Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Fay HouseFay House

On May 3, 2012, the Radcliffe Institute celebrated the renovation and reopening of Fay House with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Fay House has been at the heart of Radcliffe College, and now the Institute, since its very earliest days. The historic Fay Mansion was purchased in 1885 to provide the first permanent quarters for the growing college. It now houses the offices of the dean, the executive dean, communications, development, and finance.

Learning more about the history of the house, College, and Institute has never been easier thanks to the digitization of many of Radcliffe’s periodicals and publications. The text of these materials that reach back to the inception of the College is fully searchable. A search for Fay House within the complete run of the Radcliffe Magazine turned up “A History of Fay House”, published in the March 1900 issue that includes many fascinating details about the origin and previous owners of the house.

In the September 1985 issue of the Radcliffe Quarterly, on the occasion of the centenary of the House becoming part of Radcliffe, Jane Knowles, the college archivist, gave us an update on the history of the house in “A Roof of One’s Own.” It is clear from both of these articles that throughout its long history, Fay House has undergone many modifications and renovations as the needs of the College, and then the Institute, changed—but one thing is certain: the house is sure to remain central to the Institute and its mission.

Radcliffe Magazine, 1899–1920

Radcliffe Quarterly, 1916–2009

Additional images of Fay House from the Radcliffe College Archives