List of Harvard College freshman dormitories

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This is a list of dormitories at Harvard College. Only freshmen live in these dormitories, which are located in and around Harvard Yard. Sophomores, juniors and seniors live in the House system.

Apley Court[edit]

Apley Court — Rooms are typically singles, doubles or triples. The common room has a comfortable, old-Harvard feel that is reminiscent of many of the upperclassmen houses. It features a full kitchen for cooking. For recreation, there is a ping pong table, along with couches and chairs. The television room is a more private and quiet room featuring ample seating.

Past notable residents include T. S. Eliot.

Canaday Hall[edit]

Canaday Hall

Canaday Hall — Completed in 1974, it is the newest dormitory in Harvard Yard. When seen from an aerial view, its seven buildings resemble the shape of a question mark. It is named after Ward M. Canaday, former president and major shareholder of the Willys, manufacturer of Jeeps during World War II.

Canaday's architecture can be traced back to its period of construction, which immediately followed the student takeover of University Hall in 1969.[1] Fearing further student unrest, College administrators fireproofed Canaday and reconfigured it around stairwells to foil student organizing. As such, Canaday grew to resemble most of the other dormitories in Harvard's Old Yard, which are also organized around stairwell entryways accessible to no more than six or eight suites, each connected to the rest of the dormitory building only by an exterior walkway. Residents enjoy the shortest average distance to some of the most important buildings within the Harvard campus, including the Harvard Science Center, Memorial Hall, and Sever Hall. In 2010, The dorm was outfitted with solar panels — part of a solar thermal and steam tunnel heat-recovery project that’s expected to supply at least 60 percent of domestic hot water for all buildings in Harvard Yard.

Past notable residents include Charles Lane, Eduardo Saverin, Esther Lofgren, Ben Mezrich, David Sacks, Mira Sorvino, and Paul Wylie.[2]

Grays Hall[edit]

Grays Hall

Grays Hall — Opened in 1863, Grays became the College's first building with water taps in the basement. Residents of other buildings in Harvard Yard had to haul water from pumps in the Yard.

Known as "The Harvard Hilton",[3] it is considered the most luxurious dormitory in the Yard.[4] It boasts spacious common rooms, and exposed brick walls. It also has a room that houses high-security freshmen.

Past notable residents include Jeff Bingaman, Michael Cohrs, Jeremy Doner, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Julie Hilden, Norman Mailer, Natalie Portman, Joseph Ransohoff, Frank Rich, Mo Rocca, John Weidman, and Michael Weishan.

Greenough Hall[edit]

Greenough Hall — Located just outside the confines of Harvard Yard, Greenough is part of a group of dormitories outside the Yard called the "Union Dormitories".

The dormitory is a four-floor building divided into one large section in the middle, and two smaller alcoves on the sides. The middle sections host double and single rooms in the rear of the building and two-room triples in the front of the building, complete with bay windows. On the sides, rooms are either doubles, singles, and triples, or a six-person suite. There are four bathrooms per floor: one in each alcove and two in the middle. The dormitory features large windows, large walk-in closets in the triples, and hardwood floors. It has an elevator at the 10 Prescott Street end of the building.

Past notable residents include Elliott Abrams, Bill Kristol, Wallace Shawn, and Laurence Tribe.

Hollis Hall[edit]

Hollis Hall in 1934
Hollis Hall in 2007

Hollis Hall — Built in 1763, it is one of the oldest buildings at Harvard, known to have housed George Washington's troops during the American Revolution. The dormitory is one of the smaller dorms and features spacious, wood paneled, single-room doubles with common bathrooms.

Past notable residents include Charles Francis Adams, Sr., Horatio Alger, Jr., Jim Cramer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Everett, Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr., Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., Wendell Phillips, Henry David Thoreau, George Santayana, Charles Sumner, John Updike, and William Weld.

Holworthy Hall[edit]

Holworthy Hall

Holworthy Hall — Holworthy was founded in 1812 and was named after Sir Matthew Holworthy, a wealthy merchant, who, at the time, made the largest donation to Harvard in the university's history. Located within the Yard, it features three entryways. It is the second closest dormitory to Annenberg Hall.

Holworthy has the only floor plan of its kind among Harvard dormitories. On each floor of an entryway, there are two suites connected by a ten foot-long hallway, and a shared bathroom. Each suite features a large common room, with two double bedrooms. While some residents choose to close the hallway doors, many leave the bathroom hallway open, creating an eight person "mega-suite," unmatched by other freshman housing. This plan provides a built-in social community for the residents within each suite. Each bathroom features two sinks, two toilets, and two showers.

