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Boylston Hall (Harvard University)

Boylston Hall
General information
TypeClassroom and academic office building
LocationHarvard Yard, Harvard University
Year(s) built1858, 1871 (addition)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Paul Schulze
Peabody and Stearns (addition)
Renovating team
Renovating firmBenjamin Thompson and Associates

Boylston Hall is a Harvard University classroom and academic office building lecture hall near the southwest corner of Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ward Nicholas Boylston had left a bequest to Harvard for the building in 1828. It was built in 1858 to designs in Rundbogenstil by Paul Schulze of Schulze and Schoen. It was clad in stone, as specified by the donor, specifically Rockport granite,[1] and had a hip roof. In 1871, Peabody and Stearns replaced the roof with a mansarded third floor.[2]

It has been speculated that it stands on the homesite of the Rev. Thomas Hooker, first minister to the first church in Cambridge, but this is not well established.[3]

It originally served as a chemistry building, with a laboratory and classrooms, and later housed the anatomical museum of Jeffries Wyman, Professor of Comparative Anatomy, who in 1866 became the first curator of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology,[4] as well as a mineralogical collection. In the 20th century, it became the first home of the Harvard-Yenching Institute.[2]

Boylston Hall was gut renovated in 1959 by the architectural firm of Benjamin Thompson and Associates, and is considered an early example of the reuse of sound old buildings ("adaptive reconstruction"),[5][6] "juxtaposing glass and steel with historic details".[7] It functioned as the university language center. It houses the offices of the Harvard Classics Department.

Its Fong Lecture Hall seats 144.[8]


  1. ^ Bainbridge Bunting, Harvard: An Architectural History, Harvard University Press, 1998, ISBN 0674372913, p. 49
  2. ^ a b Harvard Property Information Resource Center, Boylston Hall
  3. ^ Thomas Hooker: Writings in England and Holland, 1626-1633, (Cambridge, MA : Harvard Univ. Press, 1975), p. 35.
  4. ^ Appel, Toby A. "A Scientific Career in the Age of Character: Jeffries Wyman and Natural History at Harvard" in Science at Harvard University, Historical perspectives edited by Clark A. Elliot and Margaret W. Rossiter 1992, pp. 105-106.
  5. ^ Dennis J. De Witt, Benjamin Thompson & Associates, 1990, p. 38
  6. ^ Interiors 136:72
  7. ^ AIA, Architecture 81:17 (1992)
  8. ^ "Boylston Hall 110 - Fong Auditorium".

42°22′24″N 71°07′02″W / 42.373332°N 71.117327°W / 42.373332; -71.117327

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