case western reserve university



The Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association and
Mather Advisory Council

Residence Life
From Mather College’s beginnings, the Advisory Council was actively involved with the student residences. At its first formal meeting in September 1888, a Committee on the College Home was appointed. In March 1889 the Western Reserve University Trustees charged the Advisory Council to “start, manage and provide means for running a young ladies Home connected with said College…”

The first student residence, at 26 Cornell Road, was rented for $600 per year in 1889. The Advisory Council raised and spent $3,700 for its preparation and first year’s expenses and hired Mrs. William Darrach as house mistress.
Guilford HouseGuilford House, ca. 1892
The Advisory Council also had a substantial role in the first building constructed as a student residence for the College, Guilford Cottage. Guilford’s construction was funded by a Council member, Flora Stone Mather. And it was named for another Council member, Linda Guilford. The Council raised approximately $3,000 and oversaw all of Guilford’s furnishing. Individual members pledged to furnish specific suites and parlors. The Report of the House Furnishing Committee, describes the last-minute frenzy to prepare for the students’ arrival: “…members of the Committee working from morning till night dusting and putting furniture in place – spreading rugs – sweeping floors – washing dishes or making beds.”
In 1902, Flora Stone Mather funded construction of Haydn Hall. Originally envisioned as a study and recreation facility for students not residing on campus, the growing student population and crowding at Guilford required that Haydn also serve as the second College for Women dormitory. Again, the Advisory Council, with the help of the Alumnae Association, pledged the estimated $1,600 required to furnish Haydn.
Haydn roomHaydn Hall second floor room, ca. 1906
Mather House
Mather House, undated
In 1915 Flora Mather House was constructed as the College’s third new dormitory, allowing Haydn to revert to its original planned use. The Alumnae Association provided over 85% of Mather House’s cost.
Beyond contributing funds to construct and furnish the dorms, the Advisory Council also managed the residences. In 1902, the Advisory Council agreed to the request of the Trustees that it “administer the Domestic Relations of Haydn Hall.” By this time the Council’s ten years’ management of Guilford had established a successful model. Each of the dormitories had an Advisory Council House Committee that hired the House Mistress, managed the accounts, and sponsored a vigorous schedule of teas, receptions, parties, lunches, dinners and other social activities for the students. The Council also took care that the social conventions of the time were followed. In 1903, this resolution was adopted: “Chaperons are required for the young ladies: otherwise invitations cannot be accepted, and the Chaperons must be acceptable to the College authorities and the House Mistresses.”
Tea in Haydn HallHaving tea in Haydn Hall, 1929-1930
The Advisory Council had sole responsibility for operating the College dormitories until 1929. At that time the University’s Treasurer took responsibility for accounting and, a few years later, for purchasing. But the Advisory Council was still actively engaged in the operation of the dormitories through the 1940s. Each House Committee prepared annual operating budgets, met regularly with the House Mistress, informed itself about the intellectual and social progress of the students, and continued to provide furnishings, equipment, and entertainment.
Mather I dormsView of Taplin, Taft, and Smith Houses and Stone Dining Hall from Cutter House, 1961
With the post-war baby boom, the university began plans for accommodating a larger college-age population. These plans included new dormitories for men and women. In 1960-1961, the Mather Alumnae Association raised $218,288 ($10,000 from the Advisory Council) to furnish the new dormitories: Cutter House, Smith House, Taft House, Taplin House, and Stone Dining Hall. These residence halls were named for past presidents of the Alumnae Association or members of the Advisory Council. In 1964, the Alumnae Association again sponsored a fundraising campaign to complete construction and furnish new dormitories. These dorms included Tyler House, Raymond House, Norton House, Sherman House and Wade Commons. These residence halls were all named for members of the Advisory Council.

Information was compiled by staff of the Case Western Reserve University Archives, November 2007.