OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
|http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua09016View HOLLIS Record
Questions or Comments Copyright Statement
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: HUV 39
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Title: Photographic views of University Hall, 1815, 1857-1970
Quantity: 0.5 cubic feet
Quantity: 108 photographs
Abstract: Located in the center of Harvard Yard, University Hall was built in 1815. It originally contained Harvard University's chapel, six classrooms, the president's office, and the commons, consisting of four dining halls. The Federal-style building was designed by Charles Bulfinch, who is considered to be the first American professional architect, and built by Loammi Baldwin, Jr., and it was the first building in the Yard to be built from stone rather than brick. The Photographic views of University Hall provides a visual record of an academic and commons building designed by Charles Bulfinch, who is considered to be the first American professional architect, as well as its grounds and surrounding area from 1815 to 1970. Images include a reproduction of a drawing, a postcard, and photograph prints. The photograph print processes represented are salted paper prints, albumen prints, collodion prints, gelatin silver prints, collotype prints, and letterpress halftone prints.
Collections in the Harvard University Archives:
- General information by and about University Hall (HUB 1861.2)
- Harvard College Papers, 1st series, 1636-1825, 1831: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua62011
- Harvard University. Corporation. Records of early Harvard buildings, 1710-1960:http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua50010
- Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Views:http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.ARCH:hua21004
- See also Harvard University's Visual Information Access (VIA) system for more images of University Hall from the Harvard University Archives.
Located in the center of Harvard Yard, University Hall was built in 1815. It originally contained Harvard University's chapel, six classrooms, the president's office, and the commons, consisting of four dining halls. The Federal-style building was designed by Charles Bulfinch, who is considered to be the first American professional architect, and built by Loammi Baldwin, Jr., and it was the first building in the Yard to be built from stone rather than brick. Over its history, University Hall has been adapted to contain a gymnasium, a chemistry lab, more classrooms, and the meeting room for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. University Hall has also become home to the statue of John Harvard, which sits outside of the west side of the building. At the time of this writing, University Hall houses the offices of the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of Harvard College, the Dean of Students, the Dean of Undergraduate Education, the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Instructional Research and Evaluation, the Office for Advanced Standing at Harvard College, and the Parents Association.Funded by the Harvard Corporation, construction on University Hall began in 1813 and was completed in 1815 at a cost of $65,000. It was built using granite from a quarry in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, the transportation of which had been simplified by the opening of the Middlesex Canal, allowing the granite to be moved by barges from the quarry right to the College wharf at the end of Dunster Street. The three-story building had four dining halls, one for each class, on the first floor, classrooms and president's office on the second and third floors, and the two-story high chapel in the center of the second floor. As well as building University Hall, Harvard also needed to construct new privies and brewhouse, since the prior structures, which stood east of Old Stoughton and Hollis Halls, had to be demolished. The new brewhouse and privies stood north of University Hall and were screened from the building by a row of pine trees. Upon its completion, the commons and chapel were transferred to University Hall from Harvard Hall. The Commencement banquet that was previously held in Harvard Hall was held in University Hall from 1815 to 1841.University Hall's exterior has changed very little since its completion in 1815. The building originally had a porch on the west side of the building, but that was demolished in 1842. Granite steps were added to the east side of University Hall in 1917, and in 1924, the statue of John Harvard, designed by Daniel Chester French, was moved from the Delta next to Memorial Hall to the center of the west side of the University Hall.Unlike the exterior, University Hall's interior has been remodeled several times. In 1826, one of the four dining halls was adapted into a gymnasium following the arrival of Charles Follen, the first professor of German at Harvard who also introduced the sport of gymnastics to the University. In 1840, the dining halls and basement kitchen were adapted into classrooms, and a chemistry laboratory was added in 1850. When Appleton Chapel was completed in 1858, church services were transferred there from University Hall. In 1869, the chapel was divided into four classrooms by adding a floor where the balconies were and splitting the two floors each into two rooms. These classrooms were removed in 1896, and the space was restored by Pierre la Rose into a meeting room for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The last renovations took place in 2001, during which the building was modernized and made compliant to the Americans with Disabilities Act by improving heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems, and adding an elevator, ramps, and chairlifts.University Hall is part of the border of the Tercentenary Theatre, a large open area in the east part of Harvard Yard that is used for commencement exercises. Widener Library, Sever Hall, and Memorial Church also border the Theatre.
- Bunting, Bainbridge. Harvard: An architectural history. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1985.
- Education, Bricks and Mortar: Harvard Buildings and Their Contribution to the Advancement of Learning. Cambridge, Mass.: The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1949.
- King, Moses. Harvard and its surroundings. Cambridge: Moses King, publisher, 1884.
- Newman, David C. "Deans Move Back Into Renovated University Hall." The Harvard Crimson, January 17, 2001.
The photographic views of University 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 eleven 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.
The Photographic views of University Hall provides a visual record of an academic and commons building designed by Charles Bulfinch, who is considered to be the first American professional architect, as well as its grounds and surrounding area from 1815 to 1970. Images include a reproduction of a drawing, a postcard, and photograph prints. The photograph print processes represented are salted paper prints, albumen prints, collodion prints, gelatin silver prints, collotype prints, and letterpress halftone prints. The 108 images have primarily been gifts of individuals or contributed by the Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Harvard University News Office, or the Harvard Film Service. Four images are from the studio of William Notman, and two were taken by noted architectural photographer F. S. Lincoln.Exterior photographs show University Hall and the grounds from a variety of angles, some displaying changes to the building, such as the addition of dormer windows on the third floor in 1869 and stairs on the east side of the building in 1917, as well as the placement of the John Harvard statue on the west side of the building in 1924. The images also show students standing in Harvard Yard, the American flag flying from a mast on the building while the University mourned the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Yale flag flying from a mast on the building, and the surrounding buildings, including the now-demolished Appleton Chapel and Gore Hall. Interior photographs show the meeting room of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the office of the Committee on Admission.
This document last updated 2016 April 13.
- Bulfinch, Charles, 1763-1844
- Lincoln, F.S.
- Notman, William
- Harvard University--Buildings--History
- Harvard University--Buildings--Photographs
- Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences
- Architecture--Massachusetts--Cambridge--19th century
- College buildings--Classrooms--History
- College buildings--Massachusetts--19th century
- Harvard Yard (Cambridge, Mass.)
- University Hall (Cambridge, Mass.)
Formats and genres
- Albumen prints
- Collodion prints
- Collotype prints
- Gelatin silver prints
- Letterpress printing
- Photograph collections
- Salted paper prints