Abigail Adams House

Title

Abigail Adams House

Subject

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Description

The Abigail Adams House was built in 1920 as the first dormitory intended to house female students at UMass Amherst, (then the Massachusetts Agricultural College).

When UMass began in 1863 as a land-grant agricultural college, women were not allowed to attend the school. Forty years later, the first female student enrolled. In 1917 the thirty female students enrolled in the Massachusetts Agricultural College lived in fraternity houses that the college leased for them, but due to rising enrollment after WWI, President Butterfield asked the college to look for a better housing solution.

In June 1919, the school received funds from the state and began constructing a dormitory for female students. In the spring of 1920, the college initiated a contest to name the new dormitory. Open to alumnae and former female students of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, as well as all high school girls and members of the junior Home Economics club in Massachusetts, the contest stipulated that the name must be a Massachusetts woman involved in agriculture and country life.

Though Katherine B. Ehenes, a fourteen year old from Medfield, Massachusetts, was one among four who suggested the college name the new dorm after Abigail Adams, she was chosen as the winner because of her detailed description of Adams as “the first farmerette of Braintree and Massachusetts.”

The Abigail Adams House was officially dedicated in October 1920, and the college held a conference on women in agriculture and country life in celebration of the occasion. Built on the west side of North Pleasant Street, the Abigail Adams House stood three and a half stories high, and was constructed in Georgian-revival style.

Often called the Abbey, the dormitory housed 98 students at $75 per room. The building functioned as a dorm until 1962 when it was ravaged by fire. After some renovations, the building was used for faculty offices until 1967 when it was demolished to make space for the Lederle Graduate Research Center.

Creator

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Source

UMass Special Collections and University Archives

Publisher

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Date

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Contributor

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Rights

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Relation

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Format

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Language

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Type

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Identifier

RG150-0003150, RG150-0003710, RG150-0003711, RG150-0003712, RG150-0003720

Coverage

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Original Format

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Physical Dimensions

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Files

RG150-0003150.png
RG150-0003710.png
RG150-0003711.png
RG150-0003712.png
RG150-0003720.png
Date Added
August 28, 2012
Collection
North Pleasant Street
Item Type
Still Image
Citation
“Abigail Adams House,” Lost UMass, accessed July 29, 2017, http://lostumass.omeka.net/items/show/1.