William & Mary 1926-1950


The Society of the Alumni sponsored the first Homecoming weekend.


Trinkle Hall, a dining hall named after Governor E. Lee Trinkle, opened. Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall, later known as Ewell Hall, was dedicated in ceremonies commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Phi Beta Kappa Society at William & Mary. The Phi Beta Kappa National Society (then known as the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa) provided most of the money to rebuild the building.

Coolidge 19261926, May 15

President of the United States Calvin Coolidge spoke at William & Mary in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Virginia Resolutions for American Independence, and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.


Rogers Hall, today renamed Tyler Hall, a physics and chemistry classroom and laboratory building, opened and named for William Barton Rogers, alumnus, former professor and a founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Also opened was Old Dominion Hall, a men's dormitory, named in honor of Virginians who played a prominent part in the making of the nation, as well as Barrett Hall, a women's dormitory named for Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, prominent Virginia civic leader and second woman member of the Board of Visitors.

1927, November 18

James M. Beck, former U.S. Solicitor-General, presented the first of the James Gould Cutler lectures on "Our Changing Constitution." This yearly lecture series, established as part of the Marshall-Wythe School of Government and Citizenship, continued through 1944.


Washington Hall, named after George Washington, opened as a general classroom building.


The first restoration project undertaken in Williamsburg by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was the Wren Building. Although it had endured the ravages of three fires and two drastic alterations, most of the original brick walls remained. This was a major factor in its successful restoration to its appearance in the period 1716-1859.

1929, November 2

The Society of the Alumni sponsored the first Homecoming parade down Duke of Gloucester Street as part of its annual Homecoming festivities.


With the approval of the Board of Visitors, William & Mary agreed to buy Brown Hall from the Woman's Methodist Missionary Society and moved it to its present location on Prince George Street. The conversion of the house to a women's dormitory in 1926 was funded by the Dyson estate and Mrs. Jane Brown and Cornelia Brown, members of a prominent Methodist family in whose honor it was named. The building is also known as the Digges House, believed to be established in 1717 and named for the home of Dudley Digges, an uncle of the more famous Revolutionary War patriot of the same name.

King Infirmary, named for Dr. David J. King, then the William & Mary physician, opened. King Infirmary was subsequently converted to a dormitory and renamed for Dr. Althea Hunt, director of the William & Mary Theatre for more than 30 years.

1930, September

The Norfolk Division of William & Mary opened.


Chandler Hall, a women's residence named for President J.A.C. Chandler, opened.

1931, April-September

The President's House was restored to its 18th-century appearance by the removal of minor exterior additions, as part of the Rockefeller restoration project.

1931, October 19

President of the United States Herbert Hoover was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws on the occasion of his visit to Yorktown to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the surrender of Cornwallis.

1931, December-1932, June

The Brafferton was restored to its original exterior design, also through Mr. Rockefeller's generosity.

1933, September 30

The Society of the Alumni published the first edition of the Alumni Gazette. Appearing as a four-page tabloid, it went to nearly 6,000 alumni and was described in an editorial as "a new thing in an old atmosphere."

1934, May 31

Dr. J.A.C. Chandler died. During his presidency, the total value of William & Mary buildings and grounds increased from $450,000 to $4,772,311; total annual expenditures from $84,000 to $763,940; and enrollment from 333 to 1,269 students.

Roosevelt 19341934, October 20

John Stewart Bryan was installed as president of William & Mary, with President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt attending the ceremony to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

1934, November 17

The Society of the Alumni introduced the Alumni Medallion, the highest honor given alumni for service and loyalty. President John Stewart Bryan presented 25 alumni with the award on the society's annual Homecoming Day.


Dr. Earl Gregg Swem's two-volume Virginia Historical Index, the foremost bibliographic contribution in Virginia history, was published. The work had more than one million entries and was completed with the support of many friends of William & Mary and a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.


Marshall-Wythe Hall, an office and classroom building, and home of the School of Citizenship and Government, was opened and named for John Marshall and George Wythe. The building was subsequently renamed James Blair Hall after the first president of William & Mary. Also opened was Taliaferro Hall, a men's dormitory named for Major General William Booth Taliaferro, C.S.A., and alumnus. Cary Field, named for T. Archibald Cary, alumnus, opened as the athletic stadium.


The Sunken Garden was laid out on the mall directly west of the Wren Building. This landscape feature had been planned by Dr. J.A.C. Chandler, based on a similar treatment of grounds adjacent to Chelsea Hospital in London.


The new Brown Hall was purchased by William & Mary from the Woman's Methodist Missionary Society. The dormitory was built in 1930 with funds left by Mrs. Edward Brown. The former Brown Hall was renamed Prince George House for its location on Prince George Street.

Pomfret1943, February 8

On the 250th anniversary of the founding of William & Mary, Dr. John Edwin Pomfret was formally installed as the 20th president, succeeding Dr. John Stewart Bryan who was named chancellor of the university.

1943, February 22

The Naval Training School for Chaplains opened at William & Mary. In August of 1943 an Army Specialized Training Program in basic engineering was established.

1943, December

The Institute of Early American History and Culture was organized under the joint sponsorship of William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg as a center for research and publication in the field of American history through the Jeffersonian era.

1944, January

The William & Mary Quarterly began its third series as a "magazine of early American history, institutions and culture" under the editorship of Dr. Richard Lee Morton, professor of history.


William & Mary and the University of Exeter in England agreed to begin a regular exchange of students.

1947, July 17

The Jamestown Corporation, in cooperation with The Virginia Conservation Commission and William & Mary, opened an outdoor drama, "The Common Glory," written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Paul Green of Chapel Hill, N.C. A capacity audience of more then 2,580 saw the production at the Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre on the William & Mary campus. Many faculty members, including Althea Hunt, Roger and Suzanne Sherman, Albert Haak, Carl A. Fehr, Thomas Thorne and Howard Scammon were part of the production staff.

President Truman1948, April 2

At a convocation held on Canadian-American Day, the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on President of the United States Harry S. Truman.