dudley house

Thomas Dudley and Dudley Family

Dudley House was named for Thomas Dudley (1576-1653), second governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Dudley was a member of the first Board of Overseers of Harvard College, and in 1650 the signer of the College charter which established the administrative structure under which the University still operates today. He was born in Northampton, England, the only son of Captain Roger Dudley and Susanna Thorne. When he was 27 he married Dorothy Yorke at Hardingstone, and they lived for a time in London where Dudley was clerk in the Court of Common Pleas. About 1616 he became steward to the Earl of Lincoln and lived at Lincoln's estates near Sempringham. In 1626 he retired to Boston, England, drawn like many others, by the preaching of the Puritan minister John Cotton.

Dudley emigrated to the New World with John Winthrop and the other members of the Massachusetts Bay Company in the "Arabella" in 1630 at the beginning of the celebrated "Great Migration" of British to North America. The Bay Colony spent its first winter at Boston, but the site was considered too vulnerable to attack from the sea, so in November Dudley and Winthrop rowed up the Charles River in search of a better location for a permanent settlement. A few miles up the river they climbed a hill on the north shore -- the first high ground they came to -- and legend has it that Dudley then thrust his came into the ground and declared "This is the place." The "place" was what is now the corner of John F. Kennedy and Mount Auburn Streets, and Thomas Dudley is considered the founder of Cambridge. Dudley and several other members of the Bay Company moved to the new site, then known as Newtowne, during the following year, but Governor Winthrop never finished building his house there and eventually withdrew from his agreement to move the colonial capital from Boston, The dispute between Winthrop and Dudley which began over the location of the capital continued throughout their lives.

Dudley remained in Newtowne for several years, living on the present Dunster Street (a stone marker identifies the location of his house). Later he removed to the town of Roxbury, now a part of Boston, where he was instrumental in the establishment of the Roxbury Latin School, one of the first public schools in the American colonies. There is today a section of Roxbury (and even a subway stop) still called "Dudley."

While he was living in Roxbury, Thomas's wife Dorothy died and the next year he married Katherine (Dighton) Hackburne, a widow. Thomas had eight children in all, five by Dorothy Yorke and three by Katherine Dighton. His last son, Paul Dudley, was born when Thomas was 68. An epitaph written many years after Dudley's death by another Masssachusetts governor, Jonathan Belcher, took note of Thomas's powers of procreation: "Here lies Thomas Dudley, that trusty old stud,/ A bargain's a bargain and must be good." Thomas Dudley's son, Joseph, also became a Massachusetts governor (Joseph's portrait, along with a portrait of his wife, Rebecca Tyng, hangs in the Dudley House Fireside Room), and one of Joseph's sons established the Dudleian Lectures, a series of talks on theological subjects, which are still given each year in the Harvard Divinity School. Thomas Dudley's most well-known child was certainly his daughter, Anne (Dudley) Bradstreet, the first significant poet in the American colonies. Anne's book, The Tenth Muse lately Sprung up in America, was dedicated to her father Thomas, "From her that to yourself more duty owes/Than water in the boundless ocean flows."

Thomas himself died in Roxbury in 1673, and is buried there in the Eustis Street cemetery. The seal on his will, which is on file in the Suffolk County House in Boston, shows the coat of arms which formed the basis for the arms of Dudley House (or, a lion rampant vert, clawed and langued gules and with teeth and eye argent, surrounded by a bordure gules).

In the 1940's a gate was built in the southeast corner of Harvard Yard to commemorate Dudley's role in the founding of the College and the Massachusetts colony. The gate was later removed during the construction of the Lamont Library, but parts of it (a plaque, a sundial, and two stone benches) were reassembled behind Lamont, and are visible through Lamont's first floor windows. The benches are inscribed with four lines from Anne Bradstreet's epitaph to her father:

One of thy founders, him New England know,
Who staid thy feeble sides when thou wast low,
Who gave his state, his strength, and years with care,
That after-comers in them might have share.


Dudley House has without question the richest and most varied history of the Harvard Houses. It was established in 1935 as the Harvard College Non-Residents' Student Center, and for many years occupied a building on Dunster Street called Dudley Hall. In its early years it was not formally a House, and was administered not by a Master, but by a person with the title of Graduate Secretary. Peregrine White was the first Graduate Secretary of the Non-Residents' Student Center, and he was succeeded by Reginald Phelps, Charles Duhig, and Robert Fischelis through the next two decades. Dr. Phelps and Mr. Fischelis are still active members of the Senior Common Room.

