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The History of Gothic Architecture

About Ralph Cram

“Collegiate Gothic returns step by step to the old ideas and sound methods of English colleges…returns, even in a wider sense, to those eternally battered but eternally enduring principles in life and thought and aspiration which made up the great Anglo-Saxon heritage.”
-Ralph Adams Cram, 1914, (consulting architect for Abbey Chapel)


Ralph Adams Cram, 1926.
Courtesy of Wikipedia.


Princeton hired Ralph Adams Cram, the Yale-trained architect who would become the “high priest” of Collegiate Gothic, to serve as the University's consulting architect from 1907 to 1929. During that time Ralph Cram, a scholar of medieval Gothic architecture, built Princeton’s Gothic chapel with a clear understanding of its towering spires and elaborate carvings. (6)

In his choice of architectural designs, Cram knew the importance of calling attention to religion’s constancy and ethics at Princeton and in civilization.

"By building in the Collegiate Gothic style,” he wrote, “Princeton was committed to the retention for all time of that collegiate style of architecture which alone is absolutely expressive of the civilization we hold in common with England and the ideals of liberal education now firmly fixed at Princeton.” (7)

Incidentally, the architect worked alone in his designs for the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, in New York City’s upper West side. His goal was to build the largest cathedral and largest Gothic structure in the world. To this day it remains unfinished

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