Past notable residents include Horatio Alger, Jr., David Halberstam, Christian Herter, Conan O'Brien, Sumner Redstone, Henry Hobson Richardson, Noah Welch, Cornel West, and Jeff Zucker.

Hurlbut Hall[edit]

Hurlbut Hall — Another member of the Union Dormitories, Hurlbut was built in 1959 and has some of the largest rooms in the Yard. Half of the rooms are stand-alone singles, organized in what is commonly called a "pod," around a common area and a bathroom. The other half are six-person suites, with multiple shared bedrooms, a common room, and an in-suite bath. There is a large laundry room and a computer room with vending machines in the basement.

Past notable residents include James Blake, Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Amory Lovins, Roger Myerson, and Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Lionel Hall[edit]

Lionel Hall — Located in Harvard Yard, Lionel has a twin dormitory: Mower Hall. Tucked away in a corner of the Old Yard, Lionel, like Mower, has a small, homey feel. The dormitory is a memorial to Lionel de Jersey Harvard, the only relative of John Harvard to attend Harvard. Also like Mower, Lionel has suites that house three or four freshmen, and all suites have bathrooms.

Past notable residents include Peter Benchley, Lou Dobbs, Kevin Kallaugher, Grover Norquist, Endicott Peabody, and Erich Segal.

Massachusetts Hall[edit]

Massachusetts Hall

Massachusetts Hall — The oldest surviving building at Harvard and the country’s oldest dormitory, Mass Hall is located next to Johnston Gate at the entrance to the Yard. While the building was designed by two Harvard Presidents, John Leverett and Benjamin Wadsworth, between 1718 and 1720 for the housing of sixty-four students, the building has since been given various roles – as a refuge for American soldiers during the Siege of Boston, as well as an observatory when Thomas Hollis donated a twenty-four-foot telescope to the University in 1722. Today, it serves as office space for the most significant administrators at Harvard, including the President, as well as home to a handful of freshmen on the uppermost floor. In addition to a rich history – five founding fathers lived here – Mass Hall offers a prime location and excellent double and single rooms.

Past notable residents include Zabdiel Adams, John Harbison, Alan Jay Lerner, John Redcliffe-Maud, Elliot Richardson, Jared Sparks, Jones Very, and Edward Wigglesworth.

Matthews Hall[edit]

Matthews Hall — Situated in the heart of Harvard Yard, Matthews boasts large suite common rooms and exposed-brick interiors. All suites are doubles or triples with shared hallway bathrooms. In the basement, the dormitory has newly renovated common spaces. The basement features study rooms with white boards, a full kitchen, music practice rooms, and a trash room. the basement has the offices of the Freshman Outdoor Program and the First-Year Urban Program.

Past notable residents include Philip Warren Anderson, Matt Birk, Matt Damon, John Dos Passos, Barney Frank, William Randolph Hearst, Mark Penn, Daniel Quillen, Robert Rubin, Chuck Schumer, Lloyd Shapley, and Maurice Wertheim.

Mower Hall[edit]

Mower Hall — Located in Harvard Yard, Mower has a twin dormitory: Lionel Hall. The dormitory has suites that house three or four freshmen, and all suites have bathrooms. The basement features a full kitchen as well as a common room with television. There is also a dedicated space for quiet study.

Past notable residents include Timothy Crouse, Al Franken, Al Gore, Edward Gorey, Tommy Lee Jones, Arthur Kopit, Charles Murray, Thomas Oliphant, and Bob Somerby.

Pennypacker Hall[edit]

Pennypacker Hall

Pennypacker Hall — Part of the Union Dormitories, Pennybacker was built in 1927 and acquired by Harvard in 1958. It was named after Henry Pennypacker, a former president of the admissions committee. Originally used as temporary housing, it is now a permanent dormitory for freshmen.

WHRB (95.3 FM), the campus radio station run exclusively by Harvard students, is given space in the basement of Pennypacker.

Past notable residents include Hendrik Hertzberg, Nicholas Kristof, Peter Segal, Andrew Tobias, Chris Wallace, and Fernando Zobel de Ayala.

Stoughton Hall[edit]

Stoughton Hall

Stoughton Hall — Stoughton was built in 1805 and was the second building to be named Stoughton Hall at Harvard. The original Stoughton Hall was built in 1700 and funded by Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, who also presided over the Salem witch trials. Stoughton is situated next to Hollis and, like Hollis, houses freshmen in large single room doubles with common bathrooms. The dormitory is a short walk from the Science Center and Annenberg Hall.