In the late 1940's, during the secretariat of Mr. Duhig, the Center grew to an enormous size owing to the large number of older students returning from the war who wished to live off-campus. Unlike the residential Houses, whose sizes are limited by the number of available rooms, Dudley House and its predecessor, the Non-Residents' Center, have varied in size over the years, having had as many as 600 members in the late 1940's, and less than 100 (undergraduates) presently.

During the 1950's, the Non-Residents' Student Center underwent a series of transitions which brought it nearer to the Dudley House of today. First, the position of Allston Burr Senior Tutor was established in each of the Houses and the Non-Residents' Student Center. Our first Allston Burr Senior Tutor was Charles Whitlock, who later became Master. During Mr. Whitlock's senior tutorship, the Non-Resident Students' Center formally became Dudley House, and its first Master, Delmar Leighton, was installed. Master Leighton served previously as Dean of Freshmen and as Dean of Harvard College, and throughout his mastership he acted as a strong advocate for the rights and privileges of Harvard's non-resident students. A bust of Mr. Leighton, sculpted by Dudley alumnus Jose Buscaglia, stands in the present Dudley House lobby.

In 1963 Delmar Leighton was succeeded in the mastership by Thomas Crooks who presided over one of the most significant transitions in the history of the House: the move out of Dudley Hall and into Lehman Hall. In the early 1960's the University made plans to build a new administrative building, Holyoke Center, at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Dunster Street. The construction of Holyoke Center necessitated the destruction of a number of buildings on Dunster and Holyoke Streets, Dudley Hall among them. For two years while Lehman Hall was being renovated, the Dudley Common Rooms moved to 1737 Cambridge Street (Apley Court continued to house the administrative and tutorial offices), and then in 1967 the offices and Common Rooms all moved into Lehman Hall. A formal opening ceremony was held in February of that year, and at the ceremony David McCord, Harvard's poet-laureate and an Honorary Associate of the Dudley House Senior Common Room, read a poem he had composed for the occasion. In 1969 Master Crooks recruited John Marquand, then a history tutor at Lowell House. John Marquand later became Allston Burr Senior Tutor and served Dudley House for 23 years; a memorial plaque in his honor hangs in the lobby of Lehman Hall.

In 1972 Master Crooks was succeeded by his Senior Tutor, J. Carrell Morris, who held the mastership from 1972 to 1973. In 1973 Professor Jean Mayer and his wife Elizabeth were appointed Master and Associate Master, and they presided over Dudley House for the next three years. The Mayers began the practice of accepting students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as social members of the House. Reflecting on the general success of the House system at Harvard, they wondered why other universities had so rarely adopted such a system, especially in view of the large number of university faculty in the country who have received their graduate degrees from Harvard. Their realization was that the graduate students in the University (except for the very few who become Tutors) have almost no exposure to the House system, and can easily spend their years here without acquiring any understanding of how the College is structured. The Mayers thought, therefore, that it would be advantageous both for graduate students and for the undergraduates in the House if a certain number of graduate students were admitted into Dudley as social members. This would provide the graduate students with better understanding of the operation of the College, and give the undergraduates an opportunity to associate informally with graduates and Teaching Fellows. The Mayers' plan was eminently successful and the present Dudley House grew out of Jean Mayer's early vision.

In 1976 Mr. Mayer and his wife left the House, Mr. Mayer to accept the presidency of Tufts University, and they were succeeded by Charles and Patricia Whitlock. Mr. Whitlock was Senior Tutor during the 1950's and had a long and distinguished record of service to the College and the House. Mr. and Mrs. Whitlock retired in 1982, and they were succeeded by Masters Arthur and Lotje Loeb, who administered the House with vigor and distinction until 1988.


Co-Masters Paul and Cynthia Hanson presided over Dudley House for the next six years, and their enthusiasm permeated every aspect of Dudley House life, including the transition of Dudley House into the GSAS Graduate Student Center and home for Dudley House undergraduates. From July, 1994 through June, 1997 Professor Daniel Fisher from the Physics Department guided Dudley House in its early years as the Graduate Student Center. From July, 1997 through June, 2002 Professor Everett Mendelsohn and Dr. Mary Anderson continued to strengthen House programming and community life. In July, 2002, Professor James M. Hogle became our new House Master and his wife, Doreen M. Hogle, Esq. became our new Co-Master. We look forward to many exciting years ahead under their leadership.