There’s No Place Like Home: Student Rooms at Yale, 1870–1910
In the late nineteenth century, Yale College students took great care furnishing their dormitory rooms, filling them with personal mementos, artistic objects, and the accoutrements of academic life. Between 1869 and 1894, new dormitories, monumental in scale and lavish in design, were built along the New Haven Green on College Street in the area known today as Old Campus, gradually creating a self-contained quadrangle that quickly became the psychological center of the campus. Amid this growth, the distinctiveness of Yale College and campus life asserted itself. The new student rooms provided a marked contrast to the austerity and coldness of many of the university’s other facilities. To commemorate their living spaces, students commissioned professional photographers to document their fashionable interiors and to record intimate traces of their personal tastes and habits. The extensive decoration and photography of students rooms was not limited to Yale; it occurred at other elite academic institutions across the country. This online exhibition is dedicated to exploring the ways in which students used objects to create a distinctive home for themselves at Yale.