Cabot House History

cabot house building.

Cabot House, formerly known as South House until 1985, is named in honor of Thomas and Virginia Cabot, benefactors of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges. Cabot House is comprised of six brick halls that surround the grassy Radcliffe quadrangle where you'll find an academic community made up of some 380 undergraduates, as well as associated tutors, faculty members, and scholars. The House which could become Cabot was formed in 1970 after the merger of East and South Houses. Anna Maria Abernathy held the title of Head of House, and she and her husband Fred served as Cabot's first House Masters. In 1971, Mary Bunting, President of Radcliffe, began her tenure as House Master.

All six of Cabot's main residential halls were originally Radcliffe College dormitories. The Quadrangle housed women exclusively until 1970, when, in accordance with an administrative decision known at the time as "the great experiment," the University allowed a select group of undergraduate gentlemen from Harvard College to take up residence there. The former Dean of Harvard College, Dean Gross, was one of these men.

Bertram Hall, Radcliffe's first permanent dormitory, was built in 1901 and donated by Mrs. David Pulsifer Kimball in memory of her son. In 1906, Eliot Hall, also donated by Mrs. Kimball, was built in honor of Grace Hopkinson Eliot, wife of Harvard President Charles W. Eliot. Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr, designed both Bertram and Eliot Halls. Barnard Hall was built in 1912 and named for Augusta Barnard and her husband. Briggs Hall, named for Radcliffe's second president, LeBaron Russell Briggs, was constructed in 1923, and Cabot Hall, named in honor of Ella Lyman Cabot, member of the Radcliffe Governing Board from 1902 to 1934, followed in 1937. The sixth building, Whitman Hall, was completed in 1911 and named for Sarah Wyman Whitman, the creator of two of the stained glass windows in Memorial Hall and a member of the Radcliffe Governing Board for several years. The Masters' residence is located at 107 Walker Street. A residential wood-frame house at 103 Walker Street is the Allston Burr Resident Dean's residence.

Cabot House combines the best of both old and new architecture and old and new House "traditions." While the outside of the brick dormitories has remained unchanged, renovations to the House 19 years ago and to the dining area in the summer of 2002 provide new facilities, newly configured suites, an abundance of singles, and airy common spaces. The annual spring musical, attendance at sporting events, Straus Cup celebrations, the annual dutch auction, and, most recently, Festivus, are some of the events that have now become a part of the House fabric. The Cabot House community offers rich resources for all its students and their varied interests.