Wellesley College- Shakespeare Society House // 1899

Walking around the campus of Wellesley College evokes feelings of Tudor England, with the large trees, birds chirping and English Revival architecture perfectly sited to fit its surroundings.

2020 photo

The Shakespeare Society at Wellesley College formed in 1877, Shakespeare Society is the oldest student organization on the campus.
The Shakespeare Society was founded by Henry Fowler Durant and
immediately turned over to faculty member, Louise M. Hodgkins, who
joined Wellesley College in 1877. By 1879, the Society had become a
branch of the Shakespeare Society of London.

ca.1900 postcard showing Shakespeare House, from Wellesley College Digital Collections

The purpose of the Shakespeare Society was to develop a systematic study of Shakespeare as a means of mental development. From 1889 to 1912, a Shakespeare play was presented at Wellesley’s graduation. The Society continues to perform plays each spring for students and the public.

The Shakespeare House was built in 1899 from designs by Charles K. Cummings. The architectural style was likely chosen to emulate Shakespeare’s birthplace in the Tudor cottage vernacular. A plan was developed by the Society and rules were established regarding furnishings, and the Elizabethan style was chosen.

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