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HUV 50

Photographic views of Sever Hall, 1881-1982: an inventory

Harvard University Archives

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Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUV 50
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Title: Photographic views of Sever Hall, 1881-1982
Date(s): 1880-1982
Quantity: 0.25 cubic feet
Quantity: 52 photographs
Abstract: Completed in 1880, Sever Hall is a classroom building at Harvard University that was designed by renowned architect H. H. Richardson. It was named for Ann E. P. Sever, the widow of Colonel James Warren Sever, after she contributed $100,000 from her will toward the $115,000 construction costs. The Richardsonian Romanesque building is known for its intricate brickwork exterior and flexible interior that can be easily updated and remodeled as the needs of users change over time. It is also lauded as one of the most significant examples of Richardson's work. It is located on the eastern edge of Harvard Yard. The Photographic views of Sever Hall provide a visual record of an architecturally renowned building on Harvard University's campus, its grounds, and the surrounding area from 1881 to 1982. The 52 images consist of photographs and postcards, and formats include albumen prints, gelatin silver prints, collotype prints, and letterpress halftone prints.

Acquisition information:

These images were acquired by the Harvard University Archives from the late nineteenth century through the late twentieth century.

Processing Information:

This finding aid was created by Amanda Shermanin March 2016. Dates enclosed in brackets were supplied by the archivist.
Description of the Photographic views of Sever Hall, 1881-1982, was supported by the Harvard Library's Hidden Collection initiative.

Researcher Access:

Open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Photographic views of Sever Hall, 1881-1982. HUV 50, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

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Historical Note

Completed in 1880, Sever Hall is a classroom building at Harvard University that was designed by renowned architect H. H. Richardson. It was named for Ann E. P. Sever, the widow of Colonel James Warren Sever, after she contributed $100,000 from her will toward the $115,000 construction costs. The Richardsonian Romanesque building is known for its intricate brickwork exterior and flexible interior that can be easily updated and remodeled as the needs of users change over time. It is also lauded as one of the most significant examples of Richardson's work. It is located on the eastern edge of Harvard Yard.
The three-story building originally was equipped with twenty-four classrooms, including two lecture halls, twelve preparatory rooms for the professors, two art galleries, and an examination room. The first floor had six classrooms, one lecture hall, and four retiring rooms. The second floor had eight classrooms and four retiring rooms, while the third floor matched the first, except it had two art galleries as well. The attic contained the examination room, and the basement contained coal bins, bathrooms, and the heating and ventilation system.
In 1982, Sever Hall had interior renovations to modernize its classrooms. The preparation rooms became seminar rooms, and the attic and basement were partitioned into studios and classrooms. The Harvard Extension School, which contributed funds to the renovation, added its library, Grossman Library, to the third floor.

References

Arrangement

The photographic views of Sever Hall has a legacy arrangement reflecting over 100 years of interfiling individual photographs of the structure from many sources into one collection. The images are arranged into six folders, with the photographs loosely arranged in chronological order.This collection is part of the Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Views, in which Archives staff compiled images, whether acquired individually or removed from larger collections, and arranged them in categories based on locations, buildings, or landscape features for ease of reference.

Scope and Content

The Photographic views of Sever Hall provide a visual record of an architecturally significant building on Harvard University's campus designed by renowned architect H. H. Richardson, as well as its grounds and the surrounding area from 1881 to 1982. The 52 images consist of photographs and postcards, and formats include albumen prints, gelatin silver prints, collotype prints, and letterpress halftone prints. Exterior images show Sever Hall from a variety of angles, some showing students standing or walking in the Yard. Interior photographs show Sever Hall's classrooms, lecture halls, and utility room as they were before the 1982 remodel. The images have been gifts of individuals or contributed by the Harvard University Press, Alumni Bulletin, and the Harvard News Office. One photograph was taken by the studio of William Notman.

Inventory update

This document last updated 2016 April 13.

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