Hartford Seminary Foundation Buildings


Handsome New Edifices Which Are Outgrowth of Union of Three Schools for Greater Service to Humanity (Contributed)

            On the new campus of the Hartford Seminary Foundation there are five buildings. AVERY HALL contains the Library, the general offices of the Administration, and the temporary offices and class-rooms of the Kennedy School of Missions. HARTRANFT HALL is the home of the HARTFORD THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, and KNIGHT HALL that of the HARTFORD SCHOOL OF RELIGIUOUS EDUCATION. Besides these there are the two dormitories, MACKENZIE HALL for women, and HOSMER HALL for men. The former is situated on Sherman Street, the latter in the north-west corner of the campus, toward the juncture of Girard Avenue and Elizabeth Street. The architects of this magnificent set of buildings are ALLEN & COLLENS of Boston, while the builders are The BARTLETT & BRAINARD Co., of Hartford.

            This remarkable development is largely due to the interest and the faith of the friends of the Institution. A vast sum has been expended, and most of it has come from Hartford itself. The HARTFORD SEMINARY FOUNDATION is held in honor in its own city, and it gratefully recognizes that the people of Hartford have not failed to give their support to this notable work done in their midst.

            But there must be still further expansion if that work is to be properly carried on. There is urgent need of an AMINISTRATION BUILDING which will include a large ASSEMBLY HALL adequate to the growing importance and increasing activities of thee place, and one that can be used for further Academic functions and for Chapel Services. There is also need of an APARTMENT HOUSE for married students and of another for Missionary families. Again, through a GYMNASIUM or some equivalent, provision ought to be made for recreation and physical training. Furthermore, the establishment of the projected SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SERVICE largely depends on the acquiring of a special building adequate to that purpose.

            The name “HARTFORD SEMINARY FOUNDATION” was adopted to designate the union into one Institution of three Schools: the Hartford Theological Seminary, the Hartford School of Religious Education, and the Kennedy School of Missions. This union took place in 1913, and, in the terms of the Charter, it brought about “a single corporation in the nature of an interdenominational University of Religion.” It is an organization existing for the purpose of training men and women for Christian service, the words of the Charter are explicit: “The object of this corporation shall be to promote the spread and deepen the influence of Christianity by the thorough training of men and women for the various forms of Christian service. In pursuance to this end, to train men for the office and work of the ministry; to train men and women for the work religious education in all its branches and for such other callings and forms of service as seek to promote Christian worship and work; to train men and women for service in such institutions as are established for the social welfare of mankind in the name and spirit of Christian faith; to train men and women for service in the foreign missionary field; to adopt any mean desired by it for the encouragement and prosecution of scholarly research in fields of knowledge required for and associated with its various forms of training; and to do any other thing deemed by it appropriate to the carrying out of its primary purpose.”

            Consistently with these declarations the Foundation is free from all sectarianism. It seeks to promote Christian brotherhood by transcending denominational boundaries, and emphasizing instead unity of spirit and of purpose. Its origin was in New England Congregationalism, and that influence remains with it to this day; but in keeping with the genius and outlook of that denomination the Foundation extends a welcome to all who call themselves Christians, of whatever country, race, or Church affiliation. At the same time, while it offers itself freely to all without distinction, it believes that devotion to a common purpose is not inconsistent with loyalty to one’s own denomination. It therefore urges such loyalty upon its students, and as conducive to that end it provides instruction in the history and polity of the various denominations; while in the Theological Seminary it is an express requirement that each student shall make himself familiar with the distinctive doctrines and government of his own Church. That this policy is appreciated, and that the Churches have confidence in Hartford Seminary Foundation may be gathered from the fact that during the past few years there have been in the Student body and in the Faculties representatives of all the leading denominations while during the past academic year as many as twenty-two denominations were so represented.

            But amid all this diversity perfect fellowship prevails, because of a common faith and experience. Here is an example of Christian unity which is bound to be reproduced in some measure wherever Hartford students are found.

            Not only is the Foundation interdenominational, but it is also in the best sense international. Many have come from abroad to pursue their studies here. This year there are students from ten different countries. The consequence is that at Hartford not only is sectarian bitterness unknown, but racial antagonisms and national animosities likewise disappears, before the fellowship and common purpose pervading the entire Institution. Nothing is more delightful than the warm friendships one finds on campus between persons of different races and nationalities. It is not difficult to see the probable bearing of all this in the years to come on the subject of international brother-hood and peace.

