On three sides of the exterior of the Central Library in downtown Portland, Oregon is a quiz. Under each set of windows are a list of names carved into the granite of the excellent Georgian style building, designed by Albert Doyle, completed in 1912 and wholly remodeled in 2000. The quiz illustrates how our notion of cultural literacy shifts, wanes, is distorted by pedagogues and history-scribblers, and evaporates from our consideration and consciousness.

Try the 19th Century quiz on your pals. If they can guess the representative group for each window, award them with an honorary 18th Century liberal arts degree. If they get smart, ask them to name a text, event or artwork associated to one name for each window.

Taylor Street (South side of the building)

Bookbinders – Tory, Maiolo, De Thou, Eve, Ferrar, Le Gascon, Badier, Duseuil, Padeloup, Derome, Thouvenin, Roger Payne, Bedford, Zaehnsdorf, Rivere

Educators – Bury, Grolier, Cellini, Limousin, Palissy, Bodley, Harvard, Rousseau, Herbert, Frobel, Mann, Lenox, Ruskin, Winsor, Morris

Religious Leaders – Zoroaster, Isaiah, Guatama, Confusius, Paul, Jerome, Augustine, St. Francis, Wiclif, Erasmus, Luther, Loyola, Wesley, Edward, Channing

Military Commanders – Militades, Xerxes, Alexander, Hannibel, Scipio, Caeser, Saladin, Gustavus, Frederick, Marlborough, Napoleon, Wellington, Tecumseh, Lee, Grant

Naval Commanders – Themistocles, Octavius, Drake, Raleigh, Blake, Von Tromp, De Ruyter, Hawke, Boscawen, Rodney, Paul Jones, Nelson, Decatur, Farragut, Porter

Explorers – Marco Polo, Columbus, John Cabot, Vespucius, Da Gama, Balboa, Magellan, De Soto, La Salle, Carver, Gray, Vancouver, Lewis, Clark, Livingstone

Statesmen – Solon, Pericles, Demosthenes, Cicero, Augustus, Richelieu, Burke, Washington, Jefferson, Tallyrand, Metternich, Gladstone, Lincoln, Cavour, Bismarck

Yamhill Street (North side of the building)

Painters – Giotto, Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Botticelli, Valasquez, Titian, Raphael, Correggio, Rubens, Hals, Van Dyck, Rembrant, Murillo, Corot, Whistler

Etchers – Durer, Marc Antonio, Claude, Van Ostade, Canaletto, Hogarth, Piranesi, Bartolozzi, Nanteuil, Millet, Haden, Meryon

Sculptors – Philias, Myron, Polycletus, Praxiteles, Lysippus, Pisano, Ghiberti, Donotello, Della RObbia, Verrocchio, Michelangelo, Goujon, Bernini, Rude, St Gaudens

Architects – Ictinus, Mnesicles, Vituvius, Brunelleschi, Alberti, Bramante, Vignola, Palladio, Inigo Jones, Mansard, Perrault, Wren, Viollet-Le-Duc, Richardson, McKim

Musicians – Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Grieg, MacDowell

Scientists – Euclid, Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Leibnitz, Franklin, Linnarus, Herschel, Laviosier, Curvier, Faraday, Darwin, Spencer

Inventors – Boulton, Watt, Jenner, Fulton, Whitney, Senefelder, Stephenson, Daguerre, Morse, Ericsson, Bessemer, Corliss, Howe, Pasteur, Bell

Tenth Avenue (East side of the building)

Printers – Gutenberg, Caxton, Mentelin, John Fust, Schoeffer, Aldus, Jenson, Sweynheym, De Spira, Koburger, Plantin, Pynson, Froben, Estienne, Elzevir

Novelists – Boccaccio, Rabelais, Cervantes, Bunyan, Fielding, Scott, Irving, Balzac, Hugo, Dumas, Hawthorne, Thackery, Dickens, George Eliot, Tolstoi

Historians – Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Livy, Josephus, Plutarch, Tacitus, Froissart, Gibbon, Guizot, Grote, Carlyle, Macaulay, Motley, Parkman

Philosphers – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epietetus, M. Aurelius, Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegal, Comte, Emerson, Mill

Poets – Homer, Virgil, Horace, Dante, Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Tennyson, Poe, Browning, Whitman

Dramatists – Aeshylus, Sophocles, Euripides Shakspere, Jonson, Lope De Vega, Corneille, Moliere, Voltaire, Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Alfieri, Sheridan, Ibsen