On a Friday morning in early fall 1911, members of both Andover Theological Seminary and Harvard Divinity School gathered in the chapel of the newly built Andover Hall to dedicate the building. One hundred years later, after repairs and additions (and even some subtractions), the building is, in many ways, the centerpiece of life at Harvard Divinity School.
Now in its second century, Andover Hall will undoubtedly endure further transformation in future years. Yet, as one might expect of a historic Harvard building, much about it remains virtually the same. Below is some history of the building and its construction, along with a few highlights about Andover Hall’s defining spaces and features.
A Castle in Cambridge
Andover Hall was not originally a Harvard building. It was constructed for Andover Theological Seminary (ATS), at a cost of around $300,000, as a result of a 1906 vote by the trustees of ATS to move the school to Cambridge.
In the fall of 1911, the building was ready for occupancy. According to records, “incorporated in the building was a library wing, with ample stacks for 200,000 books; a large reading room, furnished with a model minister’s library as well as reference books; a living room large enough for alumni meetings or receptions; a chapel of generous proportions; offices for the faculty; and rooms for the students.”
After a briefly successful attempt to merge the schools, ATS and HDS dissolved their formal educational partnership in 1926. Harvard bought Andover Hall from ATS in 1935.