            But much more ought to be done. It is exceedingly desirable that Foreign Students should be encouraged to come in still greater numbers. The Institution would be the richer because of their presence here and individual viewpoints; and on the other hand they themselves would take back to their respected countries the good they will have received, and would thus prove to be ambassadors of good will. The Hartford Theological Seminary has already made a beginning in this direction by a system of exchange students with German Universities, according to which two German students are sent here each year, and as many Hartford men go to study in Germany. The Seminary realises (sic) however that something ought to be done on a more extensive scale. What is urgently needed is the establishment of a number of “Foreign Fellowships” such as would make it possible for a greater number to come from other countries for the pursuit of theological studies in this city.  Each year there ought to be at least two students each from England, Scotland and Germany, together with some representatives from France, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Holland, South America, and other parts of the world. It is hoped that friends will be speedily forth-coming who, by providing these fellowships, will help to make Hartford more than ever before a theological center of international significance.

            In all this there is a reminder that the Hartford Seminary Foundation is making a distinct and noteworthy contribution to the world-wide influence of the city, for wherever the students of the Foundation go they take with them a love for the city in which they have resided as well as for the Institution where they have carried on their work. Hartford is famed for its place in American life, for its history and great traditions, for its educational and religious organizations, and for its industries; through the work of the Hartford Seminary Foundation in its midst it is becoming of still greater service to humanity in that it is helping to send all the world the message of friendship, of hope, and of truth.


            The majestic tower commanding the approach to campus is part of AVERY HALL, the central building of the group. The Hall is named after the donor, the late Samuel P. Avery, a successful and public-spirited man of Hartford who specially prized the fundamental importance of true education. It is nearly two hundred feet in length, sixty two feet wide, and two and a half stories high. The second floor is devoted to the spacious Reading Room. The projection of the building to the west, toward Sherman Street, is the Stack Room housing the CASE MEMORIAL LIBRARY, so named after its chief benefactor, the late Mr. Newton Case of Hartford. The Library is distinguished for the wealth of its material. It has more than 125,000 volumes and more than 50,000 pamphlets, and one of the largest libraries connected with a School of Religion anywhere. In certain fields it is peculiarly rich, as in work relating to the Reformation, and in Semitic and Chinese Collections. The principal moreover on which it is maintained is of interest and significance: in cooperation with the other libraries in the city an effort is made to avoid duplication as far as possible. This means that the combined strength of these libraries gives to the student in Hartford access to not far short of a million books and pamphlets. It will be readily recognized that this has a bearing on Hartford as an academic centre, and one peculiarly fortunate in opportunities for scholarly Research.


            The avenue leading to Avery Hall goes past Hartranft Hall, the home of the HARTFORD THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, which is the Theological School of the Foundation. It was founded in what is now South Windsor in 1834 by a number of Congregational ministers in this State for the purpose of training candidates for the Christian Ministry. In 1865 it moved to Hartford, on Prospect Street, though of the buildings used then the only one that survives is what is now the annex to the City Library. Fourteen years later it moved to Hosmer Hall on Broad Street, which was the gift of its Treasurer, James B. Hosmer of Hartford. In that commodious building it remained from 1879 to 1926.

            Hartranft Hall is named after Dr. Chester E. Hartranft who joined the Faculty of the Seminary in 1879 and was its President from 1888 to 1903. in this hall are the offices of the Administration of the Theological Seminary, and the studies of the Instructors on its Faculty. Here are held the classes of the Foundation more directly connected with theological studies. Here also is a large room used temporarily as a Chapel for the entire Foundation. In the same room is held the Tuesday afternoon “Assembly Hour,” which is the occasion when eminent leaders in the religious world, from this and other countries, come to address the faculties and students.


            To the left of the main avenue, opposite Hartranft Hall is KNIGHT HALL, which bears the name of Dean Edward H. Knight of the Hartford School of Religious Education. It contains the offices, recitation rooms, and laboratories of this School which has been in existence forty one years. Beginning in 1885 in Springfield as “The School for Christian Workers,” and later known as “The Bible Normal College,” it moved to Hartford in 1902 that it might work in affiliation with the Hartford Theological Seminary. In 1913, as “The Hartford School of Religious Pedagogy,” it became one of the three Schools of the Foundation. The present and more appropriate name was adopted in 1925.

