of Dean C.C. Bass and dismantled in 1963 when the entrance was relocated to the new Burthe Cottam Building addition.
The doors were in storage for almost twenty years when they were resurrected and mounted in the library on either side of the old card catalog in honor and memory of Dean Bass in 1981. The card catalog is now a memory, but the doors remain as guardians of the printer and copier stations in the library.
There are many fine details and sculpture from the original building still adorning the building. The bronze tablet dedicated to the philanthropist, Alexander C. Hutchinson and his wife Josephine located on the LaSalle side above the Clinic entrance was designed by Pietro Ghiloni. Angela Gregory (1903-1990) is the sculptor of the head of Aesculapius on the Hutchinson Memorial Building. The Hutchinson Memorial building of Tulane Medical School was inaugurated on December 10, 1930.