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Sever Hall

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1878–1880, Henry Hobson Richardson. Sever Quad. at Quincy St.
  • Sever Hall (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)
  • (Damie Stillman)

Sever Hall became the keystone in the development of the eastern side of the Yard, fronting on what was to become Tercentenary Quadrangle and establishing Sever Quadrangle on its other side. The new classroom building also introduced elements of the Georgian Revival to the Yard—red brick, the pedimented central bay of its west facade, and the classical entranceway of its east facade all associate it with Harvard's eighteenth-century buildings. Yet Richardson used his more characteristic elements—rounded arches, horizontal window bands, and cylindrical towers—as well. Unlike Matthews and Weld halls (see HY7), built during the early 1870s, with vertical massing and picturesque rooflines, Sever Hall is a quiet, horizontal structure, closer in sensibility to the Georgian buildings, relatively restrained, but not austere. Richardson embellished it lavishly with molded and carved brickwork, the carving executed by John Evans, who would become a leading figure in the Society of Arts and Crafts.

Writing Credits

Maureen Meister


What's Nearby


Maureen Meister, "Sever Hall", [Cambridge, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 320-320.

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