            The object of the School is to prepare men and women for different forms of Christian Service other than the special work of the Minister and the Missionary. These all belong in some measure to the work of Religious Education, and include such occupations as Directors of Religious Education in Church and Community, teachers of the subject in Schools and Colleges, workers in Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A., and in City Missions and Social Settlements. The age demands thorough training on the part of those who would enter upon these professions, and it is the work of this School to provide such training. Besides emphasizing the necessary Biblical and doctrinal fundamentals, the curriculum provides for thorough instruction in Psychology, in the Theory and Practice of Education, in the Social Sciences, and in many other subjects likely to be needed in the ever widening field of Christian service.


            The Residence Hall for Men is situated in the northwest corner of the Campus. It perpetuates the name of the old Hosmer Hall of Broad Street, a place of cherished associations and great traditions.

            The building occupies two sides of a quadrangle, and is three stories high. It can accommodate sixty students, and has also rooms for guest of the Institution. It differs from the usual type of Dormitory in that it is divided into four sections, not necessarily connected. Each section has a separate entrance, and there are about fifteen rooms to each section. The north wing contains a reception room and a social room, and on the second floor is the Men’s Dinning Hall. The fact of a common Dining Room is a great aid in the maintenance of the family life of Hosmer Hall, as also are the frequent meetings arranged for by the men themselves for devotional, social, and recreational, purposes.


            Mackenzie Hall is home of the Women Students of Hartford Seminary Foundation, of whom at the present time about seventy are in residence. The attractive interior arrangements of the building, the pleasing surroundings, the genial atmosphere pervading the whole, have endeared the place to all who have lived here.

            The Foundation admits women as well as men into all its Schools, and it has been a pioneer both in encouraging women to take up as their life-work some form off Christian service and in offering the necessary training for such professions. That the twentieth century has greatly expanded the field of woman’s activities in this respect can be illustrated from the occupations of former women graduates of Hartford. These graduates include ministers, missionaries, pastors’ assistants, social workers, Y.W.C.A., secretaries, teachers of the Bible and related subjects in Schools and Colleges. The young women of today, in ever increasing numbers, are entering or are preparing themselves for some profession. They are coming to realize more and more that there is no nobler profession or one richer in opportunities of doing good, than some form of Christian work. To this it may be confidently added that there is no better place in which to seek training with that end in view than Hartford; and there can be no happier or more congenial home for such students than Mackenzie Hall.


            The Hartford Seminary Foundation is noted for its world-wide outlook and its Missionary spirit. The accompanying map shows the wide distribution throughout the world of graduates of the three Schools. There are some four hundred Hartford Missionaries working in the Mission field today of whom nearly a hundred are in Chins, about sixty each in Africa, India, and the Near East. The contribution of the three Schools to the Mission field this year was twenty-eight, the countries to which these workers have gone being India, China, Japan, West Africa, the Congo, Rhodesia, Malaysia, and the Argentine.

But while the ideal of world-evangelization is cherished by the Foundation as a whole, preparation for the work of the Mission field is peculiarly the task of the third of the associated Schools, the Kennedy School of Missions, which for the present has its offices and classrooms in Avery Hall. The School was opened in 1911, and was shortly after generously endowed by Mrs. Emma Baker Kennedy in memory of her husband, the late John Stewart Kennedy of New York.

            As its name implies, the Kennedy School of Missions exists for the purpose of training for Foreign Missionary service. At the same time it provides special facilities for Missionaries on furlough who wish to pursue studies in the History of Religion, or in subjects relating to special fields of missionary endeavor, to the methods of presentation of the gospel in foreign parts, or to the life and work of the missionary. In the fifteen years of its history it has had more than four hundred students, and these have represented more than forty denominations or Foreign Missionary Boards.

            The Faculty of the School includes outstanding authorities on Africa, India, the Mohammedan World, and the Far East. Regarding the method of instruction one of the significant features is the insistence on thorough training in phonetics as preparatory to the acquiring of the languages of the Mission Field. Instruction is provided by the School in many of these languages. The list in the current Year Book is suggestive: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Armenian, Malaysia, Sanskirt, Pali, French, Spanish, Portuguese; with provision for yet other languages if occasion should arise. Moreover, in order to be of the utmost help to the student the general instruction offered is largely individual, particularly in the case of missionaries on furlough and other mature students