Past notable residents include Trip Hawkins, Jeremy Lin, Eric Maskin, Mehmet Oz, and Sydney Schanberg.

Straus Hall[edit]

Straus Hall

Straus Hall — Straus was built in 1926 by three brothers in memory of their parents, Isidor and Ida Straus, New York department store entrepreneurs Abraham & Straus, who had died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The dormitory has four entryways and consists of suites of doubles, triples, and quadruples overlooking Massachusetts Avenue and Harvard Square. Like residences in many other Yard dormitories, all suites in Straus have wood-burning living room fireplaces. Residents also enjoy a spacious common room, furnished with the leather chairs, oriental rugs, and mahogany paneling characteristic of Harvard's Edwardian architecture. The common room is a suitable meeting space for large and small groups and also boasts a kitchenette and television.

Notable past residents include Darren Aronofsky, Phil Bredesen, William S. Burroughs, Joseph Lelyveld, Soledad O'Brien, Tom Ridge, John Roberts, David Souter, Caspar Weinberger, Tim Wirth, and Mark Zuckerberg.[2]

Thayer Hall[edit]

Thayer Hall — Thayer was built in 1870 and originally offered housing to students who had trouble affording the ever-increasing prices of housing outside the University. The dormitory is centrally located and tends to be a social dorm as rooms are situated on long hallways. Residents share doubles and triples, in addition to having elevators, a luxury that few Harvard students share. Rooms are clustered by gender around single-sex bathrooms. The basement is prime freshman real estate, newly renovated and completely contemporary. In four distinct spaces there is a full kitchen with eat-in bar, a quiet study room with dry erase board, a room with a pool table, and a lounge with a plasma television. It also houses a laundry room. In the 1920s, Thayer became the first and only freshman dormitory with its own mascot when students voted on the viper due to a resident known for housing pet snakes, however its usage waned shortly after being selected.[5] Thayer has also been rumored to have ghosts in Victorian garb that roam the halls, since it used to be an old textile mill.[6]

Past notable residents include James Agee, Conrad Aiken, Steve Ballmer, Andy Borowitz, Hamzah bin al Hussein, E. E. Cummings, Roy J. Glauber, Walter Isaacson, Perri Klass, Bernard Francis Law, Crown Princess Masako, Jonathan Mostow, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Edward Seaga, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, James Tobin, and Owen Wister.

Weld Hall[edit]

Weld Hall

Weld Hall — Built in 1870, Weld was the second of two important additions to the Harvard campus designed by the architectural firm Ware & Van Brunt (the first being Memorial Hall). Although originally divided into North and South entryways, it is now one continuous building.

The building was a gift of William Fletcher Weld, in memory of his brother Stephen Minot Weld. The dormitory represented a new trend toward picturesque silhouettes that became important to American domestic architecture of the later nineteenth century, as can be seen in the Queen Anne style which was popular during the same period. Weld is known for having some of the most spacious and picturesque rooms in the Yard.

Past notable residents include Robert Bacon, Ben Bernanke, Michael Crichton, Christopher Durang, Daniel Ellsberg, Douglas J. Feith, Fred Grandy, Rashida Jones, Ryan Jones, John F. Kennedy, Douglas Kenney, Michael Kinsley, Neil H. McElroy, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Scott Weinger.

Wigglesworth Hall[edit]

Wigglesworth Hall

Wigglesworth Hall — The second largest of the freshman dormitories, Wigglesworth is located along the southern edge of the Yard, between Widener Library and Boylston Hall to the north, and Massachusetts Avenue. It was constructed in 1931 as "part of President Lowell's plan to enclose the Yard from the traffic of Harvard Square." The dorm is not continuously connected, and consists of three buildings: (from east to west) A-D entries (stairwells), E-I entries, also known as "MidWigg" or "BigWigg", and J-K entries, also known as "Wigglet" or "Little House on the Prairie." Moving between entryways within the same building requires going outdoors or going through the common basement.

Past notable residents include Leonard Bernstein, Melissa Block, Benjamin C. Bradlee, Mark Danner, Jared Diamond, Bill Gates, Andre Gregory, Donald P. Hodel, Ted Kennedy, Aga Khan IV, John Lithgow, Robert Lowell, Chris Nowinski, Pat Toomey, David Vitter, Naomi Yang, and Randi Zuckerberg.