Paul Revere Hall

AMONG the precious relics carefully preserved at Andover by the Trustees is the Seal of Phillips Academy, made and engraved by Paul Revere. It is a disk of silver, one inch and three-eighths in diameter and approximately one-eighth of an inch thick, soft-soldered to a copper plate of similar size. Having been continuously in use from 1782 until a few years ago, it is naturally somewhat worn, and impressions from it are not so sharply defined as they once were. A modern reproduction is employed for routine office work by the administrative staff. (Claude Fuess. Men of Andover. Biographical Sketches in Commemoration of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of Phillips Academy. New Haven: Phillips Academy. 1928.)

Paul Revere

It may not be amiss to add a word about Paul Revere, the maker of the Seal---the man who has been called "The Mercury of the Revolution." He was born, January 1, 1735, in Boston, the third of twelve children of Apollos Rivoire, who came to Massachusetts in 1723 from the Island of Guernsey, became a goldsmith, married Deborah Hichborn, and changed his name to Paul Revere because of certain difficulties involved in pronouncing the French form in the English tongue. The younger Paul followed his father's occupation, taking charge of the shop when the latter died in 1754, and became a skilful designer and craftsman in gold and silver---a New England Benvenuto Cellini. (Ibid.)

During our Building and Endowment Fund campaign of 1919-1920, in which he took an active part, he one day picked up my book, An Old New England School and seemed to be turning its pages rather lazily. A week later he drew me aside and said in his forceful way, "Jack, why haven't we capitalized on our history? I never knew that George Washington and those old fellows like Paul Revere and Oliver Wendell Holmes had anything to do with this place. A school with a background like ours should tell the world about it!" An idea had germinated which was to fructify the remainder of his life. With the elation of an explorer he discovered that Andover had unique traditions, that it was linked in many ways with American history, and he resolved that he would tell others what he had learned. Nearly all of his magnificent generosity stemmed from his desire to make the most of the school's intangible assets. He would do the tangible part himself. (Claude Fuess. Independent Schoolmaster. Boston: Little, Brown. 1952.)

This enthusiasm explains why so many of the Academy's buildings are named for distinguished Americans connected with the School in its early years. The second all-important influence in shaping the Cochran program was that of the New York architect Charles Platt. He had been recommended to Cochran by Miss Grace Clemons, Al Stearns's hostess, and from the very beginning the two hit it off famously. Platt was not only an architect but a landscape gardener, who approached his work from the point of view of an artist, and his visions for Phillips Academy caught Cochran's fancy. (Frederick S. Allis, Jr. Youth from Every Quarter. A Bicentennial History of Phillips Academy, Andover, Andover: Phillips Academy, 1979.)

In 1929 a handsome new dormitory, Paul Revere Hall, was completed, providing rooms for fifty-two boys and two bachelor masters. At the start Cochran conceived a novel plan for this building. He wished the income from the room rents to be used for another teaching foundation. Thus he could have both his building and his foundation from the same gift. But various considerations convinced him later that the scheme was not feasible, and it was dropped. Paul Revere Hall was the final realization of Cecil Bancroft's dream of housing all the boys in School dormitories. Until its construction there had still been a few living in boarding houses. (Ibid.)

Erected using brick and stone over a steel framework by Thompson Starrett Co. of New York City, it was named for the noted patriot who cut the Academy seal in 1782. Four stories high, it was divided into two entries with 26 boys on each side in single and double rooms. The double suites were equipped with fireplaces. The first proctors were Dirk Van der Stucken and Emory Basford.

The Paul Revere Press was established in the basement of this hall in 1941. The bachelor quarters were upgraded to apartments for married instructors during John M. Kemper's term as Headmaster, in 1953. The facility became a girl's dormitory in the fall of 1973 following the merger of Abbot Academy with Phillips Academy. (Robert A. Domingue. Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. An Illustrated History of the Property (including Abbot Academy). Wilmington, MA: RAD Publishing, 1990.)

I ARRIVED at Andover on a cold, rainy, cheerless Sunday afternoon in September, 1929, to assume my duties as instructor in English and housemaster of Paul Revere Hall, the brand-new dormitory whose character and traditions I and my colleague in the north end of the building were to create and, presumably, perpetuate. I first saw the building from the unpaved and muddy road back of Day Hall. There it loomed, four stories high, above the quagmire later to be called Flagstaff Court. The present paths, the flagpole, the rows of shapely lindens, the teak benches were still in the architect's mind. Before my eyes there was only mud and a few crazy duck boards across the muddy lagoons. On my right the squat, squarish mass of the Commons, still a-building, reared its bulk above the mud. There was no approach to Paul Revere across the quagmire, and so I turned back to Salem Street, drove by the Commons, past a large white house beneath an elm, both long since removed, and up to the south entrance of Paul Revere Hall. The south door was locked; the mud made the north and west doors inaccessible, and so I drove to Samaritan House, the only other house whose location I knew, to see the Headmaster and report my plight. Samaritan House, where the Headmaster then lived, stood about where the portico of the Chapel now stands. Dr. Stearns was not at home, but the maid who answered the door thought I might get a key to my dormitory from Mr. Hopper, who lived in Hayward House on Phillips Street. At Hayward House I encountered, not Mr. Hopper, but Miss Frost, librarian, who for reasons still not clear to me was occupying Hayward House for the year. Mr. Hopper, I learned, was living in Bancroft Hall. So to Bancroft I went. With the key which Mr. Hopper gave me I returned to Paul Revere, let myself in, and so became the first housemaster of Andover's newest dormitory. A week later Dirk van der Stucken took up residence in the north end and together we proctored that dormitory for the next eleven years.

[...]

Paul Revere housed fifty-four seniors, twenty-seven in each entry. They were distributed over four floors. No other dormitory had a fourth floor. My apartment was on the second floor, a strategic location for proctoring the floors immediately above and below but remote from the fourth floor, which was for that reason inclined to turbulence. I certainly did not hunger and thirst after finding things out, but I felt that I had to keep the house quiet at least during study hours, and so up those flights of stairs to the fourth floor I climbed a dozen times an evening. Not all housemasters took their duties as seriously as I did. Some were strict; some lenient; some indulgent; some indifferent. Men ran their houses about as they pleased. (Claude Fuess. In My Time. A Medley of Andover Reminiscences. Andover: Phillips Academy. 1959.)

This, of course, was nonsense. Jockism was a state of mind. Some of the frailest, puniest members of the Class of 1951 were Jocks, if only as mascots. Just as absurd was the Jock's eye view of the Flit (the name, by the way, came from what the Jocks felt the Flits did, though just where they did it remains unclear; the height of Jock humor often came when one of them made a flapping motion with his arms as a Flit shuffled by; even more than the Jocks, a Flit would never call, nor consider himself, a Flit). Flits were just as often big and hearty-looking as they were the slight, weak, be-spectacled specimens so scorned in Jocklore. Flit GHQ were in Paul Revere North, where some of their number even went so far as to listen to serious music during the daytime in artificial darkness created by drawn curtains. (Ibid.)