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Student Life

Historical Contexts

Wider World



The Envisioned Plan

Program for Campus Development



Shurtleff''s plan for Mount Holyoke Campus. Courtesy of MHC Archives.


A significant change in policy resulted from President Woolley’s emphasis on symbolism and cultural narrative in the campus’s expansion. She desired a formalism that was needed to achieve the status of a men’s college. In 1925 Woolley and the Board of Trustees retained Ralph Adams Cram and Arthur Shurtleff from Boston, who took over as master planners for the landscape from a previous Olmsted design. Plans were drawn up for the future development and blueprints were carefully scrutinized by President Woolley and the Board of Trustees. Incidentally, one of the last prominent Gothic architects of collegiate and ecclesiastical buildings in America working in the 1910s and 1920s was Ralph Adams Cram, also known as “Mr. Collegiate Gothic” by his associates. Mr. Shurtleff, who believed himself to be unique, changed his name to Shurcliff, an appellation attached to no one else. (12)

Included in Shurtleff’s plans was a brochure entitled “Program for Campus Development at Mount Holyoke College” which included a detailed description of the proposals for new buildings and landscaping that would meet the needs of the College. Collegiate Gothic design was a high priority of Shurtleff’’s and would have a profound effect on the planning and positioning of new buildings. His designs included academic quadrangular sites in which buildings would be built around rectangular greens plots of land, replicating men’s colleges with their formal organization and density. In addition to the square corners, the new buildings were to be colossal in size and the older ones redressed to join the grandeur collegiate Gothic designs. Lastly, there would be enclosed courtyards similar to “the older English colleges” (13).

For More Information on the Submitted Plans, Click Here

Atlas Home Page

Home Page

The History of Gothic Architecture:
Cambridge and Princeton
About Ralph Cram

A Time of Transition:
Bryn Mawr
Mary E. Woolley
Frederick Olmsted Jr.

The Envisioned Plan:
Program for Campus Development
Designs for the Library and Chapel
Shurtleff and Cram Present Their Ideas

The Implemented Plan:
Meetings and Discussions
Collens' Library Designs(Exterior)
Collens' Library Designs (Interior)
Bertha Blakely's Influence
Abbey Memorial Chapel
Charles Collens Dedication Speech and closing comments

Trivial Pursuit Question





This page was created by Ellie Perrier '07 FP in History 283, Spring 2006