Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How Well Do You Know Your Campus?

By: Kelsey Abney

If you found yourself compelled by the beautiful weather this weekend to explore the campus, you may have noticed some of the splendid Mount Holyoke architecture that we highlighted last week on the LITS blog. The first detail which was captured was the picture of two women, gesturing to the scene of a desert island between them. The palm trees are a common theme preserved today in the Mount Holyoke crest, a tip of the hat to when Mount Holyoke was a seminary which actively worked to train missionaries and send them over seas. This can be found on the side of Mary Wooley Hall, more commonly known as Chapin, for the auditorium within. Mary Wooley hall was built in 1916, and was renamed for Mary Wooley in 1945 in order to honor the former president who had served the college from 1900 to 1937.

Mary Wooley was a graduate of Wheaton Seminary, who had continued on to Brown University in 1891 and became the first woman to receive a Bachelors degree from the institution. She remained as a student until 1894, having also earned her Masters degree in history. Before her appointment as the president of Mount Holyoke college, she was the head of the department at Wellesley of Biblical history and literature. She was a great proponent of understanding inequality and the quest to acquire knowledge. She also oversaw major expansion of the college, which includes many of the current buildings which stand here today.

One often photographed building which she oversaw the erection of was Abbey Chapel, where the second architectural feature mentioned in the blog last week can be located. The stone peacock was created as a part of the new gothic facade of the chapel, meant to symbolize the eternal life of Christ. Much of the campus architecture was inspired by the heavy Christian tradition of the school; Much of it will be discussed in the weeks to follow.  Hopefully everybody will want to get some last glances of fall foliage before winder sets in. For your next quest, try to locate this lovely woman, who has observed the comings and goings of the college for many years now. 

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