Campus News

This Week in Photos: The Faces of Bosworth Hall

September 17, 2021

Yvonne Gay

A stone breezeway
This stone breezeway connects Bosworth Hall and Asia House.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

Ever felt like someone was watching as you travelled through the colonnades that join Bosworth Hall and Asia House? Look up. The engraved eyes on the faces of former presidents, faculty, and medieval monks are gazing at you.

The west stone columns are adorned with the carved likenesses of Robert Brown, professor of practical theology and human relations from 1929 to 1938; Ian Hannah, professor of church history from 1917 to 1925; George Fiske, professor of theology and religious education from 1907 to 1937; and 14 other former Oberlin members.

The installation of faces and people onto buildings is in direct relation to the era and styles of the time. The college's Quadrangle—which includes Asia House, Bosworth Hall, and Fairchild Chapel—was designed by architect Cass Gilbert who chose historical models with a stylistic reach from medieval Romanesque to Renaissance Classicism for Oberlin’s landscape. 

According to an article in the spring 1996 issue of the Oberlin Alumni Magazine written by John Kearney ’93, most of the faces were mounted to columns after the Quadrangle was completed in 1931 and continued until 1966, with one exception. Danforth Professor of Religion Clyde Amos Holbrook was added in 1990. 

The original sculptures were carved by the Donnelly Brothers, the firm who also worked on New York City’s St. John’s Cathedral and Grand Central Station, reported Kearney. The plan was to include carvings of all faculty members of the graduate school, but the firm believed it would take too much time and instructed the Brothers to use the heads of monks instead. 

This week’s photo series provides a mini-tour of the colonnades and some of the faces that adorn them.


A stone entryway
Sculpted monks adorn columns in the front and back of Bosworth Hall. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A carving of a head on a column.
Edward Increase Bosworth, dean of the Graduate School of Theology from 1903 to 1910 and 1921 to 1923. He was a member of the faculty from 1887 to 1927. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A small carving of a man's head.
John Frederick Oberlin after whom the college was named. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A small stone carving of a man's head.
Henry King, Oberlin College president from 1902 to 1927. He served as a member of the faculty from 1879 to 1927. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A small stone carving of a man's head.
Thomas Graham, dean of the Graduate School of Theology from 1923 to1948 and member of the faculty from 1920 to 1948. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A stone carving of a man's head.
Charles Finney, president of Oberlin College from 1851 to 1866, and a member of the faculty from 1835 to 1875. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A small carving of a man's head.
George Michaelides, director of the Graduate School of Theology’s Schauffler Division of Christian Education from 1954 to 1961. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A stone carving of a man's head.
Danforth Professor of Religion Clyde Amos Holbrook from 1951 to 1977. After his death in 1989, Emeritus Professor of Art Paul Arnold ’40 and David Clark ’55 partitioned for his likeness to be added to the colonnade. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay


 

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