The Social Science Building at 1180 Observatory Drive was constructed in phases between 1961-1966. The building was built specifically to house the Anthropology, Economics, and Sociology Departments. The plans for the building included space for a library to serve these departments. The Library was later renamed after Gerald G. Somers (1922-1977), a professor in the Industrial Relations Research Institute, who died at a relatively young age. Dr. Somers graduated with his PhD in Economics from UC-Berkeley in 1951, and focused significant research on the interaction between trade unions and coal-mining companies. Dr. Somers was the Acting Director of the IRRI from 1957-1959 and later served as the Director from 1964-1968. The Library was named after Dr. Somers because he was a frequent user of the library.
Feldman, Jim. (1997) “Social Science.” The Buildings of the University of Wisconsin. pp. 321-323. http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/UW.UWBuildings